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Senior Prize

Established in 2007 to complement the Gerald and Sally DeNardo Lectureship, this prize is given by the Dean to recognize outstanding science research accomplishment by a graduating senior who reflects the distinctive characteristics of a Jesuit education and is pursuing a career in the health sciences.

2022 Gerald and Sally DeNardo Senior Prize for Science Research

Brianna Mireku

Brianna Mireku

Psychology major, Public Health and Spanish minors
Kirsten Read, Psychology, Faculty Mentor

Brianna has worked on research with Professor Kirsten Read for three years, proving herself to be a collaborative and indispensable team leader in the “Read Lab," focusing on undergraduate-powered child development research. Brianna has been steadfast through the many challenges of the pandemic, working on two major projects over the last three years, with a clear-eyed plan for continued growth and contribution to the health sciences. She began contributing to the lab with data analysis and interpretation and co-authored a publication in Frontiers of Psychological Science last year on the emotional impacts on young adults of reading with young children. She worked on that project entirely remotely with her team throughout all the challenges of COVID.

Before that project even wrapped up, she started the project she is currently leading, on children’s screen-mediated learning and engagement. This project is highly relevant to the changes in children’s learning environments that occurred during the pandemic and was presented at the Western Psychology Association Annual Conference earlier this month. Remarkably, Brianna also found time in 2021, while taking SCU classes remotely from southern California, to assist Dr. Bhushan Desai at UCLA with research on mammogram imaging and lung cancer screening!

She also participated in the Markkula Center's Health Care Ethics Internship program, and will pursue a career as a physician in the field of obstetrics, with a passion to help correct racial disparities in healthcare. Following graduation, Brianna will begin a one-year Pre-Medical Career Changers Post-Bac program at UCLA, to be ready to apply to medical school next year.