Meet the Authors & Artist

Annah Nieman

Annah was raised in Jacksonville, FL and moved to Aiken, SC for high school and college. During her time in Florida, Annah could always be found trying to pet her neighbor’s koi fish, collecting tad poles from their pond, or trying to convince their dog to love her. After moving to South Carolina, she applied to and then attended The South Carolina Governor’s School for Science and Math. There, she began to become more interested in science and was exposed to research for the first time.

Upon graduating from SCGSSM, Annah pursued a Bachelor of Science in Animal and Veterinary Sciences at Clemson University. Her goal was to attend veterinary school, but after working in a canine genetics laboratory studying heritable diseases, a career in science and research became more appealing to her.

Annah graduated from Clemson University in 2019, and she is now a first year PhD student where her specific research interests are still developing. She lives with her boyfriend and their dog and cat, Moose and Sybil.

Megan Tennant

Megan was born in western North Carolina and had aspirations of becoming a veterinarian from a young age all the way through the majority of her undergraduate career at Bluefield College. During her junior year, she was intrigued by the final project in her microbiology lab. The project was to identify an unknown bacteria through a series of experiments and the critical thinking and deductive reasoning really interested Megan.

After graduating from Bluefield College and unable to decide between vet school and research, Megan began a master’s program at Appalachian State University to explore a research career. Through her master’s research in developmental biology, she realized she wanted to remain in the research field and upon graduating with a Master of Science degree, she taught undergraduate cell biology and genetics labs at ASU while applying to PhD programs.

Currently, Megan is a first year PhD student with an interest in cancer biology and cancer immunotherapy. In her free time, she enjoys visiting her parent’s farm where she rides horses and hikes with her border collies. 

Rhea Patel

Rhea was born and raised in Greenville, South Carolina and began painting and drawing at the age of 3. Throughout school, however, she became increasingly interested in science and the challenges that it posed. Conflicted between her love for art and passion for science, Rhea entered college at the University of South Carolina with an undeclared major. Although she had always enjoyed basic science courses like chemistry, it wasn’t until she took her first neuroscience class that her desire to pursue science was sparked. Just before her senior year, she joined a neurodevelopmental disorder lab as an undergraduate research assistant where she developed a love for research and more clarity for her career goals.

She continues to keep up with art as a hobby and always tries to bring an element of creativity to her work in school and in the lab. She is very excited to join Science Said Simply and combine her love for art and science. When she’s not in school or painting, you can find her cooking, traveling, or cozy in bed with a good movie.

Contributing Authors

Denys Rujchanarong

Denys was born in Orange County, California, where she lived with her family until she was 21. In a family of six, she is the youngest of three children and an aunt to a loving nephew. When she was in 6th grader at Clinton Mendenhall Elementary her teacher, Mrs. Jackson, exposed her to the wonders and excitement of science.

This early exposure to science allowed her curiosity to extend to her high school (Santiago High School) and college (California State University, Long Beach) years. While attending CSULB, she met her undergraduate mentor Dr. Carter and was a member of a research program aimed to help students pursue graduate school known as BUILD (Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity).

It was thanks to the support from her mentors, peers, and amazing family that she was able to fly across the country to purse her Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences. She hopes to contribute to research that looks at racial disparities in health, as well as learn how to be an independent researcher and effective communicator under the guidance of her mentor, Dr. Angel. Aside from science, she finds leisure in baking, hiking, and daily FaceTime calls with friends and family back home.