Thank you for changing the lives that change the world! #UCIGivingDay is April 28, 2021. As you make your Giving Day 2021 plans, we encourage you to consider the CNLM in your contributions.


We asked last year's recipients to share how the awards impacted their journey. Tune in to our social media to hear their stories!

Stories from the recipients

Sarah Kark presenting current neuroscience research

Sarah Kark 

(Advisor: Dr. Michael Yassa)
"Revealing untold stories from the healthy and diseased brain"

Last year, I received the Roger W. Russell Award, which helped support my participation in two
major international conferences: The Cognitive Neuroscience Society and the Society for
Neuroscience Global Connectome meeting.

Thanks to this generous award, I was able to showcase my research on brain mechanisms
underlying enduring maternal grief.

I was also able to join networking opportunities with scientists from around the globe, and their
feedback and thoughtful discussions immediately impacted my methodological approaches
used in a paper recently accepted for publication.

The generosity of Dr. Russell’s family continues to impact my career immensely. Moreover, Dr.
Russell’s legacy continues to guide my professional development as I work daily to be an
exacting and collegial scholar.

Yasmine Sherafat Headshot

Yasmine Sherafat
(Advisor: Dr. Christie Fowler)
"Nicotine addiction: the missing lynx"

I was honored to receive Dr. Harwick's Advanced Graduate Student Award in 2020, which allowed me to focus on my dissertation research. I am also grateful to the CNLM  for the networking opportunities which led me to finding a great postdoctoral position, bringing me one step closer to achieving my dreams of becoming a professor. Thank you Dr. Harwick and the CNLM for your continuous support of young scientists!

Rachael Hokenson presenting current neuroscience research

Rachael Elizabeth Hokenson
(Advisor: Dr. Tallie Z. Baram)
"Why does stress affect memory differently in women and men?"

I was awarded the Roger Russell Award in 2020, which helped support my application to the 2021 Organization for the Study of Sex Differences (OSSD) Conference. At this conference I'll be presenting my work on sex and estrous cycle effects of stress on memory. A huge thank you to the contributors to the Roger Russell award and CNLM community for supporting my development as a researcher.

Mitchell Farrell Headshot

Mitchell Farrell
(Advisor: Dr. Stephen Mahler)
"Rewiring the opioid addicted brain"

I received the Renée Harwick Advanced Graduate Student Award in 2020, which enabled me to attend online conferences where I networked with faculty regarding a future postdoctoral position. I’m deeply honored to have received this award and wanted to thank Dr. Harwick for her continued support of the Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory.

Taylor Nakayama Headshot

Taylor Nakayama

(Advisor: Dr. Sunil Gandhi)
"Turning back the clock on our brain's plasticity"

I’m so grateful to have been awarded the 2020 John W. Haycock Memorial Graduate Student Travel Award. Amidst the global pause on travel this past year, I devoted my time instead to mentoring young scientists and virtual scientific outreach. While I’m certainly looking forward to attending conferences in person again, this time of investment has proven immeasurably rewarding

Sophia Levis Headshot

Sophia Levis
(Advisors: Dr. Tallie Z. Baram/Dr. Stephen Mahler)
"Effects of early life adversity on opioid addiction vulnerability"

I was honored to receive the Jared M. Roberts Memorial Graduate Student Award in 2020, which will allow me to attend a conference to share my work into the effects early life adversity on opioid addiction. I am deeply grateful to Jared's family and humbled to be a part of his legacy through the UCI CNLM.