Student Profiles

Lauren Cerbin

Accounting and Finance

Lauren Cerbin, Belleville, IL, is a Chancellor’s Scholar studying Accounting and Finance at the Gies College of Business. On campus, Lauren has been a dedicated leader serving as the Managing Partner for Student Consulting for Nonprofit Organizations, an organization which provides pro-bono consulting services to nonprofits both in the Champaign area and nationally. She has also served as President for the Wishmakers on Campus organization and tries to give back to the community in any way that she can.  Lauren will go on to get her Masters in Accounting from the University of Illinois and plans to work full time as a consultant at PwC post-graduation.  She recently served on the Homecoming Court and hopes that her experiences can inspire other students to participate in all that the University has to offer.

Ella Dennis

Psychology and Global Studies

Ella (she/her) is a senior who is passionate about human rights work both at home and abroad. She is Founder and President of the campus chapter of It’s On Us, a nonprofit working to end sexual violence and improve assault prevention materials to represent queer and BIPOC students that are often left out of the narrative. In Fall 2022, Ella spent a semester living and working in Dakar, Senegal, where she strengthened her French, learned Wolof, and interned at a local clinic for survivors of abuse. In the future, Ella hopes to return to Senegal and many more new countries to learn from gender-based violence prevention activists around the world! In her free time, Ella loves dancing, choreographing, being immersed in nature, and stopping to say hi to dogs. 

Joel Hoo

Music Composition and Theory/Music Technology

Joel Y. Hoo (符永敬) boasts a multifaceted career as a composer, improviser, producer, arranger, and multi-instrumentalist, distinguished by expertise in crafting music across diverse musical genres, tailored for online media, theater productions, and short films. In addition to his notable discography featuring three albums, Journey Home, Our Future Memories, and Fireflies, Joel has also scored music for films such as Wuxing Warriors: An Asian American Epic. His works and improvisations have been performed and premiered at numerous venues across the United States, including captivating performances with One Found Sound in San Francisco’s Heron Arts and with the Midwest Chamber Orchestra in Disneyland and the Walt Disney Concert Hall. Joel has also received awards and accolades within the music industry, including winning the inaugural One Found Sound Emerging Composers Award in 2021, the Indie Film Music Contest (Young Division) in 2021, and the Illinois Music Association Scholarship in 2020.

Habib Rehman


Habib (he/him) is a senior interested in pursuing a career in medicine and biomedical research. He has completed research internships at several institutions including the University of Illinois at Chicago, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Helmholtz Center in Munich, Germany. These internships have covered different research areas including bioinformatics, systems biology, and tissue engineering. Currently, Habib is applying to combined medical-research degree programs (MD-PhD). On campus, he is the President of the Illini Classics Club- an organization for appreciating Greco-Roman history and culture- as well as a member of the Campus Honors Program, Biomedical Engineering Society, and Squirrel & Bird Watching Club. In his free time, he enjoys wildlife photography and crocheting.  

Emily Tung

Molecular & Cellular Biology (MCB)

Hi there! I am a senior studying MCB with minors in chemistry and computer science. I am originally from Bloomington, IL. My current career goal is to become a physician-scientist, where I can convert my research into direct patient treatments. For four years, I have conducted research in the Wenyan Mei lab under the Comparative Biosciences Department in the College of Veterinary Medicine. Our research group focuses on colorectal cancer, colitis, and the gut microbiome. Other than being a researcher, I am also the marketing director of HackIllinois (the largest premier hackathon in the Midwest), a mentor in STEAM TRAIN (the Carl R. Woese Institute of Genomic Biology’s non-profit after-school STEAM program), and the Student Leader Coordinator for Carle Foundation Hospital. After studying HIV dynamics in my summer internship under Dr. Eli Boritz at the National Institutes of Health, I fell in love with becoming a researcher and aspire to enter a post-baccalaureate program where I can become a sharper scientist before applying for MD-PhD programs. In my free time, I enjoy playing sports and working out, reading, and trying new restaurants with friends!

Jennifer Zhao

Interdisciplinary Health Sciences

Hello! I’m Jen, a senior majoring in I-Health with a minor in Chemistry and my hometown is O’Fallon IL. I have worked in the Mobility Fall Prevention Research Lab for 4 years, where my projects have included examining the effect of Tai-Chi practice on balance in older adults and studying the use of wearable devices on anxiety detection. I have worked multiple jobs while on campus, including being an undergraduate TA for CHEM 101, personal assistant for students with disabilities, Illinois Student Admission Representative (I STAR), and as a house advisor for CHP. In addition, I am a volunteer at Carle Foundation Hospital’s pediatric department, and on Avicenna Community Health Center’s outreach team. Through my experiences, I have gained an interest in pursuing medicine and public health policy and am excited for my spring internship with the Champaign County Regional Planning Commission where I will help conduct a community needs survey and research project to collect feedback on current community social services programs. My hobbies include drawing, writing, and traveling!