MEET THE STUDENTS
Deenah McFadden (She/Her) is a Junior at Eckerd College, double majoring in Molecular Biology and Anthropology with a minor in Chemistry. She is passionate about medicine, healthcare accessibility, and issues relating to climate change. Deenah is also an ambassador for the Office of Inclusive Excellence, a board member of the Pre-Health Club, a Diversity Leader Scholar, and an Eastman Scholar. For her Eastman Program discovery plan, she wishes to use her leadership skills and culturally sensitive approach to address issues in accessibility to Western emergency medicine. When Deenah’s not in class, you’ll find her doing yoga, at community poetry, drinking tea, swimming, traveling, or playing with her dog, but when she’s home in Cleveland, OH, she spends her time with horses and her little sister!
Elianna Tenace (‘25) is a junior from Colorado Springs, Colorado. She’s an alum of Pikes Peak State College, having earned her Associate of Arts in May 2019. At Eckerd College, Elianna studies biochemistry and the humanities with a focus on philosophy and religion. Her discovery plan centers on examining the attitudes that surround aging and death. In that line, she is co-president of the Intergenerational Book Club; here, she intends to foster intergenerational connections between Eckerd students and ASPEC members (Academy of Senior Professionals at Eckerd College) via shared, written mediums. In her free time, Elianna likes to rewatch Mad Max: Fury Road and spend time with her loved ones.
Gabe Weikert (He/His) is a junior at Eckerd College majoring in Biology, with a minor in Chemistry. Originally from Columbus, Ohio, Gabe finds his passion in the biology/ecology of reptiles and amphibians. While at Eckerd, Gabe has been involved as the president of the Eckerd Herpetological Society and as a researcher with Dr. Goessling. His work with Dr. Goessling has largely revolved around the re-establishment of an imperiled population of gopher tortoises in southern Alabama. Gabe has also gotten experience interning in the American Museum of Natural History’s herpetological collection during his sophomore year. This experience inspired his discovery plan which aims to examine the relationship between natural history museums and modern colonization.
Emma Rodríguez (She/Her) is a Junior at Eckerd College obtaining a major in International Relations and Global Affairs with a minor in Spanish. She plans to pursue work in global health and development in Latin American countries, researching the politics of health. As an ambassador in the Office of Inclusive Excellence, a board member of the Pre-Health Club, and an involved member in Latinos Unidos, she is passionate about understanding the power relationships on the policy side of health and helping to educate and share her findings with the Eckerd Community. Outside of class, she enjoys taking care of those she loves, whether that be organizing Sunday morning breakfast for her roommates and neighbors, or writing letters to them with wax stamps, stickers, and dried flowers.
Lily Schwartz is a junior at Eckerd College with a double major in Political Science and Environmental Studies, and minoring in Arabic and Leadership Studies. She is a member of Eckerd College’s sailing team and a Resident Advisor. She is in the Peace Corps prep program and involved in SAAC on campus. Lily is from a small Lake Erie coastal town in Ohio, which gave her the opportunity to sail very affordably from a young age. Her Eastman project goal is to expand accessibility and exposure in the sport of sailing by working with community youth groups. She believes that sailing teaches fundamental life lessons and that everyone should have equal access to both sailing and our local natural resources. When not in class or studying, you can find Lily sailing or swimming in Tampa Bay.
Ava McLeod is a current senior at Eckerd College with a double major in Marine Science and French and a minor in Math. She was raised in Dallas, Texas where she enjoyed hobbies such as nature walking, singing, and acting. Since being at Eckerd, Ava has participated in many clubs and student organizations that have enabled her to improve her leadership skills, including being the first ever Culture Council Liaison, the President of ECOS, and now, an Eastman Scholar. For the Eastman Program, Ava's discovery plan focuses on climate gentrification in St. Petersburg and how we can either prevent it from happening in the first place or prevent it from progressing. In order to fulfill this project, she plans on collaborating with politicians and various organizations in St. Petersburg and studying how other cities and areas are addressing climate gentrification.
Andrew (He/Him) is a senior at Eckerd College majoring in Anthropology and Animal Studies, and a minor in Spanish. He has academic interests in assessing the relationship between disabled bodies, the built environment, and accessibility within higher education. He currently works as the Co-President of Eckerd’s Disability Advocacy Coalition and with ECOS as the Building and Grounds Liaison with hopes to make Eckerd’s campus more accessible for disabled students. In his free time, Andrew enjoys birdwatching, volunteering at Elmira’s Wildlife Sanctuary, and visiting coffee shops and museums around St. Pete!
Isobel Morton (she/her) is a senior Environmental Studies major. She previously served as the Grassroots Coordinator and Chapter Communication Coordinator for FL PIRG Students’ 100% Renewable Energy campaign where she advocated for the installation of solar panels across campus. She is now the Vice President of Generation Action at Eckerd. She is also a work-study employee for the Armacost Library. Her academic interests include advocating for environmental policy and social awareness, which will be embodied in her Eastman program work, advocating for sanitary products and menstrual education for all. Isobel intends on attending law school in Fall 2024.
Katya Tjahaja is an International student from Jakarta, Indonesia. She is currently studying Biology with minors in Creative Writing and Chemistry. In the future, she hopes to be working in the biomedical field, either as a practicing doctor or researcher of tropical diseases. Through the Eastman Program, Katya hopes the tackle issues of medical racism by incorporation of statistical data and interlacing personal accounts from both patients and practicing doctors. On campus, she is an active journalist for The Current, Student Coordinator on the Academic Honor Council, member of EC-ERT and research assistant for Professor Dobrin’s Honeybee Neurobiology Lab. Katya is excited to continue her academic journey at Eckerd and pace through challenges whilst accepting rigorous opportunities that come her way!
Kayla (she/her) is a senior Integrative Biology major at Eckerd College with a minor in Spanish. She is currently the Lead Inclusive Excellence Ambassador for the Office for Inclusive Excellence where she works to engage with collaborators on campus such as Campus Activities, Academic Affairs, Admissions, and Student Life to support campus stakeholders in accomplishing diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) goals. In the Eastman Leaders program, Kayla’s focus involves having courageous conversations about DEIB within predominately white institutions. She collaborates with the Assistant Director of Inclusive Excellence to engage with Diversity Leadership Scholars to recreate and redefine what leadership means for people of marginalized communities. Aside from class and the busyness of college life, Kayla enjoys drinking coffee at a local coffee shop, hiking, and hanging out with friends.