Cohort 1

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Ghilamichael Andemeskel

Ghilamichael Andemeskel is a Cellular/ Molecular Biology major. He lived in Ethiopia for 7 years before moving to Oakland, California. Ghilamichael is looking forward to having the opportunity to work in the field of his interest in a diverse community addressing social disparities. Ghilamichael dedicates a large part of his life to working with oppressed groups within our communities. He regards himself as an activist; he attends government meetings in addition to working with grassroots movements to make policy changes. 

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Juan Castillo

Juan Castillo is a Chemistry major who grew up in San Rafael, California. Juan is looking forward to getting exposure to different types of research, working with others, and learning new things in a research environment. His passion to give back through science and help others directly aligns with the goals of SF BUILD. 

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Patricia Castruita

Patricia Castruita is a Biology major with a concentration in Physiology. She has a strong interest in the Cell Molecular field. She is looking forward to her experience in the SF BUILD program. 

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Shane Diego Ernesto Colombo

Shane Diego Ernesto Colombo is a Psychology major with a minor in Dance. He is also working towards a certificate in Holistic Health Studies. Shane grew up in San Clemente, California. Shane can't wait to learn how to create a robust research protocol, including developing a better understanding of how to analyze research data. He looks forward to developing a relationship with his mentor, someone who can provide guidance on how to make the most out of his time in the program and at SF State. In the future, Shane hopes to teach psychology and work as a cognitive behavioral therapist. 

R.I.P. Shane.

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Maria Guadalupe Contreras

Maria Guadalupe Contreras is a Biology major with a concentration in Physiology. She spent most of her childhood in Mexico until she moved to San Francisco, California, at age nine. Maria looks forward to learning and expanding her understanding of science based on epidemiology, psychology, and physiology. She is also looking forward to understanding how to build a fundamental basis that can allow her to connect social justice, science, and communities. In the future, Maria wants to be a role model for those who are in disbelief of their own power to strive for success.

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Destinee Lanns

Destinee Lanns is a Biology major with a concentration in Physiology. She grew up in Southern California, and most recently lived in Eastvale, California, before coming to SF State. Destinee is grateful to be in the SF BUILD program, which she describes as a program that has faith in her and her success. 

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Joi Lee

Joi Lee is a Physiology major. She grew up in Southern Orange County, California. Joi is happy to be joining a community that shares the same enthusiasm as she does in regards to scientific growth and exploration. She is enthusiastic about the variation in research opportunities and looks forward to identifying which field of research she connects with best.

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Alejandra Lopez Macha

Alejandra Lopez Macha is a Cell and Molecular Biology major who grew up in San Francisco, California. She is excited to join a community of peers who share her passion for engaging in research to help our communities. She is looking forward to working in the different research labs and building a strong relationship with her mentor. Alejandra describes herself as a social butterfly who is passionate about science. 

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Daniel Mota

Daniel Mota is a Cell and Molecular Biology major and grew up in Montebello, California. Daniel looks forward to working with a diverse group of students and faculty and engaging in different types of research. 

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Cynthia Perez

Cynthia Perez is a Cell and Molecular Biology who grew up in Salinas, California. She is excited to spend a month learning about research at UC San Francisco in the Pre-Health Undergraduate Program (PUP).

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Natalie Warren

Natalie Warren is a Biology major with a concentration in Physiology. She grew up in Sacramento, California, and it was always her dream to live in San Francisco one day. Natalie is looking forward to gaining a deeper understanding of the biomedical research field and learning more about the ways we can influence underrepresented groups in science to enter STEM majors in college. While in the SF BUILD program, she would like to gain lab skills, network with colleagues, and discover what field of biology sparks her interest most.


  • Biographies are written by the scholars during their time at SF BUILD. 
  • Revisions were made to include the full name of the scholar in their bios.