2017-2018 ARCS Scholars

Congratulations to our
2017-2018 Scholars
ARCS Foundation Northern California Chapter

SAN FRANCISCO STATE UNIVERSITY

  • San Francisco State University
  • Department of Biology
  • Department of Earth & Climate Sciences
  • Department of Mathematics
  • Department of Physics & Astronomy




  • Image Suzanne Goldstein
    Master's Program - Earth & Climate Sciences
    Read Bio →



  • Image Wendy Crumrine
    Master's Program - Physics & Astronomy
    Read Bio →

Department of Biology
Master’s Program

Margot Buchbinder

Margot is interested in studying how to enhance coastal ecosystem resiliency, and her research focuses on the impacts of implementing active restoration techniques, such as planting vegetation, on the ecological and physical recovery of a salt marsh restoration site. She received second place in the 2016 Bay-Delta Science Conference poster competition, and was awarded an Honorable Mention from the NSF GRFP. As an undergraduate at the University of Maryland, Margot conducted research on ecological genetics and on amphibian population dynamics, and later worked as an environmental educator and as an intern aboard a NOAA exploration vessel.

Department of Biology
Master’s Program

Alexandra Cooper

Alexandra has many research interests that range from the taxonomy of mushrooms to science education research. Her thesis is looking at the biodiversity of mushrooms collected from the islands of São Tomé and Príncipe. The project will identify each species collected and create a regional monograph. She spends her time as a graduate teaching assistant for undergraduate courses. Outside of class, Alexandra loves to take Zumba classes and watch movies.

Department of Biology
Master’s Program

Gabriela Ponce

Gabriela is a bilingual/bicultural Mexican American graduate student in the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Conservation Biology. Her study interests lie in the realm of insect plant interactions and their effects on community structure. Currently she is studying the development of insect induced tumor-like growths called galls. Her work uses fluorescent antibody staining techniques to localize plant hormones within insects that they use to induce galls. Throughout her academic career, she has extensive experience in field ecology research working with endangered species, mentoring undergraduate researchers and teaching undergraduate biology courses. She continues her long-term involvement in the Mexican American community through folkloric dancing.

Department of Biology
Master’s Program

Rachel Weinberg

Rachel studies fusion in the invasive colonial tunicate Didemnum vexillum. She is interested in the evolution of chimerism across a wide variety of invertebrate taxa and in applying molecular techniques to better understand the evolution and ecology of colonial invertebrates. She is a graduate assistant for the Marine Invertebrate Zoology and Marine Ecology courses at SF State and works in the Romberg Tiburon Center genetics laboratory. This summer, she traveled to the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama to participate in a field course on the taxonomy and biology of tropical tunicates.

Department of Earth & Climate Sciences
Master’s Program

Suzanne Goldstein

Suzanne’s research focuses on modeling the effects of climate change on flood risk and community economic and social vulnerability. Suzanne came to SFSU with a Master of Public Policy degree and career experience advocating for improvements in quality and access to STEM education. She intends to combine her scientific and policy analysis skills to develop data tools and decision-support applications to improve public engagement and local planning for climate change adaptation.

Department of Mathematics
Master’s Program

Justin Fong

Justin has a wide range of interests in many fields of mathematics, particularly those related to algebra. In particular, he is interested in the representation theory of finite groups, commutative algebra, and algebraic geometry. His master’s thesis is centered on Wedderburn’s theorem on finite group rings and its applications. Justin has worked at San Francisco state as a math tutor and graduate teaching assistant. Outside of school he enjoys walking and hiking around the city and visiting bookstores.

Department of Mathematics
Master’s Program

Sam Sehayek

Sam returned to academia after working in Los Angeles at a technology startup, a major hedge fund, and a recruiting firm. He has a wide number of interests in mathematics, including number theory and mathematical logic. He recently finished an algebraic geometry project treatise on the containment problem, and is beginning research on the ⅓ ⅔ conjecture. In addition to his professional interests, Sam is an accomplished guitarist, a martial artist, and an award-winning homebrewer.

Department of Physics & Astronomy
Master’s Program

Wendy Crumrine

After receiving her Bachelors from Harvard, Wendy worked with neurologically diverse youth, coaching them to their academic potential, as well as for a nonprofit in the international corporate accountability movement. Eventually she discovered her truest love: physics. She is currently using computational fluid mechanics to model early planetary formation and anticipates making a career in fusion or propulsion research. She co-founded a club on campus supporting women in physics, and intends to be a lifelong advocate for gender and racial equality in STEM. Additionally, she hopes to be a voice in the movement to target emerging technology toward the betterment of humanity through ontological and social design.

STANFORD UNIVERSITY

  • Stanford University
  • Department of Bioengineering
  • Department of Biology
  • Department of Chemistry
  • Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering
  • Department of Earth System Sciences
  • Department of Electrical Engineering
  • Department of Geophysics
  • Department of Mathematics
  • Department of Physics




  • Image Shabnam Jandaghi Semnani
    Ph.D. Program - Civil & Environmental Engineering
    Read Bio →

  • Image Robert Spragg
    Ph.D. Program - Civil & Environmental Engineering
    Read Bio →

  • Image Hannah Naughton
    Ph.D. Program - Earth System Science
    Read Bio →

  • Gennifer Smith
    Ph.D. Program - Electrical Engineering
    Read Bio →



Department of Bioengineering
Ph.D. Program

Amanda Miguel

Amanda's graduate work focuses on understanding the shape and growth of bacteria under stressful environments, using a combination of high-throughput genetic assays, biochemical analysis of bacterial structure, and single cell level microscopy. Her research interests also include structural analysis of protein-drug relationships through computational modelling, with a specific interest in bacteria-targeting antibiotics. Outside of her research, Amanda pursues her passion for mentoring and teaching as a co-coordinator for the Bioengineering TA mentorship program, and also volunteers her time for educational outreach to nearby middle schools. Her hobbies include biking, playing guitar, and scrapbooking.

Department of Bioengineering
Ph.D. Program

Anne Ye

Anne is pursuing her thesis research in the lab of Dr. Jennifer Cochran. Her current work is in the area of protein engineering, focusing on engineering a novel enzyme for performing site-specific protein bioconjugation, and her previous work on engineering ligand-derived inhibitors of receptors involved in mediating pathological angiogenesis was recently published. Anne obtained a B.S. in Biological Engineering from MIT, where her experience as an undergraduate researcher in an x-ray crystallography lab first sparked her interest in protein structure­function relationships. In addition to research, she is also committed to mentorship and outreach, and is the current Vice President of Stanford's graduate chapter of the Society of Women Engineers. Outside of lab, she enjoys cooking, board games, and badminton.

Department of Biology
Ph.D. Program

Julia Grace Mason

Julia is conducting research at Stanford’s Hopkins Marine Station. She is interested in how marine predators respond to climate variability, and the impacts on communities that fish them. Her work in Larry Crowder's lab focuses on interacting effects of climate and management on the California swordfish fishery and shark fisheries in Peru. Prior to joining Stanford, she participated in marine conservation research in nine National Parks as the 2013 OWUSS Dive Research Intern. She graduated from Harvard College summa cum laude with an A. B. in Environmental Science & Public Policy, and a secondary in Organismic and Evolutionary Biology.

Department of Chemistry
Ph.D. Program

Patrick Kramer

Patrick’s concentration is in Chemical Physics, studying the ultrafast vibrational dynamics of small hydrogen-bonding molecules (such as water and alcohols) in complex condensed-phase environments using two­dimensional infrared (2D IR) spectroscopy. Patrick has contributed to the development of a theory allowing analysis and separation of the various structural and rotational contributions and applied it to his measurements on the experimental system of methanol in a room-temperature ionic liquid - a solvent system of great interest for new advances in chemical processing and batteries, for example. After graduation, Patrick would like to proceed to an academic career in developing new methodologies for extracting ultrafast dynamical information from chemical systems. Outside of the lab, he enjoys travel, hiking, and Scotch whiskey.

Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering
Ph.D. Program

Shabnam Jandaghi Semnani

Shabnam's main research interests lie within the areas of characterization and modeling of heterogeneous materials across scales, and developing multi-scale and multi-physics models to link the microstructure and macroscopic behavior of these materials. She plans to achieve this by combining statistical, computational and numerical modeling methods with experimental techniques conducted at various scales, from nano-scale to the macroscopic scale. Her doctoral research has taken steps towards this goal, and she plans to work further in this direction in the future. Shabnam has received several awards including an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship in 2014.

Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering
Ph.D. Program

Robert Spragg

Robert is a first-year graduate student in the Atmosphere / Energy program. He previously worked on the MyGreenCar project at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, where he was part of a team that developed a model to help drivers select the most fuel-efficient car for their unique driving habits. He has also worked in the Ruhr region of Germany through the Ruhr Fellowship program, which was developed to promote collaboration and innovation between Germany and the United States. In his free time, Robert enjoys hiking, traveling, and playing volleyball.

Department of Earth System Science
Ph.D. Program

Hannah Naughton

Hannah's doctoral research centers on soil carbon, which exceeds the amount of carbon in Earth's atmosphere and biota combined. Through lab and field work, she identifies chemical and microbial processes that release soil carbon back to the atmosphere through decomposition and respiration, and by modeling soil carbon decomposition rates, she seeks to improve predictions of carbon fluxes under changing global precipitation and temperature patterns. Hannah began this work as a Master's student at the University of Michigan under an NSF-GRFP fellowship to study the impact of microbial diversity on carbon and contaminant cycling. Sharing her passion for science arid the environment, Hannah has mentored two undergraduate students on independent projects, a high school intern, and has assistant-taught Physical, Organic, and Inorganic Chemistry in addition to Soils Science labs. Balancing her scientific work, Hannah enjoys sailing, hiking, climbing, and classical music.

Department of Electrical Engineering
Ph.D. Program

Gennifer Smith

Gennifer's main research interest is low-cost medical diagnostics. As an undergraduate she was an intern at Sandia National Laboratories and helped develop a point-of- care device for diagnosing tuberculosis and assessing antibiotic resistance. She is currently working on a low­cost device for urinalysis, which will include antibiotic susceptibility testing. Gennifer has also been involved in several other projects including image quantitation and phantom fabrication for optical coherence tomography. Gennifer has mentored several undergraduate students performing research at Stanford and hopes to continue a career in academics. Outside of the lab, Gennifer enjoys playing board games and Minecraft with her son.

Department of Geophysics
Ph.D. Program

Alex Kendrick

Alex first experienced the thrill of designing and conducting experiments in elementary school, participating in the local science fairs. Involvement with science fairs continued through high school, with Alex completing projects on a wide range of topics all of which allowed him to explore ways of measuring and monitoring natural systems. His fascination with science led him to major in physics for his undergraduate degree at Harvey Mudd College. For his graduate education at Stanford, Alex is combining his interests in physics and natural systems by using nuclear magnetic resonance to study fluid flow through geologic materials.

Department of Mathematics
Ph.D. Program

Zev Rosengarten

A fifth-year Ph.D. student, Zev’s main area of interest is number theory. Currently, he is working on proving a formula he conjectured for Tamagawa numbers of linear algebraic groups. These are certain quantities of great interest to mathematicians who study arithmetic. In addition to working on his research, he spent last summer in China at the Ross Mathematics Program, a math program for high school students in China that aims to introduce them to research-style mathematics through intensive problem-solving. In addition to mathematics, Zev is interested in history and physics, and is also an avid runner.

Department of Physics
Ph.D. Program

Eli Fox

Eli’s research in an experimental condensed matter physics laboratory focuses on topological insulators, a recently discovered class of materials which are electrically insulating in their interior but have special conductive states on the surface. In particular, he is studying a phenomenon in which dissipationless, one­dimensional conduction channels arise in magnetic thin films of these compounds. More broadly, Eli is interested in mesoscopic physics, unconventional superconductivity, and other topological physics. Before coming to Stanford, he completed his bachelor's degree in physics and mathematics at Cornell University and was awarded a Department of Energy Office of Science Graduate Fellowship for the beginning of his graduate studies. Outside of research and academics, Eli enjoys hiking, rock climbing, and snowboarding.

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, BERKELEY

  • University of California, Berkeley
  • Department of Chemical Engineering
  • Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering
  • Department of Computer Science
  • Department of Molecular & Cell Biology
  • Department of Physics
  • Department of Plant & Microbial Biology

  • Image Jared O’Leary
    Ph.D. Program - Chemical Engineering
    Read Bio →

  • Trenton Otto
    Ph.D. Program - Chemical Engineering
    Read Bio →

  • Miklos Zoller
    Ph.D. Program - Civil & Environmental Engineering
    Read Bio →


  • Molly Nicholas
    Ph.D. Program - Computer Science
    Read Bio →

  • Alexander Reinking
    Ph.D. Program - Computer Science
    Read Bio →

  • Image Madeline Arnold
    Ph.D. Program - Molecular & Cell Biology
    Read Bio →


  • Andrew Brandon
    Ph.D. Program - Plant & Microbial Biology
    Read Bio →

  • Brianna Haining
    Ph.D. Program - Plant & Microbial Biology
    Read Bio →

  • Ouwei Wang
    Ph.D. Program - Plant & Microbial Biology
    Read Bio →

Department of Chemical Engineering
Ph.D. Program

Jared O’Leary

After graduating from Stanford, Jared worked for three years as a Systems Integration and Validation Engineer and Team Lead at Theranos, Inc., a medical diagnostics company in Palo Alto, CA. His current research project is titled "Stochastic Optimal Control of Self-Assembly Systems." Self-assembly is the process by which discrete components spontaneously organize into an ordered state, but is inherently stochastic, prone to kinetic arrest and variability in materials manufacturing. The goal of this project is to fuse concepts from stochastic optimal control theory and directed self-assembly to reproducibly manufacture advanced, defect-free materials with unique properties (e.g., semiconducting materials from quantum dots for biological imaging or photovoltaic cell applications). Jared wants to devote his career to solving these intellectually stimulating, and likely high-risk projects.

Department of Chemical Engineering
Ph.D. Program

Trenton Otto

Trenton came to UC Berkeley because of the university’s excellent catalysis research and close collaborations with industry. His project concerns the encapsulation of catalytically active metal species within zeolites. In particular, he aims to develop synthetic strategies for the encapsulation of metal clusters -- such as gold nano-particles -- that have been found to have potential but are precluded from commercial use due to their poor stability or selectivity, or propensity to adsorb poisons. Long-term, Trenton would like to work in Research & Development in the chemical industry or a national laboratory on catalysis projects.

Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering
Ph.D. Program

Miklos Zoller

Miklos’s research interests include micro- and nano-mechanics. Mechanics is the study of how materials deform under various loading conditions, and he is interested in how knowledge of a material’s given microstructure can make better approximations to structural behavior at a macroscopic level. His current research is called “microsphere modeling” and involves approximating a polymer’s microstructure by a unit sphere with uniformly distributed orientation vectors in space. From here we can average the micro-scale deformations that are occurring via an energy functional to determine macroscopic mechanical behavior.

Department of Computer Science
Ph.D. Program

Karima Ma

Karima is a member of the Berkeley Artificial Intelligence Research Lab. She is currently pursuing ways to systematically design deep neural network architectures to make them reusable across tasks, computationally efficient, and humanly interpretable. Prior to joining Berkeley, she received her Master’s in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University where she worked on designing a domain specific language for expressing and answering questions about visual content. In her spare time Karima enjoys metal-smithing to make jewelry pieces and tackling bouldering walls with her friends.

Department of Computer Science
Ph.D. Program

Molly Nicholas

Bangladesh to Berkeley, Clown Conservatory to Qualcomm, these have been some of the stops on Molly’s journey so far. Her research goals are exploring how theatrical techniques and methods may influence the fields of electrical engineering and computer science, and vice versa. This past year was a wonderful, whirlwind experience with Eric Paulos’ Hybrid Ecologies Lab. She jumped right into research in her first month, helping out a 3 rd -year student) with his work. They were lucky enough to win a Best Paper Award at CHI, the largest conference in their field, and presented their work in Denver, CO this past May. As she moves forward on her own projects, Molly looks forward to incorporating her experience as a puppeteer into her work with robots, textiles, and novel user interfaces.

Department of Computer Science
Ph.D. Program

Alexander Reinking

Alex's main research area is programming languages, specifically in program synthesis. His paper "A Type-Directed Approach to Program Repair'', which described a graph-based system for synthesizing Java expressions either from scratch or from a broken expression, won 2nd place at PLDI 2015. In the last year, he has worked to extend this system with deep reinforcement learning techniques to generate more accurate repairs, and drawn on text generation techniques from NLP to generate larger snippets of code. During the past summer he interned at MSR to extend the P programming language with new features. Alexander also spent two summers as a software engineering intern for Microsoft, where he worked on lntune, a cloud-based, enterprise, device management product.

Department of Molecular & Cell Biology
Ph.D. Program

Madeline Arnold

Madeline is interested in research at the intersection of engineering, molecular biology, and neuroscience. As an undergraduate at Carleton College, she wrote her senior thesis on protein degradation pathways in Alzheimer’s disease, which sparked her interest in neurobiology. While working as a Postbaccalaureate Researcher at the National Human Genome Research Institute, she got a taste for translational research. She characterized mouse and zebrafish models of a rare genetic disorder, cobalamin deficiency type C, and developed a successful gene therapy. During her Ph.D. work she hopes to engineer new tools to study neurodegenerative or neurodevelopmental disorders, and investigate the molecular and cellular mechanisms at work in these diseases. Additional interests include drug discovery and synthetic biology. She loves teaching and mentoring students, and looks forward to participating in teaching and community outreach activities. In her free time Madeline enjoys swing dancing, playing the piano, and making pottery.

Department of Physics
Ph.D. Program

Samantha Dixon

A fourth-year Ph.D. student, Sam has studied the cosmic microwave background (at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and UC Berkeley) and built instrumentation to search for dark matter (at the University of Chicago). Her current research focuses on using measurements of Type la supernovae, a special subclass 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 the dark energy driving the accelerating expansion of the Universe. She is additionally interested in the applications of data science and machine learning techniques to problems in astrophysics and cosmology.

Department of Plant & Microbial Biology
Ph.D. Program

Andrew Brandon

The focus of Andrew’s doctoral research is the biosynthesis of xylan, a major component of the plant cell wall. Xylan makes up 25-35% of the biomass of most land plants and is likely the second-most abundant biopolymer on earth. Plant biomass is the greatest source of useable and renewable carbon compounds on earth, so a better understanding of how the plant cell wall is made will allow us to engineer crops that are more suitable for conversion to biofuels and bioproducts. Andrew’s work reflects his personal interests in industry and the future of renewable bioenergy. After he earns his doctorate, Andrew hopes to pursue private industry research or possibly a career in academia.

Department of Plant & Microbial Biology
Ph.D. Program

Brianna Haining

As a third year Ph.D. student, Brianna conducts research on the genetics of iron uptake in the subsistence crop species Setaria italica. Her hope is to one day identify variants that can be leveraged to increase the concentration of vital micronutrients in this and other cereal crops. Previous to UC Berkeley, Brianna completed an undergraduate thesis on the biogeography of the date palm at New York University Abu Dhabi. Outside of the lab, Brianna enjoys fiber arts, biking, and cooking elaborate meals.

Department of Plant & Microbial Biology
Ph.D. Program

Ouwei Wang

Ouwei is a fourth year graduate student in the lab of John Coates. His current project is to use a synthetic biology approach for hygiene maintenance in Escherichia coli continuous flow bioreactors. Phage and microbial contaminations in industrial fermentation processes constitute one of the most devastating threats to the productivity and operational costs of biotechnology facilities. Although bleach derivatives can be added to process waters to prevent infection, these disinfectants are also biocidal against the process organism. The lab focuses on engineering a chlorite-resistant process E. coli strain that grow in high concentration of chlorite disinfectant, which allows for chemostat culturing with low risk of contamination. 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.

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, DAVIS

  • University of California, Davis
  • Animal Behavior Graduate Group
  • Department of Biomedical Engineering
  • Department of Chemistry
  • Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • Ecology Graduate Group
  • Geology Graduate Group
  • Molecular, Cellular & Integrative Physiology Graduate Group
  • Neuroscience Graduate Group
  • Pharmacology & Toxicology Graduate Group
  • Population Biology Graduate Group
  • School of Veterinary Medicine/Integrative Pathobiology

  • Image Sean Ehlman
    Ph.D. Program - Animal Behavior Graduate Group
    Read Bio →

  • Image Gabrielle Names
    Ph.D. Program - Animal Behavior Graduate Group
    Read Bio →

  • Image Jenna Harvestine
    Ph.D. Program - Department of Biomedical Engineering
    Read Bio →

  • Image Sara Sukenik
    Ph.D. Program - Department of Biomedical Engineering
    Read Bio →

  • Image Stephanie Hare
    Ph.D. Program - Department of Chemistry
    Read Bio →

  • Image Eric Chin
    Ph.D. Program - Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering
    Read Bio →

  • Image Jan Ng
    Ph.D. Program - Ecology Graduate Group
    Read Bio →

  • Image Caroline Webb
    Ph.D. Program - Geology Graduate Group
    Read Bio →

  • Image Grace Or
    Ph.D. Program - MCI Physiology Graduate Group
    Read Bio →

  • Image Lauren Fink
    Ph.D. Program - Neuroscience Graduate Group
    Read Bio →

  • Image Britt Yazel
    Ph.D. Program - Neuroscience Graduate Group
    Read Bio →

  • Samantha Francis Stuart
    Ph.D. Program - Pharmacology & Toxicology Graduate Group
    Read Bio →

  • Michelle Stitzer
    Ph.D. Program - Population Biology Graduate Group
    Read Bio →

  • Image Kelly Lima
    Ph.D. Program - School of Veterinary Medicine/Integrative Pathobiology
    Read Bio →

  • Image Eric Velazquez
    Ph.D. Program - School of Veterinary Medicine/Integrative Pathobiology
    Read Bio →

Animal Behavior Graduate Group
Ph.D. Program

Sean Ehlman

Sean is currently a Ph.D. Candidate and an NSF Graduate Research Fellow studying forces that lead to variation in behavioral responses of animals to environmental change. His research is a mix of ecology theory and empirical research. Ultimately, Sean hopes that his work will lay groundwork for predicting the vulnerability of populations and species in response to human‐induced environmental change. When Sean isn’t in the field (Trinidad) or analyzing data, he’s often exploring the California backcountry or leading rafting trips down Sierran rivers.

Animal Behavior Graduate Group
Ph.D. Program

Gabrielle Names

Before coming to Davis, Gabrielle graduated summa cum laude with a B.S. in Biology and B.A. in French from the College of William and Mary, and she received her M.S. in Evolutionary Ecology with honors from the Ecole Normale Supérieure (Paris, France). Now a fourth-year Ph.D. student, Gabrielle has developed an independent project investigating how exposure to an introduced disease, avian malaria, affects the evolution and conservation of an endemic bird, the Hawaii Amakihi. In her free time, Gabrielle enjoys watching French films and is an avid distance runner, having qualified for and run the Boston Marathon three times.

Department of Biomedical Engineering
Ph.D. Program

Jenna Harvestine

Jenna sparked a passion for biomedical research at her undergraduate institution, the Milwaukee School of Engineering, where she led a team pioneering a method to produce synthetic red blood cells. She matriculated to UC Davis as a Floyd and Mary Schwall Fellow in Medical Research and in 2015 was awarded a National Defense Science Engineering Graduate Fellowship. Jenna investigates cell- secreted proteins as an instructive biomaterial for tissue engineering and works under the advisement of Dr. Kent Leach. When not in the laboratory, you can find Jenna on the soccer field or enjoying the plethora of outdoor activities in the Sacramento area.

Department of Biomedical Engineering
Ph.D. Program

Sara Sukenik

Sara’s graduate research focuses on using plant cell suspension cultures for rapid, large-scale production of novel therapeutic proteins. This new platform is designed to be utilized in emergency situations, such as an infectious disease outbreak or bioterrorist attack. In addition to laboratory experiments, Sara is interested in how mathematical models can be used in biopharmaceutical manufacturing to enhance process robustness while reducing time and costs of development. Prior to graduate school, Sara worked in vaccine process development at Merck. After completing her Ph.D., she plans to pursue a career in the biotechnology industry.

Department of Chemistry
Ph.D. Program

Stephanie Hare

Stephanie received her B.S. in chemical engineering from the University of Washington and is now a fourth-year Ph.D. student doing research in applied computational organic chemistry in the Tantillo group. Stephanie uses density functional theory (DFT) calculations and molecular dynamics (MD) simulations to analyze reactions containing post-transition state bifurcations, where two products form the same transition state structure. She is currently president of the national non-profit organization ADSE, the Alliance for Diversity in Science and Engineering. She plans to continue in academia, and eventually become a professor in computational chemistry.

Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering
Ph.D. Program

Eric Chin

Eric earned his B.S. at UCLA and his M.S. at UC Berkeley, both in Civil and Environmental Engineering. He first explored his interest in fracture mechanics as an engineer at Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory, where he helped pioneer new methods to model crack growth, ensuring the safe operation of the nation’s nuclear submarines and aircraft carriers. His interest in fracture mechanics subsequently inspired him to pursue further education at UC Davis. His current research focuses on computational mechanics – specifically, improving numerical integration in computational physics simulations and modeling pervasive fracture using polygonal and polyhedral finite elements. Outside of his work, Eric enjoys hiking, backpacking, golf, and basketball.

Ecology Graduate Group
Ph.D. Program

Jan Ng

Jan is interested in how ecosystems can be resilient when facing natural disturbances. She currently focuses on how forests survive fires. Specifically, she studies arrangements of trees (“tree spatial patterns”) that are linked to forests surviving multiple burns. Her work will provide information for land managers to help sustain forests and their benefits. Previously, Jan studied forests affected by agriculture (in Southeast Asia) and pests (in Massachusetts), and also served as an NSF Graduate K-12 Fellow. At UC Davis she devotes time to teaching, outreach, and service efforts that complement her training as a scientist. Ultimately, she seeks to enable the most informed, representative group of voices to be at the world’s tables, participating in environmental decision-making.

Geology Graduate Group
Ph.D. Program

Caroline Webb

Caroline’s research bridges the gap between hydrology and geophysics by using magnetotelluric imaging to understand groundwater systems in volcanoes, particularly Mount Shasta. She is also developing a full 3D model of groundwater flow at Shasta. As an undergraduate at Brown, Caroline also did two internships, one in the Purdue Physics department and another through the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology. After graduation she spent a year in Shenzhen, China, teaching English to elementary school children. Caroline is an animal lover and enjoys playing the ukulele.

MCI Physiology Graduate Group
Ph.D. Program

Grace Or

Grace’s thesis project, under the mentorship of Dr. Lin Tian, involves the development of a genetically encoded small illuminant that can be used as a voltage sensor to integrate neural activity. Grace hopes to one day be able to use the tools she develops in the Tian lab to investigate metabolic involvement in neurological diseases in her own research laboratory. Grace is also the recipient of the 2017 Loren D. Carlson Prize in Physiology and the winner of the Center for Biophotonic Sensors and Systems 3 Minute Pitch competition. Prior to graduate school, Grace conducted research at UCSF where she studied neonatal cerebral hypoxia ischemia. In addition to research, Grace is passionate about teaching abroad and has volunteered in Thailand, Uganda, China, Mexico and Kenya. Additionally, Grace loves to run, lift weights, and watch the NBA with her family.

Neuroscience Graduate Group
Ph.D. Program

Lauren Fink

Lauren’s research, in the lab of Dr. Petr Janata, revolves around understanding how the brain responds to rhythmically structured sound and provides insights for harnessing the effects of music to enhance or alter attentional states. This year, Lauren was a visiting researcher at the Swartz Center for Computational Neuroscience (UC San Diego) and the scientific chair of a conference on music and eye tracking at the Max-Planck- Institute for Empirical Aesthetics in Frankfurt, Germany. Lauren holds a B.M. in percussion performance from the University of Cincinnati College–Conservatory of Music and an M.Phil in Music Studies: Music & Science from the University of Cambridge.

Neuroscience Graduate Group
Ph.D. Program

Britt Yazel

Britt is a third year Ph.D. student who is currently studying hearing loss and human cognition. His work explores how to integrate behaviorally relevant biological models of hearing loss into modern prosthetic devices, with the hopes of improving the working performance of such devices, the quality of life for the users, and exploring the mind in the process. Britt works closely with many open- source software projects, and is an avid technology enthusiast in his spare time. One day he hopes to bring his passions of neuroscience and computer technology together to boost the quality and enjoyment of day-to- day life for all persons around the world.

Pharmacology & Toxicology Graduate Group
Ph.D. Program

Samantha Francis Stuart

Samantha is researching the roles of aging and chronic inflammation following heart attack, focusing primarily on modulation of inflammation as a strategy to attenuate tissue remodeling and prevent eventual heart failure. Samantha has received a pre-doctoral fellowship from the NIH-funded Pharmacology Training Program at UC Davis, and she has experience teaching general nutrition and basics of pharmacology and toxicology. Outside of the lab, Samantha's interests include yoga, cycling, and Spurs basketball.

Population Biology Graduate Group
Ph.D. Program

Michelle Stitzer

Michelle’s research focuses on transposable elements in plants. Although the most commonly studied fraction of genomes are genes, their sequence makes up less than 10% of most plant genomes. The majority of DNA is made up of transposable elements – “jumping genes” that can move between positions in the genome. In the maize genome, which Michelle focuses on, transposable elements make up over 85% of all DNA - over 2 billion base pairs. She uses greenhouse experiments and computational techniques to understand their impact. Outside of the lab, she enjoys sailing with the UC Davis sailing team, and exploring the botanical treasures of California.

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

Kelly Lima

Kelly’s work in Dr. Nam Tran’s research laboratory has focused on the use of novel in vitro diagnostic testing to improve patient care, particularly in critical care settings. She recently transitioned to investigating the wound microbiome by looking at changes in a patient’s skin microbiota following a burn injury. In March 2017, Kelly received the Albert T. McManus award for research in burn microbiology and presented at the plenary talk of the 49th Annual American Burn Association meeting. In the future, she hopes to continue research as an academic veterinarian. In her free time she enjoys volunteering at the local animal shelter.

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

Eric Velazquez

In 2011, Eric became the first person in his family to complete college when he graduated with a BS in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from UC Davis. He stayed to pursue the combined DVM-Ph.D. program and has earned numerous scholarships to fund all stages of his education. Eric studies how the gut microbiota protects against diarrheal pathogens and intestinal inflammation. In addition to research, he manages a laboratory animal colony and mentors younger scientists in and out of lab. At home, Eric spends all the time he can with his daughter.

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, SAN FRANCISCO

  • University of California, San Francisco
  • Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
  • Department of Bioengineering
  • Department of Biomedical Informatics
  • Department of Biomedical Sciences
  • Department of Biophysics
  • Department of Chemistry & Chemical Biology
  • Department of Developmental Stem Cell Biology
  • Department of Epidemiology
  • Department of Neuroscience
  • Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences & Pharmacogenomics
  • Image Diana Summers
    Ph.D. Program - Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
    Read Bio →

  • Image Natalie Korn
    Ph.D. Program - Department of Bioengineering
    Read Bio →

  • Image Jinny Sun
    Ph.D. Program - Department of Bioengineering
    Read Bio →

  • Image Charlotte Nelson
    Ph.D. Program - Department of Biomedical Informatics
    Read Bio →

  • Image Natanya Kerper
    Ph.D. Program - Department of Biomedical Sciences
    Read Bio →

  • Benjamin Barad
    Ph.D. Program - Department of Biophysics
    Read Bio →

  • Image Taylor Arhar
    Ph.D. Program - Department of Chemistry & Chemical Biology
    Read Bio →

  • Lauren Byrnes
    Ph.D. Program - Department of Developmental Stem Cell Biology
    Read Bio →

  • Sarah Ackley
    Ph.D. Program - Department of Epidemiology
    Read Bio →

  • Witney Chen
    Ph.D. Program - Department of Neuroscience
    Read Bio →

  • Stephanie Holden
    Ph.D. Program - Department of Neuroscience
    Read Bio →

  • Image Tia Tummino
    Ph.D. Program - Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences & Pharmacogenomics
    Read Bio →

Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
Ph.D. Program

Diana Summers

A recipient of last year’s Genentech fellowship, Diana is investigating how a unique signaling peptide that is secreted by the fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans is able to promote its virulence. More generally, she is interested in regulation of signaling pathways, host-pathogen interactions, and synthetic biology. Having grown up in the Bay Area, she enjoys camping and road trips, and especially loves creating hypotheses about everything nature has to offer!

Department of Bioengineering
Ph.D. Program

Natalie Korn

Natalie’s work is varied, and she works on parts of many studies at UCSF. But one commonality is the development of advanced processing and automation software. Our work in predictive analytics to advance prostate cancer diagnostic imaging incorporates her background in electrical engineering and biomedical engineering. Natalie has had many teaching experiences as part of graduate study as well, instructing boot camps in calculus for undergraduate engineering students and MatLab image processing for graduate imaging students.

Department of Bioengineering
Ph.D. Program

Jinny Sun

Jinny’s research is focused on developing a non-invasive imaging technique to detect neuroendocrine prostate cancer (NEPC), an emerging lethal subtype. Specifically, she will characterize the metabolic signature of NEPC with high-resolution 1D- and 2D NMR, and develop new hyperpolarized 13C MRI metabolic probes to non-invasively detect NEPC. This will ultimately translate into improved therapeutic selection, monitoring of treatment response, and development of novel targeted therapies for NEPC. In addition to her research, Jinny is active in student government as the Bioengineering graduate student representative. She has previously served on the UC Berkeley Graduate Assembly, and is currently involved with the UCSF Associated Students of the Graduate Division.

Department of Biomedical Informatics
Ph.D. Program

Charlotte Nelson

Charlotte is interested in using graph theory to bridge the gap between basic and translational sciences. Specifically, she wishes to build tools that will accelerate the transformation of raw data from biomedical research into applications for precision medicine. For her Ph.D., Charlotte aims to connect publicly available datasets and individual medical records to stratify patients into a novel disease landscape. The ultimate goal of the disease landscape is for it to be used as a tool for diagnosing patients, predicting patient trajectories, and designing tailored treatments. When she is not in the lab, Charlotte enjoys adventuring around the world and mixing drinks using her homegrown herbs.

Department of Biomedical Sciences
Ph.D. Program

Natanya Kerper

Natanya’s research is dedicated to elucidating novel regulators of beta cell metabolism, and the manner in which metabolic defects contribute to beta cell dysfunction and type 2 diabetes. Currently, her work focuses on the role of the mitochondrial Fe-S cluster protein BOLA3 in these processes. Natanya previously earned her B.S. in Biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she worked with Dr. Tyler Jacks to determine the role of Wnt signaling in the progression of lung adenocarcinoma, and was awarded the Whitehead Prize for outstanding promise for a career in biological research. Outside of lab she volunteers with the UCSF Science and Health Education partnership to bring science education to local elementary schools.

Department of Biophysics
Ph.D. Program

Benjamin Barad

Ben is interested in understanding the role that protein dynamics play in the regulation of biological function. He is currently researching enzymes involved in the recognition and degradation of chitin in mammalian lungs. Chitin, an abundant structural biopolymer, forms a crystalline solid which is innately recognized and degraded by the mammalian immune system. This response has been associated with allergic asthma and other inflammatory lung phenotypes, particularly in populations with defective chitinases. The mechanisms of chitin recognition, signaling and degradation by the innate immune system are not fully understood. Acidic Mammalian Chitinase, a secreted processive exochitinase that is conserved across mammals, is overexpressed in the lung upon chitin challenge. Ben is investigating the mechanisms by which this protein processes chitin using structural and biochemical tools, and is designing high throughput selection experiments to improve different aspects of Acidic Mammalian Chitinase activity. 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 Chemistry & Chemical Biology
Ph.D. Program

Taylor Arhar

Taylor’s undergraduate and graduate work has focused on biochemical and biophysical characterization of protein-protein interactions, and modulation of those interactions by natural products, small molecules, and other biomolecules. Taylor’s outside interests include teaching and scientific outreach. As an undergraduate, she worked as a chemistry tutor and laboratory teaching assistant. Most recently, she participated in the Science and Health Education Partnership by teaching lessons to kindergarten students at a public elementary school in San Francisco.

Department of Developmental Stem Cell Biology
Ph.D. Program

Lauren Byrnes

Lauren is interested in the role of the microenvironment in regulating cellular behavior. Her current project is focused on the formation and function of the pancreatic mesothelium. The mesothelium is a single layer of cells that forms a protective sheet around all internal organs. During development, the mesothelium plays multiple critical roles, acting as a mesenchymal progenitor cell and signaling center, in organs throughout the body. However, the role of the mesothelium in pancreatic development is currently unknown. Lauren hypothesizes that this layer is critical for the proper formation of the pancreatic mesenchyme, a crucial compartment required for development of the pancreatic epithelium. Therefore, her work aims to identify the timing and mechanism of mesothelial formation, and the function of this cell type during pancreatic development. Outside the lab, Lauren enjoys running, watching basketball, exploring new cities, and cooking.

Department of Epidemiology
Ph.D. Program

Sarah Ackley

Sarah is attracted to infectious disease modeling because it draws on her existing skills, while at the same time challenging her to gain skills in fields that she finds exciting: biology, computer science, and mathematics. For her Ph.D. dissertation, Sarah is using branching process theory with causal inference techniques to determine whether large measles outbreaks in California can be explained with information collected during routine surveillance. She has already completed work examining strain-specific differences in measles transmissibility in California, and has moved on to an in-depth analysis of the 2014-15 California outbreak linked to Disneyland theme parks. The ultimate goal of this research is to improve contact investigations and to better target vulnerable populations for vaccine campaigns. The results of her work will contribute to evidence-based decisions to improve policy decisions in California, nationally, and internationally. In addition to her work on measles, Sarah has completed a project on causal diagrams in epidemiology and is currently doing work on influenza prediction.

Department of Neuroscience
Ph.D. Program

Witney Chen

The goal of Witney’s research in Dr. Philip Starr's laboratory is to understand the neural mechanisms of movement inhibition in Parkinson's disease. She is studying a prefronto- subthalamic circuit that may be involved in stopping movements. Her goals are to 1) characterize activity in this circuity during stopping, 2) characterize anatomy of this circuit, and 3) assess how activity in this circuit is modulated by Parkinsonian dopaminergic medications. Better understanding of this circuit will inform advances in therapies. The lab is currently developing closed-loop stimulation algorithms, which detects maladaptive neural signals in real time to drive therapeutic, symptoms-targeted stimulation in the brain.

Department of Neuroscience
Ph.D. Program

Stephanie Holden

Stephanie is investigating how maladaptive neural circuit plasticity after traumatic brain injury may lead to the development of seizures. In the past year, she has determined that injury to the cortex alters the excitability of the thalamus, a connected subcortical brain area that has not been previously studied in the context of post-traumatic epilepsy. Specifically, she has shown that a population of inhibitory neurons in the thalamus become less excitable after injury, which may contribute to an overall increase in excitability. She has also found that the thalamus produces bursting activity that is synchronized with cortical activity during post-traumatic seizures, which further suggests that the thalamus may be an important target for preventing or treating post- traumatic epilepsy. Stephanie is pursuing her interest in science outreach through programs such as the Science & Health Education Partnership and NeuWrite San Francisco. Outside of science, she enjoys baking, planning social events, and taking part in outdoor activities such as hiking, running, kayaking, and soccer.

Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences & Pharmacogenomics
Ph.D. Program

Tia Tummino

Tia comes to the Pharmaceutical Sciences and Pharmacogenomics PhD program with a background in Neuroscience. She graduated with distinction from Colorado College in 2016 and received the Arnold B. Scheibel Neuroscience Award for excellence in Neuroscience. As President of the CC Neuroscience Club, Tia designed and conducted science outreach in elementary, middle, and high school classrooms. She has completed research in the fields of microbiology, epidemiology, cognitive psychology, and the microbiome-gut- brain axis at Syracuse University, Johns Hopkins University, and Colorado College. In graduate school, she is interested in exploring how genomic variation influences neuroactive drug mechanisms of action. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, baking, and horseback riding.

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, SANTA CRUZ

  • University of California, Santa Cruz
  • Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics
  • Department of Biomolecular Engineering
  • Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences
  • Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
  • Department of Mathematics
  • Department of Microbiology & Environmental Toxicology
  • Department of Ocean Sciences
  • Department of Physics
  • Science Communication Program

  • Image Philip Macias
    Ph.D. Program - Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics
    Read Bio →

  • Image Tiffany Hsyu
    Ph.D. Program - Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics
    Read Bio →

  • Image Jordan Eizenga
    Ph.D. Program - Department of Biomolecular Engineering
    Read Bio →

  • Image Edward Rice
    Ph.D. Program - Department of Biomolecular Engineering
    Read Bio →

  • Image Grace Barcheck
    Ph.D. Program - Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences
    Read Bio →

  • Image Ben Higgins
    Ph.D. Program - Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
    Read Bio →

  • Image Joseph Ferrara
    Ph.D. Program - Department of Mathematics
    Read Bio →

  • Image Avatar Joshi
    Ph.D. Program - Department of Microbiology & Environmental Toxicology
    Read Bio →

  • Image Caitlin Kroeger
    Ph.D. Program - Department of Ocean Sciences
    Read Bio →

  • Image Stephen Martin
    Ph.D. Program - Department of Physics
    Read Bio →

  • Image Alex Fox
    Graduate Certificate - Department of Science Communication
    Read Bio →
  • Image Anna Katrina Hunter
    Graduate Certificate - Department of Science Communication
    Read Bio →

Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics
Ph.D. Program

Philip Macias

Phil's research focuses on the formation and evolution of ultra-compact binary stars (white dwarfs, neutron stars, and black holes). Through a combination of numerical and analytical work, he studies the stellar evolution pathways leading to the formation of these exotic pairs, the hydrodynamics of binary mass transfer, and the role of these binaries in the formation of the heaviest elements. A first- generation college student, Phil greatly enjoys mentoring undergraduate students and strives to increase inclusion and retention of under-represented groups. Outside of the office, he can be found learning how to cook or writing and playing music with friends.

Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics
Ph.D. Program

Tiffany Hsyu

Tiffany is leading a large observational program using the Shane 3-m telescope at Lick Observatory to discover metal-poor, star-forming dwarf galaxies in our local Universe. The near-pristine gas in and proximity of these galaxies provide the unique opportunity to study, in great detail, the conditions in which the first stars and galaxies might have formed, and their subsequent chemical evolution. They have found 104 new metal-poor systems, and this work has led to the discovery of the most metal-poor galaxy currently known, at two-hundredths solar metallicity. Aside from research, she is particularly interested in outreach activities that address issues of gender, racial, and socioeconomic inequalities in the sciences.

Department of Biomolecular Engineering
Ph.D. Program

Jordan Eizenga

Jordan was originally educated in mathematics, but became motivated to pursue biological research after developing a chronic pain disorder. Jordan’s current research focuses on computational structures to represent whole populations of genomes, especially in humans. He hopes that these basic tools will have broad impact on genetic research and medicine.

Department of Biomolecular Engineering
Ph.D. Program

Edward Rice

Edward studies computational and evolutionary biology. His projects include investigating the role of the hormone estrogen in temperature­-dependent sex determination in the American alligator, and learning how alternative splicing makes human brains unique. His work has been published in Bioinformatics and Genome Research. He is the recipient of the Karen T. Romer Undergraduate Teaching and Research Award, among others. Outside of school, he enjoys singing, playing banjo, and hiking.

Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences
Ph.D. Program

Grace Barcheck

Grace’s career goal is to become a professor at a research university, where she can continue to study aspects of sub-glacial and earthquake mechanics, teach, and mentor young scientists. She is motivated to continue research both because she enjoys the intellectual challenge and because her findings have societal relevance in terms of predicting sea-level rise and, possibly, understanding earthquake hazard. She is also motivated to stay in academic research in part because professors have amazing opportunities to reach out to and support under-represented groups. In addition to producing high quality research, Grace is committed to quality teaching, thoughtful mentoring, and building an inclusive and welcoming community where curiosity and confidence are fostered.

Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
Ph.D. Program

Ben Higgins

Ben started his biology career at the public aquarium, mentoring students and learning aquaculture techniques. His master's thesis from California State University, Fullerton (CSUF) focused on the feeding biomechanics of the California grunion and its close relatives. At UC Santa Cruz, Ben studies the functional role of an overlooked predator in the southern California kelp forest ecosystem, the California moray eel. Ben was awarded an Outstanding TA award in 2014 and continues to inspire undergraduates as a teacher's assistant. As a visiting scientist through an NSF-funded Santa Cruz-Watsonville Inquiry-Based Learning in Environmental Studies (SCWIBLES) program, Ben has contributed to inclusion and diversity and retention in STEM fields. He and his wife enjoy camping with their 4- year-old daughter, and recently welcomed their second child.

Department of Mathematics
Ph.D. Program

Joseph Ferrara

Joseph discovered how beautiful mathematics could be when he was 20 years old in an abstract algebra class, and he has loved it ever since. His love for mathematics has taken him from studying at UC Berkeley to doing the Math in Moscow program in Moscow, to spending a summer doing research at Penn State, and now to graduate school at UC Santa Cruz. As a graduate student, he studies math and teaches. Teaching to Joseph is an invaluable experience and a way to impart beauty to the world. He tries to communicate the beauty he sees in mathematics to his students. Joseph’s research is on number theory, where he studies the special values of p-adic L-functions, mysterious functions which encode some of the deep structures underlying numbers.

Department of Microbiology & Environmental Toxicology
Ph.D. Program

Avatar Joshi

Bacteria often exist as part of complex communities where they must compete for access to nutrients and escape eukaryotic predators. Avatar is interested in understanding the mechanisms that promote bacterial survival when faced with diverse microbial competitors and how these mechanisms can promote disease. His research focus is on the Type VI Secretion System (T6SS), a contact dependent toxin delivery machine that mediates antagonistic interactions against prokaryotic and eukaryotic organisms. The T6SS has been shown to significantly contribute to the survival of the human pathogen Vibrio cholerae in the host and aquatic environment. He is currently researching the molecular mechanisms that active the T6SS during important stages of its life cycle. Avatar was listed as first author on a collaborative review on the subject which was recently published in Cell: Trends in Microbiology.

Department of Ocean Sciences
Ph.D. Program

Caitlin Kroeger

Caitlin is studying the behavioral and physiological adaptability of marine predators to uncover the mechanisms that allow them to efficiently and effectively locate food in a dynamic and changing ocean environment. Alongside her interdisciplinary interests in physiological ecology and oceanography, Caitlin is passionate about science communication and co-founded a graduate student organization, Communicating Oceanography Research Effectively, which serves to improve education, outreach, and diversity in the marine sciences. When not busy with her academic and professional pursuits, Caitlin enjoys dancing Argentine tango with her local Santa Cruz community and getting outside to climb rocks.

Department of Physics
Ph.D. Program

Stephen Martin

Stephen has completed research projects leading to publications in several physics subfields, but his dissertation is in the field of computational biophysics -- specifically, the theoretical underpinnings of emergent phenomena in driven microtubule arrays. He has also dedicated himself to effective science education. He is a returned science education Peace Corps volunteer, a science and math tutor, a teaching assistant, and lecturer at UC Santa Cruz. Stephen is also a Design Team Leader in UCSC's Institute for Science and Engineer Educators Professional Development Program, learning and developing new strategies for effective inquiry-based STEM learning. In his first year as a graduate student, he founded Physics Forum, an informal weekly meeting of undergraduates and graduate students meant to foster community in the physics department at UCSC. This group has been continuously operating for four years.

Department of Science Communication
Ph.D. Program

Alex Fox

Alex is a Berkeley, CA native who comes to the Science Communication Program after studying urban planning, ecology, philosophy, and creative writing. He seeks to hone his skills as a science communicator in order to engage and educate the public in the science behind environmental issues-- especially in California. He has worked in public relations; participated in ecology research in Costa Rica, Arizona, and New York; worked at an Oakland-based non-profit focused on green infrastructure; and is now an intern at Bay Nature magazine in Berkeley, where he has written about topics such as albino redwoods and El Niño's impact on the California coastline. He earned his B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College.

Department of Science Communication
Graduate Certificate

Anna Katrina Hunter

After finishing undergraduate studies at UC Santa Cruz, Anna was offered an internship to work in Driscoll’s Strawberry Associates Research and Development team. She was also offered the opportunity to participate in a National Geographic Explorer grant to study native bumble bees on the Channel Islands, and was fortunate to have done both. She was later offered full time employment and has spent the past six years working in biological research in the agricultural industry. Agriculture is a fascinating mix of disciplines: one needs to know something about soils; fungal and viral pathogens; insects and mites and their predators; synthetic and biological and botanical pesticides and their chemistries; water chemistry; plant science; plant breeding; and molecular techniques for diagnostics of fungal pathogens, viruses, insects, mites, and to identify molecular markers to advance plant breeding programs. Anna hopes to bring this insight and knowledge to writing about biotechnology in agriculture and food science, and to write in other areas as well, such as on water and conservation issues.