Meet our Organizers

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Faculty Advisor

DR. SONYA NEAL

I'm an assistant professor in the Division of Biological Sciences at UCSD. I'm a Black in STEM, first generation college student and 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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Co-President

TARA SPENCER

Hello friends! I'm a 4th year Ph.D. candidate 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-President

SUMEDHA RAVISHANKAR

Hi! I’m a 4th 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 4th 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 Committee Co-Chair

MEGAN HAYES

Hello! I am a 4th 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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Event Committee Co-Chair

ALEXANDRA STEAM

I am an MD/PhD graduate student in the lab of Dr. Cressida Madigan at UCSD. I study nerve damage in leprosy using zebrafish as a model organism. I went to UCLA for undergrad and then spent two years doing research at the NIH in Bethesda, MD before starting grad school. When I'm not in lab, I love going to the beach, paddleboarding, and trying new foods around San Diego.

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Undergraduate Student Representative

FAITH ALOBOUDI

I am a 3rd 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.

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Master's Student Representative

MARY ALARCON

My name is Mary Alarcon and I am your Master student representative for the BUMMP program. My preferred pronouns are she/her. I was raised in Los Angeles but now reside in lovely San Diego. My short-term goal is to get into UCSD Neuroscience/Biological Sciences PhD program this upcoming academic year. My long-term goal is to continue researching the brain to better understand why individuals behave the way they do. I look forward to helping find opportunities and support for master students in order to ease the transition to the next phase of their academic pathways. I am very excited to represent you!