Current VT-PREP Scholars



Guadalupe Ceja

Undergrad: University of Pennsylvania, Biology 

Year in PREP: 2019

Faculty of Interest: Drs. Dana Hawley/ Tanya Le Roith/ Caroline Leeth 

Research Interests:  Immunology, Pathobiology, Epidemiology, Molecular & Biochem Nutrition

I was born and raised in a Hispanic community in South Texas.  I grew up on a farm around livestock all of my life and was inundated with the many beautiful aspects of country living.  I took a dramatic change and went to the city of Philadelphia where I studied Biology at the University of Pennsylvania.  I did full time research in an immunology lab for three years and got well-rounded experiences envolving animal care, biology, and minority communities, working at places such as the Philadelphia Zoo, the Penn Vet Working Dog Center, and Puentes de Salud. I want to continue to explore biological systems from a perspective that incorporates diseases, ecology, and immunology. My fun fact is that I grew up on a farm!


Stefany Nunez Zavala

Undergrad: Cal State University San Marcos, Biological Sciences

Year in PREP: 2019

Faculty of Interest: Drs. Liqing Zhang/ Jing Chen/ John Tyson

Research Interests: Mathematical Modelling, Computational Biology, GBCB, Data Analysis & Applied Stat.

I love Science and I am naturally curious. I would love to continue doing research and possible pursue a career in academia. In the future I would love to start a program like PREP and teach future Biologists about the importance of Math in this field. My fun fact is that I love meditating!


Marcos Cervantes

Undergrad: NYU, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Year in PREP: 2019

Faculty of Interest: Drs. Padma Rajagopalan/ Rafael Davalos/ John Chappell

Research Interests: Biomedical Engineering, Development of Drugs & Disease Treatments

I am a first generation college student who now has the opportunity to pursue a PhD and do more research. My fun fact is that I was a Performing Arts Stage Manager for Engineering students during my undergrad.


Jose Monclova

Undergrad: University of New Mexico, Chemical and Biological Engineering

Year in PREP: 2019

Faculty of Interest: Drs. Raffaella De Vita/ Abby Whittington/ Aaron Goldstein

Research Interests: Biotechnology, Biomedical Engineering, Immunology

I am from New Mexico, in the Albuquerque area. I would love to pursue a PhD so that I can be a professor at a university. I want to be able to give back to my undergraduate mentors both in the IMSD at UNM and PREP at Virginia Tech. My interests are in regenerative medicine and tissue engineering. My fun fact is that I like to go rock climbing!


Kevin Santiago Morales

Undergrad: University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez, Industrial Microbiology

Year in PREP: 2019

Faculty of Interest: Drs. Lisa Belden/ Ann Stevens/ David Kuhn

Research Interests: Microbiology, Bioinformatics, Biotechnology

I have always had a passion for science since high school. In pursuing a PhD, I would love to understand how microbes affect us and the environment. My fun fact is that I love to cook!


Kerani Davidson

Undergrad: NC A&T, Chemistry and Applied Mathematics

Year in PREP: 2019

Faculty of interest: Drs. Kevin Edgar/ Timothy Long/ Louis Madsen

Research Interests: Dev. of Drugs & Disease Treatments, Bioinformatics, Math Modeling

I have always wanted to pursue a PhD. My undergrad research lab focused on research areas I was interested in such as makeup and kids toys. I would like to continue doing research that I enjoy. My fun fact is that I used to be a bartender!


Raven Ross

Undergrad: VCU, Psychology

Year in PREP: 2019

Faculty of interest: Drs. Robin Panneton/ Julie Dunsmore/ Jungmeen Kim-Spoon

Research Interests: Behavioral Sciences, Psychology

When I was in high school, I took an AP Psychology class and I loved it. A PhD would help me develop my interest in Psychology. My fun fact is that I love cats! 


Claudia Perez

Undergrad: Johns Hopkins University, Molecular and Cellular Biology

Year in PREP: 2019

Faculty of interest: Drs. Nisha Duggal/ Daniela Cimini/ Igor Sharakhov

Research Interest: Molecular, Cellular & Dev. Bio, Genetics, Infectious diseases

My research interests include genetics, and infectious diseases, especially virology. In my free time, I like to play board games with friends and go out to new restaurants. I have always seen myself as a lifelong learner. I look forward to having projects of my own that I can teach others about. I enjoy the collaborative environment involved with advancing the field of science. One day I hope to be a mentor to others who are interested in the same things I am interested in, and to help lead them to make new discoveries and be proud of their work. My fun fact is that I used to play rugby!