collage of photos of SOAR students and mentors


Research shows that undergraduates benefit from multiple sources of mentoring. As a cornerstone of the SOAR program, we have three levels: faculty, near-peer, and peer mentoring.

Faculty from the University of Michigan serve as mentors for SOAR scholars through informal teaching and advising, and formal research mentorship assignments. SOAR faculty mentors support students on their educational journey to graduate school and provide SOAR scholars with a research experience related to HIV/AIDS and SGM populations for at least one academic year.

Meet our faculty mentors, graduate student mentors, and external research mentors below!

SOAR Faculty Mentors

A picture of K. Rivet Amico. K. Rivet Amico


Dr. Amico is an active contributor in the areas of HIV-prevention and treatment social-behavioral theory development, intervention implementation and evaluation and measurement.

A picture of Jade Burns. Jade Burns


Dr. Burns is a clinical expert on pediatric and community-based healthcare. Her research is centered on innovative approaches using community-engaged research and technology (e.g., social media, mobile apps, messaging) to improve healthcare and sexual health outcomes among adolescents at community health care centers.

A picture of David Cordova. David Cordova


Professor Córdova's research focuses on Latino health inequities, particularly as it relates to the prevention of substance use and HIV in adolescents.

A picture of Ashley Lacombe-Duncan Ashley Lacombe-Duncan


Professor Lacombe-Duncan’s major research focus centers on healthcare access and health equity, with a particular focus on healthcare access for people who experience multiple forms of intersecting oppressions.

A picture of Sarah Peitzmeier. Sarah Peitzmeier


Dr. Peitzmeier is a mixed-methods social epidemiologist focusing on gender-based violence and sexual health, particularly in marginalized populations such as LGBTQ communities and sex workers.

A picture of Rogério M. Pinto. Rogério M. Pinto


Professor Pinto's community-engaged research focuses on the impact of interprofessional collaboration on the delivery of evidence-based services (HIV and drug-use prevention and care) to marginalized racial/ethnic and sexual minorities in the United States and Brazil.

A picture of Craig Rodriguez-Seijas. Craig Rodriguez-Seijas


Dr. Rodriguez-Seijas’s research interests lie in (1) understanding the nature of psychopathology and (2) investigating the ways in which stigma, discrimination, and marginalization impact the manifestation, assessment, conceptualization, and treatment of psychopathology.

photo of Akshay Sharma Akshay Sharma


Trained as a physician and an infectious disease epidemiologist, Dr. Sharma’s research interests include designing and evaluating new approaches for increasing the frequency of HIV and STI testing among sexual and gender minorities in the United States, with a focus on telehealth and home self-testing.

Graduate Student Mentors

U-M doctoral students provide near-peer mentoring and advice about doctoral program selection and application, and are matched with SOAR scholars according to career interests. Graduate student mentors represent a variety of academic disciplines and receive training and support to develop their mentoring skills.

Name and Pronouns About
A picture of Kathryn Berringer Kathryn Berringer


Kathryn's dissertation project draws on her ethnographic research at an LGBTQ+ youth center in metropolitan Detroit, where she focuses on how social and medical service providers confront marginalization, enact care, and establish the validity of their practice.

A picture of Janae Best Janae Best


Janae Best (she/her) is a doctoral student at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, department of Health Behavior and Health Education. She aims to highlight the impact of race-based stress on the sexual health and mental health of Black Women while noting factors that have contributed to resistance and resilience.

A picture of Kelly Borton. Kelly Borton


Kelley Borton MPH RDN (she/hers) is a Doctoral Candidate and Registered Dietitian researching the role that the online body positivity movement may have in reducing disordered eating risk factors, as well as whether or not it can be a tool to reduce weight bias. She is also a practicing dietitian specializing in the treatment of eating disorders.

A picture of Laura Brotzman. Laura Brotzman


Laura Brotzman is a second year PhD student in the Department of Health Behavior & Health Education in the School of Public Health. Her research focuses on medical decision making, cancer screening guidelines, and patient and clinician perspectives and communication preferences.

A picture of Chelle Jones. Chelle Jones


Jones was born and raised in Chicago and lived in South Korea for eight years. In 2017, they were awarded a Fulbright Doctoral Research Grant and collected 86 interviews documenting the experiences of lesbian, bisexual and queer women and transgender migrants living in South Korea.

A picture of So’Phelia Morrow. So’Phelia Morrow


So’Phelia Morrow is originally from Flint, MI. She is a PhD candidate in the joint Social Work and Sociology program. Her research focuses on a range of topics rooted in understanding the social conditions and factors that contribute to racial and gender health disparities experienced by Black women.

External Research Mentor Network

HIV/AIDS researchers from more than 50 universities and institutions across North America are part of SOAR’s external mentoring network. They interact with SOAR scholars through information interviews, campus visits, and guest lectures.

Click the mentor's name to read their full bio!

Name and Pronouns About University or Institution
A picture of Jose A. Bauermeister. Jose A. Bauermeister


Young sexual, gender and racial/ethnic minority populations account for most new HIV/STI infections in the United States. Dr. Bauermeister uses interdisciplinary strategies to advance research and intervention methods aimed at decreasing sexuality-related disparities and improving health equity for young sexual and gender minority (SGM) populations.

University of Pennsylvania
A picture of Alida M. Bouris. Alida M. Bouris


Her research focuses on the relationship between social context and adolescent health, with a particular emphasis on understanding how parents and families can help prevent HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and unplanned pregnancies among marginalized youth aged 10-24 years old.

University of Chicago
A photo of Lisa Bowleg. Lisa Bowleg


Lisa Bowleg’s mixed methods research focuses on: (1) the effects of social-structural context, masculinity, and resilience on Black men’s sexual HIV risk and protective behaviors; and (2) intersectionality, stress, and resilience among Black LGB people.

She is also a leading scholar of the application of intersectionality to social and behavioral science research.

The George Washington University
A picture of Justin T. Brown. Justin T. Brown


Dr. Brown’s background mainly resides in the areas of program development and intervention evaluation. His collaborative research focuses on addressing health inequities among persons of color, LGBT, youth, and those populations at the intersection through asset-based approaches.

LaGuardia Community College, CUNY
A picture of Douglas Bruce. Douglas Bruce


Dr. Bruce's research investigates how social processes such as stigma, marginalization and migration function as social determinants of health behavior among sexual minority male youth. His work also focuses on the secondary prevention needs of young persons living with HIV/AIDS, and the role of cannabis in the lives of persons living with chronic disease.

DePaul University