Tej Azad is a second-year medical student at Stanford Medical School concentrating in bioinformatics and neuroscience. He graduated summa cum laude from Washington University in St. Louis in 2013. Tej worked extensively on HIV advocacy and outreach in the community while in St. Louis, building a program that provided a range of services to youth with families affected by HIV. He also helped found a budding social venture, St. Louis MetroMarket, which strives to address food access disparities via the creation of a mobile produce market.
Currently, Tej studies pediatric brain cancer at the Stanford Stem Cell Institute where he is supported by an American Brain Tumor Association fellowship. He also conducts neurosurgical outcomes research, focusing on spine surgery.
Tej is interested in developing improved health care delivery and is working with the Clinical Excellence Research Center (CERC) to develop a feasibility framework to enable physician-innovators to realize lower intensity care settings.
Tej is exploring medical journalism as a vehicle to increase education around health policy and public health issues. He has written extensively for The Daily Beast and is particularly interested in issues of brain health, traumatic brain injury, and veterans’ affairs.
Genna Braverman is a member of the 2013 entering class at the Stanford University School of Medicine. Her research interests include the doctor-patient relationship, communication, medical education, and bioethics. Genna majored in history at Yale University and completed the postbaccalaureate premedical program at Columbia University, where she worked as a teaching assistant in the yearlong introductory biology course. Genna is particularly inspired by teaching, health education, women’s health, and adolescent health, and has pursued a number of endeavors in these fields. Prior to beginning medical school, Genna worked as a research assistant at the Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Clinic in New York City, and as a community health educator in New Haven. She has done research on lupus and related disorders, and has been thrilled to continue honing her teaching skills in medical school through Stanford's TAship program. She is looking forward to collaborating with the interdisciplinary group of GPS fellows!
Doron Dorfman, originally from Israel, is a JSD candidate at Stanford Law School. He holds an LL.B. and LL.M, and a BA in Communications, all earned simultaneously from the University of Haifa (2009), as well as a JSM from Stanford Law School (2014).
Before arriving at Stanford, Doron practiced law for four years in the litigation departments of some of the most prestigious law firms in Israel. At the same time, he continued to be actively involved in a few NGOs such as “Kav La’Oved, Worker’s Hotline,” where he gave legal advice to disadvantaged workers and refugee asylum seekers (mostly from African countries). He also served as a research and teaching assistant on courses in Civil Procedure, Torts, Law & Social Change and Law & Disability at the University of Haifa.
For the last seven years, Doron has devoted much of his time to the promotion of the rights of people with disabilities gaining both practical experience and academic knowledge on a variety of issues regarding this topic. His main areas of research include: disability legal studies and disability studies, administrative law, study of procedures (specifically civil procedure) and law and identity.
John Fyffe is a PhD candidate in mechanical engineering (ME), holds a BS in ME from the University of Texas at Austin, and an MS in ME from Stanford. Currently, he’s working in the Advanced Energy Systems Laboratory researching fuel transformations that will enable development of highly efficient, low emission power plants.
John entered the world of energy and has been engaged in it over the last six years because of a strong interest in energy and the realization that improving how we use it can have a major impact on human lives—especially in the health, food, and water sectors. John is pursuing a career not only in developing advanced technologies but also in understanding how they interact with the communities they serve.
In John’s pursuit of an academic career in energy systems engineering, he strives to educate beyond academia by publishing in mainstream publications and being involved with engineering outreach by giving guest lectures and demonstrations on the basics of energy to middle and high school students. John has also been involved with the Native American Community Center’s Frosh Fellows Mentoring program, where he helps young Native students develop skills and interest in academic research.
Elisa Garcia is a third year doctoral student in Developmental and Psychological Science at the Graduate School of Education. She graduated from Kenyon College in 2004 with a double major in Psychology and Spanish. Before coming to Stanford, Elisa worked for two non-profit organizations in Washington D.C.: the Institute for Women’s Policy Research and the American Institutes for Research. There, her project work included an analysis of the economic impact of the early care and education sector, and an evaluation of a literacy professional development program for low-income, urban elementary schools.
Elisa’s research examines how preschool and kindergarten classrooms can kindle achievement in low-income children, particularly Dual Language Learners (DLLs). She is interested in how peer interactions, social-emotional skills, and dual language instruction programs relate to the language development of DLL children. She seeks to understand the psychological and educational factors that promote resilience and help young low-income children succeed. Elisa believes that high quality early childhood education can be one means of affecting change for low-income children. She intends for her research to have practical applications in preschool classrooms, which can only be accomplished by centering her inquiries on the needs and goals of families, teachers and schools.
Vicky Googasian is a second-year PhD student in the department of English, studying 20th century American literature. Her research focuses on human-animal relationality, nonhuman phenomenology, and the poetics of animal bodies. She hopes to explore the ways that these research interests might help her develop a multispecies pedagogy that encourages students to engage nonhuman animals as part of their reading practices.
Vicky has maintained an interest in experiential learning over the last several years. Prior to coming to Stanford, she interned for two years with the Winter Term in Service program at DePauw University, where she helped organize and lead international service-learning trips on topics as ecotourism, marine conservation, and youth homelessness. She also spent a summer working with Northwestern University’s Civic Education Project, facilitating service-learning opportunities for gifted high school students around the Bay Area. At Stanford, Vicky serves on the organizing committee of the Environmental Humanities Project, which supports interdisciplinary discussion regarding the aesthetic and interpretive dimensions of environmental crisis.
In the future, Vicky hopes to pursue an active career of teaching and research that situates literary interpretation in a multispecies context and promotes awareness of how literary texts structure and inform our lives with other animals.
Marc Grinberg is a graduate student in political science at Stanford University, where he focuses on international relations and political philosophy.
Until August 2012, Marc served in the US government as director (acting), section chief and strategist in the Office of Strategy, Planning, Analysis and Risk at the Department of Homeland Security, and as special assistant to Deputy Secretary of State Jacob J. Lew. In these roles, Marc worked on a range of issues including counter-terrorism, security assistance, cyber-security, nonproliferation, transportation security and the national security budget. He was a contributor to the first Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review and part of a small team responsible for drafting the first Quadrennial Homeland Security Review and for building doctrine for the development of homeland security strategy.
Prior to joining the US government, he worked as an aide to Hon. Richard Danzig on the 2008 Obama Campaign, as Program Director and Congressional Fellow at the Truman National Security Project, as a researcher at the institute for Defense Analyses and as Legislative Fellow for Congressman Steve Israel.Marc is a former Presidential Management Fellow and a graduate of Princeton University and the University of Oxford. He is co-founder of The Public Philosopher, an ongoing project seeking to inject a philosophical perspective into public policy debate.
Jasmine Hill is originally from Oakland, California by way of Chicago, Illinois. Before coming to Stanford, she worked for social justice non-profits and private foundations as a consultant in Los Angeles. Her work there primarily revolved around conducting research for clients, providing technical assistance and leading trainings on community organizing and culturally competent service delivery. Before that Jasmine was a Coro Fellow in Public Affairs where she worked on political campaigns and with the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles as a resident coordinator.
Jasmine graduated with a bachelor’s degree in communication studies from UCLA in 2011 where she organized students and served as student body president. Through her senior thesis at UCLA, she traveled to Salvador, Bahia to research impacts of affirmative action policies on Brazil’s higher education system. Here at Stanford in the department of sociology, her research focuses on sharing economies and social mobility in the African American community. She also is very interested in exploring other models of public housing, community policing, incarceration, and localized economies that work to decrease inequality.
Cherkea Louise Howery is a PhD candidate with the department of anthropology. Her dissertation focuses on the effects of the economic crisis on the archaeological industry in Greece. This includes examining public policies concerned with the designation process and the management of heritage places. Such policies are subject to economic pressures, while the appropriation of archaeology within the national agenda is weighted by the state’s dependence on tourism. Cherkea critiques the assumption that communities are only interested in the revenue, believing that we need to be concerned with the public’s interaction with and perception of sites and museums, which is influenced by community outreach endeavors.
Beginning her fifth-year at Stanford University, Cherkea has a strong record of public service through engaging students as a teaching assistant as well as organizing and participating in archaeological projects and outreach in the Mediterranean. As a GPS fellow, Cherkea plans to share her interests in public and community archaeology. She plans to pursue a career that focuses on cultivating the social relevance of the field beyond academia by practically applying her research to real world experiences, especially as they pertain to the protection and management of heritage during periods of social turmoil.
Molly M. King is a PhD candidate in the department of sociology in the School of Humanities and Sciences. She completed her undergraduate studies in biology at Reed College. Prior to graduate school, she worked as a research assistant studying medical team structures and information technologies that support higher quality, lower cost health care for older adults with chronic conditions.
Molly is broadly interested in sociological studies of inequality, networks, organizations, health, medicine, science, and knowledge. She is currently a research assistant with the Center on Poverty and Inequality, studying discrimination trends over time and patterns in forgone health care. She also works on a team studying the relative efficacy of poverty reduction programs in California. For her dissertation work, Molly is studying information inequality in social systems. She also serves as a mentor in Power to ACT: Abilities Coming Together, a campus group that provides a community for students with hidden and visible disabilities.
Molly hopes that participation in the Haas GPS Fellowship will train her not only to better communicate her own sociological research findings to a broader audience, but also to use public priorities to inform her choice of research topics in the future. She is also excited to learn tools to teach students how to use their interests and intellectual privilege in serving the public good.
Yu-Jin Lee is a first-year medical student at Stanford School of Medicine with a focus on clinical research and global health. Her research is focused on quality improvement of minimally invasive surgical training in developing countries with a focus in Mongolia. She is also actively involved in Stanford Flu Crew, which coordinates on-campus and off-campus flu clinics during flu vaccination season. Yu-Jin is excited to continue collaborating with the Stanford School of Medicine and the Office of Community Health along with the Santa Clara and San Mateo County Health Departments to expand basic immunization access to local underserved communities. She is also interested in exploring how partnerships among many institutions can promote a shared goal of addressing healthcare needs.
Claudia Liuzzi is a PhD Candidate in the department of anthropology (archaeology track). She has a Laurea cum laude in Conservation of Cultural Heritage and a dissertation in Egyptology from the University of Pisa (Italy). As an undergraduate, she volunteered for the Bhasha Research Center, an Indian NGO, involved in the preservation of tribal culture.
While writing her dissertation, she worked for the Peace Science Center in Pisa, an interdepartmental academic center promoting peace building through encounters between scholars of various disciplines. After her graduation she started a Postgraduate Certificate in Egyptology at the University of Birmingham (UK). She has been awarded the Marie Curie Fellowship (CHIRON Project) at the Ename Center for Public Archaeology and Heritage Presentation (Belgium) where she worked towards the establishment of the ICOMOS Committee on Interpretation and Presentation for which she currently serves as Coordinator of the Secretariat.
Claudia’s dissertation is entitled “World Heritage and the Private Sector: from shared global resource to market asset?” Her interests lie in the intersection between global philanthropic and private sector involvements with conservation and development-based heritage projects, with a specific focus on the UNESCO 1972 World Heritage Convention. She has conducted fieldwork in Italy, Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Turkey, and India.
Soyoung Park is a PhD candidate in curriculum studies and teacher education at the Stanford Graduate School of Education (GSE). During her time at the GSE, Soyoung has worked on research looking at English learners’ reclassification to Fluent English Proficient and their access to core curricula. Soyoung’s personal research has been on conversational interactions among English learners with autism spectrum disorders. She has also done some work on English learners with special needs for the English Language Learner State Collaboratives on Assessment and Student Standards (SCASS). Soyoung is passionate about conducting research that is both community-based and collaborative with community members.
As a former elementary school teacher, Soyoung is highly committed to schools and children. To stay connected with schools and communities, Soyoung spent two years volunteering in a self-contained classroom for students with autism. She has also served as a service co-chair for the GSE Student Guild. In this position, Soyoung has planned a variety of community service activities for the GSE. Soyoung is also dedicated to working with the teacher candidates in the Stanford Teacher Education Program (STEP). She is an instructor for the following STEP courses: Supporting Students with Special Needs, The Centrality of Literacies in Learning and Teaching, and Equity & Democracy.
Julia Payson is a PhD candidate in political science with an emphasis on public policy and the politics of education reform in the U.S. She received her BA summa cum laude from the University of Southern California and was a valedictorian candidate in 2010. Julia’s interest in public education was sparked through her undergraduate work with ReadersPLUS, a service learning organization that places USC students as reading and math tutors in local elementary schools. After serving as a tutor during her freshman year, Julia became the Site Coordinator for the program at Lenicia B. Weemes Elementary, leading a team of 20 USC tutors who collectively tutored over 80 elementary school students.
Working first hand with teachers and administrators in the Los Angeles Unified School District, Julia became fascinated with urban education reform issues. She pursued an education policy internship at the American Enterprise Institute under Dr. Rick Hess and later wrote her senior thesis on the role of public education in facilitating Latino political participation in Los Angeles. As a graduate student, Julia now studies school district politics more broadly. Her research explores sources of variation in district policy and quality, and she regularly engages with community members and education leaders. She is currently working on a project to determine whether voters hold school board members accountable for district performance in California.
As a teacher, Julia is passionate about incorporating service-learning into her courses. At Stanford, she has served as a teaching assistant for Introduction to American National Politics and Government; Campaigns, Voting, Media, and Elections; and Urban Politics. Julia’s ultimate goal is to become a professor of political science and to empower her students to be engaged citizens and community members.
Melina Platas Izama
Melina Platas Izama is a PhD candidate in political science, specializing in comparative politics. Her research interests include social service provision, governance, foreign aid, and the intersection of religion and politics in Africa. Her dissertation explores inequalities in educational attainment between Christians and Muslims in Africa, and identifies the conditions under which this inequality has persisted or declined over time. She has conducted fieldwork in Ghana, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Malawi, and Uganda. Ongoing research projects include the unintended consequences of HIV/AIDS aid in Africa, the determinants of attitudes toward and practice of female genital cutting in Egypt, media coverage and public support of US intervention in humanitarian crises, and an impact evaluation of a USAID-funded local governance program in Uganda.
One of Melina’s public service goals is to increase interaction between academics and students from the U.S. and those living and working in developing countries, and to strengthen the link between research, media, and public policy in these countries. She plans to found a research institution in Uganda that provides a channel through which policy-relevant research can more effectively reach governments and policymakers.
Prior to graduate school, Melina worked as a journalist in Kampala, Uganda, and continues to participate in Ugandan print, radio, and television media. At Stanford she served as co-president for the Political Science Graduate Student Association and president of the student group, the Stanford Forum for African Studies, organizing two international and interdisciplinary conferences in African Studies. In Uganda, she has volunteered as a technical advisor with the Uganda Muslim Teachers Association and the Agency for Transformation.
Nik Sawe is a PhD candidate in the Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources in the School of Earth Sciences. His work adapts neuroeconomics—the study of financial decision-making in the brain—to environmental applications: from consumer responses toward eco-labeling, to environmental philanthropy and the valuation of natural resources. In combination with behavioral economics experiments and national surveys, neuroimaging allows Nik to better understand the individual differences in how people make environmental decisions by assessing how they route and process information via fMRI. This helps to optimize environmental policies in order to best serve a heterogeneous population. Nik currently teaches a self-designed course in Environmental Decision-Making and Risk Perception to fellow graduate students.
Before graduate school, Nik utilized his neuroscience background in the biotech field, and received his BS in Biology from Stanford. He has always loved teaching and the environment, and taught young people about endangered species at schools, libraries, and children’s camps after publishing an environmental fiction novel, Wolf Trails, while still in high school. Nik continues to engage in science writing for the public, most recently in editorials on water conservation during the California drought and how academics can better inform science policymakers.
Pamela Shime is an MA candidate in the Learning, Design, and Technology Program at the Stanford Graduate School of Education, which awarded her a Stanford University Tuition Fellowship. Her work is at the nexus of education, technology, and childhood trauma. Pam is looking at designing technologies that identify and empower children living with trauma and support their teachers in doing the same. She is a graduate of Harvard University and the University of Toronto Faculty of Law.
Prior to arriving at Stanford, Pam was at the Centre for Social Innovation (Toronto & New York) where she conducted cross-disciplinary research and developed courses on global advocacy and leadership. Her interview research included advocates such as South African Constitutional Court Justice Edwin Cameron, Donna Shalala, Recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the longest-serving U.S. Secretary of Health & Human Services, and British Nobel Laureate John Sulston, who advocated successfully for the Genome Project to remain public intellectual property. Pam has been invited to speak and teach courses and workshops at universities around the world.
Pam won a University of Toronto Teaching Award for her course How to Make Change. She has been a recipient of the University of Toronto Faculty of Law Trailblazers Award and a New York City Urban Fellowship. Before becoming an educator, Pam was a litigator with a practice that included constitutional, labor, and international law.
Nicole Strayer is a doctoral candidate in the Developmental and Psychological Sciences program at the Stanford University Graduate School of Education. She holds a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from Wesleyan University, where she completed an honors thesis exploring identity formation in Spanish-speaking immigrant communities. Before coming to Stanford, Nicole worked with Bay Area first-generation college-bound youth. She also worked to provide mental health services to at-risk youth in New York City public schools. More recently, she worked with preschool- and kindergarten-aged children providing services to support the development of their executive functions.
As a student of education and an Institute for Education Sciences Fellow, Nicole is committed to examining the persistence of inequality among economically and ethnically diverse youth. She is particularly interested in measuring the impact of neighborhood, school, and family factors on children's socio-emotional and academic trajectories. Her work examines how minority groups experience higher levels of adversity than their more advantaged peers, and how the consequences of unequal exposure may either be buffered or exacerbated by characteristics of the home, school, or neighborhood environment.