The 2018 Beyond Academia Team

The Beyond Academia team is comprised entirely of graduate students and post-docs at UC Berkeley. They volunteer their efforts and time outside of doing research, writing articles, teaching classes, and mentoring students.

Co-Director, Media, Logistics
Alicia Roy

Alicia Roy

Alicia Roy is a 6th year PhD candidate in the Department of German with a Designated Emphasis in Film and Media. Her research focuses on the legal and social history of intellectual property and copyright in Germany. She has taught German language courses at UC Berkeley at every level, as well as English language courses on German literature. She also works in the UC Berkeley College of Letters & Sciences Office of Undergraduate Advising, and in her free time loves to bake, play guitar, and practice yoga.

Co-Director, Outreach Lead, Media Lead, Speakers
Arathi Govind

Arathi Govind

Arathi Govind is a 6th year PhD candidate in Ethnomusicology. Her research concerns several South Asian American musicians and their work in social justice advocacy and activism. Her work aims to address how racial hierarchies for South Asians have shifted in a post-9/11 context in the United States, forming and strengthening interracial coalitions. She is also an accomplished vocalist, singing with Resound Ensemble in San Francisco and the indie rock band Bright Red Universe. For fun, Arathi enjoys hiking, camping, studying birds, cooking, and running.

Co-director, Finance Lead, Development
Joe Papp

Joe Papp

Joe Papp is a fourth year PhD student in the Department of Chemical & Molecular Engineering and is a member of the McCloskey Lab. His PhD research is centered on cathode materials for lithium ion and lithium air batteries. Outside of research, Joe also volunteers in elementary schools with BASIS and is a delegate on the graduate assembly. In his spare time, Joe enjoys hiking/backpacking, following college basketball, and visiting local breweries.

Speakers
Elyse Kedzie

Elyse Kedzie

Elyse is a 2nd year PhD candidate in the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Department. Her research focuses on understanding the fundamental electrochemical processes in lithium- and sodium-air batteries. She also serves in the graduate student government as a delegate and has an interest in science outreach and policy.

Media, Speakers
Geoff Bacon

Geoff Bacon

Geoff is a fifth-year PhD candidate in the Department of Linguistics, splitting his time amongst research, teaching and consulting. His research uses computational methods to model the way languages express time. Geoff teaches Python, natural language processing and data science at D-Lab. Also through D-Lab, Geoff offers free consulting on natural language processing and Python to UC Berkeley's community.

Finance, Speakers
Stephanie Wan

Stephanie Wan

Stephanie is a 5th year PhD Candidate in the Vision Science Program. Her research focuses on determining how the healthy cornea, unlike all other exposed tissues, prevents a bacterial microbiome. She also studies how contact lens wear affects the corneal environment making it more susceptible to infection. Outside of the lab Stephanie volunteers in elementary classrooms through Bay Area Scientists in Schools (BASIS) and enjoys cooking, hiking and traveling.

Logistics Lead, Finance
Natalie Stepien-Bernabe

Natalie Stepien-Bernabe

Natalie is a fifth-year PhD candidate in the Vision Science Program. Her general research interest is exploring how our senses -- specifically, vision and touch -- affect human knowledge, cognition, and perception. Her dissertation research addresses this topic by exploring the impact of presentation mode and widely-used technology on comprehension ability among blind and sighted individuals. Natalie conducts her research at the UC Berkeley School of Optometry and the Smith-Kettlewell Research Institute in San Francisco. In addition to doing research, Natalie taught first-year optometry students Visual Perception and Sensitivity at UC Berkeley, graduate students linear regression analysis at the University of Michigan’s ICPSR Summer Program, and elementary school students vision science through Bay Area Scientists in Schools (BASIS). In her free time, Natalie enjoys baking, hiking, wine tasting, and traveling.

Media, Finance
Jennifer Wiederspahn

Jennifer Wiederspahn

Jennifer is a second year Ph.D. student in the Comparative Biochemistry program at UC Berkeley. Her research focuses on understanding the underlying mechanisms of Breast Cancer progression. More specifically, she aims to integrate insights in cell biology, clinical data, as well as state of the art machine learning algorithms to improve diagnosis and predictive models. Jennifer has taught Molecular and Cell Biology classes and lab courses at UC Berkeley. In her free time, she teaches science lessons at Elementary schools in the Berkeley/Oakland area, works on her personal “zero waste” project, cooks, does yoga, and loves to sail.

Media, Blog Writer
Vael Gates

Vael Gates

Vael Gates is a third year PhD student in neuroscience. Vael's research focuses on formalizing social interactions, working at the intersection of psychology and computer science. More specifically, Vael enjoys working on projects like developing computational models of how people make guesses about other people's goals after observing their actions. Outside the lab, Vael likes working on science outreach (outreach website), blogging about non-science musings, exercise, and talking with people.

Speakers, Development
Michael Ly

Michael Ly

Michael is a second-year graduate student in the Molecular & Cell Biology department. His research broadly focuses on probing cellular pathways that are manipulated by viruses during an infection. In his free time, he enjoys running and watching Bay Area sports.

Speakers
Zhenyuan Liu

Zhenyuan Liu

Zhenyuan Liu is a Mechanical engineering PhD candidate at UC Berkeley with a Master of Arts degree in Statistics. He conducts research on uncertainty quantification in the major field of energy science and technology using tools from applied statistics, machine learning, convex optimization, and parallel computing. Before coming to the US, he obtained a master degree from Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH Zurich), and a Bachelor degree from Shanghai Tongji University, both related to car engines. He is an automotive enthusiast. He enjoys snowboarding, scuba-diving, amateur track-day racing, soccer, tennis and Chinese history etc.

Finance, Speakers
Nicole Adair

Nicole Adair

Nicole is a 5th year PhD candidate in Comparative Literature with a Designated Emphasis in Renaissance and Early Modern Studies and an MA candidate in English-Creative Writing. She works on women’s and gender studies, biblical hermeneutics, the renaissance epic, and creative writing. Her dissertation project, “The Hermeneutics of the Veil,” critically examines the relationship between suspicion and faith in Italian, French, and English early modern poetry. Nicole’s creative work appears in World Literature Today (2018). She teaches Reading and Composition at UC Berkeley and Italian and French language at Polyglottist Language Academy.

Speakers
Aaron Schaller

Aaron Schaller

Aaron is a fifth-year PhD candidate in the Molecular and Cellular Biology program at UC Berkeley. His thesis research in the Glaunsinger Lab focuses on the characterization of non-coding RNA elements involved in the mammalian host response to viral infection. He is passionate about global health and the study of infectious, as well as genetic disease, and hopes that his life’s work will be of benefit to research in these areas. Outside of science, Aaron is an avid gardener, musician, artist, and world traveler/explorer.

Speakers

Bret Peterson

Bret is a fifth year graduate student in the microbiology department. He researches the determinants of Listeria monocytogenes pathogenesis, a bacterial pathogen to humans and animals. Much of his interest is in characterizing how bacteria respond to the stress of changing environments during the course of infection. Outside of science he’s a dad and spends all his time with his two year old son, usually playing soccer. Before academia, Bret spent six years in the US Navy.

Development, Finance
Praveen Vayalamkuzhi

Praveen Vayalamkuzhi

Praveen is a Postdoctoral researcher in the UC Berkeley Safe Transportation Research and Education Center affiliated with Institute of Transportation Studies. His research work focuses on the transportation operation and safety of highway network leading to saving life. Praveen also involves with Berkeley Postdoctoral Association which is a volunteer organization of postdocs working to advocate for the postdoc and visiting scholar community at UC Berkeley. Outside of research, Praveen enjoys traveling and cooking.

Speakers
Sarah Christofides

Sarah Christofides

Sarah is a fifth year PhD student in the French department. Her research focuses on women’s authorship and sexuality in nineteenth-century France, with a particular interest in gender and language. Sarah has taught French language classes at UC Berkeley at every level, and also works for the Berkeley Graduate Professional Development Center.