Justin Parker Neurological Institute (JPNI) continues to fund an internship program for the CU-Boulder undergraduate students who are considering a career in medicine or clinical research. This internship offers opportunities for in-depth learning of the clinical research methodology and practice, literature searching, scientific writing, and publications. If you are interested, please send your inquiries and CV to

The students who received scholarships for their dedicated work and personal contribution to the projects over the past years:

  • 2018 – Samantha Avoian
  • 2017 – Roshan Kantha
  • 2016 – Colson Tomberlin
  • 2010 – Brittany Weeks
  • 2009 – Kyle Healy
  • 2008 – Jason M. Babuska
  • 2005 – Evan M. Pushchak
  • 2006 – Cassandra M. Roeca

Samantha Avoian is studying Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology at the University of Colorado at Boulder and is graduating in December of 2018. She is originally from Houston, Texas and will be pursuing a career in medicine. “By working on clinical research, making rounds with physicians, and observing surgeries, I have gained a substantial amount of exposure to neurosurgical practice. Each day at BNA I have the opportunity to apply what I am learning in my courses to a clinical setting, which has undoubtedly presented me with a more holistic education. Through the relationships I have cultivated at BNA, I have been provided with insight and motivation for my goals in medicine. Overall, this has been an invaluable experience and I would like to thank everyone at JPNI for the incredible opportunity.”

– Samantha Avoian


Roshan Kantha is currently pursuing a bachelor in neuroscience at the University of Colorado Boulder. He is a Colorado native and is expected to graduate in the fall of 2017.  “Working at BNA has been an extremely eye-opening experience for me. It has given me a glimpse of the hard work put forth by every member involved in the medical field. All with the common goal of helping those in need. It has also given me the opportunity and necessary experience to further pursue a future in clinical research.”

“While at BNA I have had the amazing privilege to observe numerous surgeries and the procedures involved, attend lectures and listen to incredible speakers, and work on various clinical studies and meet wonderful people. These studies ranged from new surgical techniques to medical studies, to how surgeries affect the elderly. I would like to thank everyone at JPNI and BNA for this scholarship, and for making this incredible opportunity happen.”

– Roshan Kantha


Colson Tomberlin is a Colorado native. and is studying physiology at the University of Colorado-Boulder and is expected to graduate in 2018.

“To have the ability to contribute to the research and the mission of JPNI has been an extremely meaningful and ineffable experience for me. The clinical research being done at the Justin Parker Neurological Institute is some of the best in the country, so as an undergraduate, it was very special to have such an integrated role throughout my internship. Furthermore, the shadowing opportunities, the scientific literacy experience, and the wonderful people at BNA made the internship all the more enjoyable.

“While at BNA, the main focus of my research was primarily on comparing clinical and radiographic clinical outcomes in patients undergoing cervical or lumbar interbody fusions and randomized to receive either PEEK or cortical allografts. It was very interesting seeing the clinical applications of research on degenerative diseases, which was different than the experience I had previously in degenerative research. I would like to thank the board of directors at JPNI, the research department, and staff at BNA for making this opportunity possible.”  CURRICULUM VITAE

— Colson Tomberlin

Brittany Weeks

Brittany Weeks graduated with a nursing degree from Quinnipiac University in Hamden, MA.

“The opportunity to participate in clinical research brought me to JPNI and the beautiful Boulder area. This scholarship has allowed me to become immersed in a field that I have previously had little experience in. I was working on a meta-analysis review which has expanded my knowledge of neurosurgery and specifically the imaging technology used in the surgical field.

“The JPNI scholarship has given me the opportunity to explore the possibility of pursuing clinical research as a career path as opposed to a classic Nursing role. I am grateful to Boulder Neurological Associates and JPNI for giving me this wonderful opportunity to further explore the medical field.”

Brittany Weeks


Kyle Healy

Kyle Healy graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder with a degree in psychology.

“It was a real honor when I found out I had the opportunity to contribute to the research projects the Justin Parker Neurological Institute were working on. This was extremely beneficial to me as it was a very different area of research than I had previously been involved in. I was able to work on my professional writing skills while contributing to a very interesting and worthwhile undertaking. I want to thank the people I worked with for this experience and the Justin Parker Neurological Institute for the stipend I received for participating.”

Kyle Healy

Jason Babuska

Jason Babuska graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder with a major in molecular cellular developmental biology and is currently pursuing a career in clinical research.

“I have been involved with clinical research at Boulder Neurosurgical & Spine Associates throughout my junior and senior years at the University of Colorado at Boulder. With strong and broad interests in the neurosciences, as well as the hope of attending medical school, this has been a tremendous opportunity to gain knowledge and experience outside the classroom.

“I primarily worked on a prospective randomized clinical study that evaluated correlations between cervical sagittal alignment and clinical outcomes for patients who underwent anterior cervical fusion procedures. I am very thankful and proud to have received a stipend from the Justin Parker Neurosurgical Research Fund for my efforts in assisting with this study.

“One of my favorite aspects of the internship program was attending annual BNA symposiums, which were very memorable and rewarding experiences. Lastly, I appreciate the kindness of BNA patients who have allowed me to observe their surgeries and clinical visits.”

Jason Babuska

Cassandra Roeca

Cassandra Roeca graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder, the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center and is currently an OBGYN resident physician at Harvard Medical School. She is an outdoor enthusiast and a competitive triathlete.

“As a premedical student, the scholarship from the Justin Parker Neurological Institute offered me the opportunity to do more than simply volunteer in a hospital. My internship with Boulder Neurosurgical & Spine Associates (BNA) enabled me to get involved in cutting-edge clinical research, as well as gain exposure to neurosurgical practice.

“The experience was challenging, as it entailed intensive literature analysis and topics, but it markedly strengthened my scientific reading and writing skills. This program also immersed me into the process of scientific journal writing and article submission. Several studies I was involved with were presented at meetings and have been published. Thus, I left this internship with not only an invaluable experience but also several acclaimed accomplishments.

“I not only assisted with clinical research, but observed surgeries, and made rounds with the doctors. I will never forget the first surgery. I stood in on a pituitary tumor removal wondering if I was going to faint as they clamped the patient’s head into a vice. The opportunity to be subjected to the inner workings of the operating room and medical office ultimately helped me decide to become a physician. I am very grateful for the connections I made with the surgeons, physician assistants, clinical researchers, BNA staff, and Justin Parker Neurological Institute.”

Cassandra Roeca

Evan Pushchak

Evan Pushchak is a Colorado native and the first recipient of this award/scholarship. He received his medical degree from the University of Colorado, underwent residency training in emergency medicine at the Northwestern University and is currently working as an emergency physician.

“The opportunity to participate in clinical research projects in a meaningful way was an exceptional opportunity prior to attending medical school. It was also an honor to be part of the JPNI funding and mission.”

Evan Pushchak