Current Fellows

Jennifer Wu

Jennifer Wu

UCI/Stanley Behrens Public Impact Fellow

Degrees:

  • UC Irvine School of Medicine, MD, 2017 expected
  • Biomedical Sciences, UC Irvine, PhD, 2015 expected
  • Biomedical Engineering, Washington University in Saint Louis, BS, 2009

Research

Cortical Connectivity Biomarkers and Predictors of Motor Learning and Motor Recovery After Stroke

Biography

Jennifer Wu is an MD/PhD student obtaining her PhD in Anatomy & Neurobiology. Jennifer attended the Washington University in Saint Louis where she received a BS in biomedical engineering. Her graduate work is focused on developing probes of brain function to understand inter-individual variability in motor training and response to rehabilitation after stroke. She has been invited to present her work at the Society for Neuroscience, the Organization for Human Brain Mapping, the American Heart Association, and the International Stroke Conference. She has also received a Dean’s Prize at the Associated Graduate Student Symposium and fellowships from the Institute for Clinical and Translational Science and the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience and Engineering.

What this Fellowship/Award Means:

This fellowship is a tremendous honor that gives me encouragement to continue pursuing research that improves how we understand the brain and treat brain injury. In addition, it will help support me during the remainder of my training at UCI.

Menglu Yuan

Menglu Yuan

UCI/Stanley Behrens Public Impact Fellow

Degrees:

  • Pharmacology and Toxicology Ph.D., UC Irvine – 2015 expected
  • Biochemistry and Molecular Biology B.A., Boston University – 2009

Research

Sensitization of cocaine reward after adolescent nicotine or antidepressant exposure

Biography

Menglu Yuan is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Pharmacology. Her dissertation investigates how tobacco and antidepressants create maladaptive changes in adolescent brain development. She has found that nicotine (main psychoactive component of tobacco) and the antidepressant Prozac enhance sensitivity to cocaine reward during adolescence. Menglu is working to identify neurochemical changes mediating these drug effects, which may have long-lasting consequences for mental health and addiction. As a graduate student, she served as the Pharmacological Sciences Program Student Representative and led diversity efforts with DECADE (Diverse Educational Community and Doctoral Experience) to improve campus climate, access, and inclusion.

What this Fellowship/Award Means:

Receiving the prestigious UCI/Stanley Behrens Public Impact Fellowship is a tremendous honor and will be invaluable toward achieving my career goals in science policy. I believe the fellowship will cultivate my insights in science policy through the unique opportunity to meet lawmakers. As a Fellow, this experience will provide an exciting platform for incorporating public outreach with my pharmacology background to help shape and impact public policy.

Sally Geislar

Sally Geislar

UCI/Distinguished Fellow

Degrees:

  • Planning, Policy, and Design, PhD, UC Irvine, 2016 expected
  • Demographic and Social Analysis, MA, UC Irvine, 2010
  • Sociology and Spanish, BA, Southwest Minnesota State University, 2007

Research

Understanding and leveraging social-psychological behavioral tools for household food scrap separation in municipal curbside organics collection programs.

Biography

A Doctoral Candidate in Planning, Policy, and Design at the University of California, Irvine, Sally earned an M.A. in Demographic and Social Analysis from UCI and a B.A. in Sociology and Spanish from Southwest Minnesota State. As the Founding Director of the Food Works Lab in the Center for Unconventional Security Affairs, Sally's current research examines the role of household behavior in successful curbside organics collection programs. In Sally's previous community-based scholarship she collaborated to establish food scrap separation infrastructure in on-campus apartment communities at UCI in which she studied the food-related practices of 30 households. Her research has focused on sustainability issues including environmental justice, public lands planning, and transportation policy. Sally also worked as a consultant in statistical analysis and community-based curriculum development to non-profit organizations and philanthropy consultants.

What this Fellowship/Award Means:

This fellowship is a great honor. It has encouraged me to continue working with communities to understand how human behavior and the built environment depend on each other to make systems related to food, waste, energy, and water more sustainable and integrated. Beyond this inspiration, this fellowship will also allow me to devote time to this public-scholarship at the crucial point of data collection.

Mark Ocegueda

Mark Ocegueda

Public Impact Distinguished Fellow

Degrees:

  • UC Irvine, History, Ph.D., 2016 expected
  • History, California State University, San Bernardino, B.A., 2010

Research

A multi-faceted history on the city of San Bernardino’s Mexican community and their pursuit of civil rights from 1900 through 1960.

Biography

Mark Ocegueda is a Ph.D. candidate in History with an emphasis in Chicana/o Latina/o studies. His dissertation documents San Bernardino's Mexican American people and their quest for civil rights. Citrus and Santa Fe railroad workers, as well as Mexican middle class business owners, organized defense committees, baseball teams, mutualistas, and within the local the Catholic Church, to counter discrimination. Mark’s research also explores popular race-based conceptions of juvenile delinquency and their use to uphold the segregation of public parks and pools. Mark showcases the Mitla Café, one of the oldest Mexican restaurants in the United States, as a centerpiece of community life that reveals the untold history of a prosperous Mexican business community along Route 66. Mark’s work has been featured on NBC and National Public Radio’s The California Report.

What this Fellowship/Award Means:

I am very honored and grateful to receive this fellowship. It will allow me to complete my dissertation in a timely manner and has motivated me to continue my public work by inspiring me to pursue an historic preservation project for San Bernardino’s Mexican community.

Riccardo Cappa

Riccardo Cappa

Public Impact Distinguished Fellow

Degrees:

  • PhD, Civil Engineering, UC Irvine, 2015 expected
  • MS, Structural Engineering, UC Irvine, 2012
  • BS, Architectural and Building Engineering, University of Bologna (Italy), 2011

Research

Development of a novel integrated framework that enables a performance evaluation of levees during seismic events, with an emphasis on the fragile Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta levee system.

Biography

Riccardo Cappa is a PhD candidate in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at UCI. After pursuing a B.S. in Architectural and Building Engineering in Italy (2011) he completed a M.S. in Structural Engineering at UCI (2012), where he got passionate about earthquake-related hazards and disasters. He is currently working to characterize the seismic response of water-diverting structures such as levees through innovative numerical simulations and complex testing at the NASA-donated 30 feet diameter centrifuge facility in Davis. His project was fully funded by the National Science Foundation with the purpose of advising the contentious water policy decisions facing California law-makers. He has already presented his work for the Association of State Dam Officials, the American Society of Civil Engineers and the California Geotechnical Engineering Association, and his publications include papers at respected conferences in the country and several manuscripts currently under review with leading journals in the field. Riccardo’s public impact extends beyond his research as an active and leading member of many chapters such as EERI, CalGeo and AGI, which aim at preventing major disasters and improving the design and safety of mega infrastructures.

What this Fellowship/Award Means:

I am thrilled to receive such an outstanding award that recognizes the importance of my work for the public. This fellowship is an incredibly motivating acknowledgment for young students, and I believe it will tremendously encourage all the awardees to pursue their career goals. Besides the public exposure, I am also very proud and thankful for the valuable support UCI provides to the anteaters every year.

Janahan Arulmoli

Janahan Arulmoli

Public Impact Fellow

Degrees:

  • Biomedical Engineering, UC Irvine, PhD, 2016 expected
  • Biomedical Engineering, UC Irvine, MS, 2014
  • Chemical Engineering, UC San Diego, BS, 2009

Research

Injectable Biomaterial Matrices for Neural Stem Cell Transplantation to Treat Central Nervous System Disorders

Biography

Janahan Arulmoli is a doctoral candidate in Dr. Lisa Flanagan’s laboratory in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at UCI.  Upon finishing his undergraduate studies at UCSD, he worked at Biogen Idec Inc. in San Diego, CA where he developed an interest in stem cell tissue engineering.  He currently studies the influence of biomaterial matrices and the mechanical microenvironment on neural stem cell (NSC) behavior.  He has received an NIH T32 training grant for his work investigating injectable biomaterials for NSC transplantation to treat stroke and has presented this work at international meetings for which he has received research merit recognition.

What this Fellowship/Award Means:

The Public Impact Fellowship is a great honor that has helped reinforce my determination to share academic research with the general public.  This motivating award will not only help support the rest of my doctoral journey, but will also serve as a constant reminder that advances in the novel field of tissue engineering can be given public awareness as a potential future therapy for numerous unmet medical needs.

Jeremy Braithwaite

Jeremy Braithwaite

Public Impact Fellow

Degrees:

  • Department of Criminology, Law & Society, PhD 2015 expected
  • Criminal Justice, Illinois State University, MA, 2010
  • Psychology, Illinois State University BA, 2006

Research

Sexual Violence on the Tundra: Toward a Cultural Understanding of Rape in Rural Alaska

Biography

Jeremy Braithwaite is a PhD candidate in the Department of Criminology, Law & Society in the School of Social Ecology. He studies sex crimes and sex crime policy, with a particular interest in rural sexual violence. His project examines the contextual factors, both at the cultural and community levels, that explain the disproportionate levels of sexual violence in Alaska, particularly among the indigenous Native Alaskan populations. Jeremy has published his research in Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment and has presented his work at the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers (ATSA) and the American Society of Criminology (ASC). He has also consulted on a federally-funded project assessing the impact of the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response training program for the U.S. Air Force.

What this Fellowship/Award Means:

I am both honored and humbled to have been selected for the Public Impact Fellowship. This award has given me the encouragement to steadfastly pursue my academic and professional goals. More importantly, this award signals the willingness of the academic community to join the movement toward recognizing and ultimately remedying the plight of a very vulnerable and voiceless population.

Stacy Calhoun

Stacy Calhoun

Public Impact Fellow

Degrees:

  • Criminology, Law and Society, UC Irvine, PhD, 2015 expected
  • Medical Anthropology, Case Western Reserve University, MA, 2000
  • Anthropology, UCLA, BA, 1997

Research

Understanding why some mentally ill offenders do not adhere to their psychiatric treatment regimens and how that relates to their offending behaviors.

Biography

Stacy Calhoun is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Criminology, Law and Society. Before coming to UC Irvine, she worked on several projects at the UCLA Integrated Substance Abuse Programs that aimed to improve the mental health, drug use and criminal justice outcomes of individuals involved in the criminal justice system. She has directed several research and evaluation studies funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the California Endowment, the National Institute of Justice and the LA County Department of Public Health. She has also co-authored several peer-reviewed articles on gender responsive treatment for female offenders and re-entry planning for prison inmates.  She is currently the literature editor for the Offender Programs Report and the Impaired Driving Update where she writes a column for each publication that highlights current findings from the literature for a practitioner audience.

What this Fellowship/Award Means:

Receiving this fellowship is a huge honor that provides me with the financial support I need to conduct the research for my dissertation. In addition, this fellowship is a great source of motivation to continue to conduct research that not only has the potential to improve the lives of those who become involved in the criminal justice system but to increase public safety as well.

George Chen

George Chen

Public Impact Fellow

Degrees:

  • Microbiology & Molecular Genetics, UC Irvine School of Medicine, PhD, 2018 expected
  • Human Biology, UC San Diego, BS, 2009

Research

Regulation of Wnt signaling in invasive colon cancer

Biography

George Chen is a PhD candidate in the department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics at UCI. He holds a B.S. in Human Biology with a minor in Healthcare and Social issues from UCSD. His research interests are focused on solid tumor biology, cancer stem cells, and the Wnt signaling pathway. Currently, George is studying the relationship between Wnt signaling and progression of cancer to colon metastasis – the most lethal and incurable of colon cancer stages. Results from his research have been presented at multiple scientific conferences and one of his studies has recently been submitted for publication. In addition, George’s public outreach includes serving as a scientific mentor for two robotics education programs for the past eleven years. He has volunteered for the Vex and FIRST robotics competitions as a judge, emcee, referee, and announcer for events across the United States, including multiple world championships. He has served in leadership roles for various STEM nonprofit efforts across Southern California. George has also served as a Teaching Assistant for a combined eight quarters between UCI and UCSD.

What this Fellowship/Award Means:

I am tremendously honored to receive this award, which will help support my efforts to discover and develop new therapies to help colon cancer patients. The ability to communicate breakthrough research is an incredibly important skillset to develop and nurture, and I am thrilled that UC Irvine recognizes this with this awards program.

Joshua Clark

Joshua Clark

Public Impact Fellow

Degrees:

  • Anthropology, UC Irvine, PhD, 2015 expected
  • Anthropology, UC Irvine, MA, 2011
  • Latin American Studies, The University of Texas at Austin, MA, 2007
  • Political Science, Butler University, BA magna cum laude, 2003

Research

International human rights framework for combating discrimination based on race, color, descent, and national or ethnic origin.

Biography

Joshua Clark is a PhD candidate in the Department of Anthropology.  He has ten years of experience in academic and applied research on international- and domestic-legal strategies for advancing racial/ethnic justice in the Americas.  His current research uses ethnographic methods to study how procedures for evaluating and improving government compliance with international human rights treaties play out in practice.  Clark conducted 12 months of fieldwork with policymakers, census officials, and Afro-Costa Rican and indigenous civil-society leaders in Costa Rica, and the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in Geneva.  This research was supported by the National Science Foundation, the Center for Unconventional Security Affairs, and UC Irvine’s Graduate Program in Anthropology.  Clark hopes to use his findings to inform new state and local government initiatives in California to fulfill commitments under international human rights treaties ratified by the United States Federal government.

What this Fellowship/Award Means:

I am honored to be recognized for my research on international human rights instruments – important tools for fighting discrimination that are often overlooked and under-utilized in the United States.  This acknowledgement encourages me to continue seeking to use my research to support state- and local-level human rights compliance projects in California.

Jiawen Li

Jiawen Li

Public Impact Fellow

Degrees:

  • Biomedical Engineering, UC Irvine, Ph.D., June 2015 expected
  • Biomedical Engineering, UC Irvine, M.S., Dec. 2012
  • Optical Engineering, Zhejiang University, China. B.S., July 2010

Research

Miniature integrated intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) optical coherence tomography (OCT) system and catheter for in vivo identification of high-risk heart attack patients

Biography

Jiawen Li is a PhD candidate in UCI’s Biomedical Engineering department. She got her bachelor’s degree from Zhejiang University in China (2010). After that, she started her PhD research in UCI. Her research interest is imaging techniques for the diagnosis of high risk cardiovascular disease patients. She has published eight papers in high-profile journals (three first-author papers), filed two US patents and given over 10 impactful presentations at international conferences. Her research was featured by OCT news, OSA news, USC, UCI Graduate Division, The Henry Samueli School of Engineering, and Beckman Laser Institute websites. She also received the Associate Graduate Students (AGS) community award for her dedicated and pioneering work for international students at UCI. She co-established the international student committee for AGS, advocated for more services and organized events for international students, and has served as a Graduate InterConnect peer mentor for three years.

What this Fellowship/Award Means:

This fellowship acknowledged the public impact of my previous research and encourages me to promote state-of-the-art medical engineering techniques to more physicians and patients. With this honorable recognition, I will continue searching for cures to deadly diseases by engineering methods enthusiastically.

Sophia Lin

Sophia Lin

Public Impact Fellow

Degrees:

  • UC Irvine Henry Samueli School of Engineering, PhD, 2015
  • Chemical Engineering & Materials Science, UC Irvine, PhD, 2015 expected
  • Chemical Engineering & Materials Science, UC Irvine, MS, 2011
  • Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, UCLA, BS, 2010

Research

Silica Structures for Enhanced Fluorescence Detection with Applications in Point-of-Care Diagnostics

Biography

Sophia Lin is a PhD student obtaining her degree in Chemical Engineering and Materials Science. Her research is in the biomedical engineering field and is focused on engineering technologies for improved disease detection capabilities.  She is a NSF-funded Biophotonics, Energy, Space, and Time (BEST) trainee. Sophia is highly involved in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) outreach, leading hands-on student workshops and co-founding A Hundred Tiny Hands, which develops educational STEM toys based off technology developed in the laboratory. She also leads the ChEMS GSA student group at UCI. She holds an M.S. from UC Irvine and a B.S. from UCLA.

What this Fellowship/Award Means:

This fellowship motivates me to continue to do impactful research and to share this research with the public.

Jessica Lauren Perez

Jessica Lauren Perez

Public Impact Fellow

Degrees:

  • UC Irvine School of Social Ecology, Ph.D., 2015 expected
  • Psychology, University of Central Florid, B.S., 2009

Research

The provision of social services to marginalized groups, namely the homeless; bringing together various stakeholder groups, including the homeless, to improve the quality of and access to social services.

Biography

It was at the University of Central Florida where Jessica began volunteering with the homeless.  These experiences inspired combating homelessness as a lifelong pursuit.  Her research focuses on enhancing the quality of and access to needed social services for the homeless.  Jessica’s practice of community based participatory action research encourages multiple stakeholder groups to come together to improve homeless service provision.  She has received several honors for bridging the divide between academia and community stakeholder groups, including the Dean’s Award for Community Engagement, the inaugural Dean’s Diversity Research Award, and now a Public Impact Fellowship Honorable Mention.  Jessica is also involved in local policy and research around homelessness including the O.C. Commission to End Homelessness and Orange County’s Point-In-Time biannual homeless counts.  Jessica hopes to continue engaging in applied research that affects public policy addressing homeless services design and delivery.

What this Fellowship/Award Means:

It is my sincere belief that research should be conducted in direct service of those in need. I am passionate about working alongside community members to solve community problems. I feel deeply honored to be recognized by this award, which recognizes the importance and need for this kind of research. This award will support my efforts to continue engaging in research that encourages just and effective solutions to homelessness.

AJ Purdy

AJ Purdy

Public Impact Fellow

Degrees:

  • Earth System Science, UC Irvine, PhD, 2017 expected
  • Earth System Science, UC Irvine, MS, 2014
  • Watershed Science and Policy, CSU Monterey Bay, MS, 2012
  • Industrial & Systems Engineering, University of San Diego, BS/BA, 2008

Research

Evapotranspiration in California

Biography

AJ is a PhD candidate and a Graduate Student Representative in the Department of Earth System Science. He researches evapotranspiration using NASA satellites over farmland in California. AJ graduated from the University of San Diego with a B.A./B.S in Industrial and Systems Engineering and earned a M.S. in Watershed Science and Policy from California State University Monterey Bay. Previous to attending UCI, he gained experience includes working on a NASA project measuring soil moisture and evapotranspiration on farms in California’s Central Valley. After graduation he plans to continue researching the human influence on the earth system in relation to water resources availability for the western United States.

What this Fellowship/Award Means:

This fellowship provides a boost of confidence while continuing my pursuit of better understanding anthropogenic impacts on the water cycle and the necessary motivation to continue applying my research toward improved regional water resource management.

Cathy Tran

Cathy Tran

Public Impact Fellow

Degrees:

  • Education, UC Irvine, Ph.D., 2015 expected
  • Technology, Innovation, and Education, Harvard University, Ed.M., 2009
  • Biopsychology, UC Santa Barbara, B.S., 2005

Research

Designing for Productive Persistence in Education

Biography

Cathy Tran is a Ph.D. candidate in the School of Education. Her research focuses on promoting persistence after errors when learning math and science. She received a B.S. in biopsychology from UCSB, where she volunteered extensively with their chemistry outreach program for fifth graders. She then became a science writer for the journal Science, Scholastic’s Science World, and The Orange County Register. As news migrated from print to online platforms, she became interested in how interactive media can explain science in captivating ways and completed her Ed.M. in educational technology. She later joined a team to produce Math 180, software designed to motivate students who are retaking Algebra. Her research-practice partnerships to study and develop motivating learning environments have been supported by the National Science Foundation, Norway Research Council, and National Academy of Education.

What this Fellowship/Award Means:

The public impact focus of this fellowship is especially special to me because I entered graduate school with a strong desire to do research that can be applicable to improving educational learning products and environments. Being recognized for doing publicly impactful work and for being able to communicate research to the public is really meaningful to me.

Anaid Yerena

Anaid Yerena

Public Impact Fellow

Degrees:

  • Planning, Policy, and Design, UC Irvine, Ph.D., 2015 expected
  • Urban and Regional Planning, UC Irvine, M.U.R.P., 2009
  • Architecture, Universidad de Monterrey, B.Arch., 2004

Research

Advocacy in Action: Understanding the Influence of Advocacy Organizations on Local Affordable Housing Policy in the U.S.

Biography

Anaid is an architect, planner, and researcher who investigates public participation processes and activities related to housing and community development. Her research has a strong community-based component that provides knowledge to advocate for and empower disenfranchised groups. As an undergraduate at the Universidad de Monterrey (UDEM), Mexico, she coordinated the development of the first Master Plan for the City of Montemorelos. She worked on the technical aspects of the Plan and set up a forum and interviews with local residents, these activities were crucial to building support for the Plan’s approval and implementation (received UDEM’s 2004 Excellence Award). While completing her Masters in Urban and Regional Planning at UC Irvine, she conducted research for the Los Angeles Legal Aid Foundation assessing potential housing sites for extremely low-income households in Long Beach, California. The report resulting from this research was named Best Professional Report in 2009. As a Ph.D. student she has received numerous accolades for her research (Haynes Dissertation Award; Dean’s Community Engagement Award), teaching (UC Irvine Pedagogical Fellow), mentoring (Planning, Policy, and Design Mentor Award 2012), and service (Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning Student Representative 2012-14). These honors are a testament to the impact and quality of her work.

What this Fellowship/Award Means:

This fellowship brings me one step closer to defend my dissertation and meet the dissertation-filing deadline of Spring 2015. This timeline allows me to be on the job market this academic year and be prepared to start a faculty position in Fall 2015. Obtaining a faculty position will bring me closer to my goal of growing as a researcher and mentor that contributes through research, teaching, and engagement to the dialogue and actions concerned with social justice in communities around the globe.


Past Fellows

Beth Karlin

Beth Karlin

UCI/Stanley Behrens Public Impact Fellows

Degrees:

  • Social Ecology, UCI, PhD, 2013 expected
  • Public Policy and Administration, CSU Long Beach, M.P.A, 2007
  • Psychology / Spanish, University of Redlands, B.A., 1999

Research

The role of social scientists in contributing to the development and testing of interventions critical to the solutions in energy efficiency and conservation.

Biography

Beth is a Ph.D. candidate in the School of Social Ecology, where she founded and directs the Transformational Media Lab within the Center for Unconventional Security Affairs. She studies the role of information and communication technology in promoting pro-environmental behavior; current projects investigate technology-enabled energy feedback and transmedia social action campaigns. She has presented her work to diverse audiences including the Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences, International Studies Association, and the American Psychological Association. Before coming to UCI, Beth spent a decade years working in K-12 education, holding positions as a teacher, counselor, curriculum developer, and school administrator.

Sharine Wittkopp

Sharine Wittkopp

UCI/Stanley Behrens Public Impact Fellow

Degrees:

  • UC Irvine School of Medicine, MD, 2016 expected
  • Environmental Toxicology, UC Irvine, PhD, 2014 expected
  • Biomedical Sciences, UC Irvine, MS, 2010
  • Chemistry, Bryn Mawr College, BA, 2001

Research

Gene-Environment Interactions Underlying the Adverse Cardiovascular Health Outcomes Associated with Air Pollution Exposure.

Biography

Sharine Wittkopp is an MD/PhD student obtaining her PhD in Environmental Toxicology. She studies the link between air pollution exposure and cardiovascular disease in elderly adults in Los Angeles. Sharine is working to identify genetic factors that might contribute to increased cardiovascular risk associated with air pollution exposure. She has presented this work for UC Irvine TEDx, the American Thoracic Society and the International Society of Environmental Epidemiology. Before joining the MSTP at UC Irvine in 2007, Sharine worked in women's health, sleep medicine and pharmaceutical research positions, and was a teacher in a health education series for incarcerated women.  

Ryan Schutte

Ryan Schutte

UCI/Stanley Behrens Public Impact Fellows

Degrees:

  • Biomedical Sciences, UCI School of Medicine, PhD, 2013 expected
  • Biological Sciences, UCI, B.S., 2007

Research

Modeling human genetic epilepsies using fruit flies.

Biography

Ryan is a doctoral candidate from the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology in the School of Medicine. His research focuses on a new approach to modeling human genetic epilepsies using fruit flies. These models will provide insight into the neural mechanisms underlying epilepsies associated with specific human mutations. In addition to his research Ryan is interested in education. For the past 5 years he has served as a TA for a large introductory biology course. He is a HHMI-UCI graduate fellow, a TLTC Pedagogical Fellow, and was awarded the Edward Steinhaus Teaching Award in Biological Science in 2011. He mentors undergraduate students in research and served as Dept. Journal Club Coordinator for the past 3 years.

A. George Johnson

A. George Johnson

UCI/Stanley Behrens Public Impact Fellow

Degrees:

  • Organic Chemistry, UCI, PhD, 2015 expected
  • Biochemistry, Brigham Young University, BS, 2009

Research

Stereospecific Nickel-Catalysed Cross-Coupling Reactions of Alkyl Grignard Reagents.

Biography

A. George Johnson is a PhD candidate in the School of Physical Sciences. He is studying nickel-catalyzed methods for the formation of asymmetric carbon–carbon bonds.  His research has resulted in the development of a method that has application in increasing the efficiency of enantiopure medicinal agent preparation.  George has been involved in several collaborations, and compounds synthesized by his method have been shown to be active against breast cancer cell lines, while leaving healthy cells unharmed.  George is proficient in Mandarin Chinese.  Prior to coming to graduate school, he spent a year as a visiting scholar at Tianjin Normal University in Tianjin China, and completed an internship in Shanghai at the production facility of K2 Energy Solutions, a battery manufacture that specializes in high end batteries for hybrid and fully electric vehicles.

Luis Alonzo

Luis Alonzo

Public Impact Distinguished Fellow

Degrees:

  • PhD Biomedical Engineering, University of California, Irvine (UCI), expected 2014 M.S.
  • Biomedical Engineering, University of California, Irvine, 2011 B.S. Biomedical
  • Engineering (Minor in Mathematics and Chemistry), Cum Laude, Florida International University (FIU), Miami, FL, 2008

Research

Creation of a tumor-on-a-chip model to understand the role of the microenvironment on tumor growth and development

Biography

Luis Alonzo is a PhD student in the department of Biomedical Engineering at UC Irvine. His research interests lie in the fields of tissue engineering, tumor biology, and microfluidic technologies. Currently, his research is focused on developing a novel microfluidic platform to study tumor progression and metastasis. Results from his research have been published in the journal of Methods in Molecular Biology and presented at various scientific conferences. This work has led to very prestigious awards such as the NIH’s F31 pre-doctoral fellowship and the Whitaker Program’s summer grant to perform research at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne in Switzerland. In addition, Luis’ public impact extends beyond his research as an active mentor to minority students in the STEM fields at the middle school and college levels. He is involved in various leadership positions at the Rocket Science Tutors program in Orange County, the Engineering Diversity Council at UC Irvine, and the UC Irvine DECADE student council. Prior to pursuing his doctoral degree, Luis earned a M.S. in Biomedical Engineering from UC Irvine, and a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from Florida International University.

Brian Tarroja

Brian Tarroja

Public Impact Distinguished Fellow

Degrees:

  • Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering , UCI, PhD, 2014 expected
  • Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, UCI, M.S., 2011
  • Mechanical Engineering, UCI, B.S., 2009
  • Aerospace Engineering, UCI, B.S., 2009

Research

Advising and optimizing the deployment of sustainability-oriented technology and management options in the integrated electricity, transportation, and water supply context.

Biography

Brian Tarroja is a PhD candidate in the Henry Samueli School of Engineering. He is involved in developing an integrated framework for evaluating the performance of available and emerging options for meeting sustainability goals in major resource sectors. This work is aimed at identifying the synergies or interferences between these options for the purpose of coherently coordinating option deployment policy and investment to most effectively satisfy sustainability goals. This work has currently been used to advise the AB 32 Scoping Plan, containing the state’s outlook for meeting short and long-term greenhouse gas reduction goals. He was awarded an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship in 2010, and an Association of Energy Engineers Dennis Acton Memorial Scholarship in 2013.

Teomara Rutherford

Teomara Rutherford

Public Impact Distinguished Fellow

Degrees:

  • Education, Learning Cognition, & Development, UCI, PhD, 2014 expected
  • Education, Learning, Cognition, & Development, UCI, M.A., 2012
  • Law, Boston University School of Law, J.D., 2003
  • Elementary Education, Computers in the Classroom, Florida International University, B.S., 1997

Research

The study of individual differences that affect mathematics learning and their improvement through interventions and educational technology.

Biography

Teomara (Teya) Rutherford is a PhD candidate in the School of Education. Her research focuses on the improvement of motivation and cognition and is especially concerned with novel interventions that can reach underserved populations. Teya has taught a variety of subjects from computers to Algebra and draws on both her teaching experience and her legal background (J.D., 2003) to conduct and disseminate research meaningful to policy-makers and practitioners. She has been recognized by the National Science Foundation with a graduate research fellowship and has published peer-reviewed manuscripts in both psychology and education journals.

Seema Ehsan

Seema Ehsan

Public Impact Distinguished Fellow

Degrees:

  • Chemical Engineering, UC Irvine, PhD, 2014 expected
  • Chemical Engineering, UC Irvine, M.S., 2011
  • Chemical Engineering, UC Berkeley, B.S., 2008

Research

Development of complex tumor models to enhance anticancer drug screening.

Biography

Seema is a Ph.D. candidate in the Chemical Engineering and Materials Science Department at UC Irvine. She holds a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from UC Berkeley, and an M.S. in Chemical Engineering from UC Irvine. Her research focuses on developing engineered tumor models that can be used for clinically relevant anticancer drug screening.

Mariam Ashtiani

Mariam Ashtiani

Public Impact Fellow

Degrees:

  • Sociology, UCI, PhD, 2015 expected
  • Demographic and Social Analysis, UCI, M.A, 2011
  • Sociology, University of Michigan, B.A., 2006

Research

The impact of juvenile drug arrest on the educational attainment and labor market outcomes of Black, White, and Latino youth. 

Biography

Mariam Ashtiani is a PhD candidate in the School of Social Science. Her dissertation examines how the impact of drug arrests on life outcomes varies for youth from different racial backgrounds. Her current project compares the impact of juvenile drug arrests to violent crime and property crime arrests, to assess how drug arrests are unique in their nature and consequences. She has presented her work at a variety of conferences, including the American Sociological Association, Sociology of Education, and Nanzan University in Nagoya, Japan. She has also worked on research projects for UC/ACCORD, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and most recently, MDRC. From the School of Social Science, she has received awards for both her second year paper and her research under Professor Cynthia Feliciano. Before coming to UC Irvine, Mariam spent one year doing volunteer work in Israel. 

Alba Alfonso Garcia

Alba Alfonso Garcia

Public Impact Fellow

Degrees:

  • PhD Biomedical Engineering, UCI, 2016 expected
  • MS Optics and Photonics, KSOP-KIT, Karlsruhe, Germany, 2011
  • Physics, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain, 2009

Research

Imaging with nonlinear microscopy for biomedical applications, with a particular interest in elucidating cholesterol metabolism.

Biography

Alba Alfonso Garcia is a PhD candidate in the Biomedical Engineering Department. Working in biophotonics, her research focuses on further developing and applying nonlinear microscopy techniques to illuminate biomedical-related phenomena. In particular, she is interested in visualizing cholesterol metabolism to validate the currently proposed models and reveal hidden pathways and interactions that would help tailoring strategies against cholesterol related diseases, which affect many people around the globe. Alba is also the vice-president of Photonics@UCI, the UC Irvine student chapter of OSA and SPIE, two international societies that group professionals in the optics and photonics sector.

Scott Sellars

Scott Sellars

Public Impact Distinguished Fellow

Degrees:

  • Civil and Environmental Engineering, UCI, PhD, 2014 expected
  • Civil and Environmental Engineering, UCI, M.S. 2013 expected
  • Climate and Society, Columbia University, M.A., 2009
  • Meteorology, University of Utah, B.S., 2005

Research

Aims to identify the next generation of tools and approaches for developing seasonal climate predictions, which can be integrated into current operational methods for seasonal water supply forecasting and enhancing the options a water manager has at his or her disposal.

Biography

Scott is currently a Ph.D. Candidate in The Henry Samueli School of Engineering. He works at the Center for Hydrometeorology and Remote Sensing on research applications of machine learning and pattern detection in hydroclimate, remote sensing and water resource management. Scott received a Bachelor of Science degree in Meteorology from the University of Utah in 2005 and a Master of Arts degree in Climate and Society from Columbia University in 2009. Scott is particularly interested in developing methods and algorithms to better understand climate variability and climate change and its impacts on water resources.

Anamarie Auger

Anamarie Auger

Public Impact Fellow

Degrees:

  • Education, UCI, PhD, 2014 expected
  • Psychology, University of Texas at Austin, B.A., 2009

Research

The characteristics of parents that use early childhood education services and supports, and the effect of usage on parenting and the home environment.

Biography

Anamarie Auger is obtaining her PhD in Education. Her research interests include understanding how home and child care environments, and interventions aimed at improving these settings, impact children's achievement and socio-emotional development. She has been awarded the Michael E. Martinez Prize for Outstanding Research and Service by a Doctoral Student. She is also involved in many service activities within the University and the local community. Prior to pursuing her PhD in Education, she received a Bachelor of Arts degree with Special Honors in Psychology at The University of Texas at Austin.

Binbin Zheng

Binbin Zheng

Public Impact Distinguished Fellow

Degrees:

  • Education, UCI, PhD, 2014 expected
  • Educational Technology, Beijing Normal University, M.A., 2009
  • Educational Information and Technology, East China Normal University, B.S., 2006

Research

Research focuses on how schools can best make use of low-cost computers to help diverse learners, including English learners, underrepresented minorities, and low-income s students, learn to write well.

Biography

Binbin is a doctoral candidate in the School of Education with a specialization in Language, Literacy, and Technology. She holds an M.A. in Educational Technology from Beijing Normal University and a B.S. in Educational Information and Technology from East China Normal University. Binbin's current research investigates how K-12 schools can best make use of low-cost netbook computers and other digital tools to support academic achievement and literacy development among at-risk learners, including English language learners, underrepresented minorities, and students from low-income families. Her long-term goal is to bridge educational achievement gaps through high-quality research on promising educational reforms.

Raúl Pérez

Raúl Pérez

Public Impact Fellow

Degrees:

  • Sociology, UCI, PhD, Expected 2014
  • Sociology, UCI, M.A., 2009
  • Sociology, with Honors, Philosophy Minor, UCI, B.A., 2007

Research

The role of racial comedy in contributing to the regulation and contestation of public racial discourse in the US from the civil rights era to the current “color-blind” period. 

Biography

Raúl Pérez is a PhD candidate in School of Social Sciences. His research interests include racial discourse, humor, and law and society. His research examines the regulation, contestation, and evolution of racial stand-up comedy in the U.S. from the civil rights era to the present. His research has been featured in national media outlets, such as TIME magazine and The Grio. A chapter from his dissertation, “Learning to Make Racism Funny in the ‘Color-blind’ Era,” has been published in Discourse & Society, a leading journal in discourse analysis. His work has been supported by the University of California Center for New Racial Studies and UC Irvine’s Center in Law, Society and Culture. He teaches a course on “Comedy and Society.”

Alejandra Albarran Moses

Alejandra Albarran Moses

Public Impact Fellow

Degrees:

  • Education with a dual focus in Learning, Cognitions, & Development and Educational Policy and Social Context, UCI, Ph.D., 2012 expected
  • Educational Psychology with an emphasis in Early Childhood Education, M.A., 2008
  • Psychology with a minor in Spanish, California Lutheran University, B.S., 2003

Research

The role of community-based organizations in improving school readiness through parent engagement.

Biography

Alejandra is a doctoral candidate in the School of Education with a dual specialization in Learning, Cognition, and Development & Educational Policy and Social Context. She holds a B.S. in Psychology from CLU and an M.A.’s from Cal State Northridge in Educational Psychology. She studies the role of community-based organizations in improving school readiness through parent engagement. In addition to research, she is active on campus as the co-chair of the Chican@/Latin@ Graduate Student Collective and as a graduate student representative on many boards. She looks forward to becoming a professor and engaging in research on children in natural contexts.

Li Zhang

Li Zhang

Public Impact Fellow

Degrees:

  • Mechanical Engineering, UCI, PhD, 2014 expected
  • Mechanical Engineering, UCI, M.S., 2011
  • Vehicular Engineering, Beijing Institute of Technology, B.S., 2009

Research

Evaluating energy impact, optimizing charging infrastructure allocations for plug-in electric vehicles and coordinating EV charging with the future electric grid.

Biography

Li Zhang is a PhD candidate in the Henry Samueli School of Engineering. He is working at the Advanced Power and Energy Program (APEP), conducting research to 1) evaluate the energy impact of plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs), 2) optimize the allocation of charging infrastructure for PEVs and 3) effectively coordinate massive PEV charging with the smart grid.  He has been working closely with the California Energy Commission and major automakers, such as Toyota and Honda, to apply his research findings to real-world settings aiming to reduce oil consumption, decrease greenhouse gas and criteria pollutant emissions in the transportation sector, and increase the public acceptance of alternative vehicles.

Chenoa S. Woods

Chenoa S. Woods

Public Impact Fellows Honorable Mention Awardee

Degrees:

  • Education (Education Policy and Social Context), UCI, PhD, 2014 expected
  • Education, UCI, M.A., 2012
  • School Counseling, CSU Long Beach, M.S., 2009
  • Psychology, CSU Long Beach, B.A., 2006

Research

The roles of schools and school personnel in the college preparation and college choice processes.

Biography

Chenoa S. Woods is a PhD candidate in the School of Education. Specializing in education policy and social context, her research examines low-income and underrepresented minority students’ college preparation and choice processes. She explores the roles of school personnel in creating a college-going culture on school campuses. Her research highlights the need for adequate, accurate, and timely college preparation throughout students’ K-12 education. In 2013, Chenoa was awarded the UC/ACCORD Dissertation Year Fellowship. In addition to her research, Chenoa currently serves as president for the Association Doctoral Students in Education student organization in the School of Education.

Adam Boessen

Adam Boessen

Public Impact Fellows Honorable Mention Awardee

Degrees:

  • Criminology, Law and Society, University of California-Irvine, PhD 2014
  • Social Ecology, University of California-Irvine, MA, 2009
  • Sociology, University of Missouri, BA 2007
  • Psychology, University of Missouri, BA 2007

Research

Neighborhoods and crime, social networks, space and geography.

Biography

Adam Boessen is a PhD candidate in the Department of Criminology, Law and Society.  He is interested in micro spatial and temporal patterns of people and small areas, how these patterns change over time, and the consequences of this change for neighborhood crime.  Adam examines these interests by investigating the spatial and network aspects of neighborhoods, land uses and neighborhood space, and how the daily activity patterns of residents shape neighborhood crime.  

Sun Young Park

Sun Young Park

Public Impact Fellows Honorable Mention Awardee

Degrees:

  • Informatics, ICS, UCI, PhD, 2015 expected
  • Interaction Design, Carnegie Mellon University, M.Des, 2008
  • Industrial Design/ Multimedia Art, Ewha Woman’s University, Korea, B.F.A., 2005

Research

Designing technologies to support collaborative care in an emergency department through patient awareness.

Biography

Sun Young Park is a PhD candidate at UC Irvine’s Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences. She is also a member of the Laboratory for Ubiquitous Computing and Interaction. Her research lies at the intersection of Human Computer Interaction (HCI), Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW) and Medical Informatics, and examines the social, technical, and cultural dimensions of social computing systems. In particular, her research focuses on designing and evaluating interactive systems to support clinical collaboration, patient-provider interactions and health information management among chronic care patients. She has presented her work to diverse audiences including the ACM conferences (CHI, CSCW), American Medical Informatics Association, and the International Medical Informatics Association (IMIA). Her work recently won a best journal paper award for Yearbook of IMIA. Before coming to UC Irvine, Sun Young was trained as a Visual, Product, and Interaction Designer.

Lynn Dombrowski

Lynn Dombrowski

Public Impact Fellows Honorable Mention Awardee

Degrees:

  • Informatics, UCI, PhD 2015 expected
  • Human Computer Interaction, MS. Indiana University, 2010
  • Computer Information Systems, BS. University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point, 2008

Research

I design, develop, and evaluate information and communication technologies with hunger-focused nonprofit organizations and community members to attend to local food needs.

Biography

Lynn Dombrowski is a PhD candidate at UC Irvine’s Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences. She designs information and communication technologies with hunger-focused nonprofit organizations to attend to local food needs and promote food justice. Her current project uses participatory design methods to render visible the alternative technological design spaces that may be more consistent with participants’ particular cultural practices and preferences. Her work has been published in top venues in the Human-Computer Interaction and Ubiquitous Computing fields. She grew up on a small dairy farm in central Wisconsin.

Edelina Muñoz Burciaga

Edelina Muñoz Burciaga

Public Impact Fellows Honorable Mention Awardee

Degrees:

  • Sociology, UCI, PhD, 2015 expected
  • Boston University School of Law, J.D., 2005
  • Social Sciences in Education, Stanford University Graduate School of Education, M.A., 2000
  • Chicana/o Studies/English, Stanford University, B.A., 1999

Research

The role of social scientists in contributing to our understanding of immigration and the immigrant experience. 

Biography

Edelina Burciaga is a PhD candidate in the department of Sociology in the School of Social Sciences. Her research interests include the immigrant experience, law and society, sociology of education, and racial and ethnic relations. Her dissertation examines the incorporation pathways of undocumented immigrants with a focus on Latina/o immigrants who came to the United States as children. She is currently a graduate student researcher with the Community Knowledge Project as a member of the learning and evaluation team for the Santa Ana Building Healthy Communities Initiative.  Edelina is looking forward to continuing to develop a community-based research agenda when she enters the professoriate. Before coming to UC Irvine, Edelina spent time working as a civil rights attorney and this experience informs her commitment to research that has a significant public impact. 

 Siavash Ahrar

Siavash Ahrar

Public Impact Fellows Honorable Mention Awardee

Degrees:

  • Biomedical Engineering, PhD, 2015 expected.
  • Biomedical Engineering UC Irvine, M.S., 2012.
  • Electrical Engineering UC Irvine, B.S., 2010.

Research

Design and establishment of autonomous microfluidic platforms through pneumatic digital logic.

Biography

Siavash Ahrar is a PhD candidate in the department of Biomedical Engineering.  As a member of Professor Elliot Hui's laboratory, Siavash works on design and development of autonomous microfluidic devices that incorporate logic and decision making. This embedded automation seeks to address the critical limitation in transfer of microfluidic systems from laboratories to the field by reducing the off-chip components required for the control and regulation of microfluidic systems.

Joshua Gellers

Joshua Gellers

Public Impact Fellow

Degrees:

  • Political Science, UCI, PhD, 2013 expected
  • Political Science, UCI, M.A., 2009
  • Climate and Society, Columbia University, M.A., 2007
  • Political Science, University of Florida, B.A., 2005

Research

Research focuses on understanding why countries adopt environmental rights in national constitutions, especially in South Asia.

Biography

Josh is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Political Science. He holds a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Florida, where he graduated magna cum laude, an M.A. in Climate and Society from Columbia University, and an M.A. in Political Science from UCI. Josh has consulted for the United Nations Development Programme and Sierra Club Green Home. His research utilizes quantitative and qualitative techniques to understand why countries adopt constitutional environmental rights, especially in South Asia, where he has conducted field research. Josh hopes to continue his work as a professor and international development consultant.

Zoya Gubernskaya

Zoya Gubernskaya

Public Impact Fellow

Degrees:

  • Sociology, UCI PhD, 2013 expected
  • Demographic and Social Analysis, UCI, M.A., 2006
  • Psychology, Lviv National University, Diploma, 2000

Research

Sociology and demography of health, aging, immigration, and family.

Biography

Zoya is a doctoral student in the department of Sociology in the School of Social Sciences. She holds an M.A. in Demographic and Social Analysis from UCI and a degree in Psychology from Ukraine-based Lviv National University. Her current research seeks to understand divergent health outcomes among the older foreign-born in the U.S. Using an interdisciplinary approach she investigates how incorporation experiences throughout the life course affect immigrants’ health and wellbeing in old age. While pursuing an academic career, she also expects her research findings to influence public policies aimed at reducing health disparities in old age.

Briana Hinga

Briana Hinga

Public Impact Fellow

Degrees:

  • Education, UCI, Ph.D., 2013 expected
  • Education, UCI, M.A., 2010

Research

Classroom practices, teacher education, and student assessments that promote innovative and equitable schooling opportunities for underrepresented students.

Biography

Briana Hinga is a doctoral candidate in the UCI School of Education, specializing in Learning, Cognition, and Development and Educational Policy and Social Context. Briana researches classroom practices, teacher education, and student assessments that promote innovative and equitable schooling opportunities for underrepresented students. She grounds this research in partnerships with researchers, teachers, students, and community members. She plans to pursue a career as a university professor as a means to learn from and work with the academic academy and communities to create spaces of collaboration and movement toward social justice in education.

Tina Matuchniak

Tina Matuchniak

Public Impact Fellow

Degrees:

  • Education, UCI, Ph.D., 2013 expected
  • Education, UCI, M.A., 2011
  • Literacy Studies, CSULB, M.A., 2000
  • English, CSULB, B.A. 1999

Research

Examining the writing practices and performances of high school English language learners as they transition to college.

Biography

Tina is a doctoral candidate in the School of Education at UCI specializing in language and literacy. As a multilingual immigrant to this country and a Lecturer at California State University, Long Beach, Tina has both a personal as well as professional interest in working with non-native speakers of English and other traditionally under-served and marginalized student populations. In addition to serving as a faculty mentor to 10 first-generation college students, Tina was also recognized for her excellence in teaching and awarded the prestigious “Distinguished Faculty Teaching Award” (2007) at CSU, Long Beach. In 2011, she received the UC ACCORD Dissertation Year Fellowship and was commended for “conducting ground-breaking work that will make a great contribution to equity and opportunity.” More recently (2012), she was awarded the Graduate Dean’s Dissertation Year Fellowship.

Dana Nakano

Dana Nakano

Public Impact Fellow

Degrees:

  • Sociology, UCI, Ph.D., 2013 expected
  • Demographic and Social Analysis, UCI, M.A., 2010
  • Asian American Studies, San Francisco State University, M.A, 2007
  • Engineering, University of Pennsylvania, B.A., 2004
  • International Relations and Asian and Middle Eastern Studies – Japanese, University of Pennsylvania, B.A., 2004

Research

The intersections of race and politics.

Biography

Dana is a doctoral candidate in the UCI School of Social Sciences, with a concentration in physical chemistry. His overarching research agenda focuses on the intersections of race and politics. Dana broadly defines politics to include the standard forms of electoral politics, political participation, civic engagement, and mobilization, but also take as central the more mundane experiences of citizenship as community and senses of belonging. His dissertation, tentatively titled “Racialized Belonging and Substantive Citizenship Among Later Generation Japanese Americans,” examines the persistence and construction of racial and ethnic communities among third and fourth generation Japanese Americans in Southern California and the impact of such community building on extralegal aspects of citizenship. He has a planned completion date on June 2013.

Marisa Omori

Marisa Omori

Public Impact Fellow

Degrees:

  • Criminology, Law and Society, UCI, Ph.D., 2014 expected
  • Social Ecology, UCI, M.A., 2010
  • Criminal Justice, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, The City University of New York, M.A., 2007
  • Economics, Occidental College, A.B., 2003

Research

Cumulative racial inequality in the arrest and court processes for drug offenders.

Biography

Marisa is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Criminology, Law & Society. Her work focuses on issues of race and punishment, drug policy, sentencing, and corrections. Marisa’s dissertation examines cumulative racial inequality in the arrest and court processes for drug offenders. Other projects include methamphetamine legislation, addiction and drug use over time, racial and gang violence in juvenile justice facilities, and drug offender sentencing. Marisa’s work has been published in Crime and Delinquency, Crime and Public Policy, and Theoretical Criminology. She is also the past recipient of the Newkirk Center for Science and Society Fellowship and the Debbie Davis Graduate Student Award for service and advocacy.

John Michael Ian Salas

John Michael Ian Salas

Public Impact Fellow

Degrees:

  • Economics, UCI, Ph.D., 2013 expected
  • Economics, University of the Philippines, M.A., 2004
  • Economics, University of the Philippines, B.S., 2002

Research

Causal explanations for high fertility in developing countries.

Biography

Ian is a doctoral candidate in Economics at UCI. His research looks at demographic and economic issues that developing countries face, as demonstrated by Philippine experience. He has received many grants for his ongoing research on the impact of free contraceptives on birth rates and other health outcomes. His earlier publications looked at measuring the aggregate burden of providing for a relatively large young dependent population, tracing disparities in firm productivity and regional development to differences in investment environment, validating a central bank's adherence to its avowed goal of managing inflation, and detecting collusive behavior in setting gasoline pump prices.

Sepideh Sarachi

Sepideh Sarachi

Public Impact Fellow

Degrees:

  • Civil Engineering/water resources, UCI, Ph.D., 2014 expected
  • Civil Engineering, UCI, M.S., 2010
  • Civil Engineering, Sharif University of technology/Iran, B.S., 2009

Research

A probabilistic model for uncertainty associated with satellite precipitation products.

Biography

Sepideh is a doctoral candidate in water resources and hydrology at center for hydrometeorology and remote sensing (CHRS) in the Henry Samueli school of engineering at UCI. She holds her master’s from the same school and her bachelors from Sharif university of technology, Iran. She is interested in water resources and the quantification of how much water is available to communities to forecast disasters look flooding and drought. Currently, she is working on quantifying the uncertainty associated with precipitation data estimated from satellite products, and would like to propose a global uncertainty model which can be used as a side product with any available precipitation product to give us a better estimate of the available water. This uncertainty helps to conduct better strategic planning for natural resources in societies.

Maria Torres

Maria Torres

Public Impact Fellow

Degrees:

  • Neurobiology and Behavior, UCI, Ph.D., 2013 expected
  • Chemistry, UCSC, B.S., 2008

Research

Research focuses on the role of thrombospondin-1 (TSP-1), an astrocyte secreted protein, in dendritic spine morphogenesis and structural plasticity.

Biography

Maria is a doctoral candidate in the School of Biological Sciences with a focus in neurobiology and behavior. She holds a B.S. in Chemistry from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She is currently working under the supervision of Dr. Jorge Busciglio and is interested in understanding the molecular mechanisms involved in Down syndrome neuronal dysfunction. Upon completion of a Doctorate of Philosophy degree, she plans to pursue a medical degree in order to most effectively apply her research background in neurodevelopmental diseases to serve and educate the community through disease prevention.

Matthew Valasik

Matthew Valasik

Public Impact Fellow

Degrees:

  • Criminology, Law & Society, School of Social Ecology - UCI, Ph.D., 2014 expected
  • Criminology, Department of Sociology - The Ohio State University, B.A., 2006
  • History, Department of History - The Ohio State University, B.A., 2004

Research

Investigation of how the establishment and enforcement of civil gang injunctions disrupt the activity patterns of gangs, impacting their criminal opportunities.

Biography

Matt is a doctoral candidate in the UCI School of Social Ecology where he is in the department of Criminology, Law & Society. He holds a B.A. from The Ohio State University in Criminology and History as well as a B.S. in Zoology. In conjunction with his advisor, Matt has been participating on a large-scale, multiple university research project forecasting the structure and dynamics of evolving criminal networks. Matt has contributed to 2 published papers from this research initiative, and is currently working on several others. Matt’s dissertation research investigates how the establishment and enforcement of civil gang injunctions disrupt the activity patterns of gangs, impacting their criminal opportunities.

Jesse Catlin

Jesse Catlin

Distinguished Fellow

Degrees:

  • Management with a concentration in Marketing, UC Irvine, Ph.D., 2013 expected
  • Economics, California State University, Sacramento, M.A., 2007
  • Economics, California State University, Sacramento, B.A., 2005

Research

Consumer behavior, with an emphasis on pharmaceutical marketing and sustainable consumption

Biography

Jesse is a doctoral candidate in the Marketing area of the Paul Merage School of Business at UCI and holds a B.A. and M.A. in Economics from California State University, Sacramento.  His primary research interest is in the area of consumer behavior, with an emphasis on pharmaceutical marketing and sustainable consumption.  Jesse’s research has been published in the Journal of Public Policy & Marketing and Health Communication.  His dissertation research investigates the underlying reasons for the growing problem of consumer overdose on commonly used over-the-counter medications.  Jesse is also a past recipient of the Ray Watson and Newkirk Center for Science and Society Fellowships.

Cheng-Wei (Aaron) Chen

Cheng-Wei (Aaron) Chen

Distinguished Fellow

Degrees:

  • Chemical Biochemical Engineering, UCI, Ph.D., 2013 expected
  • Chemical Biochemical Engineering, UCI, M.S., 2011
  • Chemical/biochemical Engineering, UC Davis, B.S., 2001

Research

Chemical Engineering

Biography

Cheng-Wei (Aaron) is a doctoral candidate in the Henry Samueli School of Engineering. Aaron holds a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from UC Davis. His area of focus is chemical engineering. Prior to beginning his doctoral studies, Aaron worked in field of biotechnology where he was awarded a patent in 2003 for his work on the creation of phthalate polymers to capture and compare protein profiles, which can then be used as a biomarker for identifying a specific disease. Aaron’s research has appeared in several academic journals including Advanced Materials and Biotechnology and Bioengineering.  In 2010, he was the recipient of the prestigious Edwards Lifesciences Training Fellowship.  Aaron’s current research explores the development of novel approaches to the treatment of heart attacks.

Laura Huang

Laura Huang

Distinguished Fellow

Degrees:

  • Management, UCI, Ph.D., 2012 expected
  • Business Administration, INSEAD, MBA, 2005
  • Engineering, Duke University, M.S., 2001
  • Engineering, Duke University, B.S., 2000

Research

High-risk, complex decision-making and problem solving in a variety of different businesses that drive economies through job growth and technology growth

Biography

Laura is a doctoral candidate in the Paul Merage School of Business at UCI.  Laura holds a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from Duke University, where she double majored in Electrical and Biomedical Engineering, graduating with honors.  She also holds a Master of Science in Engineering from Duke University and an MBA from INSEAD.  Prior to starting her Ph.D., Laura worked in consulting and general management at IBM and Johnson & Johnson, and also advised a number of entrepreneurial start-ups on their management and product launch strategies.  Her current research investigates high-risk, complex decision-making and problem solving in a variety of different businesses that drive economies through job growth and technology growth, such as established firms like IBM and Johnson & Johnson, as well as early-stage entrepreneurial start-ups creating new technology markets.

Jessica Pratt

Jessica Pratt

Distinguished Fellow

Degrees:

  • Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, UCI, Ph.D., 2013 expected
  • Zoology, North Carolina State University, M.S., 2005
  • Biology, Grand Valley State University, B.S., 2003

Research

How plant responses to environmental change scale up to affect animal communities

Biography

Jessica is a doctoral candidate in the UCI School of Biological Sciences where she is concentrating on Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. She holds a B.S. in Biology from Grand Valley State University and an M.S. in Zoology from North Carolina State University where she studied the conservation value of shaded coffee plantations for resident birds in Puerto Rico. Jessica’s interests lie in the applied fields of habitat conservation and ecological restoration.  She is currently conducting research to assess how plant responses to environmental change scale up to affect animal communities. Jessica is also a founding member of the Orange County Chapter of the Society for Conservation Biology (SCB), serves on the Chapters Advisory Commnittee for SCB, and as Interim Vice President of the Student Section for the Ecological Society of America.

Gobind Bisht

Gobind Bisht

Degrees:

  • Biomedical Engineering, UCI, Ph.D., 2012 expected
  • Biomedical Engineering, UCI, M.S., 2009
  • Biotechnology and Biochemical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, India, B.S., 2008

Research

Implantable Sugar Fuel Cell and High Precision Nanofiber Electro-writing

Biography

Gobind is a doctoral candidate in the Henry Samueli School of Engineering with a concentration focused on biomedical engineering. He holds an M.S. in Biomedical Engineering from UCI and a B.S. in Biotechnology from the Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, India.  Gobind has been involved in many entrepreneurial efforts to commercialize high impact technologies including Electroporation-based Non-deteriorative sterilization of foods and Diamond-like nanocomposite films for improving surgical tool performance, winning recognition at several competitions including the UCI Business Plan Competition. He is currently focusing on an Implantable Sugar Fuel Cell and High Precision Nanofiber Electro-writing.

Dana Garfin

Dana Garfin

Degrees:

  • Psychology and Social Behavior, UCI, Ph.D., 2013 expected
  • Social Ecology, M.A., UCI, 2010
  • Sociology (major) and Political Science (minor), B.A., University of Colorado at Boulder 2002

Research

How early negative life events and community disasters are associated with physical and mental health outcomes

Biography

Dana is a doctoral candidate in the UCI School of Social Ecology where she is in the department of Psychology and Social Behavior.  She holds an M.A. from UCI in Social Ecology as well as a B.A. from the University of Colorado from which she graduated Summa Cum Laude. Dana’s current program of research focuses on how early negative life events and community disasters are associated with physical and mental health outcomes. She has worked with homeless populations in Denver, immigrant populations in Mexico, members of the Dine (Navajo) nation in Arizona, and Tibetan refugees in Northern India. Her research projects have included two studies that assess psychosocial reactions to the 2010 8.8 magnitude Chilean earthquake; a longitudinal study of psychosocial development in 2,232 British children; and a National Science Foundation-funded longitudinal study of how turbulent social events (e.g., terrorist attacks, the economic crisis) are associated with mental health outcomes in a nationally representative sample of Americans. Dana has presented preliminary findings of her research at the Ministry of Health and at the Presidential Palace in Santiago, Chile.

Alexis Hickman

Alexis Hickman

Degrees:

  • Planning, Policy and Design, UCI, Ph.D., 2012 expected
  • Masters of Urban and Regional Planning, UCI, M.U.R.P., 2008
  • Global Studies, UCSB, B.A., 2004

Research

Environmental management

Biography

Alexis is a doctoral candidate pursuing a degree in Planning, Policy and Design from the School of Social Ecology. She holds a B.A. from UCSB in Global Studies and an M.U.R.P. from UCI in Urban Planning. In conjunction with her advisor, Alexis recently completed a book about environmental governance of the regional seas. She has received several grants for her work on coastal cities and climate change adaptation including the renowned Newkirk Grant.  Her main focus now is to further the knowledge and innovative work being done in environmental management.

Jordan Kraemer

Jordan Kraemer

Degrees:

  • Anthropology, UCI, Ph.D., 2012 expected
  • Social Sciences, University of Chicago, M.A., 2005
  • Medieval Studies, Wesleyan University, B.A., 2000

Research

The role of new media technologies in the geographic organization of everyday life, particularly how social and mobile media are shaping lived experience in the European Union

Biography

Jordan is a doctoral candidate in the Anthropology Department in the School of Social Sciences. She holds an M.A. in Social Sciences from the University of Chicago and a B.A. in Medieval Studies from Wesleyan University. Jordan’s research addresses the role of new media technologies in the geographic organization of everyday life, particularly how social and mobile media are shaping lived experience in the European Union.   Her work has been supported in part by DAAD as well as the Institute for European Studies, the Intel/UCI initiative PAPR@UCI, UCI's Department of Anthropology, and the School of Social Sciences. 

James Leak

James Leak

Degrees:

  • Education, UCI, Ph.D., 2012 expected
  • Education, UCI, M.A., 2010
  • Public Policy and Political Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, B.A., 2006

Research

Education Policy and Social Context

Biography

James Leak is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Education. He is specializing in Education Policy and Social Context. He holds a B.A. in Political Science and Public Policy, with a focus in Education Policy, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  While at UCI, James has worked as a TA and a graduate student researcher for the past 4 years on a meta-analysis for the National Forum on Early Childhood Policy and Programs.

Aleksandr Pevzner

Aleksandr Pevzner

Degrees:

  • Neurobiology and Behavior, UCI, Ph.D., 2012 expected
  • Biopsychology and Cognitive Science, U Michigan, B.S., 2006

Research

Investigation of molecular processes underlying learning and memory

Biography

Aleksandr is a doctoral candidate in the school of Biological Sciences with a focus on  neurobiology and behavior. He holds a B.S. in Biopsychology and Cognitive Science from the University of Michigan. Currently, he is investigating the molecular processes underlying learning and memory, with the goal of understanding the basis of neurological diseases.   Aleksandr is an active instructor in the Gifted Student Association program here on campus.

Courtney Reynolds

Courtney Reynolds

Degrees:

  • Medicine, UCI M.D., 2014 expected
  • Social Ecology, UCI Ph.D., 2012 expected
  • Molecular Biology, UCI, M.S., 2009
  • Biochemistry, UCSB, B.S., 2004

Research

How infections such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus spread in hospitals and nursing homes

Biography

Courtney is a sixth-year student in the MD/PhD program and a third-year doctoral student studying the epidemiology of infectious diseases through Social Ecology. She holds an M.S. in molecular biology from UCI’s School of Biological Sciences. Courtney decided to pursue her PhD in epidemiology to integrate her clinical and research interests. Courtney has published 2 papers, given oral presentations at the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America conferences in 2010 and 2011, and is the recipient of an F30 NRSA training grant through the National Institute on Aging. She is interested in how infections such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus spread in hospitals and nursing homes.

Nayssan Safavian

Nayssan Safavian

Degrees:

  • Education, UCI, Ph.D., 2012 expected
  • Education, UCI, M.A., 2010
  • Psychology, UCLA, B.A., 2004

Research

The role of motivation in improving students' proficiency in mathematics and the impact of teachers' motivation on student achievement

Biography

Nayssan is a doctoral candidate with an emphasis in Learning, Cognition, and Development in the Department of Education at UCI.  She holds an M.A. in Education from UCI and a B.A. in Psychology from UCLA. Currently, she is project manager for the California Motivation Project where she studies the role of motivation in improving students' proficiency in mathematics and the impact of teachers' motivation on student achievement. As a first generation American, her experiences inspire her to study cultural differences in motivation among immigrant minority youth and she looks forward to a research and teaching career dedicated to understanding the impact of achievement motives on student success.

Yixin Shi

Yixin Shi

Degrees:

  • Biomedical Engineering, UCI, Ph.D., 2012 expected
  • Biomedical Engineering, UCI, M.S., 2009
  • Bioengineering, Beihang University, B.S., 2008

Research

Development of non-invasive techniques to improve the diagnosis and management of asthma in children

Biography

Yixin is a doctoral candidate in the Henry Samueli School of Engineering with a focus on Biomedical Engineering. She holds an M.S. in Biomedical Engineering from the Henry Samueli School of Engineering and a B.S. in Bioengineering from Beihang University.   She is particularly interested in developing several non-invasive techniques to improve the diagnosis and management of asthma in children. In collaboration with Children’s Hospital of Orange County, Yixin led a research team in collecting first-hand clinical data in an indigent population designed to help with assessing and treating asthma in high-risk populations.

Wenbo Yan

Wenbo Yan

Degrees:

  • Physical Chemistry, UC Irvine, Ph.D., 2013 in expected
  • Inorganic Chemistry, Nanjing Univ., M.S., 2008

Research

Research and development of new cathode materials to meet society’s growing need for clean, cheap, and renewable energy sources

Biography

Wenbo is a doctoral candidate in the UCI School of Physical Sciences, with a concentration in physical chemistry. She holds an M.S. in inorganic chemistry from Nanjing University. Currently, her area of research is related to develop new cathode materials to meet society’s growing need for clean, cheap, and renewable energy sources, such as lithium ion batteries and supercapacitors. Wenbo’s goal is to understand what are the key parameters that limit the energy delivery rate for lithium ion batteries based on nanostructured materials. In addition to research, Wenbo is a Teaching Assistant in the General Chemistry labs here at UCI.