2015-2016 ARCS Scholars

Congratulations to our
2015-2016 Scholars
ARCS Foundation Northern California Chapter

SAN FRANCISCO STATE UNIVERSITY

  • San Francisco State University
  • Department of Biology
  • Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry
  • Department of Earth & Climate Sciences
  • Department of Mathematics
  • Department of Physics & Astronomy
  • Christopher Condry
    Master's Program - Biology
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  • Claudia Corona
    Master's Program - Earth & Climate Sciences
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  • Ariel Kuhn
    Master's Program - Chemistry & Biochemistry
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  • Stephanie Saffouri
    Master's Program - Biology
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  • Shervin Sahba
    Master's Program - Physics & Astronomy
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  • Anna Maria Schindler
    Master's Program - Mathematics
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Department of Biology
Master’s Program

Christopher Condry
Jack Lund Endowment Fund Scholar

A recent transplant from Massachusetts, Chris is now an Ecology, Evolution, & Conservation Biology graduate student at SFSU. He is interested in microbial ecology, more specifically microbial community structure and element cycling in extreme environments. Currently, he is looking at how communities of nitrogen cycling archaea and bacteria are structured in different hot springs, and the nutritional plasticity of ammonia-oxidizing archaea. Apart from research, Chris is a movie buff, an improvisational guitarist on the streets of San Francisco, and a published poet. His former line of work was as a projectionist in theaters across New England.

Department of Earth & Climate Sciences
Master’s Program

Claudia Corona
Lakeside Foundation Scholar

Claudia’s research interests are in water-resources science and management, with a focus on the impacts of climate variability and change. Her interests solidified while visiting Mono Lake in the Eastern Sierras, where she learned of California’s ongoing challenge to manage shrinking water resources. At SFSU, her research explores the controls of inter-annual to multi-decadal climate variability on U.S. groundwater. Claudia plans on pursuing a Ph.D. in environmental engineering and researching adaptation to climate change in the water sector.

Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry
Master’s Program

Ariel Kuhn
Clarissa Dyer Scholar
Linda Dyer Millard Scholar

Ariel earned a B.S. in chemistry from the University of San Francisco, during which time she utilized computational methods to study rearrangements of polyaromatic hydrocarbons under flash vacuum pyrolysis. This work ultimately led to her co-authorship on a manuscript published in the Journal of Physical Organic Chemistry. As a graduate student at SFSU, Ariel explores the chemistry of fulvenes and related compounds, develops new synthetic methodology involving fulvenes, and implements them in natural product synthesis. Aside from chemistry, she also enjoys camping, kayaking and biking.

Department of Biology
Master’s Program

Stephanie Saffouri
Maura & Robert Morey Scholar
Barbara & Richard Rosenberg Scholar

A 2011 graduate of Pomona College, Stephanie studied in a variety of labs before pursuing graduate studies at SFSU. Her previous research included pollination of endangered Californian plants at Santa Clara University, tree snail conservation at the University of Hawaii, and intertidal invertebrate community composition at UC Santa Cruz. Her current research interests involve species invasion and conservation of California native plants. The focus of her graduate work is the tidal salt marsh plant community, specifically the role of competition for pollinator services in invasion of Algerian Sea Lavender (Limonium ramosissimum). Stephanie is also involved in collective lab projects at the Romberg Tiburon Center to study and restore eelgrass in San Francisco Bay.

Department of Physics & Astronomy
Master’s Program

Shervin Sahba
ARCS Foundation Scholar

While he received his undergraduate degrees in business and psychology from the University of Rhode Island, Shervin was called back to the sciences after years of work as a private tutor in the San Francisco Bay Area. As a graduate student in physics at SFSU, Shervin is researching photonic materials, studying the flow and behavior of light in various media, which may one day be used to improve upon modern electronics. He aims to eventually expand his studies towards a career in theoretical physics, researching the quantum nature of our universe.

Department of Mathematics
Master’s Program

Anna Maria Schindler
Robert Lansdon Trust Scholar

Anna took an indirect route to mathematics, majoring in the humanities as an undergraduate at Wesleyan University and working as a restaurant cook for two years after graduating. It was tutoring that first drove Anna to return to the study of mathematics, and teaching continues to be one of her greatest passions. Anna’s research interests are in algebra and combinatorics. She hopes to attend a Ph.D. program after graduating from SFSU, ultimately aspiring to continue a life of exploring, contributing to, and spreading mathematical knowledge.

STANFORD UNIVERSITY

  • Stanford University
  • Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics
  • Department of Biology
  • Department of Chemistry
  • Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering
  • Department of Earth System Sciences
  • Department of Geological Sciences
  • Department of Mathematics
  • Department of Mechanical Engineering
  • Department of Physics
  • Eva Gabriela Baylon
    Ph.D. Program - Mechanical Engineering
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  • Clara Druzgalski
    Ph.D. Program - Mechanical Engineering
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  • Ivy Huang
    Ph.D. Program - Civil & Environmental Engineering
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  • Kimberly Lau
    Ph.D. Program - Geological Sciences
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  • David Manosalvas
    Ph.D. Program - Aeronautics & Astronautics
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  • Kathleen Sokolowsky
    Ph.D. Program - Chemistry
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  • Daniel Swain
    Ph.D. Program - Earth System Sciences
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Department of Mechanical Engineering
Ph.D. Program

Eva (“Gaby”) Baylon
Leslie and George Hume Scholar
Susan & William Oberndorf Scholar

Gaby is interested in the structure-function relation of fibrocartilage tissue in the knee joint, in particular, the role osmotic swelling plays in its mechanical behavior. Her Ph.D. project focuses on the creation of a finite element model to be validated using an experimental swelling model as well as establishing a relationship between osmotic swelling and non-invasive, quantitative MRI-based parameters for diagnostic purposes. Gaby has served as president of the Latino/a Engineering Graduate Organization at Stanford and is a member of several diversity advocacy committees. In 2013, she was awarded the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers national graduate student role model award. Upon completion of her Ph.D., Gaby will pursue an engineering faculty position at the university level.

Department of Mathematics
Ph.D. Program

Daren Cheng
ARCS Foundation Scholar

Daren’s research focuses mainly on the analytical properties of harmonic maps and minimal surfaces, two of the most fundamental objects in geometric analysis. In the past he has worked on the partial regularity of energy-minimizing harmonic maps with rough domain metric. Currently he is looking into stable minimal surfaces of higher codimension. The goal is to prove local estimates and to analyze the limit of a sequence of stable minimal surfaces. After obtaining his degree, Daren plans to pursue an academic career and continue his research in geometric analysis. Aside from mathematics, he has a deep interest in Chinese history and literature. In fact, it is his belief that good historical writings have a lot in common with good mathematical expositions.

Department of Mechanical Engineering
Ph.D. Program

Clara Druzgalski
Letitia and James Callinan Scholar
Shelagh and Thomas Rohlen Scholar

Clara’s current research is on computational modeling of surface-induced electrohydrodynamic chaos. Her interests include high performance computing, computational fluid dynamics, numerical algorithms, and performance optimization for massively parallel computations.

Department of Biology
Ph.D. Program

Amy Goldberg
Kimball Foundation Scholar

Amy completed her B.S. with highest honors in biological anthropology and mathematics at the University of Michigan. Her research focuses on mathematical modeling and statistical problems in evolutionary and anthropological genetics. Her current work includes a model-based approach to study sex-specific mating practices, and multidisciplinary methods to estimate prehistoric human population size in South America. Amy was formerly a NSF Graduate Research Fellow.

Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering
Ph.D. Program

Ivy Bifu Huang
William K. Bowes, Jr. Foundation Scholar

Ivy's research interests are focused on understanding water quality issues from a fluid and sediment perspective. She has had extensive experience doing field research on environmental flows and their links with sediment transport and marine organisms. Her specific interests include stratified turbulence, salinity fronts, turbidity maxima, sediment flocculation, and light availability. One of Ivy's key motivations in doing this work is to connect scientific research with management goals and regulatory policy. Outside of her academic interests, Ivy has actively contributed to Stanford's Technical Communication Program, both as a presentation consultant and teaching staff member for their public speaking class.

Department of Geological Sciences
Ph.D. Program

Kimberly Lau
Rhoda Goldman Memorial Scholar

Kimberly’s research focuses on the coevolution of the Earth and its biosphere on geologic time scales. In particular, she is interested in understanding how the oceans respond to drastic environmental change, and how these responses are linked to the global carbon cycle. Her Ph.D. research involves using isotope geochemistry to determine the global extent of ocean anoxia and acidification during the Permian-Triassic time interval, considered an analog for modern-day climate change. After obtaining her degree, Kimberly hopes to continue in research and teaching. When not in the lab she enjoys skiing and hiking, and trying new recipes.

Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics
Ph.D. Program

David Manosalvas
Allison and Aneel Bhusri Scholar

David’s work focuses on the development of kinetic-energy preserving numerical schemes for the simulation of highly separated flows, as well as the study of heavy-vehicle aerodynamics and the design of active-flow-control drag reduction systems. His dissertation work will ultimately lead to the development of open source computational tools for the design of eco-friendly transportation, which will reduce the consumption of non-renewable fuels and harmful gas emissions. Outside of his research David is one of the aerodynamic designers for the Stanford Solar Car, a Head Community Associate in Graduate Housing, and a member of the Aeronautics and Astronautics Student Advisory Council. His future aspirations include joining the academic profession and continuing to spread the use of computational fluid dynamics in far-reaching applications such as renewable energy, medical diagnostics and the design of orthopedic prostheses.

Department of Physics
Ph.D. Program

Alexander Rider
ARCS Stanford Graduate Fellow

After completing his undergraduate degree at Caltech. Alex went to Stanford to study Experimental Physics. He is interested in experiments that test the fundamental way nature works. Currently, he is building an experiment to see how gravity works when objects are separated by distances much less than the thickness of a human hair. He has published work looking for new particles and on radiation detectors. When not in the lab, Alex enjoys outdoor activities like bicycling, hiking, and camping.

Department of Physics
Ph.D. Program

Saahil Shenoy
Montgomery Street Fndtn Endowment Fund Scholar

Saahil’s Physics Ph.D. research is focused on risk modeling. His area of research is big data analytics of extreme events and his specialties include classical and stochastic optimization, statistics, and machine learning.

Department of Chemistry
Ph.D. Program

Kathleen Sokolowsky
Nancy S. Mueller Scholar
Jane Fuller Gillespie Memorial Scholar

In her current dissertation work, Kathleen is beginning to elucidate the effect of pseudonematic domains on liquid crystal molecules' dynamics through temperature-dependent ultrafast two-dimensional infrared (2D IR) vibrational echo experiments, other ultrafast IR experiments, and optical heterodyne detected optical Kerr effect (OHD-OKE) experiments. They have found the spectral diffusion in a liquid crystal to be remarkably similar to that in a normal liquid, except when the temperature is held very close to the phase transition. Kathleen hopes to apply the same techniques to super cooled liquids, which have similar OHD-OKE responses to liquid crystals in the isotropic phase.

Department of Earth System Sciences
Ph.D. Program

Daniel Swain
Kimball Foundation Scholar

Daniel studies the changing character of meteorological extremes resulting from increasing human influence in the global climate system. His current research focuses on the role of persistent atmospheric patterns in driving droughts and floods in western North America. Recent work includes an investigation of the character and causes of the severe 2012-2015 California drought, including the role of climate change. Daniel is also actively engaged in weather and climate science communication-including frequent media interviews and extensive community outreach,-and has authored the California Weather Blog (at weatherwest.com) since 2006. Daniel has received numerous awards throughout his undergraduate and graduate careers.

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, BERKELEY

  • University of California, Berkeley
  • Department of Chemical Engineering
  • Department of Chemistry
  • Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering
  • Department of Computer Science
  • Department of Integrative Biology
  • Department of Materials Science & Engineering
  • Department of Mechanical Engineering
  • Department of Microbiology
  • Department of Physics
  • Department of Plant Biology

  • Orianna DeMasi
    Ph.D. Program - Computer Science
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  • Audrey Ford
    Ph.D. Program - Mechanical Engineering
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  • Brianna Haining
    Ph.D. Program - Plant Biology
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  • Cyrus Harp
    Ph.D. Program - Integrative Biology
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  • Alexandra Landry
    Ph.D. Program - Chemical Engineering
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  • Trenton Otto
    Ph.D. Program - Chemical Engineering
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  • Willie Reese
    Ph.D. Program - Materials Science & Engineering
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  • Miklos Zoller
    Ph.D. Program - Civil & Environmental Engineering
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Department of Plant Biology
Ph.D. Program

Andrew Brandon
Martha and Gregory Ryan Scholar
Carmi and Darrell Ticehurst Scholar

Andrew first became interested in alternative energy and biofuels as an undergraduate at the University of Tennessee, where he spent 1-1/2 years working in an environmental microbiology lab and was introduced to all the recent advances in bio-energy research. At UC Berkeley, his focus is on gaining a deeper understanding of photosynthesis in a biochemical context and how these processes can be harnessed to produce energy useable by humans. After he earns his doctorate, Andrew hopes to pursue private industry research or possible a career in academia.

Department of Computer Science
Ph.D. Program

Orianna DeMasi
Kilpatrick, Townsend & Stockton LLP / Carole Bellis Scholar

Orianna is interested in applications of machine learning for high performance computing, specifically auto-tuning. Her research project involves how to efficiently find parameter values to make a code run quickly. It has been established that codes must be tuned to each machine, but it is not known how to do this quickly, without trying all parameter values. This interest was developed while she was working in the Complex Systems Group at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL). Before coming to LBNL Orianna studied mathematics at McGill University, as well as where to find fabulous French pastries. When she isn’t on a computer, she can be found digging in her garden, keeping her cats out of her garden, and collecting butterflies. After obtaining her Ph.D., Orianna plans to pursue a staff scientist position at a DOE lab.

Department of Physics
Ph.D. Program

Samantha Dixon
Georgiana Ducas Endowment Fund Scholar

As an undergraduate, Samantha conducted research in a lab on an experiment to detect ultra-high energy cosmic rays, and wrote an honor's thesis for her work on an experiment searching for dark matter. She spent one summer as an intern at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center studying the Cosmic Microwave Background. At U.C. Berkeley her research uses data from Type Ia supernovae, a special class of exploding stars, to probe the expansion history of the Universe. This expansion history provides us with an important piece of the puzzle for uncovering the nature of dark energy. In the future, Samantha plans to continue research in astrophysics and cosmology.

Department of Mechanical Engineering
Ph.D. Program

Audrey Ford
Bailey and Chris Meyer Scholar
Janet and Alan Stanford Scholar

Prior to graduate school, Audrey worked in the Medical Product Division at W.L. Gore and Associates as a new product development engineer. Her Ph.D. focus is on the biomechanics of soft tissue. She is interested in cartilage mechanics and repair strategies, with a research focus on developing cartilage tissue engineering techniques to repair or replace damaged articular cartilage (i.e., in knees and hips). The goal of this project is to create tissue engineered cartilage grafts on clinically relevant scales. Outside of her work as a graduate student, she also trains and races with the UC Berkeley triathlon team.

Department of Mechanical Engineering
Ph.D. Program

Audrey Ford
Bailey and Chris Meyer Scholar
Janet and Alan Stanford Scholar

Prior to graduate school, Audrey worked in the Medical Product Division at W.L. Gore and Associates as a new product development engineer. Her Ph.D. focus is on the biomechanics of soft tissue. She is interested in cartilage mechanics and repair strategies, with a research focus on developing cartilage tissue engineering techniques to repair or replace damaged articular cartilage (i.e., in knees and hips). The goal of this project is to create tissue engineered cartilage grafts on clinically relevant scales. Outside of her work as a graduate student, she also trains and races with the UC Berkeley triathlon team.

Department of Plant Biology
Ph.D. Program

Brianna Haining
Mr. and Mrs. William Moorhouse, Jr. Scholar
Venetta and John Rohal Scholar

Brianna began her studies at New York University Abu Dhabi (NYU’s “World’s Honors College”) as a part of the school’s inaugural class. While there, she had the opportunity to participate in several internships, including the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center’s Summer Undergraduate Research Program. Her thesis work focused on the biogeography of the date palm (Phoenix dactylifera), and this work in plant biology is what led her to graduate school, where she plans to investigate plant evolution and development. In her spare time, Brianna enjoys knitting and SCUBA.

Department of Integrative Biology
Ph.D. Program

Cyrus Harp
Rhoda Goldman Memorial Scholar

Cyrus is interested in quantifying the energy transfer from trees to insect herbivores to better understand the ecology of the forest food web, and how energy transfers shape inter-species interaction dynamics. He is currently testing an experimental protocol for a project to measure the quantity of energy trees lose to insect herbivory by excluding insects from trees with insecticides and comparing the growth of such trees to control trees. Cyrus has spent years collecting insects to sample biodiversity for scientific research throughout Texas and, recently, Amazonian Peru. He is fascinated by plant and animal identification, plant-animal interactions, and ethnobotany. Outside of the lab, Cyrus is passionate about wilderness exploration and camping.

Department of Chemical Engineering
Ph.D. Program

Alexandra Landry
S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation Scholar

Allie’s research project involves developing a novel synthesis method for homogeneous bimetallic nanoparticles. These nanoparticles will eventually be used as model catalysts to study the kinetics and mechanisms of reactions such as NO oxidation. The effect of composition, size, support, and more can be investigated as well. After graduation, she plans to use her knowledge of catalysis and chemical reactions in industries such as the petrochemical or chemical industries. In particular, Allie wants to work to reduce the negative impact that these industries have on the environment, something that catalysts can plan an important role in. Her outside interests include hiking, biking, rock climbing, cooking, and travel abroad.

Department of Chemical Engineering
Ph.D. Program

Alexandra Landry
S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation Scholar

Allie’s research project involves developing a novel synthesis method for homogeneous bimetallic nanoparticles. These nanoparticles will eventually be used as model catalysts to study the kinetics and mechanisms of reactions such as NO oxidation. The effect of composition, size, support, and more can be investigated as well. After graduation, she plans to use her knowledge of catalysis and chemical reactions in industries such as the petrochemical or chemical industries. In particular, Allie wants to work to reduce the negative impact that these industries have on the environment, something that catalysts can plan an important role in. Her outside interests include hiking, biking, rock climbing, cooking, and travel abroad.

Department of Chemistry
Ph.D. Program

Mark Levin
Arlene Inch Scholar

As an undergraduate, Mark conducted research on the Nazarov cyclization and served as a TA for eleven classes over 6 semesters. He also did research in the Toste group at U.C. Berkeley through the Amgen Scholars program. Currently he is working on the development of new transition metal catalyzed reactions, focused specifically on gold catalysis. The development of new methods is crucial for improving the efficiency of small molecule synthesis, such as pharmaceuticals, fine chemicals, and agrochemical products. Mark’s work aims to replace methodology based on toxic, sensitive reagents with safer, easier to handle gold catalysts. In his spare time, Mark plays guitar and writes Wikipedia articles about organic chemistry.

Department of Chemical Engineering
Ph.D. Program

Trenton Otto
Sandra and Paul Otellini Scholar

While an undergraduate at UCLA, Trenton completed multiple internships at GKN Aerospace, where he developed thin film coating technology and bird impact testing for the F-22 Raptor and other military aircraft. He came to Berkeley because of the university’s excellent catalysis research and close collaborations with industry. His current research involves transition metal catalysts, which are of key importance to the production of many commercially ubiquitous materials, and also for displacing traditional methods of fine chemical production, which often result in waste products that are harmful and challenging to dispose of. Long-term, Trenton would like to work in Research & Development in the chemical industry or a national laboratory on catalysis projects.

Department of Materials Science & Engineering
Ph.D. Program

Willie Mae Reese
Lucille M. Jewett Scholar

Originally from Carlsbad, NM, Willie completed her B.S. in Materials Science and Engineering at MIT. After graduating she joined Teach for America, a non-profit organization that aims to increase awareness about educational inequality in urban and low income communities. In 2011, she began a co-op at Intel Corporation, successfully completing a short-term project to reduce operational costs on metrology equipment and the long-term project of developing tools to help track costs in other areas. In her current research project, she is using focused ion beam (FIB) lithography and electron-beam lithography to pattern surfaces with submicron pores or pits to create microenvironments for cells. She is studying two effects of the nano-pores and pits to specifically understand how these surfaces can be applied to better direct wound healing.

Department of Plant Biology
Ph.D. Program

Ouwei Wang
Ji Ing Soong Endowment Fund Scholar

Ouwei’s project is to investigate the regulation of perchlorate reduction enzymes in response to alternative electron acceptors. Perchlorate is a widespread toxic compound in drinking water, but it’s also used as an electron acceptor in a metabolism initiated by perchlorate reductase in some bacteria. The transcription of perchlorate reductase is inhibited by the presence of oxygen and nitrate, which are common alternative electron acceptor used by most perchlorate reducing bacteria. Ouwei’s work is focused on understanding the molecular mechanism and identifying the regulatory factors involved in perchlorate reductase regulation .This work has applied value, as both in situ and ex situ stimulation of perchlorate reduction must contend with the inhibitory presence of nitrate and oxygen. After coming to America as a teenager with little knowledge of the English language, Ouwei has worked very hard to pursue his dream of becoming a scientist. With a Ph.D. degree, he hopes to inspire other members of the immigrant community to pursue their higher education goals.

Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering
Ph.D. Program

Miklos Zoller
ARCS Foundation Scholar

Miklos’s undergraduate experience with elementary computational fluid dynamics originally stirred his interest in applied mechanics, and he plans to continue in this field under the supervision of Professor Sanjay Govindjee. His research will focus on material modeling, as new materials are being discovered and created annually, but constitutive relationships for their mechanical behavior have not yet been determined.

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, DAVIS

  • University of California, Davis
  • Animal Behavior Graduate Group
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Chemistry Graduate Group
  • Ecology Graduate Group
  • Molecular, Cellular & Integrative Physiology Graduate Group
  • Neuroscience Graduate Group
  • Pharmacology & Toxicology Graduate Group
  • School of Veterinary Medicine/Integrative Pathobiology
  • Christina Eckstrand
    Ph.D. Program - School of Veterinary Medicine/Integrative Pathobiology
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  • Kelly Gravuer
    Ph.D. Program - Ecology Graduate Group
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  • Brad Hobson
    Ph.D. Program - Pharmacology & Toxicology Graduate Group
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  • Allison Injaian
    Ph.D. Program - Animal Behavior Graduate Group
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  • Steven Kubiski
    Ph.D. Program - School of Veterinary Medicine/Integrative Pathobiology
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  • Derrick Ross
    Ph.D. Program - Biomedical Engineering
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  • Karine Schaal
    Ph.D. Program - Molecular, Cellular & Integrative Physiology Graduate Group
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  • Amber Schedlbauer
    Ph.D. Program - Neuroscience Graduate Group
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  • Doug Totten
    Ph.D. Program - Neuroscience Graduate Group
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  • Matthew Whalen
    Ph.D. Program - Ecology Graduate Group
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School of Veterinary Medicine/Integrative Pathobiology
Ph.D. Program

Christina Eckstrand
Barbara A. Wolfe Scholar

Christina is a board certified veterinary anatomic pathologist. She is currently researching tissue and cellular reservoirs of feline immunodeficiency virus, an important infectious disease of domestic felids and animal model of lentiviral immunodeficiency. She's the recipient of the UC Davis Graduate Studies Dissertation year fellowship and a past recipient of the Peter Kennedy Endowed Fellowship and UCO Comparative Pathology Scholarship. Her future goal is to be an academic anatomic pathologist where she can continue to research naturally occurring infectious diseases of animal and human importance and train and inspire future veterinarians and pathologists. Christina’s interests outside of school include backpacking, Crossfit, and walking her dog.

Chemistry
Ph.D. Program

Kamran Ghiassi
ARCS Foundation Scholar

Kamran’s current research involves unique allotropes of carbon that comprise molecular cages: fullerenes (buckyballs). During his tenure at Davis, he developed a strength and passion for small molecule X-ray crystallography and was awarded a Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Advanced Light Source doctoral fellowship to conduct research at their synchrotron. He is a mentor in the laboratory, having trained five undergraduate students in the research setting. In his rare free time, he enjoys athletics, cooking, and music.

Ecology Graduate Group
Ph.D. Program

Kelly Gravuer
Ray Benton Family Fund Scholar

Kelly explores the ecology of soil microbial communities, investigating their response to environmental change in natural grasslands and to management decisions in agricultural fields. Because microbes drive major nutrient cycles, understanding their dynamics is central to both climate change adaptation and agricultural sustainability. Kelly has also researched rare and invasive plant ecology, as a Fulbright fellow in New Zealand and in the forests of Tanzania, the shores of New England, and the mountains of Colorado. Building on extensive NGO experience and interdisciplinary training, Kelly ultimately seeks to strengthen connections between research, management and policy for a more sustainable environmental future.

Pharmacology & Toxicology Graduate Group
Ph.D. Program

Brad Hobson
Susan and Dennis Mooradian Scholar

Brad’s research interests include neurotoxicology and imaging of the living brain. The goal of his dissertation research is to identify medical countermeasures for treating neurotoxic exposure to pesticides and nerve agents, which is a global public health problem. Brad received a competitive pharmacology pre-doctoral fellowship and won best graduate student poster in neurotoxicology at the 2014 international meeting of the Society of Toxicology. Brad ran a tutoring center for science and engineering students at a local community college, and hopes to pursue a career path that includes teaching and research. When he isn’t hard at work in the lab, he enjoys hiking, fishing, and local music.

Animal Behavior Graduate Group
Ph.D. Program

Allison Injaian
Joan Diehl McCauley Endowment Fund Scholar

Allison’s research interests lie at the intersection of animal behavior, conservation biology, and urban ecology. Her research aims to better inform conservation efforts by identifying negative impacts of anthropogenic noise on native songbirds. Allison also truly enjoys teaching and received the UC Davis 2015 Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Award. Before graduate school, she did a service year with Literacy AmeriCorps of Palm Beach County. She continues to volunteer through science outreach programs in Sacramento.

School of Veterinary Medicine/Integrative Pathobiology
Ph.D. Program

Steven Kubiski
Marcia and Max Messmer Scholar

A DVM and board certified anatomic pathologist, Steve completed a joint veterinary pathology residency through UC Davis and the San Diego Zoo, following a year as a post-DVM research associate and diagnostician. He has sustained a primary interest in the pathophysiology of infectious diseases, especially mechanisms by which viruses evolve to infect different target cells as well as new host species. His current research is focused on characterizing the seroprevalence, genetic diversity, and pathogenic potential of a circovirus recently discovered in dogs.

Chemistry
Ph.D. Program

Kathleen Lee
Nordstrom Stores Scholar

Kathleen's research is focused on the investigation of layered compounds based on silicon, phosphorus, and related elements (e.g., Ge, Sn, As, Sb, Bi) for applications as thermoelectric materials and as alternative rechargeable battery electrodes for clean and sustainable power generation and efficient energy storage. Utilizing a combination of advanced techniques such as X-ray and neutron diffraction, pair distribution function analysis, Raman spectroscopy, and electron and atomic force microscopies, theoretical electronic structure calculations, and collaborations with researchers at UC Davis, across the US, and abroad, she characterizes the non­equilibrium charge, heat, and ion transfers in these systems. An understanding of the structure-properties relationships in these materials is necessary for the rational design of novel materials with superior characteristics. After completing her Ph.D., Kathleen’s short-term goal is to obtain a post-doctoral position, with the long-term goal of a career in fundamental research of materials for energy-related applications in academia or government.

Biomedical Engineering
Ph.D. Program

Derrick Ross
ARCS Foundation Scholar

Derrick’s research interests include investigation of the total knee arthroplasty procedure to help improve the procedure’s outcome for patients. The objective of his current project is to validate fluoroscopically derived contact kinematics. In addition to his research, Derrick enjoys mentoring undergraduate students as a TA. He teaches machining and fabrication fundamentals to students in senior design, helping them turn their concepts into working prototypes.

Molecular, Cellular & Integrative Physiology Graduate Group
Ph.D. Program

Karine Schaal
Sheila and Tom Larsen Scholar
Paige Qvale Scholar

After receiving both her B.S. and her M.S. degrees with Honors from U.C. Davis, Karine went back to France, her native country, to work as a research assistant for 3 years in the Physiology department at the Olympic Training Center. As a collegiate track and cross country athlete, she has focused her research on energy balance, endocrine function and bone turnover in elite female athletes. For the past few years she has been combining research and community outreach; teaching female athletes and their coaches about key aspects of nutrition and injury prevention, not only for improved performance, but more importantly, to avoid the long-term adverse consequences of energy deficiency, such as suppressed estrogen production and reduced bone density.

Neuroscience Graduate Group
Ph.D. Program

Amber Schedlbauer
Sandra and John Leland Scholar
Camilla Smith Scholar

Amber has been working on a project that will use direct electrical stimulation of the human brain to improve memory performance in individuals. Her recently published work in Scientific Reports employed neuroimaging and graph theory techniques to construct whole-brain networks that are linked to the underlying biological process of memory retrieval. Amber’s interests involve using more integrative approaches to discover the underlying mechanisms of memory retrieval that can eventually be applied to other cognitive domains, such as Alzheimer’s Disease and normal aging. Outside of her research, she enjoys climbing and hiking in the beautiful California outdoors.

Neuroscience Graduate Group
Ph.D. Program

Doug Totten
Prof. W. James Nelson ARCS Symposium Scholar

Doug is interested in the neurobiological underpinnings of spatial attention. His current projects investigate how the brain integrates information from vision and audition to help determine where attention should be allocated. Doug is an integral member of the Davis neuroscience community who has taken many positions in the neuroscience graduate group, regularly volunteers his time to talk about neuroscience to K-12 students, and captains intermural sports teams. He spends his free time downhill skiing, mountain biking and hiking, and has earned several first-place awards for his outdoor photography.

Ecology Graduate Group
Ph.D. Program

Matthew Whalen
Eileen D. and Lisa C. Ludwig Endowment Fund Scholar

Matt is interested in the causes and consequences of biological diversity in the sea. His dissertation research explores how environmental variation across space and time mediate species coexistence and, in turn, ecological functions like primary production and water filtration. Matt has been very successful in supporting his research, having secured funds from UC Davis, Bodega Marine Laboratory, and the Environmental Protection Agency. He has experience working in natural and aquaculture settings, from the water’s edge to the deep sea, on questions ranging from basic ecological theory to global conservation concerns. He is a strong independent researcher and also a valued collaborator. Outside of his research, Matt enjoys hiking, cooking, and brewing beer with his wife, Sarah, a park ranger at Pt. Reyes National Seashore.

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, SAN FRANCISCO

  • University of California, San Francisco
  • Department of Biochemistry (TETRAD)
  • Department of Bioengineering
  • Department of Biomedical Sciences
  • Department of Biophysics
  • Department of Chemistry & Chemical Biology
  • Department of Developmental Stem Cell Biology
  • Department of Neuroscience
  • Department of Oral Craniofacial Sciences
  • Department of Pharmaceutical Science

  • Jeremy Bancroft Brown
    Ph.D. Program - Bioengineering
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  • Jessie Carr
    Ph.D. Program - Pharmaceutical Sciences
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  • Akela Kuwahara
    Ph.D. Program - Developmental Stem Cell Biology
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  • Andrew Norman
    Ph.D. Program - Developmental Stem Cell Biology
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  • Matthew Ravalin
    Ph.D. Program - Chemistry & Chemical Biology
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  • Lucas Smith
    Ph.D. Program - Biomedical Sciences
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  • Adrienne Stormo
    Ph.D. Program - Biomedical Sciences
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  • Sarah Wong
    Ph.D. Program - Oral Craniofacial Sciences
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Department of Biophysics
Ph.D. Program

Ben Barad
ARCS Foundation Scholar

Ben Barad is interested in understanding the role that protein dynamics play in the regulation of biological function. As an undergraduate at Stanford, he investigated bacterial degradation of the polymer lignin. As a graduate student at UCSF, his first project involved developing methods for validation of atomic structures solved by high-resolution electron cryomicroscopy. Currently, he is investigating the mechanisms of proteins involved in the allergic immune response to chitin. Outside of research, Ben is obsessed with finding the perfect cup of coffee, a quest that has included learning to roast his own coffee beans.

Department of Biophysics
Ph.D. Program

Ben Barad
ARCS Foundation Scholar

Ben Barad is interested in understanding the role that protein dynamics play in the regulation of biological function. As an undergraduate at Stanford, he investigated bacterial degradation of the polymer lignin. As a graduate student at UCSF, his first project involved developing methods for validation of atomic structures solved by high-resolution electron cryomicroscopy. Currently, he is investigating the mechanisms of proteins involved in the allergic immune response to chitin. Outside of research, Ben is obsessed with finding the perfect cup of coffee, a quest that has included learning to roast his own coffee beans.

Department of Bioengineering
Ph.D. Program

Jeremy Bancroft Brown
ARCS Foundation Scholar

Jeremy is an MD/Ph.D. student in Bioengineering at UCSF and UC Berkeley, where he works to develop microscale NMR and MRI technology for personalized molecular diagnostics. He pursues his clinical interests by assisting UCSF Radiology residents during weekend call shifts, and also tutors medical students. Jeremy was formerly the President of Flu Crew at UCSF, an organization that vaccinates underserved communities against the influenza virus in the San Francisco Bay Area. Jeremy has contributed to publications in Radiology, Medical Physics, the Journal of Digital Imaging, and the Canadian Journal of Physics. His research and medical training have been supported by fellowships from AAPM, NSF, and NIH. In his spare time, Jeremy relaxes with his family and runs on the alternately foggy and sunny trails of Golden Gate Park.

Department of Neuroscience
Ph.D. Program

Kenneth Burke
Michele and Richard W. Goss II Scholar

Kenneth’s current project investigates the effect of neuromodulation on synaptic integration in the medial prefrontal cortex. He is interested in understanding how neuromodulators (e.g. dopamine) affect the computational properties of single neurons. His project is designed to understand how dopamine alters the electrical transformations of synaptic input patterns ("synaptic integration") that determine the spiking output patterns of neurons in the prefrontal cortex. Kenneth’s non-scientific interests include slam poetry, tenor sax, foreign languages, and running.

Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Ph.D. Program

Jessie Carr
Marie and Barry Lipman Scholar

As a student in Yadong Huang’s lab, which focuses on apoE4, the primary genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), Jessie is interested in understanding and preventing the deleterious effects of this risk allele. Jessie’s thesis project involves exploring the vulnerability of a specific population of inhibitory interneurons in a sub-region of the hippocampus to the neurotoxic effects of apoE4. In order to develop potential AD therapies, she is investigating compounds in vitro and in vivo that might rescue or prevent the loss of this neuronal population. Jessie is also a UCSF Discovery Fellow.

Department of Bioengineering
Ph.D. Program

Adam Elkhaled
Roulhac Austin, Donna Miller Casey, Merrill Randol Sherwin, BeBe Trinker Scholar

Adam’s research involves the development and application of magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging techniques for characterizing metabolite expression in malignant brain tumors known as gliomas. He is particularly interested in how novel metabolic biomarkers can non-invasively predict the pathologic trajectory of disease, discern the confounding effects of treatment, and also infer specific mutational aberrations relevant for prognosis, with the prospect of improving the precision of patient diagnostics. In his spare time, Adam enjoys mountaineering and exploring the globe on his motorcycle.

Department of Developmental Stem Cell Biology

Akela Kuwahara
Deborah Mann Scholar

Akela’s interests lie in developmental biology, particularly cardiovascular development. She is currently studying transcriptional regulation of heart development at the UCSF Cardiovascular Research Institute. As an undergrad at Humboldt State University, she worked in the lab studying protein interactions in glioma tumor propagating cells. Following that, she received a one-year research fellowship from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM). In addition to her research, Akela currently participates in educational outreach programs at UCSF.

Department of Developmental Stem Cell Biology

Andrew Norman
Roche/ARCS Foundation Scholar

Andrew is interested in the evolution of sperm development among primates. In other developmental systems, evolution of non-coding genomic regions (gene enhancers) has been shown to underlie the evolution of phenotypes. However, classical enhancer screening systems are typically used to discover embryonic enhancer activity and are impractical for the discovery of enhancer activity in adult developmental systems, such as sperm formation. To overcome this, he has recently developed a novel, in vitro method of screening potential sperm development enhancers, and is using it to screen enhancer candidates that cannot be otherwise verified. This knowledge could lead to therapeutic interventions in sperm formation. In his spare time, Andrew is an avid gardener, hiker and all-around naturalist. He is continually inspired by the great works of science fiction literature, both new and classic. Andrew’s goal is to lead his own research group or entrepreneurial effort, either in academia or the private sector.

Department of Chemistry & Chemical Biology
Ph.D. Program

Matthew Ravalin
Roche Molecular Systems Scholar

Matthew’s research interests center on the interface of cellular proteolysis and proteostasis. In particular, he is interested in understanding the emergent properties of products of protease activity and how these neo‐epitopes interact with cellular proteostasis networks. He is using global and candidate‐based approaches to characterize nodes at which proteolysis and proteostasis intersect, and exploring this interplay in the context of human disease. Prior to coming to UCSF to begin his doctoral work, Matthew spent five years working in industrial drug discovery in San Diego. He tries to spend as much of his free time as possible fishing, hiking, and generally enjoying the outdoors

Department of Biochemistry
Ph.D. Program

Elle Roberson
Betty and Bruce Alberts Scholar
Ramsay Family Foundation Scholar

Elle is a member of Jeremy Reiter’s laboratory, where the focus is on a small organelle called the primary cilium which is required for vertebrate development. For example, primary cilia are required to pattern the five digits on the developing human and mouse limb bud: if primary cilia form improperly, extra digits will develop on the limb bud, because Hedgehog signaling has become overactive. Interestingly, each digit on the limb bud (from the pinkie to the thumb) is patterned via a concentration gradient of activating ligand. Elle’s project focuses on how the primary cilium interprets that concentration gradient, resulting in different digit formation. Her goal is to live-image the main activator of the Hedgehog signaling pathway (called Smoothened) at the cilium under different concentrations of activating ligand, with the hypothesis that high concentrations of activating ligand produce different Smoothened localization dynamics compared to low concentrations of activating ligand.

Department of Biomedical Sciences
Ph.D. Program

Lucas Smith
Dr. and Mrs. Bernard M. Kramer Endowment Fund Scholar

After graduating from the University of Puget Sound with a BS in Biology, Lucas moved to San Francisco to pursue a career in science. During his time in San Francisco, he has had the opportunity to work in both industry and academia and to contribute to a number of publications. His time as a research associate at UCSF propelled him to pursue a Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences. During his time at UCSF, Lucas has received a number of honors and awards, including two NSF GFRP honorable mentions and the Best Graduate Student Translational Poster Award at the 2013 Bay Area Aging Meeting. Lucas is interested in cancer and aging, and he is currently working on a project aimed at identifying rejuvenating factors that mitigate the age-related decline in learning and memory seen in mice and humans. Outside of science, he enjoys hiking, biking, and cooking.

Department of Biomedical Sciences
Ph.D. Program

Adrienne Stormo
Kayla and Jamie Grodsky Memorial Scholar

Adrienne developed an interest in basic scientific research as a child, when she would spend weekends and summers working in her mother’s genetics lab. She became curious about what genetics and cell biology can tell us about human health and disease. Currently, she is studying the function of LRRK2, a large kinase that plays a role in both familial and sporadic forms of Parkinson’s Disease. Outside of the lab, Adrienne has a passion for teaching and mentoring. Since high school, she has been tutoring students and volunteering at local public schools in hopes of encouraging kids to pursue science in college and beyond.

Department of Oral Craniofacial Sciences
Ph.D. Program

Sarah Wong
Nordstrom Stores Scholar

Sarah’s biomedical research career was sparked by her initial work in Parkinson’s disease (University of the Pacific), Alzheimer’s disease and axon regeneration failure (Stanford University). As a DDS/Ph.D. student at UCSF, Sarah has bridged her interests in dental science and tissue regeneration. She is conducting thesis work on the molecular mechanisms of endochondral ossification and translational approaches to mandible fracture repair. Sarah would like to pursue a career in academic dentistry that combines her interests in translational research, clinical work and teaching.

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, SANTA CRUZ

  • University of California, Santa Cruz
  • Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics
  • Department of Computer Engineering
  • Department of Computer Science
  • Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences
  • Department of Mathematics
  • Department of Microbiology & Environmental Toxicology
  • Department of Ocean Sciences
  • Department of Physics
  • Science Communication Program
  • Emily Benson
    Graduate Certificate - Science Communication Program
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  • Jennifer Burt
    Ph.D. Program - Astronomy & Astrophysics
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  • Kieran Collins
    Ph.D. Program - Microbiology & Environmental Toxicology
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  • Laurel Hamers
    Graduate Certificate - Science Communication Program
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  • Stephanie Lukin
    Ph.D. Program - Computer Science
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  • Allison Pfeiffer
    Ph.D. Program - Earth & Planetary Sciences
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  • Zachary Rubin
    Ph.D. Program - Computer Engineering
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Department of Science Communication
Graduate Certificate

Emily Benson
ARCS Foundation Scholar

During her time as a graduate student in Alaska, Emily paddled canoes and drove jet boats up and down rivers during field trips, collecting algae and insects. As she told stories about her time in the woods, she began to realize the power and joy of sharing tales of how science works. These days she is transitioning from participating in science as a student and researcher to writing about science from the outside. Now, she focuses her work on sharing science with others, and hopes to inspire them to care about research and the environment along the way,

Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics
Ph.D. Program

Jennifer Burt
Peggy Huntington, JBH Foundation, Deborah Wreyford and Ken Winans Scholar

Jennifer’s research interests center on understanding how commonly planets similar to those in our solar system occur in the Milky Way galaxy. She investigates this by running a world-class telescope called the Automated Planet Finder, located at Lick Observatory in California. Jennifer oversees 40% of the telescope's nights and designs software that allows the APF to make decisions on what stars to observe without human intervention. She also works towards improving data reduction processes and disentangling planetary signatures from stellar activity signals. When not working on research, Jennifer runs the astrophysics department's TA’ing program. She also coaches UCSC's competitive ballroom dance team and competes in collegiate events around California.

Department of Microbiology & Environmental Toxicology
Ph.D. Program

Kieran Collins
Barbara and John Glynn Scholar

The human gastric pathogen Helicobacter pylori infects half the world's population; infection with this bacterium can last an individual's lifetime and increases the risk of developing gastric pathologies including ulcers and gastric cancers. H. pylori relies on the ability to sense its environment and uses this information to drive its motility during early stages of infection. The goal of Kieran’s project is to determine how H. pylori utilizes a cytosolic chemoreceptor called TlpD during colonization. TlpD has been shown to have a major impact on infection in the host, as TlpD mutants show the most severe attenuation among chemoreceptor mutants. Kieran’s thesis work has made significant progress in elucidating what this chemoreceptor senses and how TlpD communicates ligand binding through other proteins to modulate motility. Further study of this chemoreceptor could lead to more effective treatment of this prolific human pathogen.

Department of Physics
Ph.D. Program

Adam Coogan
Shirley Freund Memorial Scholar

Adam’s research focuses on uncovering the particle physics properties of dark matter by connecting theories to observations. As an undergraduate at Brown University, he received awards to undertake research projects related to particle physics and astrophysics. At UCSC, he has written papers predicting a new "smoking gun" signature of annihilating dark matter and determining the implications of a dark matter explanation for an as-of-yet unexplained excess at the AMS-02 experiment mounted on the Space Station. He is currently writing simulations to determine whether we can differentiate between a dark matter versus astrophysical explanation for the AMS-02 excess, and examining complications to a classic calculation of the amount of dark matter that should be present in the universe today. As a transplant from the East Coast, Adam has travelled California to pursue his passion for bouldering and rock climbing, drawing upon his analytical skills and tenacity to push his physical limits.

Department of Science Communication
Graduate Certificate

Laurel Hamers
Linda Dyer Millard Scholar

Growing up in a family that carried out chemistry experiments during Thanksgiving dinner, Laurel always planned to be a scientist. In college, though, she realized that instead of focusing intensely on one subject, she was more excited about taking ideas hatched in the lab and placing them in the context of bigger questions. Science writing satisfied her intellectual wanderlust, allowing her to frame seemingly obscure findings in a way that made sense to the general public. Laurel graduated from Williams College in June 2014 and currently writes for the American Institute of Physics. She is attending UCSC's Science Communication program to sharpen her reporting skills and build connections in the science writing world.

Department of Computer Science
Ph.D. Program

Stephanie Lukin
Devlin Family Endowment Fund Scholar

Stephanie's research focuses on natural language generation in storytelling, specifically varying the way a story is told through the implementation of general narratological variations, such as varying direct speech and character voice, or the point of view from which the story is told. She can also automatically generate variations through changes in lexical selection and syntactic structure. She co-authored and presented a full length conference paper on this work at ICIDS 2013, a workshop at GAMNLP 2014, and submitted to IVA 2015. In summer 2015, Stephanie was a research intern with Microsoft Research working on data mining and machine learning. Stephanie regularly provides leadership in the lab, mentoring incoming students and helping other students get started on their projects using data that she has curated. She completed the Graduate Student Leadership Certificate Program run by DGS and has advanced to candidacy.

Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences
Ph.D. Program

Allison Pfeiffer
Greene Van Arsdale Foundation Scholar
Niantic Charitable Trust Scholar

Allison studies fluvial (river) processes. Her research explores the controls on bed surface grain size in rivers, with implications for salmon habitat. This subject gives her the opportunity to apply quantitative, process-based geomorphology tools to important questions related to watershed management. The combination of rigorous science and societal importance drives her passion for this work. In addition to her research and time spent as a teaching assistant, Allison recently helped to found a new student-led group at UCSC focusing on issues related to women and minorities in the geosciences.

Department of Computer Engineering
Ph.D. Program

Zachary Rubin
ARCS Foundation Scholar

Inspired by his own experiences with his learning disability, Zachary conducts research in the assistive technology field of human-computer interaction. His research project investigates improving speech therapy for children through the use of modern technologies including mobile gaming, speech recognition, and automated statistics collection. He has received a large number of honors during his time as a Ph.D. student. In 2014 he took second place in the Bigldeas@Berkeley competition held at UC Berkeley and ran a successful lndieGoGo crowdfunding campaign to source funds for the development of his research. Additionally, he has published every year since 2012.

Department of Mathematics
Ph.D. Program

Vinod Sastry
ARCS Foundation Scholar

Vinod has been pleasantly surprised to find that mathematics has been one of the most inventive endeavors of his life. Along with studying diligently, he needs a quiet and relaxed mind in order to bring innovative ideas to solve mathematical problems. Therefore, he started a meditation and yoga practice, which has helped to settle his mind and approach math in a more inspired and proficient way. Moreover, meditation has supported his ability to teach effectively. Vinod’s current field of research is Geometric Mechanics, which utilizes geometric methods to study systems of differential equations that describe the motion of mechanical systems. Geometric Mechanics investigates spaces of higher dimensions that are generally difficult to visualize. Ultimately, mathematics and meditation continue to motivate and encourage Vinod to push his boundaries within as well as contribute to the greater scientific community.

Department of Ocean Sciences
Ph.D. Program

Jillian Sills
Wildcat Cove Foundation Scholar

Jillian graduated magna cum laude from Cornell University with a B.S. in Biology and Natural Resources. She studied fisheries biology at NOAA's J.J. Howard Lab as a Hollings Scholar, dolphin behavioral ecology with the Sarasota Dolphin Research Program, and baleen whale acoustics at NOAA's Northeast Fisheries Science Center. Jillian is interested in how marine mammals perceive their environments and how they are affected by human-generated noise. Her Ph.D. research concerns hearing in ice seals, and her work is critical to the conservation of these vulnerable species. Jillian has core responsibilities for the welfare, training, and care of her research animals, and she mentors a dedicated team of undergraduate students. She approaches her studies with meticulousness, dedication, and enthusiasm.