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Current Board Members 2019-20

Chidera (Dera) Alim  is a 3rd year Ph.D. student in Molecular Cellular and Integrative Physiology, with a designated emphasis in Biotechnology. Her research focuses on cardiovascular diseases on the molecular level, using mice and rabbits as model organisms. She earned her Bachelor's degree in Biology at Howard University; and her Master's in Physiology at UC Davis. Besides her research and the CGPSA board, Dera is a representative to the Graduate Student Association, and a mentor for the Equity in Science, Technology, Engineering, Math and Entrepreneurship. She enjoys spending time with friends and family, dancing and playing board games.

 

Ginger Alonso is a second year Ph.D. student in Political Science with an emphasis in American Politics. She primarily focuses on voting behavior, public health policy, and direct democracy and plans to conduct research on the politics of health care in California. Ginger is a 2018 CSU Chancellor’s Doctoral Incentive Program Scholar and a member of the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi. She serves as graduate vice-chair of the Health Fee Oversight Committee at UC Davis and is a member of the Butte Glenn Medical Society Drug Abuse Prevention Task Force. Since joining CGPSA in 2018, Ginger has worked primarily on improving graduate student mentorship at UC Davis.

 

Kristen Bush is a first year Master’s student in the Energy Graduate Group studying Energy Systems. She is interested in examining different forms of alternative energy with an emphasis on the social impacts of such technology and innovation. She is currently conducting research on improving our understanding of the benefits of electrified medium- and heavy-duty vehicles for disadvantaged communities. Alongside her work with CGPSA, Kristen is also a part of the Emerging Energy Professionals program hosted by the Energy and Efficiency Institute. She has a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Cal Poly Pomona. Her hobbies include roller skating, watching documentaries, and seeking new experiences. 

 

Tory Brykalski is a seventh year Ph.D. student in sociocultural anthropology with an emphasis in science and technology studies and performance and practice. She is currently writing her dissertation on emergency education in Lebanon, focusing on the impact of extractive industries on humanitarian institutions serving refugee communities in Syria’s borderlands, s(u)rprising pedagogies, and feminist practice. Alongside her work with CGPSA, Tory is a Graduate Collaboratory Fellow at the Feminist Research Institute and a Mellon Public Scholar. She is also involved with the Group Improvisation Lab Labs, the Data Feminism Working Group, the Bioethics Working Group, and the Critical Refugee Studies Collective. She has a BA in international relations and theology from Wheaton College and MA in public policy and Middle East studies from Columbia University.

 

Tara Caso is a first year Ph.D. student in plant biology. She received her B.S. in Cellular/Molecular Biology and a minor in Chemistry from Humboldt State University. She is broadly interested in improving crops through cellular biology and plant biochemistry research techniques, with the ultimate goal of increasing global food security. She has held leadership positions in several undergraduate clubs and she made a point of organizing activities intended to increase equity and inclusivity in STEM. This passion has followed Tara to graduate school, where she has begun participating in the CGPSA as well as organizations such as Science Says, out in STEM, Equity in Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, ​​and Entrepreneurship (ESTEME), and Women in Life sciences at Davis (WiLD), all of which aim to improve the experiences of underrepresented minorities in STEM fields.

 

Nkechinyere Chidi-Ogbolu is a third year Ph.D. Candidate in Biomedical Engineering with a focus on tissue engineering and regeneration. She received her B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Howard University. Her research is focused on connective tissue health in women and she is currently studying the influence of hormones in tendon/ligaments function. 

 

Katti Crakes (Horng) is a DVM/PhD student in the School of Veterinary Medicine and the School of Medicine. She received her B.S. in Animal Science and Biology from Cornell University. Her research and clinical interests are focused on translational models and harnessing host-microbe interactions to optimize gut health across species. She is currently working on the role of probiotics in promoting gut mucosal responses against SIV and HIV infection by rescuing mitochondrial function. Since coming to UC Davis, she has been a student between the SVM and SOM and serves as the current student President of the Graduate Group of Integrative Pathobiology (GGIP) as well as a member of the Veterinary Scientist Training Program (VSTP) executive committee. In her free time, Katti enjoys learning about nutrition and fitness, going outdoors with her two furry dogs, and visiting National Parks around the US.

 

Allison (Ally) Fulton is a second-year Ph.D. student in English with an emphasis in Science and Technology Studies. Her research interests include 19th-century American science writing, queer theory, history of the book, ecocriticism, and the digital humanities. She is currently exploring the insect epistemologies articulated in the entomological images of the Early Modern natural historian, printer, engraver, and painter, Maria Sibylla Merian. Alongside her studies and the CGPSA board, Ally is involved in the Digital Humanities Research Cluster, serves as a Graduate Writing Fellow, and is a mentor for the Mentor-Mentee Program in Humanities, Arts, Cultural Studies and Social Sciences. Before coming to UC Davis, Ally earned a B.A. in English and Biology from Oberlin College. Outside of her graduate studies, Ally enjoys experimenting with book arts, playing ultimate frisbee, cooking and hiking. 

 

Dorothy Hoang is a second-year Ph.D. student in Epidemiology. Her research interests include looking at social determinants of health and how they modify associations between other risk factors and neurodevelopment (specifically autism spectrum disorder). Dorothy completed her B.S. in Neurobiology, Physiology & Behavior and her B.A. in Sociology--Organizational Studies at UC Davis. She has since been involved in autism research looking at prenatal and postpartum exposures and risk factors that may contribute to the development of autism. Aside from her work in STEM, Dorothy has also been involved in various committees targeting retention in middle school, high school, and college students in underserved communities. She has held workshops with aims of starting dialogue about issues involving unpacking privilege, mental health and ability, and equity among many other social justice topics. She hopes to bring these experiences into her work with CGPSA to advocate for her peers and improve campus climate.

 

Ryan Hodge is a second-year Ph.D. student in Human Development. He is interested in examining the neurobiological mechanisms of positive youth development in adverse contexts. In particular, topics such as ethnic discrimination, poverty, and resilience factors are of great interest to him. Ryan completed his B.S. in Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior at UC Davis, before working at a breeding-assisted genetics company. Alongside his research and the CGPSA board, Ryan also serves as the campus representative for the Association for Psychological Science (APS) and is involved in several committees and organizations dedicated to assisting marginalized communities. In his free time, he enjoys hiking, traveling abroad, reading, and cooking new recipes. 

 

Jill Huynh is a PhD student in School Organization & Educational Policy. Building on a decade of professional experience at colleges and universities, Jill's research questions revolve around issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion in higher education. She obtained a BA in Sociology and BS in Psychology at the University of Washington and earned her EdM in Higher Education at Harvard University.

 

Doreen Joseph is a first year Ph.D. student in Computer Science. She earned a B.S. in Cyber Security Engineering with a minor in Mathematics from George Mason University. Broadly defined, her research interests include network security, applications of machine learning in cyber security, securing the Internet of Things (IoT), and the design of cyber-resilient systems. Currently, she is interested in investigating how to make voice authentication systems more secure by design. Doreen is committed to public service and is passionate about empowering students who are underrepresented in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), especially students of color. In pursuing her graduate studies, she strives to plant seeds of change for a higher representation of girls and women of color in STEM, by promoting inclusion, equity, and access across the world. Long term, she hopes to start a nonprofit organization dedicated to that cause. In her free time she enjoys reading, traveling, exploring nature, and exercising.

 

Amanda Lawrence is a doctoral candidate in the Human Development Graduate Group. As a former school counselor, her research focuses on the examination and elimination of barriers to school readiness in early childhood and later academic engagement. Currently, she is working on projects to identify the influence of young children’s use of screen media on school readiness through self-regulation and language acquisition - powerful predictors of later academic success - and to support children who have experienced trauma so that they may reap the full range of benefits offered by their schools and communities. She also holds a B.A. with honors in Psychology from UC Santa Cruz and an M.S. in Counseling, School Specialization from CSU Sacramento. Amanda additionally serves as the Graduate Student Assembly Representative for her program, and on the Child and Family Care Administrative Advisory Committee. 

 

Gwyneth Manser is a second year Ph.D. student in the Geography Graduate Group. Her research interests include food systems, marketing, consumption, and sustainability. Gwyneth completed her B.A. in Anthropology and Environmental Studies at Emory University, and her M.S. in Geography at Portland  State University, where she did research on food access and urban agriculture. Prior to coming to UC Davis, she spent two years working in student affairs at Virginia Tech. 

 

Samantha Pereira is a first year PhD student in Political Science studying international relations. She graduated from San Jose State University with a BA in Political Science and a BS in Justice Studies and minors in Human Rights and Applied Research Methods. Her research interests focus on human rights and the role of international organizations in cooperation. 

 

Samuel Pizelo is a third-year PhD student in English with an emphasis in Science and Technology Studies. His research focuses on the material histories of games, play, and strategy, with a particular focus on the postcolonial history of games in South Korea. Samuel completed his B.A. in English at the University of Washington, during which time he worked to promote interdisciplinary and humanities research at the Undergraduate Research Program. He continues this project at UC Davis with the CGPSA and as a GSR at the UC Davis DataLab. In his free time, he enjoys running (both to and from things) and playing the piano.

 

Natalie Rojas is a second year Ph.D. student in Political Science studying American Politics and Quantitative Research Methods. She received her B.A. in Art from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her research interests include race and ethnicity politics, gender politics, political psychology, voter behavior, and elections. She is currently working with Dr. Brad Jones examining the effects of discriminatory policies, political rhetoric, and political media on Latinos in America. Prior to her graduate work, Natalie worked as a Legislative Analyst for the State of California where she evaluated and proposed positions on policy to the Brown Administration. Natalie has also staffed several electoral campaigns and Democratic Party organizations, including Obama for America and the Democratic National Committee. Natalie is committed to promoting diversity in political careers and mentors undergraduate students from underrepresented backgrounds.

 

Angelica Sauceda is a second-year Master’s student in the Horticulture and Agronomy Graduate Group with an emphasis on revegetation and restoration. Her research seeks to support land managers in the conservation of edaphically restricted rare plants. As a first generation latina transfer student, Angelica pursued both undergraduate and graduate science degrees at UC Davis to gain not only expertise, but to learn more about the power of focused leadership and how to best inform and inspire a community to examine and act on their values. While at UC Davis, she has found a need to improve access to mental health and student disability services by way of enhanced outreach. As staff of the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden, Angelica has promoted student well-being as a top priority for the organization. They have since pivoted long-term planning to meet the need by way of NatureRX programing. Additionally, she has designed novel training for the 130+ undergraduates in their Learning by Leading™ (LxL) program. She led sessions about how we can all look out for each other and be ready to respond safely to issues of mental health and well-being by mobilizing campus resources. Working with the CGPSA will give her new insights about integrating graduate students into these rapidly growing LxL and NatureRX programs—a place where we can test and then scale up nature-based wellness projects quickly. As importantly, we can then work together to tackle even larger issues, such as exploring ways to help the UC Davis community respond to the coming crisis of climate change—a grave source of unease, anxiety, and depression—with a sense of hope and agency.


​Breanne Weber is a third-year PhD student in English with a designated emphasis in Science and Technology Studies. Her work explores early modern women’s poetry via the intersections of early scientific and alchemical epistemologies, the materiality of the book, and the digital humanities. Prior to beginning her PhD, Breanne obtained an MA in English Literature and a BA in English Literature and History from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Alongside her work with CGPSA, Breanne is involved with the English Graduate Student Association (EGSA), the Data Science Initiative’s Digital Humanities Cluster, the Data Feminism Working Group, and the Oecologies Research Cluster. In her free time, Breanne enjoys traveling, reading YA novels, experimenting with early modern recipes, and making books.