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2010 Bouchet Scholars

Sujata R. Emani, Ph.D. Candidate in Chemistry and Biochemistry

Sujata R. Emani had been an advocate for various groups long before she started her Ph.D. in Chemistry at UCSD. Her mother was the first to encourage Sujata to work in the community at soup kitchens, nursing homes, and with impoverished immigrant children in the Cleveland area. Since then she continued her work at Carnegie Mellon with underrepresented groups and women in science and she continues at UCSD. Sujata is dedicated to informing the scientific community about gender and racial disparities in Academia. Her motivation comes from her personal observation of the gender and racial disparities as a chemistry student. Sujata advocates programs that use mentoring for underprivileged or traditionally underrepresented minority youth in hopes to eventually reduce those disparities in higher education. She's been a science classroom mentor at various San Diego high schools in San Ysidro and Chula Vista, working with students and teachers to encourage and motivate youth to continue studying science. Sujata is very happy to work with groups on campus like GradWISE, WISE, GSA, and Bio-Bridge all whom share the common interests of promoting and supporting gender and racial diversity in higher education. She is very excited to have been chosen as a nominee for the inaugural class of UCSD's chapter of the Bouchet Graduate Honor Society.

David Gonzalez, Ph.D. Candidate in Chemistry and Biochemistry

David Gonzalez is a 4th year graduate student in the department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). In order to help his family financially, David left high school as a sophomore and helped his father maintain a small landscape business. At the age of twenty-one David had his first of two children and inspired by his new family, David enrolled in classes at a local junior college (MiraCosta College), where he pursued a degree in religious studies. During his stay at MCC, he became fascinated with the subjects of chemistry and biology. After MCC, David pursued his bachelorette degree in biochemistry at California State University, San Marcos (CSUSM). Under the guidance and inspiration of Professor Jose Mendoza, David began to contemplate the idea of pursuing a graduate degree. While at CSUSM, David was elected into the Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement (RISE) Program. Additionally, David attended the UCSD Summer Training Academy for Research in the Sciences (STARS), performing research in Professor Simpson Joseph’s lab. The summer before entering graduate school, David was awarded the Competitive EDGE Summer Research Program and the UCSD Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP) fellowship. David’s current research efforts, under the advisement of Professor Pieter Dorrestein and supported by NIH Hemoglobin and Blood Protein Chemistry training grant, aims to bridge the gap between the fields of bacterial pathogenesis and bioanalytical chemistry. In particular, David is investigating the notorious human pathogen methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) by the use of traditional and novel mass spectrometry techniques. David holds a close collaboration with the Victor Nizet and Jack Dixon labs at UCSD.


Ayana Johnson, Ph.D. Candidate in Marine Biology

Ayana is a fifth year marine biology PhD candidate, NSF Graduate Research Fellow and Switzer Environmental Fellow at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, where she is advised by Dr. Jeremy Jackson. She is interested the science, economics, and policy of marine resource management, and is an interdisciplinary student and NSF IGERT fellow in the Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation. Ayana's research is focused on sustainable management of coral reef fisheries, and she conducts her fieldwork on the Caribbean island of Curaçao. In summer 2008, she completed an ecological and economic assessment of the island's trap fishery, and found a way to reduce fish trap bycatch by 80% using escape gaps. In autumn 2009, she returned to Curaçao to examine the gill net fishery and conduct a socioeconomic survey of the island's fishermen and professional SCUBA divers. Her work aims to produce a gear-based approach to sustainable fisheries management that incorporates stakeholder views and can serve as a blueprint for any coral reef location in need of straightforward fisheries management strategies. Prior to enrolling at Scripps, Ayana was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, by an Irish-American high school English teacher/ environmentalist and a Jamaican architect/potter. After receiving a bachelor's degree in Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard University, she studied ocean zoning theory as a research fellow at the Marine Policy Center of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Subsequently, she spent two years as a policy analyst at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in Washington, D.C. developing and analyzing marine regulations and policies for their environmental, economic, and health impacts. After finishing her PhD, she hopes return to environmental policy work where she can put both her natural and social science backgrounds to use.

Richard Lawrence, Ph.D., Ed.D. Graduate in Education Studies (2010)

Richard F. Lawrence Jr. is a native San Diegan, however he is a Jamaican at heart. His family is from the island of Jamaica. He is the eighth of nine children and is the first in his family to graduate high school and attend a higher learning institution. He currently resides in Oceanside with his lovely wife Shelly, and son Nehemiah. Richard has a passion for addressing the social justice issues that plague our students who are often stigmatized because of their social class, ethnicity/race, or language deficiencies. He currently serves as Principal of Alternative Schools for the Temecula Valley Unified School District. He aspires to use his doctoral degree and Bouchet membership as means to gain the knowledge and skill to successfully advocate for the needs of students at both the local school district and higher education institutional levels.


Elisa Maldonado, Ph.D. Graduate in Marine Biology (2010)

Elisa Maldonado first became interested in marine biology during a fifth grade trip to SeaWorld. A junior high school summer internship at Cabrillo Marine Aquarium in San Pedro, California solidified her interest in pursuing a career in marine biology. In high school, Elisa was introduced to research through the Museum Research Apprenticeship Program (MRAP) at the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum. The program introduced participants to natural history research through lectures, field trips, and a summer research project. She conducted her summer research project in the laboratory of Gordon Hendler, Curator of Echinoderms, on the symbiosis between two brittle star species. Elisa went on to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology from UCLA. During college, she participated in research projects in the laboratories of Richard Zimmer at UCLA and David Pawson at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum. Elisa recently obtained her Ph.D. from Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, where she was an NSF Graduate Research and Ford Foundation Dissertation fellow. Her dissertation research focused on the effects of small-scale turbulence on grazing, growth, and swimming of sea urchin larvae. Elisa accepted a National Science Foundation Minority Postdoctoral Research Fellowship and is currently working in the bio-inspired engineering laboratory of Joanna Aizenberg in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard University. Her postdoctoral work will focus on adhesion of bacteria and other biofouling organisms on microstructured surfaces under conditions of fluid motion.



Meghan Morris, Ph.D. Candidate in Global Health

Meghan is a third year doctoral candidate in Global Health within the Joint Doctoral Program (JDP) in Public Health. This is a joint degree program between the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine in the School of Medicine at UCSD, and the Graduate School of Public Health at SDSU. Prior to beginning her PhD, Meghan received a Bachelors of Science degree in biochemistry and cellular biology with a minor in cultural anthropology from UCSD, and a Master's in Public Health in epidemiology. Throughout the past 10 years, Meghan's research has included qualitative research in refugee health, health intervention research on adolescent physical activity, and longitudinal research examining behaviors of marine recruits. Meghan has found an ideal arena within the global health field, where she is able to blend her passion for experiencing different cultures with her love of scientific research. Since beginning her PhD in 2007, Meghan has worked within the Division of Global Public Health at UCSD, on various research projects within the U.S.-Mexico border region focused on substance use, HIV, and related infections. Recently Meghan was awarded a research supplement from the National Institute on Drug Abuse to support her dissertation research. Her dissertation is examining gender differences related to predictors of initiation of injection drug use. In addition to her research involvement, Meghan has a long-standing commitment to being an active part of her community. During her PhD, she has acted as the student representative for the JDP steering committee, mentored undergraduate and master's students, and enjoyed engaging students through her role as a teaching assistant and course instructor. Meghan's motto is “work hard, play hard”. She loves traveling, running, reading, and playing with her two dogs.

Alycia Mosley, Ph.D. Graduate in Neurosciences (2010)

Alycia Mosley is a Ph.D. candidate in the Neurosciences Graduate Program. She currently works under the direction of Dr. Jerold Chun at the Scripps Research Institute, where her research focuses on how the gain and/or loss of chromosomes, known as aneuploidy, impacts the early development of the normal mammalian brain. Prior to beginning her doctoral studies at UCSD, she received her ScB in Neuroscience from Brown University, and worked as a Research Technician studying muscular dystrophy in the Division of Genetics at Children's Hospital Boston. During her time at UCSD, Alycia has demonstrated a strong commitment to service and scientific outreach. She served as Graduate Student Representative to the Chancellor's Advisory Committee on the Status of Women, and to the Neurosciences Graduate Program Diversity Recruitment Committee. Alycia is a former President of Graduate Women in Science and Engineering (GradWiSE), and was a Graduate Advocate for the Summer Training Academy for Research in the Sciences (STARS) Program. She has also taken advantage of opportunities to bring science to the local community by volunteering with the UCSD Neuroscience Outreach Program and Salk Mobile Science Lab. After completing her doctoral degree, Alycia will become the Coordinator, Graduate Student Recruitment at the University of Rhode Island. In this role she will continue to plan and implement initiatives devoted to increasing the number of science, technology, engineering and mathematics graduate students who are members of groups currently underrepresented in higher education.


Jade Power, Ph.D. Candidate in Drama and Theater

Jade is a dancer, actor and scholar of performance who works to create connections between performance, cultural production, education and local community. She completed a Master's degree in Latin American Studies in 2006 and is currently a PhD candidate at UC San Diego in the Department of Theater and Dance. She specializes in Caribbean and US Latina/o theater and performance and is currently teaching a class called Latinas in Film. As a scholar and a performer she believes in the importance of body-centered knowledge, that is, the value of information that is learned and conveyed not just through texts, but also through embodied practices, particularly in relationship to historically oppressed communities. The current title of her dissertation is “Speaking Bodies and Speaking the Body: Body Bilinguality in Latina/o Performance” and it explores the intersection between bilingual communities, embodied practices and performance. Jade has a BA in Biology and Theatre Arts from UC Santa Cruz and she has been performing since she moved to California from Puerto Rico as a child. She has acted in dozens of productions including the Vagina Monologues with Eve Ensler in San Francisco, and the world premiere of Cherrié Moraga's Shadow of a Man. In 2008 she created a piece for Cimarronaje with Las Bomberas de la Bahia and other women from Puerto Rico and the diaspora. In 2009 Jade conceived, directed, and performed in La Movida, an all women's dance performance in San Diego. At UC San Diego she has worked with Latino undergraduates as a director and facilitator for performance projects focused on Latina/o experiences and interests. She has also served as an active member of the Arts Advisory Committee at San Diego's Centro Cultural de la Raza since 2007.


Ty Samo, Ph.D. Candidate in Marine Biology

Originally from Vacaville, California I spent my childhood and young adult years exploring the outdoors, playing sports, and developing budding interests in topics ranging from classic cars to science. After completing community college, I continued to pursue my academic goals at UCSD as a cell biology/biochemistry major. Here I refined my interest in biology and developed an appreciation for the global importance of environmental microorganisms. As an undergraduate, I first interned and then worked in a marine microbiology laboratory where I continued on as a graduate student. I am currently working towards a Ph.D in Marine Biology at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, focusing on the microbial ecology of bacteria in coastal and open ocean ecosystems. Specifically, I study how the metabolism and microenvironments of these organisms influence the cycling of carbon produced by marine phytoplankton. It has been my pleasure to inform and discuss the importance of our role as co-inhabitants and stewards of this planet with people of all ages, nationalities, and identities. I hope to continue imparting my knowledge to future generations and contemporaries with the goal of developing novel, efficient, and responsible approaches for solving problems associated with atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations and biofuel energy utilization. I look forward to collaborations afforded by my acceptance into the Bouchet Graduate Honor Society.


Sabrina Strings, Ph.D. Candidate in Sociology

Sabrina Strings was born in Pasadena, California. She has a B.A. in Psychology with High Honors from the University of California, Berkeley, and an M.A. in Sociology from the University of California, San Diego. A former McNair scholar, she wrote an article titled, “Maintaining the Status Quo: Rap Music Preferences,” that was published in the Berkeley McNair Journal. She has traveled extensively in Europe, and lived in France for a year. Her time abroad sparked her interest in race relations in France, a country that does not collect census data on race. She is currently working on an article titled “A History of Silence” that explores the difficulty of addressing discrimination in this context. Sabrina is passionate about the politics of representation, and has engaged in various forms advocacy. In 2008, working with her colleagues in the Department of Sociology at UC San Diego, she co-founded the Graduate Student Diversity Committee, a group dedicated to increasing the representation of historically underrepresented groups on campus. She is a member of the Black Graduate Association, and is the current Vice President of Diversity Affairs for the Graduate Student Association. Sabrina is a Ph.D. Candidate, and is working on her dissertation entitled, “Bound Bodies: An investigation of gender, race and class in the slender aesthetic.” This project has been selected to receive the award for Outstanding Graduate Dissertation at the May 2010 AAASRP awards banquet.

Krystal Tribbett, Ph.D. Candidate in the History of Science and Science Studies

Krystal Tribbett is a Ph.D. candidate in the History of Science and Science Studies Program at the University of California at San Diego. She is interested in the role of scientific models in the development of environmental policy, public participation in policymaking, environmental justice, urban history, scientific consensus, and notions of risk and uncertainty. Krystal’s dissertation examines the history of California’s Regional Clean Air Incentive Market (RECLAIM), the United States’ first regional emission trading regulatory program. For her project she considers the historical underpinnings of RECLAIM’s development in terms of the simultaneous rise of market-based approaches to environmental regulation, and growing evidence of and concern for environmental justice in the early 1970s. With her dissertation, Krystal hopes to locate the voice of environmental justice populations in the development of RECLAIM, shed light on the role of science in the perpetuation of environmental injustice, and explore the importance of physical space and natural processes in the economic and social outcomes of policymaking. Prior to enrolling at UCSD, Krystal received her bachelor’s degree in Geology from Vassar College. Subsequently, she spent two years working as a director of admissions and co-coordinator of multicultural recruitment at her college alma mater. After completing her doctorate, Krystal hopes to engage in work committed to improving the justness environmental policy.


Laura Tucker, Ph.D. Graduate in Physics (2010)

Laura studied both physics and music as an undergraduate at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. She then entered graduate school at UC San Diego as a San Diego Fellow in Biophysics. Her thesis research involved writing computer simulations of pattern formation in bacterial colonies. Laura also worked as a teaching assistant and instructor of record at UCSD while pursuing her doctorate. It was also at UC San Diego that Laura realized her interest in science education research and policy. In addition to academic pursuits, Laura enjoys singing jazz as well as playing piano and ukulele.