Neuroscience Student Ambassador Profiles

Amanda Ramada

Amanda Ramada (She/Her)

Academic Year: Senior 

Email: aramada [at]

Amanda became a Neuroscience Ambassador to help bring light to the Neuroscience major at UMD. She enjoys being an ambassador because she is able to help her fellow students become educated about different parts of the Neuroscience major.

Amanda is on the Behavioral and Cognitive Track. She is also from Howard County, Maryland. Amanda recently just finished a position in a neural language analysis lab.

Her favorite part of the brain is the hippocampus! It is an intricate structure involved in registering new memories. It is a key component to the brain for social cognition and emotion regulation which is very important.


Clare Ntumsi

Clare Ntumsi (She/Her)

Academic Year: Junior

Email: Cntumsi [at]

Clare wanted to join something that would be able to help raise awareness and connect individuals in the neuroscience major, so she became a Neuroscience Ambassador. She is currently on Molecular, Cellular, and Physiological Track and is from Gaithersburg, MD.

Her favorite part of the brain is the brain stem because she always hold people up. :)


Farheen Ahmed

Farheen Ahmed (She/Her)

Academic Year: Junior

Email: farheen6055 [at]

Farheen became a neuroscience ambassador to help students in the major find their place in the program. She wants to help neuroscience students meet one another and contribute towards planning events and creating a sense of community in our major! 

Farheen lives half the year in Houston, Texas and the other half in Northern Virginia. She is a  Neuroscience major and also the secretary for Neuroscience Honor Society along with being a Neuroscience student ambassador (She clearly loves Neuro)! When she is not studying, Farheen is either hanging out with her friends or reading Colleen Hoover books!

Farheen’s favorite part of the brain is the frontal lobe because it prevents her from making bad decisions (sometimes).


Anca Bouvier

Anca Bouvier (She/Her)

Academic Year: Sophomore

Email: anca.bouvier [at]

Anca wants to help new and prospective neuroscience students grow accustomed to and become familiar with our community and program. Anca is apart of the Molecular, Cellular, and Physiological Track. She is the vice president of the UMD gymnastics club and also from Rockville, MD.

Anca’s favorite part of the brain is definitely the thalamus! She  thinks sensory processing is very cool :)


Rakshita Balaji

Rakshita Balaji (She/Her)

Academic Year: Senior

Email: rbalaji [at]

Rakshita became a Neuroscience Ambassador in order to connect with more students in a rapidly-growing major and to support, celebrate, and learn from her peers as they together pursue their neuroscience-related endeavors.

Rakshita is a senior from Columbia, Maryland, who studies Molecular, Cellular, and Physiological Neuroscience. She is passionate about Neuroscience research and is specifically interested in probing neural circuits using interdisciplinary approaches. She is currently working on her senior thesis in the Caras Lab through the Biology Honors program. In addition to research, she served as a teaching assistant for NEUR305 in Fall 2021 and as a student course facilitator in the Biology Department in Fall 2022.

In addition to being a Neuroscience Ambassador, Rakshita enjoys collaborating with her peers as a student ambassador for the Honors College and as a member of the Rising Researchers club at UMD. In her free time, Rakshita enjoys biking, reading, and trying new bubble tea flavors. Rakshita's favorite part of the brain is the thalamus, because of its crucial role in helping us perceive and adapt to our sensory-rich world. The thalamus is a hub through which information from almost all of our senses passes and integrates on its way up to the cortex.


Tessa S

Tessa Schauermann (She/Her)

Academic Year: Junior

Email: tessasch [at]

Tessa wanted to become part of the neuroscience community. With NEUR being such a small and new major, she knew that the community would be very friendly and closely knit.

Tessa is on the Molecular, Cellular, and Physiological track and she is from Annapolis, Maryland. She really likes the anterior cingulate cortex because of its complex role in empathy.


Jennifer Tabet

Jennifer Tabet (She/Her)

Academic Year: Junior

Email: jtabet1 [at]

Jennifer became a neuroscience ambassador because she is passionate about building a tight-knit community and creating opportunities that help her peers reach their goals. 

Jennifer is apart of the molecular, cellular and physiological track and is originally from Baltimore County, Maryland. Jennifer is also a member of A.W.A.R.E. (A Worldwide Arabic Resource Effort), WeSkate, a BioFIRE Peer Mentor, research trainee at the Torii/Hashimoto-Torii research group at Children's National and research assistant at the Neurocognitive Development Lab on campus.

Her favorite part of the brain is the corpus callosum because it helps each hemisphere communicate with the other!


Mark Wehland

Mark Wehland (He/Him)

Academic Year: Junior

Email: markwehland6 [at]

Mark really wanted to help expand the neuroscience program and be a guide for the younger students. The major has really hard courses and sometimes it can feel very competitive. Instead, he hopes to create more of a sense of a community where students have a chance to go to someone else in the major and be able to ask questions and possibly seek help if needed. Mark thinks the program has a lot of potential, especially as we work towards creating a very diverse community of neuroscience students. He hopes to learn from others different perspectives of being a neuroscience major and see how he can be best available to all of our students!

Mark is in the Molecular, Cellular, and Physiological track as he is  premed. He lives in Reisterstown, MD. Mark is working in two labs on campus, was a PTA/MA in Greenbelt over the summer and is a part of Phi Delta Epsilon! Mark is a huge A Boogie fan.

Right now, Mark’s favorite part of the brain is the hippocampus! Mark does a lot of work with memory in Dr. Riggins lab so has come to appreciate the structure!


Noah Mercado

Noah Mercado (He/Him)

Academic Year: Junior

Email: nmercado [at]

Noah became a neuroscience ambassador because he wanted to play an active role in growing the neuroscience community at UMD! He also wants to be a resource and a mentor to any new students coming in to the neuroscience major.

Noah is a neuroscience major on the MCP track and am also pre-med. Noah is from Baltimore County, Maryland. Other then being a neuroscience student ambassador, he is also a part of the American Red Cross Club, AMSA, and FCA. In his free time, Noah likes hiking, reading, and playing piano.

Noah’s favorite part of the brain is the corpus callosum because it connects the two hemispheres of the brain into a functioning whole. Each hemisphere has its own unique functionalities and way of interpreting things, and the corpus callosum allows for those things to be integrated!


Ellie Q

Ellie Qatipi  (She/Her)

Academic Year: Senior

Email: ellieqat1 [at]

Ellie originally joined UMD because of the prospective Neuroscience program. When she first transferred from Neurobiology, she was overwhelmed with the opportunities and the classes she was now able to take. Ellie wanted to meet new people with the same major as her as this was a very new major on campus and not a lot of people knew about it. She was fortunate enough to surround herself with people that supported her when she was faced with crucial decisions she had to make for her major and career. Being an ambassador gave Ellie the opportunity to share help personal experience and help other students who might be struggling with questions or concerns she was struggling with in previous years. Ellie wants to be able to share all the positive experiences she has had thus far as neuroscience major and inspire others to join. She believes the role of an ambassador is important as they encourage students to achieve their goals and provide support.

Ellie grew up in Athens, Greece when she moved to Ocean City, MD when she was 15. Although Ellie finished high school there, she would not say her hometown is Ocean City. Ellie always go back and visit friends and family twice a year in Athens. She loves traveling and reading. Ellie is on the Molecular, Cellular, and Physiological Track and also minoring in Hearing and Speech Sciences. She is the Vice-President of Beta Psi Omega (biology professional fraternity at UMD), part of the bioFIRE Advisory Council, a bioFIRE peer mentor for 5 semesters, a research assistant for 3 semesters at the Comprehensive Assessment and Intervention  Program Lab at UMD, and also works part-time as an ABA therapist.

Ellie’s favorite part of the brain is the corpus callosum. She thinks no one really remembers it most of the time but Ellie thinks it is such a unique region connecting the two hemispheres together and allowing them to communicate. Ellie is also very interested in the region because of the experiments that have been conducted in order to treat epilepsy. 



Joyce Milandu (She/Her)

Academic Year: Junior

Email: joylmilandu [at]

As a Neuroscience Ambassador, Joyce wants to aid in creating an inclusive and welcoming environment for everyone, especially as a Black woman in STEM. Fostering a community in the Neuroscience major is important to her and she hopes to do so during the time she is a Neuro Ambassador. 

Joyce is from Gaithersburg, MD and is on the MCP track. She has a cat named Calypso and they  both love matcha ice cream! Joyce is currently volunteering as a patient counselor for a student-led organization called Peace and Contentment Volunteer Program.

Joyce’s favorite part of the brain is the gustatory cortex because it allows her to be the huge foodie that she is. She loves discovering new restaurants and cafés, and also cooking meals with friends.



Natasha Strozeski (She/Her)

Academic Year: Senior

Email: nstrozes [at]

Natasha became a neuroscience ambassador because of her passion for the subject and the research. Natasha came to UMD so she could pursue neuroscience as a major! She knows how anxious it can be coming into college and picking a specific major like neuroscience so she wants to be able to be there for students of the program and share her experience with them to make them feel welcome and comfortable!

Natasha is on the Molecular Neuroscience track as well as a pre-PA track. She is from Harleysville, Pennsylvania but was born in Michigan. She is involved in the professional biology frat, BPO, as the service chair, the BioFIRE advisory committee, the Biofire peer mentor program, work as a CNA and is a TA for NEUR306.

Her favorite part of the brain is the prefrontal cortex because it has to do with so much of our personalities and decision making. It’s a huge part of who we are and what defines us.



Carlos Koudouovoh (He/Him)

Academic Year: Senior

Email: carloskoudouovoh [at]

Carlos became an ambassador to help others students know the Neuroscience Major here at UMD. He wants to serve as resource that students in the major and those wanting to join the major can come to and he can share his experiences and guide them as well as promoting the major and helping it expand.

Carlos is on the cellular, molecular, and physiological neuroscience  track. Originally he is from Montgomery County Md, but he splits his time between Atlanta, Georgia and College Park. Carlos is a teaching assistant for BSCI 330 and work in in a brain cognition lab on campus under Dr. Bolger. Carlos is also a member of BPO, the BioFire peer mentor and also working remotely in the Burn lab in Montreal.

His favorite part of the brain is the prefrontal cortex as he think that's the part of the brain that makes each of us unique.


Kristi's Headshot

Kristi LaMonaca (She/Her)

Academic Year: Junior

Email: kristinlamonaca [at]

Kristi wanted to become a neuroscience ambassador to connect more to other neuroscience majors and help build a neuroscience community. I wanted to learn more about the neuroscience field in general and explore career options through planning career panels.

Kristi is from Gaithersburg, MD and  she loves to hike, bake, and read. Her favorite part of the brain is the superior olive because she likes the thought of having an olive in her brain.


Last modified
11/18/2022 - 2:10 pm