Graduate Research Students

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Dr. Mahmoud Aldyab, the founder and head position for Mobility Solutions, is a physician from Syria that is currently a visiting scholar at the Global Institute for Health and Human Rights. He is a recipient of the Van Heuven Goedhart-Penning Award from a Dutch Human Rights Organization, who gives this award bi-annually to “extraordinary people who are very committed to refugees and displaced persons.” Dr. Mahmoud has experience working for the Physicians for Human Rights, Qatar Red Crescent, and Unified Medical Syrian Bureau.


Krista Bennett is a research assistant at the Global Institute for Health and Human Rights. Her focus while at the GIHHR has been on health care access for street gang members. She also developed Project Eridu: Increasing Access to Self-Advocacy Among ESL Inmates, a project that translates legal memos for prisoners into their preferred language. Currently, she is a non-traditional student, a mother of two children (one with a genetic disorder that causes autistic-like symptoms), a wife, and a volunteer for nonprofit organizations. She will graduate in May of 2017 and continue her education in Columbia University’s School of Social Work. She hopes to work on as a micro level social worker within the New York State prison system. As a corrections social worker, she wants to assist clients to realize their strengths and build upon their resiliency.

Lindsey Hageman is a candidate for a master’s degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. She started working at the GIHHR in January 2017 as an instructor for the Intensive English Language Program for Displaced Syrian Medical Students. And since her time as an instructor, she has been working on curriculum materials for the program.

Samantha Karmel holds a Masters from Teachers College, Columbia University and is currently working towards TESOL certification by taking graduate courses at University at Albany. She has been an instructor for the Intensive English Language Program for Displaced Syrian Medical Students at GIHHR since August, 2017. In addition to teaching, Samantha's experience includes leading a non-profit cultural exchange program in New York City and acting as the Associate Director of Human Resources for a state agency in Albany.

Kathryn (Kate) Mishkin, MPH, MA, Doctorate in Public Health candidate in the School of Public Health, holds a Masters in Public Health degree from Emory University and a Masters in Sustainable International Development from Brandeis University. She is currently pursuing her Doctorate in Public Health (DrPH) in the Social and Behavioral Health track of the Health Policy, Management, and Behavior department as well as a Certificate in Women and Public Policy at University at Albany. Kate has over five years of experience working internationally and several years working in the United States on projects related to women’s health and empowerment. She is interested in maternal and child health, and at GIHHR, she is collaborating on a maternal mental illness health needs assessment in Iraq as well as analysis of factors related to mother-to-child HIV transmission in Tajikistan and tuberculosis in Kazakhstan.

Christopher Paynter holds a bachelor's degree in Biochemistry from Stony Brook University and a Ph.D. in Psychology from Carnegie Mellon University. He is currently pursuing an MPH at SUNY Albany. He is interested in research on aging and the special needs of older adults with HIV. Currently, he is also working on a project on risk behaviors for individuals taking pre-exposure prophylaxis.

Lindsey Riback graduated in May 2017 with a bachelors of science in public health and a double minor of history and journalism. She will be going on to get her MPH in Epidemiology with a concentration in global health. Upon completing her master’s, it is Lindsey’s goal to to work in a community-based setting focusing on disease prevention, especially STD and HIV prevention. Eventually she would like to work for a non-profit organization as a health and human rights advocate, specifically for people living with HIV/AIDS such as those who have contracted the disease as a result of a human rights violation. During her time at GIHHR, Lindsey has worked on several grants, such as improving access to higher education in Afghanistan and improving the long-term care needs of the aging HIV population. She has also assisted Kamiar with several research papers, mainly focused on risk factors for injecting drug users in Iran. She has also completed her Honors College Thesis with Kamiar, which assessed the social and cultural factors contributing to HIV-status disclosure among the MSM population in New York City.

Mohammad Sarwar is currently a Master of Public Administration candidate at Rockefeller College. He will be graduating in May 2017. Mohammad is a research assistant at GIHHR with an interest in Health Policy.


Emily Schultz is a research assistant at the Global Institute for Health and Human Rights. In May 2017 she graduated from the University at Albany with a Bachelors of Science in Public Health and a minor in Psychology. During her time at the GIHHR she has worked on grants focused on marginalized populations in Iran and Afghanistan. She intends to pursue a Masters of Science in Epidemiology.


Jackie Servideo is an intern as an Advanced Standing Master's in Social Work student. She also earned her BS in Social Work from UAlbany in 2017. She has completed previous internships with safe houses for homeless and sexually exploited youth, children's residential centers, social work coalitions, and Jewish Family Services of NENY. She currently works for the City Mission of Schenectady as a Program Coordinator, where she runs a group program for individuals moving from poverty to sustainability. She has also interned and volunteered in South Africa and Malawi. She is planning to continue to work in poverty alleviation or social enterprise after graduation.


Natalie Turner graduated in May of 2017 with Bachelors of Science in Social Work and minors in neuroscience and psychology. She is an aspiring social worker and hopes to work with the aging population or in a medical setting. Eventually, she would also like to earn her PhD. Natalie worked as a Student Assistant and Project Coordinator. During her time here she helped set-up a substance abuse hotline in Turkey, developed proposals on increasing access to education for international students and professionals, organized a collaboration between Kurdish scholars and UAlbany faculty, and researched HIV laws and infectious diseases.


Billy Zakrzewski is a 2nd year PhD student in the school of Criminal Justice here at UAlbany. He holds a BS in Criminal Justice and Psychology, alongside a MS in Criminal Justice. Additionally, he is certified in Crime Analysis from his previous institution, Radford University. His current research interests involve cross-national research, green criminology, and mapping-based practices. He has worked at GIHHR since September 2016 with the pleasure of exploring various public health related research topics. He hopes to continue developing skills related to mapping-based software, statistical methods and procedures, and other data management tools. Any inquiries or questions can be directed to