Meet the Team!



Veronica is the first person in her family to pursue higher education and received her Bachelor’s degree from California State University, San Bernardino. As a Ph.D. student at the University of Michigan, Veronica felt vulnerable and isolated being the only woman of color in her lab. This isolation is what drove her to start Science in Color with her husband and a group of friends. She sits on several committees focused on diversity and is an NSF GRFP Scholar. However, she claims her biggest accomplishment so far is raising her two daughters.




Alex Varela is a native of California’s Inland Empire, where he was born and raised. Currently residing in Michigan, he is pursuing a doctoral degree in Pharmacology at Wayne State University in Detroit, where he studies proteases in cancer. Of Central American descent, Alex is a first generation student, obtaining his Bachelor’s degree in Psychology at California State University, San Bernardino. A big believer in science communication and education, Alex strives to make the scientific world accessible to people from all walks of life, especially those traditionally left out.




Jonte Jones is a first-generation college student with a bachelor’s in psychology in Ohio State and a master’s in biopsychology from the University of Michigan.  He currently resides in Michigan where he works as a research lab technician and is a co-founder of the outreach organization Mentoring Youth and Early Learners in Neuroscience (MYELIN).  Jonte hopes to pursue work where he can uplift, celebrate, and support those in the scientific community who have traditionally not been represented.




Nadia received her bachelor’s degree in Biology with a concentration in Zoology at UNC Pembroke. Currently, she is working on her PhD in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology at the University of Michigan. She wouldn’t be where she is without outreach programs, like Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement (RISE), Post-Baccalaureate Research Education Program (PREP) and Summer Program in Neuroscience, Excellence, and Success (SPINES), to help guide her journey.




After growing up in the heart of Georgia, Tony moved to Atlanta to complete his Bachelor’s degree in biology at Morehouse College. He is now a doctoral candidate at the University of Michigan were his research interests include understanding how our brain changes as result of interactions between our external environment with our internal self. As one of increasing few, he seeks to help alleviate disparities especially when it comes to health and minority representation in STEM. During his mental health breaks, he enjoys going to concerts and traveling, all in the name of mental health.



Jess holds a BS in biomedical engineering from the University of Southern California and is currently working toward her Ph.D. in neuroscience at the University of Michigan. She is researching the design of an implant and gene therapy to treat spinal cord injury and paralysis. She is an NSF GRFP scholar with a passion for science communication. As a hardcore nerd, she lives and breathes science and is always up for a good debate.