Student Participants 2022-2023

Kristi Bartholomay

Master's Student, Epidemiology and Clinical Research

Allan Reiss Lab

Research interest: Understanding Fragile X Syndrome in Girls

Working with Stanford at The Tech was one of the highlights of my Master's Degree! We spend so much time working on scientific/academic communication and this was a very meaningful and fun way to interact with kids about genetics. I would highly recommend this program to anyone who wants some deeper breadth to their educational program!

Ben Esmaili

Master's Student, Genetic Counseling 

Communicating complex information and ideas to the public, in both written and verbal forms, is a skill vitally important to an expert of any field. During my time at the Tech, I've had the chance to practice and develop this skill in a variety of different settings. Whether I was writing Ask a Geneticist articles, running scientific activities for people of all ages and walks of life, or presenting on Genetics topics in various classroom settings the Stanford @ the Tech program continually challenged me to be a more well-rounded scientist... and was consistently the highlight of my week!

Christy Luong

PhD student, Chemical and System Biology

Howard Chang and Joanna Wysocka Labs

Research interest: Epigenetics in early mammalian development 

Working at the Tech was an educational and memorable experience for me. In my usual academic setting, I rarely get opportunities to practice science communication to the general public. This experience was a good break from academia and has taught me how to clearly communicate science to both kids and adults. It was refreshing getting to see all the students and adults get excited about science through the hands on activities that we host. The whole experience reminded me about my love for science and why I got into research in the first place. 


Xiaotong Wang

Postdoctoral fellow, Pathology

Le Cong Lab

Research interest: Cancer immunology research with gene editing technologies

I had an amazing time outside of the lab while participating in the Stanford at the Tech program. I learned so much when conducting all the great activities, especially communicating science to kids. It was always satisfying to see visitors amazed by the science facts that we were conveying through all the hands-on experiments and discussion. I also enjoyed my time when working with Abbey and other volunteers, and I appreciated all the help and support I got from them. This experience is incredibly rewarding to me, and I really look forward to being further involved in future if possible!


Ilana Zucker-Scharff

PhD student, Neurobiology

Thomas Clandinin lab

Research interest: Impact of social experience on brains & behavior

There is nothing quite as satisfying as watching the excitement for science build as you walk folks through the experiences at the Tech. In the thick of things as a graduate student in science, it can be easy to forget how incredible it is that we get to discover new knowledge every day in the lab. Working as a facilitator every week I was reminded of the thrill of research and discovery and it gave me even more energy to go back to the lab the next week and continue on working on my thesis. It was a great reminder of why I love science while also being an incredible learning experience for me about how best to teach and encourage learning in STEM. It was additionally impactful for me as I learned a great deal about the many different forms of science communication and how best to make scientific learning accessible to all. This was one of the best experiences I've had in grad school and would highly recommend it to anyone looking for something a little different than the typical outreach opportunities.

Ruth Schade

PhD student, Microbiology & Immunology

Denise Monack Lab

Research interest: Macrophages as a niche for Salmonella Typhi

S@TT has been my most fulfilling experience in grad school. Learning how to take various topics in genetics and explain them to audiences of all ages in a fun, interactive way has helped rekindle the enthusiasm for science I had as a kid. This program helped me confirm that I want to go into science education after grad school, while allowing me to develop the skills needed to make science relatable and accessible to audiences of various ages and educational backgrounds.

Miriam Sun

PhD student, Developmental Biology

Lucy O'Brien Lab

Research interest: Intestinal stem cell dynamics in Drosophila

Stanford @ The Tech is a great hands-on opportunity to learn how to communicate science to people of all ages and backgrounds. I had a lot of fun interacting with precocious kids and also explaining to curious adults what it is I do as a PhD student at Stanford. You'll run (and/or develop!) activities that demonstrate scientific concepts in creative and engaging ways, and they definitely helped renew my own excitement for science and research. Highly recommend this program!

Julie Sanchez


PhD student, Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine

Casey Gifford

Research interest: Cardiovascular development and disease using stem cell models

Yannick Leeyow

PhD student, Genetics

Jesse Engreitz Lab and Howard Chang Lab

Research interest: Using CRISPR technologies to investigate noncoding RNAs

Volunteering at The Tech Interactive through the Stanford at The Tech program was transformative and gratifying. Interacting with children of various ages and backgrounds allowed me to witness firsthand the impact that engaging, interactive learning experiences can have on their curiosity and passion for science. Through this, I was also able to improve my communication skills by adapting to diverse learners. Beyond the technical skills and knowledge gained, my time at The Tech Interactive also deepened my appreciation for the role of science in society. I am grateful for the opportunity to contribute to science education and highly recommend it to anyone else seeking teaching experience.

Sophia Parks

Postdoctoral fellow, Pediatrics

Manuel Amieva Lab

Research interest: How H. pylori can colonize and persist in the gastric gland

This program was an excellent opportunity to engage with the surrounding community and serve as an example of science. It helped me solidify my skills teaching to children and a broad audience. Being able to explain science and give directions in simple terms is imperative for scientists to relay information to the community and other scientists in different fields. This program allowed me to deepen my communication skills. Most of all, I enjoyed bringing smiles to children's faces and seeing them light up with the simple joy of a hands on activity that showed them science can be fun. 

Brianna Tucker

Master's Student, Genetic Counseling

As someone who grew up going to the Tech for school field trips, I found so much joy in getting to be the person teaching the science topics I'm passionate about to the people in my community! Seeing lightbulbs go off for guests was thrilling as we went through experiments like extracting DNA from fruit or studying ancient DNA to determine the traits of people who lived thousands of years ago. In addition, advancing my science communication and teaching skills in this role was incredibly valuable as a genetic counselor in training.

Alyssa Lyn Fortier


PhD student, Biology

Jonathan Pritchard Lab
Research interest: The genetics and evolution of immunity in humans

Stanford at the Tech was a unique and enriching experience, and it taught me so much! We scientists often find ourselves in a bubble, speaking and writing in jargon and focusing only on extremely specific problems. It's grounding and rewarding to reconnect with normal people and learn what kinds of questions are on their radar. Is that how forensic investigation really works? Why did I get this result on my 23andMe? Are you a scientist? Is that real DNA? Are mummies real??

My PhD program has taught me a lot about how to communicate *with scientists*, but that doesn't translate at all to speaking with the public. The evidence-based teaching methods we read about and the detailed 1:1 feedback from Abbey really honed my communication skills and filled in that major gap. Plus, the Tech is established and the program was so organized that I felt like I had space to practice the content instead of worrying about organizational details. I was even intimidated at first because I have zero wet lab experience and I knew I was going to have to mix substances (?!) and fake my knowledge about pipettes (!!?!). But actually, I learned a lot and it wasn't so scary! I'm really grateful for my time at the Tech. Try it, you'll have a blast!


Erin Brooks

Lab Manager, Ami Bhatt Lab

Research interest: The role of the gut microbiome in disease

This program challenged me, but in all the best ways! I really enjoyed facilitating genetics activities for visitors at The Tech. After two years of virtual interactions, getting to engage with people face-to-face was a welcome opportunity to meet people from all sorts of backgrounds, of truly all ages. I relished all the shared moments of wonder that are most organic, and memorable in person. I had never led activities on my own before, so it took me some time to work out how to balance providing enough information with leaving space for visitors to explore for themselves. I found the resources and readings really helpful for this! But the in-person labs aren’t all that the program has to offer! Writing blog posts for the ‘Ask-a-Geneticist’ column was a fun opportunity to dive deep into some interesting or quirky genetics questions. (I got to write an article about turning slugs into snails!) But it also really challenged me to make my writing style more accessible to a wider range of audiences. I highly recommend this program!

Abby Bergman

PhD student, Genetics

Julie Baker Lab

Research interest: Functional retroelements during placentation

Participating in Stanford@The Tech has been an unforgettable part of my graduate career. It’s so meaningful to be able to inspire the next generation of scientists! I’ve loved meeting, guiding, and learning from the diversity of people that have participated in our hands on activities, from toddlers to grandparents. Participating in this program is a unique experience to improve your communication skills, be involved in unconventional science education, and be reminded of your power to be a role model for all scientists. I looked forward to each and every week I got to lead activities at The Tech, and would recommend this experience to everyone.


Bhek Morton

PhD student, Genetics

Mike Bassik Lab

Research interest: Macrophage and tumor cell interactions

 I loved my time with Stanford at the Tech! I was drawn to the program because it offered me the opportunity to practice science communication and outreach. I really enjoyed leading a broad audience through several (pandemic-safe) activities. Many of the guests were genuinely curious about DNA and genetics, and left excited having learned something new. I’ve gained a new appreciation for the importance of making science exciting and approachable to students of all backgrounds.