Biology Cultural Association

The Biology Cultural Association is an organization that seeks to build a community of underrepresented students within the Department of Biology. We are a subsidiary of the AJED committee with independent interests in protecting equity for students.

logo showing four hands intertwined, with the words "Biology Cultural Union, Connect. Imagine. Support"

Vulnerable identities like POC, people with disabilities, religious minorities, low-income students, and sexual and gender minorities, are underrepresented on campus and in STEM. BCA supports undeclared underclassmen through 1:1 mentorship between upperclassmen and underclassmen, seminars and panels, academic advising, and social events. We also guide biology students in navigating professional and academic opportunities.

We are a safe space for students to voice their unique concerns about representation and diversity initiatives in the biology department. 

 

2022-2023 BCA Members:

Dakota Johnson looks down at the camera

Dakota Douglas (she/her/hers) – Co-founder

Graduation Year: 2022

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amber Brooks smiles at the camera

Amber Brooks (she/her/hers) – Co-founder/Mentorship Coordinator

Hometown: Chicago, IL

Graduation Year: 2023

Minors: Chemistry, African & African American Studies

Amber is involved in a biomedical engineering lab on campus that is interested in mapping the efficiency of viral vectors for transduction of exogenous genes into specific neuronal populations within the brain.  Amber is also an undergraduate ambassador for the biology department and an executive member of Help Desk, a student directed initiative that addresses the social determinants of health. Upon graduation, Amber hopes to obtain her MD/MPH and continue to help decrease the disparities within our healthcare system that are disproportionately affecting minority communities.

 

Christian Rodrigues smiles at the camera

 

Cristian Rodriguez – Mentorship Coordinator

Hometown: Smithfield, North Carolina

Graduation Year: 2024

During his free time, you can catch him working in a lab, doing class readings, or taking a nap.

 

 

 

Z Koutas smiles at the camera

Zoe “Z” Koutas (they/them) – Activities Coordinator

Hometown: NYC

Graduation Year: 2023

Minor: Chemistry

Z works part-time for a non-profit called the Phluid Phoundation that supports grassroots organizations on the frontlines of supporting trans and gender non-conforming folks. They also  coach a little league basketball team in Durham during the winter season. For fun, they play the drums and love curling up with a good book!

 

Sasha Bacot smiles at the camera

Sasha Bacot (she/her/hers) – Activities Coordinator

Hometown: Columbia, SC

Graduation Year: 2025

Double Major: Computer Science

Sasha is passionate about scientific research–she works in a lab in the Environmental School and is Senior Editor of Duke Vertices, an Undergraduate Research journal. Other than that, she enjoys figure skating, science fiction, and music/podcasts!

 

Tessa Kanjiramkuzhey smiles at the camera

 

Tessa Kanjiramkuzhey – Activities Coordinator

Hometown: Miami, Fl

Graduation Year: 2023

Minors: Chemistry and Medical Sociology

Tessa is interested in improving geriatric care and immigrant health in the United States. She is also passionate about building an open and inclusive community for all marginalized minority students in STEM fields.

 

Evelyn Scarrow smiles at the camera

 

Evelyn Scarrow (she/her) – Outreach Coordinator

Hometown: Springfield, MO

Graduation Year: 2023

Minor: Chemistry

Outside of BCA, Evelyn is also involved in FEMMES+ and WISER. Some of her interests include cell biology research, piano, travel, and painting. A fun fact about her is that she recently studied abroad in London for a semester!

 

 

Zhamilya Karashukeyeva looks at the camera

 

Zhamilya Karashukeyeva – Outreach Coordinator

Hometown: Astana, Kazakhstan

Graduation Year: 2024

Zhamilya is a Duke Kunshan University who is passionate about helping other DKU students adapt to Duke and find resources as biology majors, since she went through the same journey in spring 2022. She hopes to be involved in research after her graduation.

 

Yochebed Woldeyohannes smiles at the camera

Yochebed Woldeyohannes (she/her/hers) – Marketing Coordinator

Hometown: Northern Virginia

Graduation Year: 2025

Minors: Religious Studies and Medical Sociology

Other than BCA, Yochebed is involved in Partners in Health Engage and the AJED committee in the Biology department as an undergraduate representative. She is interested in research related to factors of low immunization rates and racial disparities in the U.S. healthcare system. She enjoys photography, upcycling, and trying new recipes in her free time!