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To integrate teens into the research process and help disseminate research to teens, we have started a new program within the lab called the RISE team, standing for Research, Innovation, Support, and Education. Our team is composed of high school students across New Jersey who are hoping to learn and contribute to mental health research and outreach in their schools and communities.

Find out more about the RISE Team here.
Ashvin, 16
Metuchen High School- Metuchen, NJ

Ashvin is a junior who is passionate about mental health and environmental advocacy. He decided to join the RISE team after witnessing problems with mental health transparency in his school. Through the RISE program, Ashvin wishes to work towards making mental health a less taboo topic in his community. In the future, Ashvin intends to attend college and pursue a degree in an undecided field of science with a minor in public health. In his high school, Ashvin is the president of the healthcare club which focuses on providing students with insights into the healthcare field and giving lessons about health literacy. In his free time, Ashvin enjoys spending time with family hiking outdoors and playing tennis.

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Karie, 17
Academy of Science and Engineering- Randolph, NJ

Karie is passionate about understanding and addressing high school mental health and suicide. After noticing the detrimental effects of the pandemic, she started exploring initiatives to encourage better mental health habits in students on a schoolwide scale, such as mindfulness practice. In addition, she leads school clubs including the Medical Club, Future Business Leaders of America, and herLift, and is part of a leadership council that promotes healthy choices regarding mental health, drugs, alcohol, and relationships. The RISE Team provides an opportunity to help inform her local community about mental health and suicide and destigmatize these topics. In the future, she hopes to pursue psychology and medicine, though she is still exploring related fields.

Sneha, 17 
North Brunswick Township High School- North Brunswick, NJ

Sydney is a senior in high school planning to major in Human Development or Psychology in college. She founded the GSB Student Mental Health Club with one of her friends at school, and she loves that she can help to destigmatize mental illness in her community. She is so excited to work with Dr. Hamilton and the rest of the RISE team in spreading psychological research to her own school as well as others in New Jersey. Aside from psychology, Sydney loves lacrosse, indoor cycling, alternative music, and watching movies with her friends.

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Fatou, 17 
THINK Global High School- Teaneck, NJ

After dealing with her own mental health struggles in middle school, Yeli became passionate about combating poor teen mental health. This inspired her to develop Seventh, an international award-winning app that employs enjoyable music-based strategies to promote greater mental and emotional wellness in teenagers. Developed under the mentorship of licensed music therapists, Seventh uses a unique music-for-wellness approach to combat the ever-growing teen mental health crisis. In addition to developing Seventh, Yeli is a trained active listener on the 7 Cups platform where she provides 1-on-1 emotional support to teenagers around the world dealing with emotional issues, and her work on the benefits of music for teen mental health has been published in the Youth Medical Journal. Yeli is a part of the RISE Team to continue creating a positive impact in improving teen mental health. 

Stephanie, 17 
South Brunswick High School- South Brunswick, NJ

Stephanie is a senior at South Brunswick High School. She has been active in destigmatizing mental health as the president of her schools's Youth 2 Youth club. She has been involved in the Lindsey Meyers Teen Institute as a part of the Youth Advisory Board, helping educate future leaders on mental health and drug use. Stephanie is so excited to work with Dr. Hamilton and the other members of the Hamilton Lab to be able to spread mental health resources to her community. Stephanie is also the president of the Public Health Club and an executive board member of Class Council. Outside of school, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, singing in choir and painting. In the future, Stephanie plans on majoring in neuroscience.

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Eshani, 16 
Montville Township High School- Montville, NJ

From a young age, Eshani has been fascinated by observing the ways in which those around her interact with one another. Specifically, Eshani is passionate about addressing the mental health of peers in her school and finding mindful ways to improve anxiety and depression from high school pressures. In an effort to accomplish this, she has started the Social Sciences Club with a focus on mental health initiatives, and also interns with a non-profit organization called Mend the Gap, which focuses on destigmatizing mental health across generations. She is excited to work with the RISE team because it provides an opportunity to further understand mental health effects on teens and use this to inform and improve the mental health around her, which Eshani believes is just as important as other education provided in her school. In her spare time, Eshani loves hanging out with her friends and playing tennis! In the future, she hopes to pursue a career in psychology and sociology with a focus on quantitative research.

Navya, 16 
Academy for Health and Medical Sciences at Somerset Vocational and Technical Highschool- Bridgewater, NJ

Navya is a sophomore at the Academy for Health and Medical Sciences. She has been a part of many mental health-related initiatives in school, and she's also currently working on a paper in relation to how medicine affects the mental illnesses of children. Mental health is crucial because it impacts how we feel, behave, and cope with life, and it also determines how we decide on and make important choices. By working with the RISE team at Rutgers, Navya believes that she will be able to make a greater impact on her community. Navya is also a part of the Spanish National Honors Society and the Applied Biosciences and Medicine Club at her school. She plans on majoring in Statistics in college. In her free time, Navya enjoys playing the piano and visiting national parks.

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Ashley, 16 
Bound Brook High School- Bound Brook, NJ

Ashley strives to help create a better environment in her school and in her community. Having to deal with mental health issues of her own, she has gained valuable insights into the isolation and challenges teens can go through. Her goal is to help other teens realize that they are not alone with their struggles and to destigmatize mental health as aberrant or taboo. As a means towards this goal, Ashley is working on creating a mental health and psychological well-being club at Bound Brook High School during her senior year. She enjoys making art and being out in nature in her free time. Her dream is to attend Rutgers New Brunswick in hopes to pursue a career as a Clinical Social Worker in college.

Lana, 16 
East Brunswick High School- East Brunswick, NJ

Lana is a sophomore at East Brunswick High School and noticed that mental health was a big issue but was not addressed enough. She hopes to destigmatize mental health among students in her schools. Lana personally knows what it is like to struggle with mental health issues and continues to help others and herself to learn how to cope and handle different types of mental health. She became very passionate about researching more about mental health after seeing the effects of social media on herself and those around her. She is so excited to be part of the RISE Team at Rutgers to have more insight and more research experience on important matters. She loves to help others and finds it very rewarding when those around her succeed.

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RISE Team Alumni

Sydney, 2021-2022
Gill St. Bernard- Bridgewater, NJ
Cornell University
Christian, 2021-2022
New Brunswick Health Sciences Technology High School
Rutgers University - New Brunswick