Phase I

This Subteam is in the first year of developing its competition submission project. Over the course of the next year, this team will research biomedical problems and brainstorm innovative solutions before selecting its project. The members on the Junior Competition Team will serve as either Research & Development Analysts or Economic Analysts. Research & Development Analysts are tasked with conducting research in several fields to analyze the feasibility and impact of several potential projects. Economic Analysts analyze patentability, the regulatory pathway, and economic feasibility of all potential projects. By the end of the spring semester, the team will develop designs and testing procedures for all viable project ideas and ultimately determine its best idea and begin working on the development process.


Cole Leinbach is currently a junior from Yakima, WA, studying chemistry and philosophy in the College of Arts and Sciences. Other than being the Phase I project manager for DEBUT, he is a member of Alpha Chi Sigma professional chemistry fraternity. After graduating, Cole hopes to pursue a Ph.D. and possibly a law degree. Cole would describe DEBUT as relevant, and his favorite part of DEBUT is making cool stuff with even cooler people.

Cole Leinbach is currently a junior from Yakima, WA, studying chemistry and philosophy in the College of Arts and Sciences. Other than being the Phase I project manager for DEBUT, he is a member of Alpha Chi Sigma professional chemistry fraternity. After graduating, Cole hopes to pursue a Ph.D. and possibly a law degree. Cole would describe DEBUT as relevant, and his favorite part of DEBUT is making cool stuff with even cooler people.

Cole Leinbach
Project Manager

Rebecca Holstein is currently a junior from Potomac, MD, studying environmental engineering in the College of Engineering with a minor in business. Other than being a research and development analyst for DEBUT, she is involved with Cornell Ambassadors, Cornell Hillel, and Pi Beta Phi. After graduating, Rebecca hopes to pursue a career in environmental consulting or finance. Rebecca would describe DEBUT as cutting-edge, and her favorite part of DEBUT is collaborating with diverse and talented people to create and innovate biomedical technology.

Rebecca Holstein is currently a junior from Potomac, MD, studying environmental engineering in the College of Engineering with a minor in business. Other than being a research and development analyst for DEBUT, she is involved with Cornell Ambassadors, Cornell Hillel, and Pi Beta Phi. After graduating, Rebecca hopes to pursue a career in environmental consulting or finance. Rebecca would describe DEBUT as cutting-edge, and her favorite part of DEBUT is collaborating with diverse and talented people to create and innovate biomedical technology.

Rebecca Holstein
Report Coordinator

Nina Velasco is currently a junior from El Paso, TX, studying human biology, health, and society in the College of Human Ecology with a minor in human development. Other than being a research and development analyst and a Fall 2019 Team Representative for DEBUT, she is involved with PATCH, rugby, Pa’Lante Salsa dance club, and Cornell Tradition. After graduating, Nina hopes to attend medical school and complete a pediatric residency. Nina would describe DEBUT as inspiring, and her favorite part of DEBUT is the ability to be creative.

Nina Velasco is currently a junior from El Paso, TX, studying human biology, health, and society in the College of Human Ecology with a minor in human development. Other than being a research and development analyst and a Fall 2019 Team Representative for DEBUT, she is involved with PATCH, rugby, Pa’Lante Salsa dance club, and Cornell Tradition. After graduating, Nina hopes to attend medical school and complete a pediatric residency. Nina would describe DEBUT as inspiring, and her favorite part of DEBUT is the ability to be creative.

Nina Velasco
Lab Coordinator

Aashna Kaur is currently a junior from Plainview, NY, studying biological sciences in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences with a minor in business. Other than being a research and development analyst and a Fall 2019 Team Representative for DEBUT, she is the President of the Society for India and a research assistant at the Schaffer-Nishimura lab. After graduating, Aashna hopes to attend medical school. Aashna would describe DEBUT as collaborative, and her favorite part of DEBUT is working alongside people of different majors to apply our unique skills and perspectives towards the improvement of current medical concerns.

Aashna Kaur is currently a junior from Plainview, NY, studying biological sciences in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences with a minor in business. Other than being a research and development analyst and a Fall 2019 Team Representative for DEBUT, she is the President of the Society for India and a research assistant at the Schaffer-Nishimura lab. After graduating, Aashna hopes to attend medical school. Aashna would describe DEBUT as collaborative, and her favorite part of DEBUT is working alongside people of different majors to apply our unique skills and perspectives towards the improvement of current medical concerns.

Aashna Kaur
Research & Development Analyst

Tilka Persaud is currently a junior from Coral Springs, FL, studying chemical engineering in the College of Engineering. Other than being a research and development analyst for DEBUT, she is a member of the Society for Women in Engineering and FourC. After graduating, Tilka hopes to get a job in the biotechnology industry. Tilka would describe DEBUT as invigorating, and her favorite part of DEBUT is working with a diverse range of people.

Tilka Persaud is currently a junior from Coral Springs, FL, studying chemical engineering in the College of Engineering. Other than being a research and development analyst for DEBUT, she is a member of the Society for Women in Engineering and FourC. After graduating, Tilka hopes to get a job in the biotechnology industry. Tilka would describe DEBUT as invigorating, and her favorite part of DEBUT is working with a diverse range of people.

Tilka Persaud
Research & Development Analyst

Divya Ramakrishnan is currently a junior from Pleasantville, NJ, studying computer science in the College of Engineering with a minor in business. Other than being an economic analyst for DEBUT, she is involved in Forte, Women in Computing at Cornell, and the Society of Women Engineers. After graduating, Divya hopes to work on something at the intersection of computer science, social good, and business. Divya would describe DEBUT as eventful, and her favorite part of DEBUT is the creativity of the members.

Divya Ramakrishnan is currently a junior from Pleasantville, NJ, studying computer science in the College of Engineering with a minor in business. Other than being an economic analyst for DEBUT, she is involved in Forte, Women in Computing at Cornell, and the Society of Women Engineers. After graduating, Divya hopes to work on something at the intersection of computer science, social good, and business. Divya would describe DEBUT as eventful, and her favorite part of DEBUT is the creativity of the members.

Divya Ramakrishnan
Economic Analyst

Sophia Zhang is currently a junior from New York City, NY, studying information science in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Other than being an economic analyst and webmaster for DEBUT, she is involved in the Cognitive Neuroscience Lab, Guac Magazine, and she is also a CALS tutor. After graduating, Sophia hopes to attend medical school. Sophia would describe DEBUT as collaborative, and her favorite part of DEBUT is listening to the brainstorming process and hearing everyone’s ideas.

Sophia Zhang is currently a junior from New York City, NY, studying information science in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Other than being an economic analyst and webmaster for DEBUT, she is involved in the Cognitive Neuroscience Lab, Guac Magazine, and she is also a CALS tutor. After graduating, Sophia hopes to attend medical school. Sophia would describe DEBUT as collaborative, and her favorite part of DEBUT is listening to the brainstorming process and hearing everyone’s ideas.

Sophia Zhang
Economic Analyst