Mentor: Audrey Courreges and Anila M. D’Mello (D’Mello Lab)
Marcia “Ashley” Blanco is an undergraduate research assistant at the D’Mello Lab at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (UTSW), where she focuses on language and cognition in neurodevelopmental conditions, particularly autism. She is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in neuroscience on the pre-medical track at the University of Texas at Dallas.
Within the lab, she actively contributes to exploring the impact of negative stereotypes on autistic individuals’ social performance. Through data collection, analysis and literature reviews, she contributes to understanding how external factors, such as awareness of negative perceptions, may influence our current understanding of social ability in autism.
During the fellowship, she envisions a project to enhance healthcare services and support for autistic individuals and their families during the critical transition to adulthood. Leveraging her research contributions in the lab, she aims to address the unique challenges they may encounter in healthcare settings, driven by her passion to make a meaningful difference on the lives of individuals with autism and their families.
With enthusiasm for the fellowship, she looks forward to contributing to the field and collaborating with esteemed researchers at UTSW, showcasing her dedication to advancing knowledge and creating a positive impact.