GMH@Harvard Student Research Assistants

The GMH@Harvard Student RA Program is based upon a cooperative three-party relationship between GlobalMentalHealth@Harvard, Harvard faculty supervisors, and the Student RAs. GMH@Harvard leadership and our student RAs are grateful to The Friends of Mewar Foundation for the generous gift which is being used to financially support these student research assistants in their work.

Focusing on law, sociology, culture, gender, trauma, public health – and more – our first cohort of graduate and undergraduate students truly is truly representative of the cross-disciplinary nature of the GMH@Harvard Initiative! Read about these incredible students and their work below.

Benjamin A. Barsky is a lawyer and Ph.D. student in health policy at Harvard University. He is also Legal Research Fellow at the Scattergood Program for Applied Ethics of Behavioral Health Care at the University of Pennsylvania. Ben researches in the areas of health law and justice, mental health policy, and disability rights. Before pursuing his doctoral studies, Ben clerked for a federal judge in Memphis, Tennessee, and occupied various positions in law and mental health policy. During his time as a GMH@Harvard Student Research Assistant Ben will be working with Professor Michael Ashley Stein, co-founder and Executive Director of the Harvard Law School Project on Disability, and GMH@Harvard Steering Committee Member.

Mari Sanchez is a Doctoral Student in Sociology. She is broadly interested in the intersection of culture and inequality, with a focus on how cultural narratives shape how we make sense of inequality and potential routes to address it. In addition to her work on how cultural tools shape experiences of resilience, Mari is also interested in how cultural narratives can shape perceptions of racial inequality. In other projects, she explores the diffusion of the category “people of color” (POC or also BIPOC), how the meanings of this category are contested and enacted, and what opportunities and challenges it creates for interethnic solidarity and collective mobilization. Before graduate school, Mari worked 9 years in the advertising world where she specialized in understanding how culture and identity shape consumption. While working, Mari spearheaded a study of the Latinos who voted for Trump and the role their perceived status played in their identity formation and political views. She graduated with highest honors from the University of Notre Dame. During her time as a GMH@Harvard Student Research Assistant Mari will be working with Professor Michele Lamont, Professor of Sociology and of African and African American Studies and the Robert I. Goldman Professor of European Studies at Harvard University, and GMH@Harvard Advisory Group member.

Johnathan Cook is a recent graduate from Harvard College and is currently pursuing a Masters in Education Policy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He has experience working in various fields including academia, education, international relations, faith and interfaith, and youth empowerment. Johnathan is excited to be working with Professor Michele Lamont in her research on contemporary challenges facing American society, many of which result in widespread mental health concerns.

Ariel Kim is a sophomore at Harvard College interested in the intersection between mental health, global health and health policy, and neuroscience. As part of the GlobalMentalHealth@Harvard Student Research Assistant program, she will be working with Prof. Karestan Koenen and Dr. Kristina Korte on a range of projects related to trauma and mental health treatment. She has worked in Prof. Koenen’s lab since the beginning of the summer, assisting with NeuroGAP and the Nurses’ Health Study. 

Nayleth Lopez-Lopez (she/her) is a junior at Harvard College concentrating in Neuroscience on the Mind, Brain, Behavior Track with a secondary in Global Health and Health Policy. She is from Hyde Park, Massachusetts and the proud daughter of Venezuelan parents. On-campus, she is the president of Fuerza Latina, the college’s largest Latinx social organization, a Diversity Peer Educator at the Harvard Foundation for Intercultural and Race Relations, Vice President of the Law and Nonprofits branch of Latinxs in Finance and Technology, and an incoming Indigo Peer Counselor. As a research assistant through the GlobalMentalHealth@Harvard initiative, Nayleth is excited to work with Dr. Elizabeth Levey and Dr. Bizu Gelaye as her mentors. She looks forward to learning from and supporting her mentors in their mission as well as connecting with members of the global mental health community. In the future, she hopes to attend law school to expand on work at the intersection of the law and the brain, and advocate for the de-stigmatization of mental health.