Photo of Delina Meharenna

Optimistic, Hard-working, Compassionate

I was born and raised in a small town in Orange County. My parents immigrated to the United States from Eritrea and Ethiopia. I have been blessed with a large and close extended family. My family encouraged me to pursue STEM which supported my interest in biology. Now, I am interested in studying the underlying neurobiological mechanisms of psychiatric diseases. Through my involvement in the Cal NERDS program, I have had the opportunity to present my research and received a Special Merit plaque at the 2016 CAMP Symposium. Currently, I am the Treasurer for the Black Engineering and Science Student Association (BESSA).

My long-term goals include going to graduate school and obtaining a Ph.D. in the hopes of running my own lab and non-profit research foundation. I want to do research that will help society gain a better understanding of the underlying molecular and cellular processes and its impact on the behavior of people with mental disorders, particularly bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Throughout my career, I hope that I am able to do work that will help reduce stigma and reduce shame through increasing societal exposure and knowledge. I want my research to not only advance the overarching field of neuroscience but also to be applicable and beneficial to people in their everyday life.


Daniela Kaufer, Department of Integrative Biology Effects of Early-life Stress on GABAergic Interneurons and their Perineuronal Nets


“On the UC Berkeley NERDS website, there is a quote stating "Making the world a better place... one NERD at a time." NERDS is committed to making that statement true through providing holistic support to students in the program. Being around genuine and warm-hearted people makes me more optimistic about my future and drives me to keep pursuing and achieving my goals. I know I and other students are worth investing in and people and programs like NERDS think so too. NERDS not only goes above and beyond for its students, but also goes out and does work with student organizations and neighboring communities. NERDS connects us to people in our neighboring communities in order to encourage them to pursue their dreams and to know that there are people that look like them doing STEM.

People have invested their time, energy, and money in the hopes that I achieve my dreams. I remember making a Dream Timeline with Diana Lizarraga. Putting my dreams on paper and developing a plan of action made them seem more attainable.”