About Us

Director & Coordinator

Dr. Sarah Shoemaker

As Director of the Mentorship and Research program, Dr. Sarah Shoemaker supports research and innovation for NC School of Science and Mathematics (NCSSM) high school students by working with NCSSM faculty and cultivating relationships with mentors at local universities and business/industry partners in the Triangle. She has developed the Summer Research & Innovation Program, expanded the school-year Mentorship program, and developed curriculum to accomplish the learning goals of the programs. She serves as a strong support for the faculty and for our mentors from the community that work together to engage students as thinkers/makers/doers in an experience that requires the application of knowledge and skills to address challenges in the world beyond the classroom.

Dr. Shoemaker is best defined by her passion for facilitating the success of others and promoting opportunities for the growth and development of young researchers and learners. Prior to coming to NCSSM, Dr. Shoemaker earned her Masters in Zoology and her PhD in Neuroscience at Case Western Research University and continued studying axon regeneration as a postdoctorate fellow at University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Her training as a scientist and teacher is ideal for implementing programs to create an environment that promotes both students’ understanding and their effective communication of research both in and outside the classroom.

Ms. Mary Slawter

As Travel Coordinator, Mary is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a degree in Political Science. She joined NCSSM in 2017 as the Coordinator for the Mentorship & Research office. When she isn't at NCSSM, she stays busy with her three children and border collie. She welcomes you to stop by the Mentorship office any time to say hello!

Mentorship Instructors

Dr. Letitia Hubbard

Dr. Letitia Hubbard is a native of Huntsville, Alabama (home of NASA and the Space and Rocket Center!). As a member of the engineering and research mentorship faculty at NCSSM for four years, Dr. Hubbard has developed and taught a variety of courses, both residential and online, including Honors Biomedical Engineering Online, a Mini-Term course called a Survey of Biomedical Engineering, and the cross-disciplinary course Biomechanics of Injury. Through her affiliation with the Mentorship Program, she is also actively engaged in developing curriculum to prepare students for success in research. Letitia is an active participant with summer outreach programs to underrepresented minority groups, and currently serves as director of the NCSSM Step-up-to-STEM summer program. She also serves as Communications Coordinator for her department, faculty advisor for the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) Jr. Club, and is a member of the NCSSM Scholarship Committee. In 2020, Letitia was awarded a NC Board of Governor's award for Service to Students and was also named a National Winner in the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow competition. Prior to coming to NCSSM, Letitia served as a research associate in the Biomedical Engineering department at Duke University where she received her PhD. Letitia also earned a B.S. in Physics from Spelman College and a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology. Dr. Hubbard loves singing, traveling (road trips!), graphic design, and hanging out with her family, especially her 3-year son.

Dr. Josh Fuchs

Dr. Josh Fuchs is an Instructor of Mentorship and Research. Prior to NCSSM, he was an Assistant Professor of Physics at Texas Lutheran University. He earned his B.S. in Physics from Rhodes College and his M.S. and Ph.D. in Physics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Josh is passionate about creating active classrooms to engage all students. He has served on the board of the Texas Section of the American Association of Physics Teachers and as a Faculty Coordinator for the Partnership for the Integration of Computation into Undergraduate Physics. Outside work, Josh enjoys travelling and exploring new places, playing the piano, and pondering the intersection of science and religion.

Mentorship Research Coaches

Ms. Kim Bourne

Kim Bourne is a PhD candidate at Duke University in the Civil and Environmental Engineering program. In her research, she hopes to inform environmental policy through statistical models that provide links between human activities, water quality, and ecosystem services. She is passionate about both formal and informal STEM education. As an alumni of NCSSM and an educator, she is excited to work with the mentorship program and students attending NCSSM.

Dr. Ganga Bey

Dr. Bey is a graduate of Princeton University with a B.A. in Anthropology and African-American Studies, the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai with an M.P.H. focusing on health promotion and disease prevention, and the University of Massachusetts Medical School with a Ph.D. in Epidemiology. She is currently a postdoctoral research fellow holding dual appointments in the Department of Epidemiology and the Carolina Population Center at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. Her research focuses on characterizing the social causes of racial and gender inequities in chronic disease, with particular attention to the relationships of social group identity, social environments, and biological markers of aging. Ultimately, she hopes to have a tenured research career focused on developing interventions that promote equity in social contexts as well as resilience against the harmful effects of adverse social conditions on health and longevity.

Dr. Megan Cooke

Megan received her PhD in Psychiatric, Behavioral, and Statistical Genetics from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2017. She worked as a postdoc in the Laboratory of NeuroGenetics from 2017 to 2019 where she learned how to (and how not to) analyze neuroimaging data. She is now a Research Fellow in the Center for Addiction Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Mr. Bobby Warren

Mr. Bobby Warren is originally from Winnabow North Carolina and attended South Brunswick high school from 2007 to 2011. Bobby then graduated from the University of North Carolina in 2015 with degrees in biology and music performance and again in 2018 with a Master’s in biomedical and health informatics while working as a research assistant at Duke University. He currently serves as microbiologist and clinical research coordinator for the Duke Center for Antimicrobial Stewardship and Infection Prevention and has certifications in business, leadership and healthcare epidemiology. His research is focused on disinfection and sterilization of hospital environments and equipment to prevent the spread of disease, particularly C. difficile. Bobby’s ultimate goal is to eliminate healthcare-associated infections by engineering effective and consistent disinfection strategies. Outside of science Bobby continues to play euphonium in a semi-professional ensemble called the Triangle Brass Band, is an avid video game enthusiast and loves fishing. He currently lives in Durham with his wife and middle school sweetheart, Julia, and his two dogs, Rio and Bear, and two cats, Lucy and Penny.

Data Management Specialist

Taylor Nguyen, '20

Taylor Nguyen is a 2020 graduate of the North Carolina School of Science and Math and is now a junior at Duke University pursuing neuroscience and biology with a concentration in molecular and cellular biology. She did summer research with the mentorship program with the UNC Department of Genetics and Molecular Biology in Bob Duronio's lab studying the impact of histone regulation on high-grade pediatric glioma. Taylor is currently working in the Floyd Lab at Duke University studying the effects of BRD4/MYC on hypertranscription in pediatric medulloblastoma. Outside of the sciences, Taylor enjoys crochet and appreciating cats (both up close and from afar).

Program Assistants

Anushka Deshmukh, '20

Anushka is a 2020 graduate from NCSSM, where she participated in in mentorship program, conducting research in biomaterials and tissue engineering at Duke University. She is now in college studying biomedical engineering through the joint department between UNC and NC State. She is currently researching biomimetic vascular platforms to be used for testing treatments for Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. Outside of research, Anushka enjoys gardening, crocheting, and baking sourdough bread.

Esha Shah, '22

Esha Shah graduated in 2022 and was a part of the Mentorship 3 program where they conducted research at UNC Chapel Hill on HIV-1 vaccine studies. They have presented several projects at the North Carolina Science and Engineering Fair and the State of North Carolina Undergraduate Research and Creativity Symposium. Esha will be attending East Carolina University and are a part of the Honors College and Early Assurance in Medicine Programs. In their free time, Esha enjoys spending time with their family and friends, swimming, and reading.

Lauren Subramaniam, '21

Lauren is a 2021 NCSSM graduate, during which she conducted research as a M3 student on the effects of releasing the Wolbachia bacteria in Ae. aegypti mosquitoes, under Dr. Jennifer Baltzegar at NC State University. She currently is a sophomore attending Columbia University, hoping to study Environmental Biology on the Ecology and Evolution track. Lauren is passionate about disease ecology and entomology. She joined the Duvall lab at Columbia in 2021 as a work-study student and lab assistant and currently assists in experiments concerning mosquito behavioral and reproductive patterns. She is originally from Asheville, NC, and enjoys hiking and crocheting in her free time.

Mentorship & Research Leaders

Naveen Ramasamy, '23

Naveen is in the Research in Computational Science program at Science & Math, and is currently working on understanding how various blood flow parameters contribute to atherogenesis. Outside of academics, he loves playing sports like soccer and table tennis.

Sophia Sang, '23

Sophia is part of the Research in the Humanities and the Mentorship program at NCSSM, where she is researching ways to make psychology research more accessible. In her free time, Sophia enjoys reading, knitting, and rollerskating.

Alina Yang '23

Alina is one of your Mentorship and Research Leaders this year. She loves math and physics, and she explores these interests in the Research in Physics program, where she investigates how to modify the behavior of a molecular motor. Non-academically, she enjoys playing tennis, going on runs, baking, reading, and drawing.