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2019 Bouchet Scholars


angela berti

Angela M. Berti, Astrophysics

Angela M. Berti is a Ph.D. candidate in physics and concentrating in observational astrophysics at the University of California San Diego. Her research focuses on the relationship between galaxies and dark matter halos and their co-evolution throughout cosmic time. Angela received a Bachelor of Science in physics from Harvey Mudd College and a Master of Science in astrophysics from San Francisco State University. At UCSD Angela is a class representative on the Physics Graduate Council and a co-leader of the Graduate Women in Physics (GWIP) group. She is also a 2019 recipient of the Carol and George Lattimer Award for Graduate Excellence within the UCSD Division of Physical Sciences, and has mentored undergraduate students interested in graduate school as a graduate advocate for UCSD’s Summer Training Academy for Research Success (STARS) program since 2016. Angela enjoys drawing on the experience of her own non-traditional journey into the physics Ph.D. program at UCSD to encourage others seeking alternative paths into academia and scientific research.


ailie fraser

Ailie Fraser, Computer Science

Ailie Fraser is a Ph.D. candidate in Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) with a focus on Human-Computer Interaction. She works in the Design Lab, an interdisciplinary research group at the University of California San Diego. Her research focuses on supporting and improving creative software work by leveraging existing expert examples and presenting them to people in-context. Ailie has received a Powell Fellowship from UC San Diego, a Research Fellowship from Adobe Research, and a Postgraduate Doctoral Scholarship from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). Before UCSD, Ailie received an Honours Bachelor of Science with High Distinction from the University of Toronto. Ailie is passionate about supporting women and underrepresented minorities in Computer Science through mentorship, leadership, and community-building. She has served as President and Treasurer of UCSD's Graduate Women in Computing, a student-run organization committed to promoting an innovative, inclusive, and informative environment for graduate students. In 2016, she was awarded the CSE Department's Contributions to Diversity award for her efforts in revitalizing this group.

 kevan malone

Kevan Malone, History

Kevan Malone is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of History at the University of California- San Diego. His research examines the political ecology of urbanization in the San Diego-Tijuana Borderlands during the twentieth century and the role of international diplomacy in the governance of these cities. Kevan has received a graduate fellowship for the Mellon Sawyer Seminar on Cities at UCSD’s International Institute, a James and Sylvia Thayer Research Fellowship for work in the UCLA Library Special Collections, a Kenneth and Dorothy Hill Fellowship for research in the UCSD Special Collections and Archives, and a Tinker Field Research Grant. He has also received a Jane and Jiao Fan ’94 Prize for Best Advocate for Graduate Research and represented UCSD at the University of California’s Graduate Research Advocacy Day in 2018. Kevan began his higher education at the Borough of Manhattan Community College of the City University of New York (CUNY) and completed his Bachelor of Arts at New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study. He earned a Master of Arts in American studies at the CUNY Graduate Center. Kevan’s pedagogy seeks to emphasize that studying history is not about understanding the past for its own stake, but rather about understanding the present. Ultimately, he plans to hold a university faculty position and pursue research that will engage local urban communities, policymakers, and the public more broadly.


 michelle sadrena pledger


Michelle Sadrena Pledger, Educational Leadership

Michelle Sadrena Pledger earned her Ed.D. in Educational Leadership with an emphasis in social justice education through a joint doctoral program at the University of California San Diego and California State University, San Marcos. Her research focused on cultivating culturally responsive teaching and classroom management self-efficacy in novice and veteran teachers for the purpose of improving academic opportunities and outcomes for culturally and linguistically diverse students. She has been recognized as a Clark Scholar, a Billions Institute Fellow, a Chrispeels Doctoral Fellow, and received the National Society of High School Scholars Higher Education Award. In addition, Michelle earned her Masters in Pacific International Affairs at the University of California San Diego, where she was a Shoephlin Fellow, and a recipient of the Inter-American Development Award. Her publications in Education Week, Childhood Education, and Unboxed, and her position on the board of directors for The Finance Lab and Unlocked, Inc. demonstrate her commitment to scholarship and service. She is determined to be a transformative leader in education who inspires adolescents and adults to think critically and act empathetically as they realize their unlimited potential. Michelle believes that designing for equity in education is integral to the lasting liberation of society.
chandler puritty


Chandler E. Puritty, Biology

Chandler E. Puritty is a Howard University alumnus and a candidate for the Ph.D. in biology with a concentration in plant community ecology at UC San Diego. Her research focuses on how changes in precipitation influence community assembly and interactions between native and invasive plant species in Southern California chaparral. Chandler has received the UCSD Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action and Diversity Award, nominated by the Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs as well as funding from the UC Office of the President’s UC-HBCU Initiative, the UCSD Competitive Edge Award, and the National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program (NSFGRFP). At Howard University, she received a Bachelor of Science in biology as a Laureate Scholar, a NSF Environmental Biology Scholar (EBS) and was a recipient of the Educational Testing Service’s (ETS) Presidential Scholarship for HBCU students. She was recently awarded Howard University’s Biology Department’s Sesquicentennial Award for alumni making advances in the biological sciences. Chandler is passionate about mentoring younger students toward graduate education and has worked as a mentor for UCSD’s Summer Training Academy for Research Success (STARS) and for the PATHways to STEM (PATHS) through Enhanced Access and Mentorship Program. In her time at UCSD, she also published a paper in Science titled “Without inclusion, diversity initiatives may not be enough.” Beyond the classroom, she has served as President of the Black Graduate and Professional Student Association (BGPSA) and helped to found the Ecological Society of America’s (ESA) first Black Ecologists Section. Ultimately, Chandler strives to continue working in the intersection of science and inclusion and empowerment of underrepresented students.