2020-2021 Board Members

Eliza jaeger, Co-President

Eliza is a Biological Sciences Ph.D. student in the Tosches Lab. She is studying the evolution of neural circuits and complex behaviors using the salamander Pleurodeles waltl as a model organism. Before starting her Ph.D., Eliza graduated from Middlebury College with a B.A. in neuroscience and then worked as a research technician for Bianca Jones Marlin in the Axel Lab at the Columbia Zuckerman Mind, Brain and Behavior Institute. Eliza is committed to helping to create opportunities for women and URM in science, which should be made available as early as possible.

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Eavan Donovan, Co-President

Eavan is a Ph.D. student in Biological Sciences. Before Columbia, Eavan received her B.A. in Chemistry at Carleton with previous research on  structural biology of protein complexes. At Columbia, she works on studying mitochondrial motility in the Drosophila visual system in the Barnhart Lab. As she explores research at Columbia she is excited to encourage other graduate students to get involved in science advocacy, and mentorship, especially getting more involved in our surrounding community.

David Kim, Board Advisor

Davida Kim is a Business Development Manager of Career Center Publishing for Wiley, where he is responsible for building partnerships with scientific, scholarly, and practitioner societies in North America. He specializes in leveraging Wiley’s global scientific communications and disciplinary expertise to help societies deliver high- impact professional development resources and career opportunities for enhanced membership engagement and non-dues revenue generation. David leads Wiley’s Career Center Diversity, Equity & Inclusion initiatives, involving strategic efforts to improve career opportunities for underrepresented women, people of color, and LGBTQ+ communities in research, academia, and professional practice. David was formerly Associate Editor & Journal Publishing Manager at Wiley, overseeing the strategic development and management of high-profile peer-reviewed journal portfolios in Finance, Economics, Statistics, Geography, Demography, Consumer Sciences, and Health Policy. He is a 2020 Fellow of the Society for Scholarly Publishing.

David is currently pursuing an MS in Digital Age Learning & Education Technology at John Hopkins University School of Education, where he combines his interests in scalable innovation that improves learning and equitable access to high-quality education and mentorship. His research focuses on improving early-warning systems for vulnerable students and demographics-driven outcomes prediction modeling. David received his BA in Political Science from Columbia University and is a proud member and Social Chair of the Columbia Alumni Dragon Boat racing team of New York.

Organizations interested in supporting WISC can reach David at: linkedin.com/in/davidckim707/

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Julia Hestenes, Undergraduate Mentoring

Julia is a Materials Science & Engineering Ph.D. student in the Department of Applied Physics & Applied Mathematics. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Physics from the University of California, Berkeley.  Her current research is focused on understanding the electrochemical and structural interactions occurring at the electrode-electrolyte interface in next-generation battery materials. She hopes that new improvements in battery performance can help to combat climate change by changing the way we generate and store electricity. Aside from STEM and sustainability, she also takes to heart the importance of diversity in STEM fields. She believes that tailoring STEM outreach and education to be supportive of students from underrepresented groups is key to fostering a welcoming STEM community. She hopes the mentoring events she organizes with WISC will inspire and encourage students to pursue careers in the sciences and engineering!

Casey Ivanovich, Undergraduate Mentoring

Casey is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, researching how modes of climate variability such as the Madden-Julian Oscillation influence humidity in order to better predict extremes and associated impacts on human health. Casey received her B.A. in Geosciences from Princeton University in 2017, after which she served as a High Meadows Fellow at the Environmental Defense Fund in Washington, DC. As a fellow, Casey conducted research that modeled the future warming impact of various sectors, including agriculture and international transportation, and contributed to EDF’s climate communications efforts. Casey believes that we succeed when we uplift and advocate for one another, and joined WISC to help create a more supportive and inclusive environment for women in STEM at Columbia.

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Felisa Conrad-Burton, Networking Chair

Felisa is a Ph.D. student in the Zhu Group in the Chemistry Department. She is studying the photophysics of organic solar energy conversion materials, specifically, understanding the process of singlet exciton fission and making it practical and useful for modern applications. Felisa is very interested in the intersection of science and society, especially when it comes to issues of public policy, equality, and diversity. This led her to join WISC as an avenue to promote inclusion in the STEM fields and bring science into important conversations and spaces where it might not normally be a consideration. Outside of WISC, Felisa takes advantage of living in New York City and participates in science policy and advocacy groups and continues to pursue her love of dance.

Lenzie Ford, Postdoctoral Liaison

Lenzie is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Neuroscience Department, having lab space at both the CUMC and Manhattanville campuses. Her research focuses on the structure-function relationship of amyloid-like proteins involved in healthy and diseased long-term memory. Lenzie is also the Society for Neuroscience’s Greater NYC Chapter (BraiNY) Advocacy Co-char. Lenzie received her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of Sussex, having worked with the gender equality group as their graduate student representative, and received her BS in Neuroscience and Behavior from the University of California, Santa Cruz.

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Allie Balter, Graphic Designer

Allie is a Ph.D. student at Columbia’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. She holds a Master’s of Science in Earth and Climate Science from the University of Maine and a Bachelor’s of Science in Geology from Bates College. Allie’s research aims to understand how glaciers and ice sheets responded to climate change in the Earth’s past, with the goal of providing useful constraints on ice loss and sea-level rise interface of current warming. Her research has brought her to many cold places across the globe, including Antarctica, Greenland, and Alaska! Allie is passionate about education and outreach and aims to advocate for women in science as a member of WISC.

Prachi Patel, STEM Starters

Prachi Patel is a Ph.D. candidate in Columbia’s Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute. She holds a Master’s of Science in Electrical Engineering from Columbia University and a Bachelor’s of Technology from Nirma University in India. Her scientific research consists of understanding how speech and music are encoded in the human brain. She looks at signals recorded from inside of the human brain to infer the encoding of this information and the workings of brain circuitry. Prachi is passionate about promoting pedagogical practices and science outreach among graduate students. She aspires to ignite curiosity in the young minds of middle school and high-school students by conducting STEM outreach workshops through WISC.

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Aubrianna Decker, STEM Starters

Aubrianna is a Ph.D. candidate in the Biological Sciences Department, especially interested in the regulated cell death pathway, ferroptosis, and its role as a cancer treatment. Before coming to Columbia, she earned her Bachelor’s degree in Molecular and Cellular Biology with an emphasis in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from UC Berkeley.

Middle school science fairs and high school science outreach made huge impacts on her love of science, and she hopes to help facilitate similarly effective outreach events for local students here. She strongly believes that young kids need exposure to modern technologies and need to interact with both men and women scientists who convey their passion for science. Through her involvement in WISC, Aubrianna hopes to contribute to a supportive network of STEM feminists in creating an equal and inclusive campus.

Radhika Desai, Department Liaison

Radhika is a current Ph.D. student in Motor Learning and Control, in the Department of Biobehavioral Sciences at Teachers College. Her previous graduate work was in the area of cognitive-motor interference patterns, and lower extremity biomechanics in healthy older adults and individuals with stroke. Prior to moving to New York, she worked as a surgical neurophysiologist in Boston, where she collected and monitored neurophysiological data from a variety of clinical populations. Her current area of research aims to better understand motor planning and gait initiation among neurodegenerative populations. Radhika is an advocate for public outreach and inclusion within STEM fields and contributes to these initiatives through her involvement in WISC.

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Divya Venkatesh, WISC After Hours

Divya is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Biological Sciences at Columbia. Her current research is aimed at uncovering the role of tumor-specific genes in modulating the response of cancer cells to a new form of therapy, called ferroptosis. She hopes that her work will help develop this therapy to have potential as a precision medicine for cancer patients. She graduated as an engineer in Biotechnology from a premier institute in India, R.V College of Engineering before she started her Ph.D. at Columbia.

Divya has always believed that with enough encouragement, all women can crack the lid on patriarchal norms to reach great heights. She joined WISC to foster the women community in STEM. She believes that having women-centric discussions, workshops, and resources at WISC will go a long way in helping women realize and fulfill their potential. She stands by the form of feminism which relies on women bringing the best in each other and aims to use WISC to do just that.

Carla Bezjian, WISC After Hours

Carla is a Ph.D. student in the Chemistry Department at Columbia. Her current research is focused on understanding the genetic controls that regulate a specific type of regulated cell death called ferroptosis. The goal of this research is to identify a genetic fingerprint of cancer types that are sensitive to ferroptosis inducers towards personalized medicine. Before coming to Columbia, she received her BS in biochemistry from Cal State LA, where she was an LSAMP scholar.

Carla joined WISC to help foster a collaborative and supportive environment for women in the sciences at Columbia. She is looking forward to organizing important conversations that will encourage women scientists to grow and to help each other grow.

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Megan Goldring, WISC After Hours

Megan is a Ph.D. student in the Psychology Department at Columbia. Her research interests pertain to interpersonal relationships and health; namely how social processes both help and hinder health outcomes. She hopes that her research can aid in the development of interventions that improve health and well-being. In her free time, Megan can be found enjoying nature (although in New York, this means public parks!), reading a book, and listening to live music. Megan joined WISC because she believes that women constitute a unique and important group for the sciences and that by generating awareness about issues faced by women STEM, we can create a more equitable and harmonious space for both men and women in the sciences.

Davida Rios, Social Media & Website Chair

Davida is a Ph.D. student in the Chemistry department at Columbia. Prior to attending Columbia, Davida earned her B.S. in Chemistry with an emphasis in Biochemistry from the University of Texas at Tyler. Davida’s research focuses on developing living biosensors for invasive fungal pathogens. Through her involvement in WISC, she hopes to help assist the young women in STEM within the Columbia community. Outside of WISC, Davida enjoys expressing herself through art.

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Sarah Giles, Graduate Research Symposium and Undergraduate Mentoring

Sarah is a geoscience Ph.D. student in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Geology from Texas A&M University. She is a field geologist interested in understanding the co-evolution of climate, tectonics, the ocean, and life during the Neoproterozoic (1,000-541 Ma). Sarah’s Ph.D. research integrates geologic mapping, sedimentology, stratigraphy, isotope geochemistry, and geochronology to evaluate the origins, timing, and stratigraphic context of the mid-Ediacaran (~580 Ma) Shuram carbon isotope excursion in South Australia. Sarah is passionate about improving resources for geoscience/science education for K-12 and undergraduates, particularly in making virtual field trips and research projects for students. Sarah seeks to contribute to science education by creating platforms for graduate students to share their research with the community and practice communicating their science effectively to a variety of knowledge bases. WISC provides these platforms with the annual Graduate Research Symposium and undergraduate mentoring opportunities.

Danielle Tufts, Postdoctoral Liaison