our team


Want to be a part of our Spring 2021 team?

Principal Investigator

Dr. Jung Kwak

Dr. Kwak is an Associate Professor in the School of Nursing at The University of Texas at Austin.  Trained as a social worker and gerontologist, Dr. Kwak’s studies focus on dementia care, family caregiving, end-of-life decision-making, and long-term care policy.  Outside of her research, Dr. Kwak also teaches N321 Ethics in Healthcare for nursing majors and non-nursing majors at the University of Texas at Austin. 

Dr. Kwak is very passionate about how we can improve quality of care and quality of life for the growing population of older adults and their family caregivers from diverse racial, ethnic and cultural backgrounds.  She is also committed to mentoring both undergraduate and graduate students in research.   

Outside of her studies, Dr. Kwak loves to run, cook, read sci-fi books, and teach ethics!

Graduate Researchers

Jaclynn Byrns

Jaclynn is in her last semester of her Master’s in Science of Nursing – Leadership in Diverse Settings track. Jaclynn has been part of the team since February of 2019 and is working on Advance Care Planning with Persons with Dementia. 

Jaclynn is from Houston, TX and her hobbies include painting and going to exercise classes. Her personal goals and dreams are to use her master’s to make systems level imporvements wherever she goes, and to advocate for the clinicians who provide care. By taking care of clinicians, she will help patients and families across the entire system.

Lisa Geshell

Lisa is a 3rd year PhD candidate in the School of Nursing and has been part of the team since Spring 2019. Lisa works on Advance Care Planning with Persons with Dementia and Family Caregivers.

Lisa is from Peoria, Arizona and her hobbies include traveling, cooking, and spending time with her husband and pets! Her career goals are to work in a work in a school of nursing, helping to train future nurses, and work on a palliative care team, providing appropriate care aligned with each patient’s goal for their health.

Katherine Britt

Kat is a PhD student in the School of Nursing at The University of Texas at Austin.  She joined the team Winter 2019/2020 and works on the PWD/ACP project.  Originally from Nashville, Tennessee, Kat has lived in Austin for eighteen years.  She enjoys her family, yoga, running, classic literature, iced mochas, and CHOCOLATE!  Kat strives to help aging adults and their families transition through end-of-life care.  

Undergraduate Researchers

Albert Luu


Albert is a Biochemistry major graduate who worked in the Advance Care Planning with Persons with Dementia and Family Caregivers Project and Chaplains project from the Spring of 2019 to the Fall of 2020.

Albert is from Houston, Texas and is training to become a paramedic. He aspires to become a physician and has an interest in emergency medicine. Outside of academics, he enjoys reading, cooking, tennis, and games.


Aleena Jamal

AleenaCropped (1 of 1)

Aleena is a 4th year neuroscience major from Dallas, TX. She has been working on the advance care planning with chaplains project since the fall of 2019. In addition to her interest in ethics and healthcare, which drew her to this project, she also enjoys reading, baking, and painting in her free time.

Alison Tang

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Alison is chiefly in charge of  researching the Use of Social Media by Persons with Dementia and Family Caregivers and is working on creation of Advance Care Planning Videos. Alison joined the team in August of 2019. 

Alison is a third year pre-med Biochemistry student from Friendswood, TX and dreams to become a pulmonologist, specializing in respiratory healthcare. Outside of academics, her hobbies include photography, playing piano, and singing!

Andrew Kim


Andrew Kim is a 4th year Medical Laboratory Science Major. He joined the team in the fall of 2019 and worked  in the Advanced Care Planning and Persons with Dementia project until Fall 2020. He was born and raised in Austin, Texas and enjoys watching movies and reading books.


Michelle Kim


Michelle Kim is a sophomore in the College of Nursing who joined the research team in the fall of 2019. She is currently working in the Advance Care Planning and Persons with Dementia project. She is from Coppell, Texas and loves to read, exercise, and watch crime show documentaries in her spare time. 

Sami Hasan


Sami is a graduated Finance major from Southlake, TX. He was part of the Advance Care Planning Research Project from the Fall of 2019 to Fall of 2020. His dream is to become a pediatrician in the future. He loves playing his guitar and watching movies in his free time.

Camelia Esmaili

Camelia joined our lab in the Fall of 2020 and has been a major help on three projects: Telemedicine research, Advance Care Planning videos, and the Advance Care Planning with Chaplains.

Moon Lee

Moon graduated from UT with a degree in biochemistry in the spring of 2019. He is currently taking a gap year and is preparing to apply for medical school. He joined the team in the summer of 2020. Originally from South Korea, Moon has been living in Dallas most of his life. During his free time, he enjoys spending time with family and playing golf.

Neha Dromaraju

Neha is a 3rd year public health major from Dallas, TX. She started working on the Advance Care Planning
With Chaplains project in the fall of 2020. Her interests lie at the intersection of palliative care, ethics, and narrative medicine, and she ultimately hopes to provide free, community-centered healthcare. Neha finds a lot of joy in sunlight, sweets, and taking care of babies.

Shilpa Rajagopal


Shilpa Rajagopal is a fourth-year biology and marketing major from Irvine, CA. She is currently assisting with the Advance Care Planning with Chaplains project. Shilpa is passionate about the intersection of public health promotion, health communication, and medicine and currently serves as a Healthyhorns Peer Educator on campus. In her free time, she enjoys dancing.

Join our team!

We are currently accepting undergraduate and graduate students!

Minimum Requirements:
  • Commit to 5-10 hours/week for at least 2 semesters
  • History of academic success, preference given to GPA > 3.5
  • Interest in working with research participants (persons with dementia, older adults, and clinicians)
  • Critical thinking skills and a willingness and ability to learn

Undergraduate students: Fill out the application at the following link: 

Graduate students: Please contact Dr. Kwak for more information on how to get involved.



Dr. Jung Kwak