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Meet the 2023 SPROUT Researchers!

Congratulations to the selected participants for the 2023 cohort of SPROUT!
Read more about who they are and what they are doing research in.

Amal Oubarri

Amal Oubarri is a rising senior at Central High School. In her free time she enjoys reading and playing the violin. Her research interests include cellular and molecular biology and she wants to pursue biomedical research in the future.

Amal is researching in Dr. Rob Kulathinal’s lab, with help from Phil Baldassari, in understanding the effects of Acetaminophen on Drosophila behavior. She will be using JAABA and FlyTracker to analyze and track data.

Gerard Heard

Gerard Heard is a rising senior at George Washington Carver High School of Engineering and Science. Gerard is a member of SquashSmarts, a member of his school’s Robotics team and the Parliamentarian/Historian of his school’s National Honor Society Chapter. After high school, Gerard wants to study mechanical engineering in college and wants to pursue a career in automotive engineering. 

Gerard will work with Dr. Kulathinal and Phil Baldassari, where he will help create a project that allows high school students to observe and experiment with the behaviors of Drosophila (Fruit Flies).

SirNira Davis-Burke

Hello! My name is SirNira Davis-Burke and I am a rising senior at Parkway Center City Middle College. I have a strong interest in healthcare and science. As I approach college I hope to study nursing and have a career as a certified Nursing Midwife and Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner. I also hope to get my PHD in Nursing. In my spare time I enjoy going to high school football games and hanging out with my family and friends. I hope to continue and grow within SPROUT and continue to broaden my knowledge.

SirNira will be researching in Dr. Stephen MacNeil’s lab, where she will be analyzing the impact of chatbots, such as ChatGPT, in educational settings.

Maanasa Gogula

Maanasa is a rising high school senior at Conestoga High School. She is passionate about computer science and mathematics and their applications in diverse academic fields. She is also an avid reader, loves taking scenic walks and loves a good challenge. Maanasa will be completing her research under Dr. MacNeil, where she will be comparing the effects of diverse AI generated explanations with instructor’s explanations on code comprehension.

Ayana Ward

Ayana Ward is a rising senior at Abington Senior High School. She is an avid music enthusiast and loves to dance in her free time. Ayana thrives off her burning passion for giving back to the community and social justice concerns. Through a multitude of clubs, at her school, she is able to reach out and support her community. In the future, Ayana hopes to help others on a larger scale through pharmacy. 

While working in Dr. Cordes’ lab, Ayana seeks to broaden her horizons in the science field. Her research will highlight deep-sea habitats residing near methane seeps. Specifically, Ayana will be analyzing Vesicomyid Clam patterns to see if the species are truly able to adapt in a short time span.