STAFF

Laurie Meszaros Dearolf, PhD

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
[email protected]

Laurie Meszaros Dearolf works with program hosts,  corporate sponsors and Perry Initiative staff to provide quality programs to all of our locations. Laurie earned a BSEng in Biosystems and Agricultural engineering from University of Kentucky and a PhD in Bioengineering from University of Pittsburgh.  She began working for the Perry Initiative in 2013 after completing a postdoctoral fellowship at University of Pittsburgh where she studied heterotopic ossification (a really interesting orthopaedic problem where bone grows where it is not supposed to grow!).  Laurie is interested in informal science education and tissue engineering.

Hannah Heuschneider

PROGRAM COORDINATOR 
[email protected]

Hannah Heuschneider is the program coordinator for The Perry Initiative.  She works with all the weekly volunteers and program specialists to make sure all the equipment and the volunteers get to each Perry program! She also handles different logistical aspects of the programs in collaboration with program hosts. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Delaware. During undergrad, she worked with fellow Biomedical Engineers to develop an assistive seating device for infants with Osteogenesis Imperfecta, a brittle bone disorder responsible for frequent fractures and improper bone healing. Her interests include research and development of macro-level assistive medical devices.

Jackie Carlson

PROGRAM SPECIALIST

Jaclyn Carlson is a VMD-PhD student in Bioengineering at the University of Pennsylvania. She received her Bachelor of Science in Operations Research and Information Engineering and Master of Engineering in Biomedical Engineering from Cornell University. Currently, her research focuses on the effect of sex on tendon properties following injury. Prior to attending graduate school, Jaclyn worked in a lab at the University of California, San Francisco studying traumatic brain injury, and before that role, was employed by a life-sciences consulting firm. Jaclyn joined the Perry Initiative in the fall of 2019.

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Margo Donlin

PROGRAM SPECIALIST

Margo Donlin is a PhD student in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Delaware. She received her Bachelor's of Science in Engineering from Elizabethtown College, with dual concentrations in Mechanical and Electrical Engineering. Margo was also the goalkeeper for the field hockey team. Her current research focuses on developing adaptive functional electrical stimulation to use in combination with our adaptive treadmill to improve forward propulsion and walking speed in individuals who have had a stroke. She started volunteering with Perry in the winter/spring of 2020 and is thrilled to become a program specialist for 2021-2022.

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Mary Kate Evans

PROGRAM SPECIALIST
Mary Kate Evans is a PhD student in Bioengineering at the University of Pennsylvania. She received her undergraduate BS degree in Biomedical Engineering at California Polytechnic State University, where she also played Division I basketball. Her experiences as an athlete motivated her to pursue graduate school with the goal of finding solutions to improve healing for athletes post-injury. Currently, her research focuses on elucidating key components of tendon development, in order to inform future therapeutic approaches for treating tendon and ligament injuries.

Andria Farrens

PROGRAM SPECIALIST
Andria Farrens is a PhD student in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Delaware. She received her undergraduate BS degree in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Biomedical Engineering at the University of California, Davis. She took a year off between undergraduate and graduate school to work with kids and young adults with autism at the MIND Institute, teaching social skills.  Currently, her research focuses on understanding neuro-motor disfunction following stroke. She uses functional MRI  to image healthy and stroke patients brains while they perform motor tasks to understand how the brain functions differently following a stroke. Andria joined the Perry Initiative in spring 2017 and became a specialist in the fall of 2018.

Ashley Fung

PROGRAM SPECIALIST

Ashley Fung is a PhD student in Bioengineering at the University of Pennsylvania. She received her Bachelor of Science and Master of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering from Cornell University. Currently, her research focuses on the effects of pregnancy and lactation on the tendon insertion site (where tendon connects to bone) as well as the role of small matrix proteins in tendon healing . Ashley joined the Perry Initiative in the fall of 2019.

Sarah Garcon

Sarah Garcon

PROGRAM SPECIALIST

Sarah Garcon is a recent graduate of the University of Delaware with a Masters in Mechanical Engineering and a focus in Biomechanics. Her research focused on rehabilitation and assistive devices. She received her Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from New Jersey Institute of Technology. Sarah joined the Perry Initiative in the fall of 2019.

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Kelsey Neal

PROGRAM SPECIALIST

Kelsey Neal is a PhD student in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Delaware. She received he Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering at Colorado School of Mines, where she also played varsity soccer. Currently, her research focuses on joint health post ACL tear and reconstruction. She uses motion capture and MRI to asses how this injury effects the biomechanics of the joint and its biochemical components. Prior to attending graduate school Kelsey worked in the oil industry, at Disney, and at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Kelsey joined the Perry Initiative in fall 2017 and became a specialist that following spring. Passionate about encouraging young women to pursue careers in STEM fields she is a Women In Engineering steering committee member at UD and a founder of Girls in STEM, an outreach program for underserved communities in New Mexico.

Kayla Pariser

PROGRAM SPECIALIST

Kayla Pariser received her Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Dayton where she was also a member of the university athletic and concert bands. Currently she is a PhD Student in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Delaware. She is a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow and a University of Delaware Helwig Mechanical Engineering Fellow.  Her research, in computational biomechanics, involves using musculoskeletal models and simulations to predict, on a patient-specific basis, parameters for rehabilitation that will most effectively improve locomotion in stroke survivors.   Kayla joined the Perry Initiative when she started graduate school at UD in the fall of 2018 and became a program specialist in the fall of 2019.

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Sydney Przywara

PROGRAM SPECIALIST

Sydney Przywara is a student in Mechanical Engineering at University of Delaware, currently pursuing her bachelors with a minor in Biomechanics. She has worked for the Engineering Department as a teaching assistant since her sophomore year, and is currently the Head TA of the student Wood-shop. Her research in the Human Robotics and Control Lab is focused upon designing a treadmill which alters walking surface stiffness in order to assist patients who have suffered a stroke. Sydney began volunteering with Perry Initiative in the Spring of 2019, and became a specialist in Fall of 2021.

Hannah Zlotnick

PROGRAM SPECIALIST

Hannah Zlotnick is a PhD student in Bioengineering at the University of Pennsylvania. She received her undergraduate BS degree in Biological Engineering with a minor in Mechanical Engineering at MIT, where she also played varsity soccer. She spent the summer before starting her PhD working as a Residential Tutor for the Women’s Technology Program at MIT leading hands-on engineering lessons for high school girls. Currently, her research focuses on engineering heterogeneous tissue interfaces. This work combines computational, experimental, and in vivo testing to improve the clinical gold standards of articular cartilage repair. Hannah joined the Perry Initiative in 2019.