Emerging Scholars Fellowship

About the Emerging Scholars Fellowship

The Active Minds Emerging Scholars Fellowship, generously supported by the Scattergood Foundation for Behavioral Health and Avi and Sandra Nash, provides an opportunity for students to complete funded, independent mental health projects and to be connected with a network of young scholars and national experts in the field of behavioral health. The Emerging Scholars Fellowship program aims to expand the body of literature, creative expression, and discourse devoted to mental health with a particular emphasis on health equity and antiracism related to young adult mental health. From January to June 2022, the fellows will complete their projects, build a peer network, connect professionally with a national mentor and gain experience distributing their content to college audiences.

Please direct questions to: emergingscholars@activeminds.org.

meet the 2022 scholars

Jasmine Barnes Headshot

Jasmine Barnes

La Salle University – Master’s Student

Jasmine Barnes is completing her Master’s of Public Health at La Salle University.  She is committed to increasing visibility of the issues people of color who reside in underserved communities face, developing solutions to address health disparities, and reducing death due to preventable diseases. Jasmine has extensive experience serving individuals with severe and persistent mental illness and individuals suffering with substance use disorder, which helped her to develop her passion to improve mental health outcomes for black women and girls. Her project will explore the impact of the Adultification Bias experienced during childhood on the mental health outcomes of African American women.

Brandon Bond Headshot

Brandon Bond

The University of Michigan – Master’s Student

Brandon Bond (He, Him, His) is a second-year master’s candidate at the University of Michigan. He is completing a Master’s of Public Health in Health Behavior & Health Education and a Master’s of Social Work in Global Social Work Practice. Brandon is motivated to explore innovative methods of how to integrate cultural values and sensitivity to mental health strategies and the built environment to aid in the holistic wellness of individuals and communities. His project will examine the sense of belongingness on campus, self-esteem, and self-perception of well-being for students of African descent by developing a staple Black environment (i.e., a barbershop) pilot pop-up event on campus.


Saharra Dixon Headshot

Saharra Dixon

University of Massachusetts Amherst Doctoral Student

Saharra Dixon is a first-year doctoral student in the community health education program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She is an arts in health practitioner and health educator who uses theatre and storytelling for health promotion and health research. She believes the arts can be used as a powerful tool to promote healing and facilitate behavioral and social change, as well as further community development and catalyze public engagement and critical dialogue. Saharra will use digital storytelling as a critical narrative intervention to explore the experiences of Black women with body-focused repetitive behaviors (BFRBs) like hair-pulling and skin picking to investigate how the intersection of racism, sexism, and socio-cultural expectations may shape their individual and collective experiences. The digital stories will be shared during a community screening to open dialogue around shifting stigmatizing conversations focused on Black women’s mental health.

Gabrielle Evans Headshot

Gabrielle S. Evans

The University of Texas – Doctoral Student

Gabrielle S. Evans, MPH, CHES is a third-year doctoral student in The University of Texas Health Science Center-Houston’s health promotion and behavioral sciences program. Gabrielle is passionate about fostering positive sexuality development among Native American adolescents and young adult women by reducing sexual health disparities, as well as examining the relationship between culture and sexual health. Her project aims to explore if historical and present traumatic events have an impact on the sexual health of Native older adolescents and young adult women and how trauma-informed interventions can be applied in a Native cultural lens.

Praise Iyiewuare Headshot

Praise Iyiewuare

University of Vermont Doctoral Student

Praise Iyiewuare is a fourth-year clinical psychology doctoral student at the University of Vermont. Her research is focused on the intersection of trauma, pleasure, and mental health outcomes among marginalized populations, and her ultimate career goal is to work as a clinical psychologist who supports the mental health of Black queer folks through her research and clinical work.

Harshini Matada Headshot

Harshi Matada

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Undergraduate Student

Harshi Matada is currently an undergraduate student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill pursuing a degree in neuroscience and biology. She is a mental health advocate hoping to restructure the views of mental health on college campuses by providing equitable resources/services throughout her community. Her project focuses on conducting a systematic review of mental health resources on her campus pre- and post-COVID to investigate if there has been an increased focus on mental health resources for students. Particularly, this project will highlight how these resources target and benefit the BIPOC population. Through this research, she hopes to better understand if there has been a shift in prioritizing students’ mental health.

Janita A. Matoke Headshot

Janita Aidonia Matoke

Thomas Jefferson University Master’s Student

Janita Aidonia Matoke is a Master’s student at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, receiving her master’s in public health with a concentration in public policy. She is a forever writer and a future physician. She advocates for quality, accessible, and culturally representative mental health care and strives to implement policy that will help universalize preventative mental healthcare. Janita believes that mental health is people’s health and that care and treatment should not only be normalized but improved immensely. She will be working with a select cohort of youth to educate, inform, incite dialogue, and provide culturally representative care in hopes to show the profound and imperative results of mental health conversations, representation, and accessible, quality care.

Misha M Headshot

Misha Mehta

Thomas Jefferson University Doctoral Student

Misha Mehta is a doctoral candidate in Thomas Jefferson University’s population health science program. She seeks to support BIPOC military service members and veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress Injury. As part of her doctoral studies, she will explore evidence-based strategies to reduce barriers to mental and behavioral health services for BIPOC communities.

Taina Quiles Headshot

Taina Quiles

University of Virginia Doctoral Student

Taina Quiles is a doctoral student in the Community Psychology program at the University of Virginia. Quiles’s research seeks to understand and promote racial healing among Black and Latinx adolescents by illuminating their resistance in the face of oppression. She is specifically interested in how critical consciousness, ethnic-racial identity, and community cultural wealth help these youth navigate inequities they face in different contexts. For her project, she will be examining how subdomains of hope (personal agency, community care, and spirituality) relate to different types of activism.

Parna Shakouri Headshot

Parna Shakouri

Colgate University Undergraduate Student

Parna Shakouri is a student at Colgate University where she studies anthropology and global public and environmental health. She is passionate about health equity and the intersection of sociomedical and behavioral sciences with BIPOC and LGBTQ+ communities. Using the universal language of storytelling, she plans to investigate and portray the effects of patient/provider relations on the mental health and lived experiences and perceptions of physical and emotional pain in Black, Indigenous, and other young Women of Color.

K. Stovall Headshot

Karyn Stovall

Chicago State University – Master’s Student

Karyn Stovall is the community research and engagement coordinator for the Chicago Health Disparities Center at IL Tech. Ms. Stovall has lived expertise and is bilingual in English and Spanish. Most recently, she has served as a Community Health Worker at NAMI Metro Suburban, providing case management services to people with mental health challenges. Ms. Stovall also worked in the U.S. Department of State, managing academic programs, overseeing budgetary and grant needs, and conducting public affairs activities for four years. She is adept in facilitating trainings, hosting events, and overseeing large-scale events. She holds a B.A. in Sociology from Dillard University, an M.A. in International Studies from the University of Denver, and is currently pursuing an MSW at Chicago State University.

Evan Willis Headshot

Evan-Taylor Willis

Widener University – Master’s Student

Evan-Taylor Willis is completing their Master’s of Social Work and Human Sexuality Education at Widener University. Evan-Taylor is an advocate for body diversity and LGBTQ+ people of color. They are dedicated to eradicating barriers that prevent these populations from having access to mental health services. Their project aims to explore the impact that anti-fat bias has on the mental health of college-aged women, and how mental health professionals can perpetuate or dismantle anti-fat biases in their practice.