Introducing the 2024 ASSURE Fellows: Meet the Rising Stars in Biomedical Research

We are thrilled to announce the incoming 2024 cohort of Anesthesiology Summer Research (ASSURE) fellows, marking the fourth year of the program at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

These students were selected from a competitive pool of applicants with connections to the St. Louis metro area, all driven by an interest in graduate school and careers in health care. They will spend ten weeks working in a lab with WashU faculty, trainees, and staff, attending workshops and lectures, meeting mentors from around the School of Medicine and other academic institutions, participating in professional development sessions, and conducting cutting-edge research to present at the conclusion of the program.  

Learn about our nine ASSURE fellows:

Ephraim Agyei
Institution: Harris-Stowe State University

Ephraim, a sophomore at Harris-Stowe State University, is studying biology on the pre-medicine track with the goal to one day become an anesthesiologist. He has a passion for fair and equal healthcare and the intersection of social responsibility and medicine. Ephraim is both a research assistant and a chemistry teaching assistant at Harris-Stowe State University. He is also involved in the university’s Bioinformatics Program, a member of the Biology Club, and the treasurer of the African Student Union. In his free time, he enjoys playing soccer, traveling, and actively participating in community service initiatives.

Kylee Crawford
Institution: Saint Louis University

Kylee, a freshman studying biology on the pre-medicine track at Saint Louis University, is driven by curiosity and a desire to make a difference. Drawn to research as a means of exploring the unknown and advancing medical knowledge, she plans to graduate in May 2027 and attend medical school, aspiring to become a neurologist. Active in her community, Kylee volunteers with organizations such as the American Medical Women’s Association and the Crossing Church, working with underserved populations to alleviate barriers to healthcare access and improve the quality of life for those in need. In her free time, she enjoys exploring the city looking for new coffee shops, and spending time with friends, family, and her dog.

Tiana Ford
Institution: University of Missouri—Kansas City

Tiana, a senior at the University of Missouri—Kansas City, will graduate in May 2024 with a bachelor’s degree in biology and chemistry. Her journey into medicine began with a maternal-fetal health research project, delving into the disparities faced by Black women and their newborns within the healthcare system. This experience ignited her passion for advocating for equitable healthcare access and inspired her to pursue a career in medicine. At UMKC, Tiana is the president of the Lambda Epsilon Chapter of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority, vice president of the National Pan-Hellenic Council, and vice president of the African American Student Union. Outside of her academic pursuits and leadership roles, Tiana is deeply committed to service work aimed at promoting equity and diversity. She has served as a diversity ambassador for the Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at UMKC, and also volunteers with initiatives such as the Black Women Get Fit Initiative and the Hope Center, providing health and wellness services to underserved communities and mentoring youth in marginalized areas. In her free time, she enjoys baking, painting, and traveling with friends and family.

Mikayla Gregory
Institution: Washington University in St. Louis

Mikayla, a sophomore at Washington University in St. Louis, is pursuing studies in computer science and mathematics on the pre-medicine track within the McKelvey School of Engineering. Aiming to graduate in December 2026, Mikayla aspires to attend medical school with the goal of becoming a pediatric gastroenterologist or anesthesiologist. Her involvement in the BESt Healthcare Institute further solidified her aspiration to become a physician, while also highlighting disparities in healthcare, particularly among Black mothers and African Americans. Mikayla is an Ervin Scholar and an active member of the National Society of Black Engineers at WashU. She is also a STRIVE mentor, tutoring students in math and science. Beyond her academic pursuits, she is an avid music fan and enjoys listening to hip-hop R&B, playing the viola, watching movies, cooking, volunteering, and spending quality time with friends and family.

Jazzmine Meekie
Institution: Harris-Stowe State University

Jazzmine is a junior at Harris-Stowe State University, studying biology with plans to graduate in the summer of 2025. She aspires to become a research veterinarian, specializing in diseases and host-pathogens in animals. Jazzmine works at the Harris-Stowe State University Greenhouse and is combining her love of plants with scientific research. She is currently researching intercropping plants and recently presented her findings at the 2024 Emerging Researchers National (ERN) Conference in STEM, where she was awarded second place in biological science for plant research. Eager to join the ASSURE Program, she looks forward to connecting with like-minded individuals from diverse backgrounds who share her passion for STEM, hoping to build lasting friendships and professional relationships. In her free time, Jazzmine enjoys working out at the gym, socializing with friends, playing video games, and attending music festivals.  

Allan Mora
Institution: Washington University in St. Louis

Allan is a sophomore at Washington University in St. Louis, studying genomics and computational biology, as well as sociology, and is expected to graduate in May 2026. His research interests are centered around cardiology, driven by personal family experiences and the desire to make a difference in the field. While his specific area of focus within cardiology is still evolving, he is eager to immerse himself in research opportunities to broaden his understanding of medicine and contribute meaningfully to the field. While at WashU, Allan has served as an assistant for the First-Year Summer Academic Program, a program that helps first-generation college students acclimate to their new environment. He is also a member of the WashU STEM Education Association; Taylor STARS, a program that supports students from first-generation and/or low-income backgrounds; and NOIR Collective, an affinity group for Black creatives at WashU. In his free time, Allan likes to watch movies, raise cattle, and spend time with his family and pets.

Elizabeth (Elsa) Mulat
Institution: Saint Louis University

Elsa is a junior at Saint Louis University (SLU) studying public health and Spanish. She is on the pre-medicine track with plans to graduate in May 2025 and attend medical school to become a surgeon. Elsa’s passion for research began on a trip to Ethiopia, where she had the opportunity to shadow a pathologist examining disease diagnoses. She was captivated by this unique blend of exploration and patient care—particularly its constant evolution and its potential to push the boundaries of medical science to enhance patient outcomes. During her college years, Elsa has worked in development and media relations at SLU Athletics, as an emergency room ambassador for SSM University Hospital, a home health assistant with Neoly Home Care, a grant writer for Saint Louis Job Resource, the meeting chair director for the Audre Lorde Scholars Program, and the co-founder of Poetic Us. Her time spent in the emergency room has broadened her perspective on the challenges faced by underserved communities. She hopes to help bridge the communication gap between patients and healthcare professionals, and wants to begin with research knowing it plays a crucial role in addressing health disparities and improving patient care. In her free time, she enjoys listening to podcasts, writing short stories, and playing her guitar.

Oluchi Onyegbula
Institution: University of Missouri—St. Louis

Oluchi is a junior studying psychology at the University of Missouri—St. Louis (UMSL). She moved to Missouri from Nigeria in 2021 and earned an Associate of Arts degree in general transfer studies from St. Louis Community College – Forest Park in May 2023. As a pre-med student, Oluchi is a patient care associate at Mercy Hospital St. Louis and serves as a research assistant at the Neurocognition of Emotion and Motivation Lab. She is president of the Able-Disable Partnership student organization, advocating for the interests of students with disabilities on campus, and secretary for the UMSL Pre-Med Society. Oluchi’s hope for the future is a career that merges her passions for patient care and research. She plans to pursue an MD/PhD program after graduation from UMSL in December 2025, with a focus on neuroscience and mental health. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with friends and family, reading, meditating, and exercising.

Reagan Taylor
Institution: University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

Reagan is a junior at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff with plans to pursue medical school upon graduation in May 2025. She is currently studying biology on the pre-medicine track and aspires to have a career in obstetric anesthesiology. Reagan’s first research experience was in 2023 with the Stead Scholars Program, where she collaborated with the Arkansas Department of Health’s zoonotic disease branch researching the Cache Valley Virus. Beyond her academic and research experiences, Reagan maintains a busy schedule. She is a resident assistant, a scholar of the Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) Academy, a mentor and volunteer at the Jefferson County Boys and Girls Club, and a member of the Biology Club and the Carolyn Blakely Honors Program. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with friends and family, reading the bible, shopping, and trying new foods.

On behalf of the Department of Anesthesiology, the ASSURE executive committee and the advisory board extend their heartfelt congratulations to the incoming fellows and express their sincere gratitude to all the excellent applicants.

The fellows will showcase their accomplishments and share their experiences during the end-of-program poster presentation on Friday, August 2, 2024.