Bain & Company
Ellyn earned her Ph.D. in Environmental Science, Policy, and Management from the University of California, Berkeley in 2019. Since graduation she's worked as a consultant at Bain & Company in San Francisco concentrating in the utilities sector, as well as ESJ and private equity. LinkedIn
Mike is a technical consultant specializing in the design, manufacture, and performance of polymer systems used in biomedical, electronics, building and construction, coatings, and packaging applications. Prior to joining Exponent, he was a worked at the National Institute of Standards and Technology's Center for Neutron Research where he utilized a variety of X-ray and neutron scattering techniques to characterize polymer thin films. He received his Ph.D. in Materials from UCSB under the guidance of Ed Kramer and Craig Hawker in 2011.
Akhil covers India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka for Eurasia Group, advising clients on political and economic developments in country. Prior to joining the firm, he was the lead researcher for the India & South Asia practice at McLarty Associates, focusing on US-India relations and international trade policy. He also spent a year working in Tokyo as an assistant consultant for Fujitsu Research Institute. Akhil earned a master's degree in international business and policy from Georgetown University's Walsh School of Foreign Service and McDonough School of Business. He also holds a bachelor's degree in history from Franklin & Marshall College. LinkedIn
McKinsey & Company
I am a Partner in McKinsey's Pharmaceutical & Medical Products Practice, based out of our Silicon Valley office. As a leader in McKinsey's Center for Asset Optimization and the McKinsey Cancer Center, I serve biopharma clients on a wide range of topics, especially on R&D / asset strategy with a therapeutic area focus on oncology / immuno-oncology. I previously received my Ph.D. in Molecular & Cell Biology at UC Berkeley, where I studied the molecular mechanisms of atopic dermatitis and was supported by an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship.
Christina earned her PhD in Chemistry from Virginia Tech in 2020. She is currently a Consultant at EY-Parthenon in Growth Strategy practice, focusing on the Life Sciences sector. She primarily works on corporate strategy and due diligence projects.
Christina is also involved with Free the PhD. Happy to connect!
Donnell Walton is the director of the Corning Technology Center in Silicon Valley where he leads R&D and business development efforts in pursuit of profitable growth opportunities for Corning. Our transdisciplinary projects are in the areas including biosensors, optical and wireless communication, and advanced display technology. Before joining Corning, he earned a PhD in Applied Physics from the University of Michigan and served as an assistant professor of physics at Howard University where he won an NSF CAREER Award.
Christina Knapp earned her PhD from UCSB under Chetan Nayak studying topological phases of matter. After graduating, she did a postdoc at Caltech for a year in the condensed matter theory group, before joining Microsoft Quantum in September 2020 as a researcher. Her research focuses on topological qubits built from Majorana zero modes. In addition, she is part of the Diversity and Inclusion team working on engagement opportunities between Microsoft and UCSB.
Senior Staff Engineer
Advanced Technologies Group at BD Biosciences
Peter Mage is a Senior Staff Engineer in the Advanced Technologies Group at BD Biosciences, where he is responsible for inventing and commercializing new instrumentation and bioinformatics tools for understanding the immune system at the single-cell level. Prior to joining BD in 2018, he developed technologies for biosensing and drug delivery as a postdoc at Stanford University in the departments of Electrical Engineering and Radiology. Peter earned his PhD in Materials at UCSB in 2016 and holds bachelor’s degrees in physics and math.
Director, Footwear Materials Innovation
Brian was born and raised in the California bay area. He played many sports growing up, and has always been a avid reader. He's always had a driving interest in learning new things, especially in the sciences. This likely contributed to his field of study, chemical engineering, in which he earned his undergrad at UC Davis (BS'01), and his PhD in at NCSU in 2005. From 2006-2007 he did a post-doc at UCSB studying biomedical applications for nanomaterials, and following that he left academia for industry, starting his career in R&D with a chemical company in Boston, MA.
He is a chemical engineer with over 15 years experience in academic and industrial settings spanning numerous market sectors and applications. He has worked on both sides of the supply chain from early stage raw materials to late stage consumer product development. He is passionate about exploring new ideas, interacting with customers to ensure success, working with teams to push projects forward, and leveraging open innovation when possible. He's always had a 'glass-half-full' perspective and is a firm believer that every experience, even negative ones, are valuable lessons for the next steps in life.
He still enjoys getting outdoors: morning jogs with his dog, skiing, golf and cycling with friends, hikes in the woods with his family, chasing his kids around the yard. He enjoys finding time to take moment and slow down when he can, reading a book, catching up on the latest tech achievements, having a pint with friends, or a glass of wine with his wife, and just appreciating life in general.
Research and Project Consultant
Seattle Jobs Initiative
Natasha Bennett completed her PhD in Political Science from UCSB. After graduate school, she worked as an independent research consultant and was a Visiting Assistant Professor. Currently, she works at Seattle Jobs Initiative, a workforce development non-profit, where she partners with community colleges to advance efforts to make college systems more responsive to the needs of underserved students and low-income adults.
Director of the Gender, Sexuality, and Identity Program
Tarah Demant is the Director of the Gender, Sexuality, and Identity Program at Amnesty International USA. She leads the organization’s work on women’s rights, LGBTI rights, Indigenous Peoples rights, and sexual and reproductive rights. She brings over fifteen years of experience in global gender issues and has advocated for human rights at the United Nations, the White House, State Department, Department of Defense, USAID, Capitol Hill, and with foreign governments. Her analysis has been featured by The New York Times, CNN, BBC, Al Jazeera, Time, USA Today, PRI, The Nation, and other media. She holds a Ph.D. in English and a Graduate Certificate in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Previously she has worked with the US Human Rights Network and as a professor of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and English.
Daniel Nerenberg is a Communications Associate for Just Vision, a nonprofit that highlights the power and reach of Palestinians and Israelis working to end the occupation and build a future of freedom, dignity and equality. He previously served as the organization's Director of Communications before stepping back to prioritize time with his family. Daniel supports the communications team with research, press outreach, analysis and writing. He received his PhD in Political Science from George Washington University and was a 2013-2014 Peace Scholar at the US Institute of Peace. He is an occasional contributor to the Washington Post's Monkey Cage and lives in Kentucky with his family. LinkedIn
Associate Director of Outcome Measurement
Habitat for Humanity International
Korinne Chiu has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Florida, a Master of Arts in Experimental Psychology from Wake Forest University, and a Ph.D. in Educational Research, Measurement and Evaluation from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She is currently the Associate Director of Outcome Measurement on Habitat for Humanity International’s U.S. Research and Measurement team. In this role, she is building the foundation to collect, analyze, and use outcome data to understand how Habitat is contributing to changes in families and communities across the U.S. LinkedIn
CEO & Co-Founder
Ian Akash Morrison earned a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Rice University in 2013, where he also co-founded OwlSpark, the school's first startup accelerator. Akash is now the Founder & Managing Partner of Optio Ventures, a boutique advisory and venture firm that helps founders launch and raise capital for early-stage startups across various industries, with a primary focus on healthcare. Akash also serves as CEO & Co-Founder of Avesta76 Therapeutics, a biotech startup focused on developing new treatments for multiple cancer indications. With deal volume experience exceeding $10 billion across a diverse set of transaction types, Akash has a decade of experience working both with startups and in finance as an entrepreneur, leader, strategic advisor, and investor. LinkedIn
CEO and Founder
In Silico Veritas
Aurélie JEAN has been working for more than 10 years as a research scientist and an entrepreneur in computational sciences, applied to engineering, medicine, education, economy, finance and journalism. In the past, Aurélie worked at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and at Bloomberg. Today, Aurélie works and lives between the USA and France where she shares her time between consulting (with her company In Silico Veritas), research, and teaching in grad schools and executive education. Aurelie is currently working now on a new venture in medical application. LinkedIn
7th Mind, Inc.
A former UCSB faculty member and dean, Dr. Britt Andreatta is an internationally recognized thought leader who creates brain science–based solutions for today’s challenges. As CEO of 7th Mind, Inc., she draws on more than 25 years of professional experience and her unique background in leadership, neuroscience, psychology, and learning to unlock the best in people and organizations. She regularly consults with businesses, universities, and nonprofit organizations on leadership development and learning strategy. Britt has published several books on the brain science of success including her most recent, Wired to Grow: Harness the Power of Brain Science to Learn and Master Any Skill.
Director, Programming and Development
Public Broadcasting Service
Zara Frankel works in PBS Programming as the Director of Programming and Development. She collaborates extensively with filmmakers, production companies, and new talent to develop interesting and innovative content across genres for PBS. Prior to her current role, Zara served as the Development Manager for PBS Programming, evaluating submissions and providing editorial feedback, and worked as a Project Coordinator in digital content and online games with PBS KIDS.
Prior to joining PBS, Zara worked for digital ad agency, AKQA. She is a graduate of Florida State University, earning a Bachelor’s degree in Communications and Film and a Master’s degree in Education.
Maya Wei-Haas is a science writer at National Geographic. She writes about a broad range of topics but has a particular affection for rocks and reactions.
Before working at National Geographic, she was the assistant editor at Smithsonian.com for science and innovation. She has a Ph.D. in environmental chemistry from the Ohio State University and made the jump from academia to journalism as a AAAS Mass Media fellow. She has traveled the world in the name of science, scooping ice melt from the top of Antarctic glaciers, hauling up sediments from Svalbard lakes, and monitoring water chemistry in Alaskan rivers. Now she's working to bring these types of adventures and the science that surrounds us to the general public. LinkedIn
The New York Times
Eleanor works at The New York Times in the Graphics department making charts, maps, and data visualizations. This past year she has worked on coverage of the 2020 election, Donald Trump's taxes, and coronavirus risk levels in counties across the United States. Eleanor completed her PhD at the University of Washington studying biology and data science.
Head of Strategic Communications, National Security Research Division
Erin Rebhan is Head of Strategic Communications for the National Security Research Division at the RAND Corporation, where she shapes both internal and external communications strategies. Before joining RAND, she was Research Communications Manager at CNA, which runs the Department of the Navy's federally funded research and development center. At CNA, she provided writing and communications expertise to project teams and taught a course on critical thinking and writing to researchers. Prior to CNA, she taught at the Catholic University of America and Claremont McKenna College. Erin is co-founder and co-director of eHumanista (www.ehumanista.ucsb.edu). She holds a Ph.D. in Medieval and Early Modern Spanish Literature from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a B.A. in Spanish and Geology from St. Norbert College. LinkedIn
Science Communicator and Video Producer
Alex Dainis is a freelance science communicator and video producer with eight years of
experience producing digital, educational content for the web. Her background includes a PhD in genetics from Stanford University, and she was honored to be a 2019 Jackson Wild Media Lab Fellow. Her long-running YouTube channel brings biology and genetics to over 40,000 subscribers and her science communication efforts have reached millions of viewers across multiple social media platforms. She now runs Helicase Media LLC, a science communication company focused on bringing humanity and storytelling to science via online media. LinkedIn
Senior Principal Researcher
Sam Ladner is a sociologist who studies the intersection of technology and work. She is the author of Practical Ethnography: A Guide to Doing Ethnography in the Private Sector and Mixed Methods: A Short Guide to Applied Mixed Methods Research. She has worked on dozens of advanced software projects including Alexa, the Echo Look, Windows 10, Microsoft Office 2016, Cortana, and HoloLens. She currently works at Workday, an enterprise software company, as a Principal Researcher studying the future of work. She received her PhD in sociology from York University and lives in the Bay Area with her husband and cat. LinkedIn
Central Integrity Team
Mark Schneider is a UX Researcher on the Central Integrity Team at Facebook. Mark received his PhD in political science at Columbia University, and his academic research and teaching focuses on the political economy of development and elections in rural India. At Facebook, Mark's research seeks to understand content that can create risks to users' safety and ways to minimize these risks using a mix of qualitative and quantitative methods.
Arthur Guittet graduated from UCSB's Mechanical Engineering Ph.D. program. His studies focused on developing numerical simulation techniques and software. Right after graduating, he joined Google in Boulder, Colorado, where he has been working for 5 years in the Payments department. He works on integrations between Google and various actors of the payments industry.
Library of Congress
Ryan Reft earned his PhD in U.S. urban history from the University of California San-Diego in 2014. Since 2015, he has been a historian of the modern U.S. in the Manuscript Division at the Library of Congress where he oversees collections related to domestic politics/policy. Prior to pursuing his PhD, he taught English and history in the New York Public High Schools for nine years. He also writes for KCET (Los Angeles) and is senior co-editor at the Urban History Association blog, The Metropole. He is co-editor of and contributor to the anthology, East of East: The Making of Greater El Monte (2020). He co-founded and co-edited the blog, Tropics of Meta with Alex Sayf Cummings from 2010-2016.
Trade and Investment Representative
CA Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development
Emily Desai serves as California’s Trade Representative for Europe, the Middle East, and India at the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz). In her capacity at GO-Biz she oversees trade and commercial engagement with California’s U.S. government and foreign partners in those regions. This includes helping California companies enter new markets and tap into global business opportunities; supporting foreign business expansion in California to develop high road jobs in the state; and staying atop emerging trends, tariffs, and other policy issues. She brings more than a decade of experience in international issues from the public and private sectors. Most recently, she worked in international affairs and trade serving the U.S. Congress as a Senior Project Manager at the U.S. Government Accountability Office. She has an MPP from U.C. Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy and a BS in Public Administration with honors from the University of Arizona. LinkedIn
Head, Research and Programs
American Folklife Center
John Fenn is the Head of Research and Programs at the American Folklife Center, leading a team of staff involved in public programming, publications, research, and training in cultural documentation. He holds a Ph.D. from Indiana University (2004), and prior to taking his position at the Library of Congress he was an Associate Professor in the Arts and Administration Program at the University of Oregon. Throughout his career he has merged training in folklore and ethnomusicology with a commitment to documentation, public presentation, stewardship, and interpretation of cultural forms and expressions. LinkedIn
U.S. Census Bureau
Anna Sandoval Girón is a supervisory Social Science Analyst at the U.S. Census Bureau in Washington, DC. Currently Anna leads the research and evaluation components of the Integrated Partnerships and Communications team, in addition to pursuing her research interests on hard-to-survey populations. Previously, she served as Research Sociologist in the Center for Behavioral Science Methods at the U.S. Census Bureau.
In 2018, Anna was a member of the team awarded the Census Director’s Award for Innovation for work in the 2020 Census Barriers, Attitudes, and Motivators Study, the foundational research for the development of the 2020 census marketing campaign. Anna earned a Latin American and Iberian Studies Master’s degree, a Master’s and PhD in sociology from the University of California, Santa Barbara and a BA in sociology from Oregon State University.
University Jobs/Administration Panel
Director, Office of Career Planning and Professional Development
Graduate Center, City University of New York
Jenny Furlong joined the Graduate Center as the Director of Career Planning & Professional Development in February 2013. Dr. Furlong worked most recently at New York University, and previously served as associate director of graduate student career development at Columbia University’ s Center for Career Education, and as associate director for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in the Career Services office of the University of Pennsylvania. She is the co-author of the Career Talk column in The Chronicle of Higher Education and The Academic Job Search Handbook, 5th ed. (Philadelphia: U. of Pennsylvania Press, 2016). Dr. Furlong earned her PhD in Romance Languages at the University of Pennsylvania and her BA in Comparative Literary Studies at Northwestern University. Her academic training is in eighteenth-century French literature, history, and culture; she dabbles in book history as well. She lives in Jersey City with her daughter and cats. In her spare time, she knits, sews, reads many novels, and rescues cats.
Associate Director, Center for Innovative Teaching, Research, and Learning
University of California Santa Barbara
Maggie Safronova is the Associate Director at the Center for Innovative Teaching, Research, and Learning at the University of California Santa Barbara. Maggie is involved in projects that explore the role of pedagogical innovations on students’ sense of belonging in large universities. Maggie's research focuses on the intersection of student academic and social experiences within the context of R1 institutions. Maggie received her Ph.D. from the Department of Political Science at the University of California Santa Barbara.
Dr. Stephanie Couch is Executive Director of the Lemelson-MIT Program within the School of Engineering at MIT. Her research focuses on invention education and STEM learning opportunities, and invention education’s impacts on students (especially those from underrepresented backgrounds), schools, and local communities. She has an extensive background in leading work within multi-stakeholder STEM education networks, including formation of the statewide California STEM Learning Network, and the Gateways East Bay STEM Network in the San Francisco Bay Area. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Barbara after working in the California State Legislature on education policy issues. LinkedIn
Associate Director, Interdisciplinary Humanities Center
University of California Santa Barbara
Erin Nerstad is Associate Director of UCSB's Interdisciplinary Humanities Center. She oversees the Center's research grants and programs, public events series, and public humanities programs, through which she sustains community-university partnerships and helps prepare graduate students to pursue publicly engaged careers. Erin received her PhD in English from the University of Chicago in 2015, specializing in Victorian literature and culture.
President and Director
Los Angeles County Natural History Museums
Dr. Bettison-Varga arrived at the Natural History Museums of Los Angeles County in October 2015. She oversees NHM in Exposition Park, La Brea Tar Pits and Museum in Hancock Park, and the William S. Hart Museum in Newhall. Her immediate goals include advancing the outreach and education around urban nature and community science, as well as the re-imagining of the La Brea Tar Pits and Museum, where visitors can make connections between Ice Age Los Angeles 50,000 years ago, and climate change today.
A geologist who received her PhD from the University of California, Davis, Dr. Bettison-Varga served six years as President and W.M. Keck Foundation Presidential Chair at Scripps College in Claremont, California. There, she enhanced the visibility of the college, implemented policies to foster greater transparency and community engagement, initiated strategic planning for diversity and sustainability, and inaugurated a comprehensive capital campaign.
Director of Science
The Kavli Foundation
Chris Martin, Ph.D., leads the science program at The Kavli Foundation and is also its associate vice president of operations. At Kavli he has helped launch multiple national efforts including the US BRAIN Initiative, the Microbiome Initiative and Quantum Initiatives; worked to enhance international coordination in astrophysics; as well as overseeing the twenty Kavli institutes at leading universities around the world. Prior to joining the foundation in 2013, Dr. Martin was a professor of physics and astronomy at Oberlin College (2004-2013) where he studied the Milky Way Galaxy using the Herschel Space Observatory, long duration balloon missions and telescopes around the world. During his tenure at Oberlin, he spent a year as an American Association for the Advancement of Science Congressional Fellow with the United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation and was involved in the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010, space policy, nanotechnology and the federal funding of science research.
Dr. Martin completed his Ph.D. in theoretical physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1999, and then became the Station Science Leader at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, spending two years wintering over at the bottom of the Earth during his postdoctoral fellowship at the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. LinkedIn
Jennifer McArdle is an Adjunct Senior Fellow with the Defense Program at the Center for a New American Security and a Product Strategist at Improbable LLC, an emerging global leader in distributed simulation technology for military planning, training, and decision support. Her research focuses on military innovation, readiness, and synthetic training. She currently serves as an expert member of a NATO technical working group that is developing cyber effects for the military alliance's mission and campaign simulations. Her work has been featured in Real Clear World, The Cyber Defense Review, National Defense Magazine, and War on the Rocks, among others. Jennifer previously served as an Assistant Professor of Cyber Defense at Salve Regina University where she lectured on the relationship between national security and disruptive technologies. While in RI, she served on Congressman James Langevin's cyber advisory committee. She has also held positions at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the U.S. National Defense University, in addition to working in New Delhi, India as a Visiting Fellow at two defense research institutions. Jennifer is a PhD candidate at King’s College London in War Studies and the recipient of the RADM Fred Lewis (I/ITSEC) doctoral scholarship in modeling and simulation. She holds a MPhil in Politics from the University of Cambridge and a BA in Political Science, summa cum laude, from the University of New Hampshire.
Human Resources Generalist, Organizational Services
Library of Parliament, Ottawa, Canada
I have a PhD in Critical and Comparative Studies in Music (University of Virginia, 2013) and work at the Library of Parliament in Human Resources. In my current role, I contribute to the development of HR programs and policies in the areas of organizational effectiveness, learning and development, and health, wellness and safety in the workplace.
Director of Applied Research and Innovation
Mike Commito is the Director of Applied Research & Innovation at Cambrian College in Sudbury, Ontario. After completing his PhD in Canadian history from McMaster University in 2015, Mike worked for a think tank before joining Cambrian in 2016. In addition to his duties at Cambrian, Mike is also a hockey writer and his articles have been featured on Sportsnet, VICE Sports, and The Athletic. In 2018 he was named Team Historian for the Sudbury Wolves, a junior hockey team, and also began writing extensively for the LA Kings of the NHL. Later that same year, he published his first book, Hockey 365: Daily Stories from the Ice. Mike is currently working on a second volume of Hockey 365 and is still writing for the Kings. LinkedIn
Arturo ('97 PhD, Economics) straddles policy and economics, first as an academic and now as part of the private sector at Facebook. In his present role, Arturo leads the development of research studies to explain the role and value of digital tools for small businesses throughout the globe.