The MCDD is excited to sponsor several trainees this spring.
Luanne Mottley is a third-year law student at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law, concentrating in health law. She earned her undergraduate degree in neuroscience from the College of William & Mary, where she performed research on autism spectrum disorder. Recently, she interned with the National Association of the Deaf, furthering her passion for disability rights and advocacy. She will graduate in May of 2023 and hopes to pursue a career in healthcare law.
Divij Garg is a third-year law student at the University of Baltimore School of Law. He received his undergraduate degree in Criminology from the Pennsylvania State University. Divij interned at a personal injury law firm in the heart of Baltimore for several years, which gave rise to his interest in assisting people with intellectual, developmental and other disabilities. Divij will graduate in May 2023 and hopes to pursue a career in public interest law.
Fan Wu is a graduate student within the department of mental health at Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, where she is working to earn her Master ofHealth Science (MHS) degree. She earned her undergraduate degree in nutritional science and clinical psychology from the Ohio State University. Fan’s research interests include dietary intervention on mental health issues and working with people with developmental disabilities. She hopes to gain well-rounded learning opportunities during her internship at the Maryland Center for Developmental Disabilities by participating in different projects, including support services for parents with intellectual disabilities. She is looking forward to learning how to translate scientific evidence into practice and effectively advocate for people with disabilities and their families, while building on her knowledge of health education.
Valeria Tskhay is an undergraduate student at the University of Maryland, majoring in public health science, with a strong interest in genetic counseling. She began learning more about people with disabilities while navigating the field of genetics, which piqued her interest in wanting to better serve the community. Valeria hopes to expand her knowledge and skills by being a trainee at the Maryland Center for Developmental Disabilities and getting to work on projects such as creating more inclusive spaces for people with disabilities in faith communities. She is passionate about learning how to be a better advocate for people with disabilities and their families and a better listener. After obtaining her undergraduate degree, Valeria plans to attend graduate school for genetic counseling, where she can continue to work with and advocate for people with disabilities and their families.
Roseline Onwukwe is an undergraduate student at the University of Maryland, majoring in public health science. She developed an interest in people with disabilities from her previous work experiences with children with disabilities. As a trainee at the Maryland Center for Developmental Disabilities, she hopes to gain a more in-depth understanding of topics impacting the lives of people with disabilities and strengthen her ability to ask questions and problem solve. She aspires to engage in training and research data collection, evaluation, and dissemination of results. After completing her undergraduate degree, Roseline plans to attend graduate school to become a physician assistant and further work with and represent people with disabilities and their families.
Melanie Ong is a graduate student, pursuing a Master of Health Science (MHS) degree and a Wendy Klag Center (WKC) scholar in the department of mental health at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. Melanie earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor before undertaking research work at the National University of Singapore. Melanie has a keen interest in autism spectrum disorder. Upon the completion of her program, Melanie hopes to pursue a PhD after taking another year to further her research experience. Melanie is currently involved in the Faith, Disability and Inclusive Practice project at the Maryland Center for Developmental Disabilities, looking at how to better foster inclusive faith support in Maryland faith communities and equip faith community leaders with inclusive practice tools to better support people with disabilities and their families.
Martina Penalosa is a graduate student at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and currently pursuing her Master of Public Health (MPH) degree with a focus on Maternal/Child/Adolescent Health. Prior to pursuing her MPH, she was involved for a year in high school special education, where she developed an interest in working with adolescents and focusing on mental health. She was a Special Olympics basketball coach for eight years throughout high school and college and helped coordinate disability inclusion lectures and self-advocate panels for her medical school’s health equity curriculum thread. Melanie is currently involved in a research project that examines factors impacting health and well-being of children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families from a caregiver’s perspective at the Maryland Center for Developmental Disabilities. After the completion of her MPH, she will return for her final year of medical school at the University of California, San Diego and plans to go into Family Medicine. Her clinical and research interests include maternal/child/adolescent health, mental health, improving health outcomes for children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and community-focused research.