Meet the Scholars

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Sallie Allgood

Research interests: health care related decision making in chronic diseases 

Sallie AllgoodSallie Allgood of Durham, N.C., earned a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry from Campbell University in 2000 and a Master of Science in Biology from Wake Forest University in 2005. Since 2005, she has worked at Duke University; explored the mechanism of action of chemotherapeutics for the treatment of leukemia in preclinical and early phase clinical trials; assessed the potential of chemotherapeutics for leukemia treatment in preclinical studies; and studied familial genetics in leukemia. Sallie is interested in exploring ways to help patient’s make informed decisions on their treatment through improved patient education and teaching critical thinking skills. She is also interested in translating bench science to inform patient treatment. Ms. Allgood is a member of the 2014 cohort. 


 

Laura Britton

Mentor: Dr. Beth Black
Research interests: health disparities among the LGBTQ population, health policy and end of life care

 

Laura BrittonLaura Elizabeth Britton of Chapel Hill, N.C., earned a Bachelor of Arts in Biological Sciences in 2005 from Wellesley College. She has since assisted with microbiology research related to the treatment of heart disease at the University of Pennsylvania and carried out clinical trials with Planned Parenthood Southeastern Pennsylvania. Upon moving to North Carolina, Britton volunteered extensively at UNC Hospitals and the Orange County Literacy Council. She worked as a Carolina Health Education Counselor of Sexuality at UNC Counseling and Wellness Services and collaborated with students in the Health Behavior program on a campus-wide needs assessment prior to her admission to the School of Nursing. Ms. Britton is a member of of the 2013 cohort.


 

Martha Grace Cromeens

Mentors: Drs. Cheryl Jones and Erin Fraher
Research interests: health literacy and transitional care

 

Martha GraceMartha Grace Cromeens of Bryan, Texas, earned a Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of St. Thomas in 2002, a Master of Arts in History from Baylor University in 2007 and a Juris Doctorate from the South Texas College of Law in 2008. Her Master’s thesis was titled “A Fifty-Year Retrospective on a German Cold War Tragedy, 1953-2003.” In addition to being a licensed attorney, she is a certified phlebotomist and certified nurse aide. Prior to applying to the Hillman Scholars Program, she worked as a tutor at Texas A&M University and as an instructor at Blinn College, teaching courses in history and government.  Ms. Cromeens is a member of the 2013 cohort. 

 


Leah Morgan

Research interests: pediatric care and improving patient-family experiences in the pediatric population

Leah MorganLeah Morgan is originally from Charlotte, N.C., but moved to Chapel Hill at beginning of her undergraduate career. She is a traditional first-degree Bachelor of Nursing Science student. Upon being admitted to the nursing school, Leah has become involved in Undergraduate Student Governance Council, Association of Nursing Students, and Careers Beyond the Bedside. She is also a nursing school ambassador. Ms. Morgan is interested in pursuing a career in pediatrics. Ms. Morgan is a member of the 2014 cohort. 

 


Esita Patel

Research interests: women’s health care and improving the birthing experience for mothers, babies, and families

Esita PatelEsita Patel of Charlotte, N.C., earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology, with a minor in chemistry, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2013. She earned highest honors for her thesis work on the tumorigenic effects of ASC on medulloblastoma. During her time at UNC, Ms. Patel was a microbiology intern, Carolina Research Scholar, Howard Hughes Medical Institute-Future Scientists and Clinicians (HHMI-FSC) fellow, member of Phi Sigma Pi and Tri-Beta National Honors Societies, and a volunteer doula. Prior to applying to the Hillman Scholars Program, she lived and worked alongside an indigenous midwife in Tecpan, Guatemala, through funding earned from the Carolina Experience Enrichment Carolina Experience Enrichment Scholarship fellowship. Ms. Patel is a member of the 2014 cohort. 

 


 Bill Smith

Research interests: improving health of underserved populations in the community setting

Bill SmithBill Smith of Durham, N.C., earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Allegheny College in Meadville, Penn., in 2006. He completed a thesis focused on service learning and its effects on narcissism and pro-social inclination in undergraduate students, and a Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology for Edinboro University of Pennsylvania in 2008. During his time at Allegheny College, he was an AmeriCorps Bonner Leader, completing 900 hours of service with at-risk youth, volunteered at a community-based, consumer-driven organization focused to better the lives of those with mental illness, and was the Community Service chair for Allegheny College’s chapter of Psi Chi – the International Honor Society in Psychology. Mr. Smith was recognized with Allegheny College’s Outstanding Community Service Award in 2006. He has worked as a clinician at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, where he was nominated for Clinician of the Year in 2009. In North Carolina, he worked in regional mental health administration, designing and implementing service programs and establishing and strengthening partnerships with local, state, and national stakeholders. He established a patient assistance program to assist individuals without insurance in accessing needed medications and established a primary care clinic at a local crisis services center to ensure a more integrated approach to care and aftercare for people in a behavioral health crisis. Mr. Smith is a member of the 2014 cohort. 

 


Adria Spinell

Mentors: Drs. Gwen Sherwood and Margaret (Peggy) Bentley

Research interests: childhood obesity and childhood malnutrition

Adria Spinell

Adria Nicole Spinelli of Racine, Wis., earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Studies from Baylor University in 2011. During her time at Baylor, she was a member of the Honors College and studied abroad, focusing on international law and organizations. Prior to applying to the Hillman Scholars Program, Spinelli served as a Center Director for the Appalachia Service Project, a non-profit home repair organization working with impoverished communities in West Virginia. As Center Director, she managed a $50,000 budget and oversaw more than 500 volunteers. Spinelli has extensive international experience, including time spent studying in Cambodia and teaching in Spain. Ms. Spinell is a member of the 2013 cohort.