The Health Science Scholars (HSS) Council aims to enhance the HSS student experience. Our four committees host social events, a mentorship program, Friday Lunch speakers, the Distinguished Lecture Series, and volunteer opportunities. We help connect HSS members to clinical and non-clinical activities, health professionals, and our alumni network to guide our students through their pre-health years in college. It is HSS Council’s goal to create a welcoming, supportive, and educational environment for our members. Elected officers are chosen by each class to represent their interests on our Council. The 2023-2024 Chair is Zoe Zhang.
Hi! My name is Chandni Bhagtaney, and I am a junior Public Health major on the pre-med track. Within HSS Council, I work on the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee. Outside of that, I am a part of the Longhorn SHARE Project, NAMI On Campus at UT, and PIH Engage. I also mentor the FRI Aptamer Stream and dance on Texas Dhoom. My hobbies include reading, cooking, and exploring Trader Joe’s!
My name is Jordan Cheek, and I am a third year biochemistry major from The Woodlands, Texas, and I serve on the Special Projects Committee. I am also pursuing a Spanish for the Medical Professionals certificate. Outside of HSS, I am involved in Alpha Phi Sigma, a pre-health organization, Black Women's Wellness Organization, and a member of the Virtual Drug Screening FRI where we study virtual libraries of drug-like molecules to identify new drugs. In my free time, I like listening to Harry Styles, and playing tennis and volleyball with friends at Zilker!
Hey there! I’m Elena and I’m a rising sophomore from Houston Texas!! I am a biology major on the pre med track and hope to specialize in some sort of internal medicine specialty. I serve on the Social Council for HSS. I am a part of the Aptamer lab as a part of the Freshman Research Initiative and am working over the summer on my independent project. I am also a member of Dell Medical School Pre-Health Diversity Scholars which is a great way I meet peers outside of HSS. In my free time my friends say I’m a grandma - I love to knit, crochet, and needlepoint. I also love watching TV, with Succession and Formula One being my current watches. I am also a big music lover!! I’m into everything but right now mostly Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Mac Demarco, Father John Misty, and David Bowie!!
Hey everyone! My name is Juslyn and I’m a second year Public Health major with a certificate in Social Inequality, Health, and Policy. In HSS, I’m part of the Special Projects Committee. Outside of HSS, I’m involved in Delta Epsilon Mu (pre-health fraternity), Student Health Advisory Committee, the Materials in Color FRI stream, Vice President of University Yoga Club, and I’m a Teaching Assistant for the OAS UGS. I also do research in a health and rights lab, intern at a public policy interest group, work as an EMT with American Medical Response, and volunteer with Ascension Seton. In my free time, I love being outdoors and exploring Austin, through hiking or rock climbing, going to concerts, finding swimming spots, or exploring coffee shops and food trucks!
Hi everyone! My name is Carolyn Herman, and I am a second year neuroscience major from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. In HSS, I am a part of the Campus Communication Committee and captain of the HSS intramural volleyball team HSS Ballerz. Outside of HSS, I am a member of the student organizations Women in Medicine, Nu Rho Psi, Texas Ballet, and Dance Action, and I am a member of the FRI stream BioProspecting, which conducts wet-lab research to find useful products and compounds in nature. I love to serve the Austin community through volunteering at Dell Children’s Medical Center, Micah 6 of Austin, and Reading Aces. I am also so excited to be an RA for the 2023-2024 school year at Scottish Rite Dormitory. In my free time, I like to explore restaurants around Austin, kayak on Lady Bird Lake, read, and listen to music!
Hello! My name is Mark, and I am an incoming senior majoring in Biochemistry with minors in Sociology and Informatics. At UT, I am the vice president for StudentsCare, a hospital and senior home volunteer organization, and am involved in Texas 4000, Longhorn EMS, and the Student Health Advisory Committee. I also work in cancer genomics research under the Yi Lab at Dell Medical School and work as an EMT with American Medical Response. I like to run at Clark Field, swim at the Greg Gym outdoor pool, and play video games like Valorant and Minecraft in my free time. Simple things get me through each day like a walk through Target or a quick nap in front of the Tower on a nice day.
Hi! My name is Yuni Lee, and I’m a second-year Neuroscience student on the pre-medical track. I serve on the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee within HSS Council. Outside of HSS, I enjoy working with the Austin community as a part of the Garza Independence High School tutoring program, Greenleaf Neurodiversity Community Center, and StudentsCare–a non-profit organization that supports hospitalized children and isolated seniors. I’m also a member of Alpha Phi Sigma (pre-health honor society), Healing with Harmonies, and the Biodiversity Discovery FRI stream. In my free time, I love jogging, playing piano, and listening to all kinds of music!
Hey guys! My name is Arishia and i’m from the Dallas area! I am a second year Biology major with a healthcare innovation and reform minor. In HSS council I am a part of the Special Projects Committee. Outside of HSS, Im involved in SELL (Social Entrepreneurship Learning Lab), serving as the social officer of University Yoga Club, researching the Plant Pathways FRI stream, pursuing an EMT certification, volunteering in my local hospital, an Ascension Seton Volunteer during the school year, and currently work at a brunch cafe! In my free time I love exploring best overpriced coffee and nature in Austin, painting CDs, going to concerts, and taking on long walks!
Hey y’all! My name is Inaya Momin, and I’m a 2nd year public health major pursuing a certificate in
Spanish for Medical Professions. Within HSS council, I’m on the Campus Communications Committee (CCC). Outside of HSS, I volunteer with Hearts for the Homeless, Crisis Text Line, Miracle Messages, and Ascension Seton. I’m also involved with the Bioactive Molecules FRI stream, research with the Center for Health Communications, the Student Health Advisory Committee (SHAC), and I work as a student assistant at the Longhorn Wellness Center (LWC). Apart from that, I love to read, draw, crochet, and listen to music!
ANDREA MONTENEGRO POLANCO
Hey! My name is Andrea
Montenegro Polanco, and I am a second-year pre-med Biology major pursuing a certificate in Spanish for Medical Professions. Within HSS Council, I serve on the Volunteering Committee, which works to provide students with enriching service opportunities around Austin. On campus I am a part of the American Medical Student Association, Students Expanding Austin Literacy (SEAL), and UT Latin Dance. I also work as a Vision Therapist at the Optometry for Vision Therapy and as an English tutor for international students. I am a part of the Biobricks FRI stream and received a fellowship from them to continue my independent research. In my free time, I love going on hikes, attending concerts, and reading.
Hi! My name is Veena Namboodiri and I’m a second year Neuroscience major with a minor in Business healthcare reform and innovation. Within HSS I serve on council with the campus communications committee. Outside of HSS, I am very involved with leadership in Texas THON, Seva Charities, and the University Yoga Club. On the weekends I volunteer with UT Hearts for Homeless and fundraise for Dell Children’s Medical Center with my friends in Texas THON. Over the last semester I have worked within the BioActive Molecules FRI stream to gain a stronger understanding of organic chemistry in a lab setting. Outside of school I love to cook/bake, crochet, try new food spots in Austin, and watch reality TV!
Hi y’all! My name is Zinne and I am a third year Biochemistry and Public Health double major with a Pre-Health Professionals certification. Within HSS, I am a part of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee. Outside of HSS, I am involved with the Student Health Advisory Committee and Obsidian Magazine. I also volunteer with Kind Clinic, Lirios Pediatric Clinic, and the Center for Resiliency at Dell Children's Hospital. I work as a patient care technician and a behavior interventionist for children on the autism spectrum. In my free time, I enjoy
trying new restaurants, reading booktok recommendations, and becoming alarmingly invested in TV dramas.
Hi! My name is Adviti Pilla and I am a sophomore Neuroscience major with a minor in Business Healthcare Reform & Innovation and Social Behavioral Sciences. Within HSS council, I serve on the Social Committee. Outside of HSS, I am a part of the American Student Medical Association and Women in Medicine. I currently work as a PCT at a children’s hospital and tutor children on the autism spectrum. I am also involved in the Aptamer FRI lab where I am working on my independent project about Alzheimer’s. In my free time, I love reading, going to concerts, and being outdoors by going swimming or hiking!
Hello! My name is Gabriella Salazar, and I am a third-year Biology major with a Healthcare Reform and Innovation business minor. Within the Health Science Scholars Council, I serve as a member of the Social Committee. I love planning HSS events and cultivating a strong sense of community among our members!
Outside of HSS, I am a member of the College Volunteer Leadership Program at Dell Seton, and I am a research assistant through the Dell Med Health Leadership Apprentice Program. In addition, I volunteer for UT Farmstand, Project Sunshine, and H2O. In my downtime, I enjoy going on walks/hikes and listening to music! I also love exploring the city and spending time with my friends!
Hi y’all! My name is Rehana Shaik and I am a senior Biochemistry major with a Health Communications minor from Austin, TX. On HSS council, I serve on the Volunteer Committee (VolCom) which provides our members with volunteer opportunities while addressing the needs of the Austin community. Outside of HSS, I am a part of the Student Health Advisory Committee which works with the University Health Services to advocate for student health. I also work as an EMT for American Medical Response and volunteer with local elementary students as a reading buddy through the organization Reading Aces. For my thesis, I will be working in the Finnell Lab to explore the genetic causes of neural tube birth defects like spina bifida. In my free time, I love hiking, playing
piano, skating, drinking matcha, reading outdoors, and trying out new recipes!
Hello! My name is Zoe Zhang, and I am a fourth-year Biology major with a Health Communications minor and Spanish for Medical Professions certificate from Houston, TX. I am a part of the Social Committee within HSS Council. Outside of HSS, I am really involved in UT Toastmasters, and I currently serve as the president of the organization. I also enjoy working with kids, as I volunteer with Students Expanding Austin Literacy and Project Sunshine. In terms of research, I’m a peer mentor for the Biobricks FRI stream as well as an undergraduate research assistant in the Zhang lab. My hobbies include cooking/baking, watching anime, and playing games, from social deduction to video games, with my friends.