Kelly Fernandez

Kelly is a 6th year PhD candidate in the Pilawa Power Electronics Research Group at UC Berkeley. She studies power converter design for grid-tied applications. Her circuit designs boost efficiency, enable volume reduction, and improve EMI performance. Her areas of interest include electric vehicle charging, solar inverters, and micro-grid applications. She has held power electronic internships at Tesla, Apple, and Texas Instruments.

Ilina Bhaya-Grossman

Ilina grew up in Sunnyvale, CA in the Bay Area and pursued an undergraduate degree in Computer Science and Cognitive Science at UC Berkeley. She is currently a graduate student in the joint UCSF-UC Berkeley Bioengineering program in Dr. Edward Chang’s Laboratory, broadly interested in understanding the complex neural dynamics that allow humans to perceive speech and language. She has worked on two primary research projects, one describing the neural representation of vowels in the auditory cortex, and the other focused on understanding the effects of long-term language experience on the neural representation of phoneme and phoneme sequence structure. Outside of the lab, Ilina enjoys experimenting with new recipes, backpacking, and drawing. 

Siddharth Marathe

Siddharth, a Bay Area native, is a senior majoring in Bioengineering and Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences (EECS). He is currently conducting clinical neuroscience/neurology research in Dr. Jon Kleen’s Lab at UCSF studying epilepsy and semantic memory. Previously, he was a research assistant in Dr. Michael Rosenblum’s Lab investigating the role of regulatory T-cells in tumor microenvironments. In the past, he has also worked on biomechanics research in the UC Berkeley Biomechanics Lab studying strain and load dynamics on annulus fibrosus cells in the spine. In the future, he hopes to work on developing new therapies leveraging computational and genomic approaches. In his free time, Siddharth loves watching and playing sports, trying new foods, and hiking.

Yakira Mirabito

Yakira Mirabito is a PhD candidate in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at UC Berkeley. In the Cognition and Computation in Design (Co-Design) Lab, advised by Kosa Goucher-Lambert, she studies decision-making and organizational behavior within engineering design. She holds a BS in Materials Science and Engineering from Northwestern University and an MS in Mechanical Engineering from UC Berkeley. Yakira’s work has earned her numerous fellowships and awards. Notably, she has been funded by UC Berkeley’s Chancellor’s fellowship, NSF GRFP, and NSF InFEWS. Her contributions have been recognized by organizations such as the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers.

Beyond her academic achievements, Yakira is a passionate leader and advocate within the first-generation and low-income (FGLI) college student community. Her dedication to creating a sense of belonging for the FGLI community has earned her the Dean’s Award for Inclusive Excellence and a RISE! Leader Award. When she’s not immersed in her work, Yakira enjoys skiing and visiting art galleries.

Isaac Harris

Born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago, Isaac received his undergraduate degrees in Math and Physics from the University of Chicago. Now, he is a 5th year physics PhD student at the University of California, Berkeley working with Ramamoorthy Ramesh as his advisor. Collaborating with members from both the Ramesh and Lane Martin groups, he has gained experience working with thin film oxides grown by Pulsed Laser Deposition, especially ferroelectric, magnetic, and magnetoelectric materials. His own research studies the Spin Hall effect in model oxide systems, as well as magnon propagation in the novel Bismuth Ferrite system. In his free time, Isaac can be found cooking for friends, playing music, and training for triathlons in the beautiful ramparts of Berkeley.

Eduardo Montalto

Eduardo Montalto is a doctoral candidate in the Structural Engineering, Mechanics and Materials Program at UC Berkeley, where he also obtained his M.S. degree in 2020. Before joining UC Berkeley, he earned a B.S. degree in Civil Engineering at the University of Costa Rica, where he participated in research regarding the structural health monitoring of bridges using ambient vibration tests, among others. He also worked as a structural designer, being involved in new design, seismic assessment and retrofit of residential and commercial buildings, and industrial facilities. Eduardo’s current research interests lie in the development and implementation of innovative earthquake-resistant design technologies that can enhance structural performance and resilience in an affordable way. He is currently studying the mechanical behavior of fiber-reinforced elastomeric isolators, a low-cost isolation system that is viable for implementation in developing countries and ordinary structures. The aim of this research is to develop analytical and numerical models that enable the real-world application of this technology.

Aila Rothweiler

I was born in Germany, conducted my undergraduate studies in chemistry at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich and moved to Berkeley in 2021 for the chemistry PhD program. Inspired to address the urgent threats of climate change, my PhD research in inorganic chemistry focuses on the activation and conversion of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, into value-added products and/or fuels. In my free time I enjoy running and exploring the beaches around Northern California.

Jessica H. Ortiz

Jessica’s research interests broadly lie in the field of tissue engineering and mechanotransduction of stem cells. Now as a Ph.D. student and NIH T32 Predoctoral Fellow in the Bioengineering Joint Program of UC Berkeley and UCSF, she studies the immunoregulatory properties of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) in the Sohn laboratory. Her research is specifically focused on exploring the intricate interplay between biophysical cues and immunomodulatory effects of MSCs. By unraveling these complex mechanisms, Jessica hopes to provide insight into the development of potential therapeutic interventions or treatments for immune-related diseases under the supervision of Dr. Lydia Sohn.

Vibhu Ravindran

I am an undergraduate student at UC Berkeley doing research in condensed matter theory with Prof Mike Zaletel. I was born in Amherst, Massachusetts but raised in India. I have worked on a variety of topics such as time crystals, tensor network algorithms and quantum information and generalized symmetries. I am currently working on numerical entanglement renormalization methods though I hope to continue to have a similar breadth of interests in the future. I am also an experienced violinist and enjoy hiking, reading science fiction and playing ping pong.

Ayesha Bajwa

I am a PhD student in EECS, advised by Professor Nilah Ioannidis. I study how machine learning methods can be applied to further our understanding of regulatory genomics. I grew up in the Bay Area and completed my undergraduate and master’s degrees in computer science at MIT. Before my PhD, I worked as a software engineer at a biotech company focused on early cancer detection in a clinical setting. As a graduate student, I am more interested in applying computational methods towards basic scientific understanding.