Graduate Research Students

To learn more about our internship and research opportunities, click here.

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.

Leah Diedrich is a second year Master in Social Work student preparing to graduate from the SUNY Albany School of Social Welfare in May '18. She completed two undergraduate degrees in psychology prior to entering the MSW program and is beginning an internship with the GIHHR in the winter 2017/2018 term. Along with her graduate degree in Social Work she is working toward a Graduate Certificate in International Health and Human Rights through the GIHHR which will also be completed in the Spring of '18.

Farnoosh Feiz completed her medical training in 2007 and worked as an Emergency Department physician before immigration to the United States. She completed her postdoctoral research fellowship at Northwestern University in Chicago in and Master of Public Health in 2017. She joined the Global Institute for Health and Human Rights as a Research Support Specialist in January 2018. Currently, she is working on healthcare devolution in Pakistan and drug overdose in the United States projects.

Hamid Rajabi is a PhD student in Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) department of SUNY Albany. He also held both BS and MS in ECE before coming to the United States, and joined the GIHHR in late January 2018 as a graduate research assistant mainly in Data Analytics. Currently, Hamid has been involved in two projects here; the first one is analysis and modeling the NIH data which is done via some basic Machine Learning algorithms. As second task, he is working as an Information Technology assistant for online courses.


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.

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.


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