Meet our Organizers

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Co-Chair

TARA SPENCER

Hello friends! I'm a 3rd year Ph.D. student in the Dutton Lab at UCSD. I grew up in Antigua and Barbuda and did my undergraduate studies at Howard University. I am a first-generation college student, and the first in my family to pursue a Ph.D.  I study the interactions between phages and other microbes in cheese. When I am not in lab, I am colouring, writing or cuddling my pup, Mecca.

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Co-Chair

SUMEDHA RAVISHANKAR

Hi! I’m a 3rd year Ph.D. student in Dr. Cressida’s Madigan’s lab at UCSD. I study bacterial infections that affect the nervous system, such as bacterial meningitis, using zebrafish as a model organism. I’m from Tucson, AZ, but got my bachelor’s degree at UC Berkeley. Go Bears! I then spent two years as a research scientist at the University of Washington before beginning my graduate work. In my free time I love watching baseball/playing fantasy baseball, cooking, running, and spending time with friends!

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Finance Chair

IVY FERNANDES

Hi! I am a 3rd year Ph.D. student in Dr. Deborah Yelon's lab at UCSD, where I research heart development using zebrafish as a model organism. I was raised in Honolulu, Hawaii. I attended Santa Clara University for my bachelor's degree in bioengineering. During my free time, I love baking, running, and trying various DIY projects.

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Event Chair

MEGAN HAYES

Hello! I am a 3rd year Ph.D. student in Dr. Cressida Madigan’s lab at UCSD. I grew up in Tucson, AZ, and received my bachelor’s degree in neuroscience from the University of Arizona. Now, as a graduate student in Dr. Cressida Madigan’s lab, I study tuberculosis meningitis in a zebrafish model. Outside of lab, I enjoy spending time outdoors, crafting, and playing with my dog!

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Faculty Advisor

DR. SONYA NEAL

I'm an assistant professor in the Division of Biological Sciences at UCSD. I'm Black in STEM, first generation college student and a proud mother of two. My research strives to understand the basic biology of protein homeostasis and how organisms use quality control pathways to mitigate this universal biological stress. I enjoy mentoring, outreach, spending time with family, running, and watching basketball and football.

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Undergraduate Representative

FAITH ALOBOUDI

I am a second-year Neurobiology major undergraduate student at UC San Diego from San Diego, CA. I have a great interest and passion for neurobiology, genetics, and bioethics and am hoping to pursue either clinical or scientific research in the future. I am also a huge dessert/baking enthusiast and love listening to music, learning more about eco-friendly/sustainable/POC-owned fashion, and spending time with friends.