2007 Catalyst Participant Biographies

2007 Catalyst Masters

Carolyn Bertozzi (Chemistry — Biochemistry)

Carolyn Bertozzi was born in 1966 in Boston, Mass. She received her undergraduate degree in chemistry (summa) at Harvard University, where she worked with Assistant Professor Joe Grabowski on the design and construction of a photoacoustic calorimeter. Her early days as a physical chemist continued after graduating from Harvard when she accepted a summer position at Bell Labs in the Department of Chemical Physics. There, she worked with Professor Chris Chidsey studying the physical properties of electroactive alkanethiol monolayers on gold.

Carolyn joined the graduate program at UC Berkeley in 1988 and became interested in the bioorganic chemistry of carbohydrate molecules. She worked with Professor Mark Bednarski on the synthesis and biological activity of C-glycosides, a class of stable carbohydrate mimics. After receiving her PhD in 1993, Carolyn moved across the Bay to a postdoctoral position in the Immunology Program at UCSF with Professor Steven Rosen. She studied the activity of endothelial oligosaccharides in promoting cell adhesion at sites of inflammation, applying her skills as an organic chemist to define the structures of the oligosaccharide ligands for the leukocyte adhesion molecule L-selectin.

Carolyn has now returned to Berkeley as a member of the chemistry faculty beginning in January 1996. Her current research focuses on enzymes that regulate the biological activity of glycoconjugates and on new methods for engineering the chemistry and biological recognition activity of cell surfaces.

Paul Canales (Art — Culinary Arts)

Since 2000, Paul Canales has been Oliveto's Chef de Cuisine. Last summer, he became their Chef, as Oliveto's co-owner Chef Paul Bertolli has increasingly focused on his new salumi business. Chef Canales' new position at the helm of the Oliveto kitchen could not have come about more organically.

Paul C.'s story is quite extraordinary. He was a high-level Pacific Bell executive, wanted/needed to change his life, broke free to become a cook, enrolled at the Culinary Institute of America, became an intern at Oliveto in 1995 and has run their kitchen for the past 5 years.

He is also exceptional. He grew up in Fresno of Spanish heritage (the son of a professor), was an honors student, student leader, athlete, Congressional intern and musician. Paul is well traveled in most of Italy and has developed a deep knowledge of its foods. He has an unusually accurate memory for flavors; he is an extremely gifted cook.

Chef Canales is also a remarkable leader in the Oliveto kitchen, developing in the past few years a group of talented and dedicated sous chefs and cooks. No drama, and no cutting corners, with plenty of good cheer and collaboration.

Daniel G. Nocera (Chemistry — Energy Conversion)

Daniel G. Nocera is the W. M. Keck Professor of Energy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and he is widely recognized as a leading researcher in renewable energy at the molecular level. Nocera studies the basic mechanisms of energy conversion in biology and chemistry with primary focus in recent years on the photogeneration of hydrogen and oxygen from water. The overall water-splitting reaction requires the coupling of multielectron processes to protons, which are energetically uphill, thus requiring a light input. Nocera has pioneered each of these areas of science. Most examples of multielectron photoreactions have originated from his research group in the past decade. This work has relied on the generalization of the concept of two-electron mixed-valency in chemistry. He created the field of proton-coupled electron transfer (PCET) at a mechanistic level with the publication of the first ultrafast laser study of an electron transfer through a hydrogen bonded interface. With the frameworks of multielectron chemistry and PCET in place, Nocera has designed hydrogen- and oxygen-producing catalysts.

Nocera's research in energy conversion has been featured on the nationally broadcast television programs, ABC Nightline and PBS NOVA in the US and Explora in Europe and radio shows such as NPR. He developed the pilot that was used to begin the new PBS science program ScienceNow and his PBS NOVA show was nominated for a 2006 Emmy Award. In 2005, he was awarded the Italgas Prize for his fundamental contributions to the development of renewable energy at the molecular level.

Nocera (born July 3, 1957) received his early education at Rutgers University where he was a Henry Rutgers Scholar, obtaining a BS degree in 1979 with Highest Honors. He moved to Pasadena, California where he began research on the electron transfer reactions of biological and inorganic systems with Professor Harry Gray at the California Institute of Technology. As a graduate student with Gray, he performed the first experiments on measuring the rates for electron transfer at fixed distances in proteins (cytochrome c). This work is widely recognized as beginning the field of biological electron transfer. After earning his PhD degree in 1984, he went to East Lansing, Mich. to take up a faculty appointment at Michigan State University. He joined the faculty of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as a professor of Chemistry in 1997.

Stephen Pier (Art — Dance/Choreography)

Stephen Pier has achieved a uniquely rich and varied career as a dancer, teacher and choreographer. His credits as a performer include many years as a principal dancer with the Jose Limon Co. where the New York press hailed him as, “one of the most gifted dancers on the modern dance scene today.”

Stephen went on to become a leading soloist with the Hamburg Ballet performing the title roles in John Neumeier’s “Othello” and “Saint Matthew’s Passion” and creating numerous other major roles during his nine years with the company.

As a member of the Royal Danish Ballet for 6 years, Stephen had the privilege of dancing leading roles in works of Bournonville, Balanchine and Macmillan as well as collaborating with choreographers Flemming Flindt, Laura Dean, Kim Brandstrup and others. He was also invited to teach both the company and the school there, staged two full evening ballets of Neumeier's, established the New Choreographers Workshops which he directed and created works for, and choreographed several successful productions for the Royal Danish Opera and Theater.

Stephen is currently on the faculty of the Juilliard School in New York City where he teaches ballet, partnering and modern repertory. He tours throughout the world as a guest teacher and a choreographer.

Giancinto Scoles (Chemistry — Nano Technology)

Giancinto Scoles was born in 1935 in Torino, Italy. He studied chemistry and physics under G. Boato in Genova (Italy) and under J.J.M. Beenakker in Leiden (The Netherlands). From 1964 to 1971 he taught physics at the University of Genova where he built a molecular beams laboratory where many innovative molecular beam scattering experiments were carried out. In 1971 Scoles became professor of chemistry and physics at the University of Waterloo in Canada where he founded the Center of Molecular Beams and Laser Chemistry and introduced the use of thermal detection in molecular beam spectroscopy, that brought a real revolution in the field of high resolution infrared spectroscopy. He became a Canadian citizen in 1977.

In 1986 Scoles was named to the Donner Chair of Science at Princeton University and a few years later established, in collaboration with P. Eisenberger, and a few other colleagues, the Princeton Materials Institute. He became a U.S. citizen in 1996.

At Princeton Scoles pioneered the use of superfluid He nanodroplets in molecular spectroscopy, the use of grazing incidence X-ray scattering in the study of organic thin films and started being interested in the applications of scanning probe microscopy to biophysical and biochemical problems that are his current and main area of research. At present Scoles divides his time more or less equally between three institutions: Princeton, the International School for Advanced Studies in Trieste and the Elettra Synchrotron Laboratory also in Trieste.

Scoles is a Fellow of the Royal Society (the Science Academy of the UK) and a foreign member of the KNAW (the Royal Dutch Academy of Science). He has received the 2002 P. Debye Award for Physical Chemistry from the ACS, the Lippincott Award from the OSA and the 2003 Plyler Prize for Molecular Spectroscopy from the APS. He is also the holder of two Doctor Honoris Causa degrees, one from the University of Genova and the other from Waterloo.

Scoles was an average student in high school, a slightly above average student in college and an excellent student in graduate school. He believes that this progression was not due to his increased maturity or commitment but to the increasing level of intellectual freedom he enjoyed in the later years of his education and the fact that he was being increasingly judged on the quality of the questions that he was posing as opposed to the quality of the answers that he was giving to questions posed by others.

Andrew Thomas (Art — Music Composition)

Andrew Thomas teaches and was the chairman of the Composition Department at the Pre-College Division at Juilliard from 1969 to 1994. In 1994, The Juilliard School appointed him the director of the Pre-College Division. In addition to composing, Dr. Thomas performs as a pianist, conductor and is a guest teacher throughout the world. His many awards include a grant from The National Endowment for the Arts and a Distinguished Teacher Citation from The White House Commission on Presidential Scholars.

After Vladimir Ashkenazy conducted the Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin in Dr. Thomas's Marimba Concerto, ‘Loving Mad Tom,‘ with Evelyn Glennie as the soloist, Jürgen Otten of Der Tagespiel wrote "... his arsenal of romantic ghost music from Weber to Berlioz to Liszt is recognized here, and sound-consciously conveyed into the modern idiom."

Other works of Andrew Thomas that were commissioned and premiered by soloists and organizations within the past few years include: "Wind" for solo marimba, composed for Makoto Nakura, "The Heroic Triad," for Twentieth Century Unlimited, "For the Class of 2003," for Renée Fleming, "Valse Triste," a solo marimba work for Simon Boyar, "Crane by the River Li," for the traditional Chinese instrument Orchestra of the Guangxi Arts College in Nanning, China, and "A Samba," a work for two solo flutes (Carol Wincenc and Robert Langevin), two flute choirs and chamber orchestra. Dr. Thomas has also orchestrated his music for lyricist Gene Scheerlsquo's: “Lean Away,” which Nathan Gunn sang with the St. Louis Symphony and "I Just Found Another New Voice Teacher" for a Metropolitan Opera performance of “Die Fledermaus.” On January 4, 2001, Renée Fleming sang "I Just Found Another New Voice Teacher" with the Orpheus Strings on “Live From Lincoln Center.“

On October 9, 2004, Dr. Andrew Thomas gave a piano recital in the Juilliard Theater at the Juilliard School celebrating his 65th birthday, 35 years teaching at the Juilliard School and 10 years as its Pre-College director. After 12 years he stepped down from his administrative position in 2006 to concentrate on his composition works, to teach his gifted students and hopefully to foster the musical talents of young international Citizens of the World. At his farewell party Juilliard bestowed upon him the title of director emeritus.

Matthew Tirrell (Chemistry — Chemical Engineering)

Professor Matthew Tirrell is dean of the College of Engineering at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He received his undergraduate education in chemical engineering at Northwestern University and his PhD in 1977 in polymer science from the University of Massachusetts. From 1977 to 1999 he was on the faculty of chemical engineering and materials science at the University of Minnesota, where he served as head of the department from 1995 to 1999. His research has been in polymer surface properties including adsorption, adhesion, surface treatment, friction, lubrication and biocompatibility. He has co-authored about 250 papers and one book and has supervised about 60 PhD students.

Professor Tirrell has been a Sloan and a Guggenheim Fellow, a recipient of the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award and has received the Allan P. Colburn, Charles Stine and the Professional Progress Awards from AIChE, as well as delivering its Institute Lecture in 2001.  He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, a Fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineers, a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a fellow of the American Physical Society. In 2003, he concluded more than two years of service as co-chair of the steering committee for the National Research Council report "Beyond the Molecular Frontier: Challenges for Chemistry and Chemical Engineering" published by the National Academy Press.

2007 Catalyst Associates

Matthew Black (Chemistry — Chemical Engineering)

Matt grew up in Bridgewater, Mass. He earned a BS in chemical engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI). At WPI, he researched molecular level adhesion forces with Terri Camesano and controlled drug release with Satya Shivkumar. In addition to his research, he skied competitively and was captain of the men's tennis team. He is now a second-year graduate student working with Matthew Tirrell at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is developing self assembled, multifunctional nanostructures that can target tumor cells and release a variety of therapeutic agents to treat the cancer. He plans to pursue a career researching drug delivery and related problems.

Arthur Esswein (Chemistry — Energy Conversion)

Arthur was born in July of 1980 and grew up in the small Cape Cod town of Falmouth, Mass. His interests in solar energy were peaked at an early age by many sunny afternoons on the beach. After graduating from Falmouth High School in 1998, he continued his education at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore Md., where he originally intended to study chemical engineering. In his sophomore year he decided to focus on chemistry and joined the laboratories of Professor Gerald J. Meyer as an undergraduate researcher. In these labs he was first introduced to dye-sensitized solar cells and scientific research in the area of solar energy conversion in general.

After earning a BA in chemistry in the spring of 2002, Arthur decided to pursue a doctoral degree at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology under the tutelage of Professor Daniel G. Nocera. Arthur’s PhD research has focused on the study of multielectron photochemistry of two-electron mixed valence bimetallic complexes. Notably these complexes are photocatalysts for hydrogen production from homogeneous hydrohalic acid solutions. After completing his PhD Arthur plans to conduct postdoctoral research in the laboratories of Professor T. Don Tilley at the University of California, Berkeley, where his research will focus on the oxidation of water to dioxygen using small molecule mimics of the photosynthetic oxygen evolving complex.

Stavroula Hatzios (Chemistry — Biochemistry)

Stavroula Hatzios received her BS in chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2005. She conducted her undergraduate research in the laboratory of Professor Sarah O’Connor, where she worked on the isolation and biochemical characterization of a putative alkaloid synthase from humans. She entered UC Berkeley in the fall of 2005 as a student in the chemical biology graduate program and joined Professor Carolyn Bertozzi’s research group, where she is currently investigating sulfation pathways in Mycobacterium tuberculosis. 

Stavroula has also been an active participant in science-oriented community outreach programs for the past several years, most recently as a volunteer for the Chemistry in the Classroom Program, which sponsors science demonstrations for elementary school students in Berkeley and Oakland, Calif. In her spare time, she enjoys playing the oboe, running and eating ice cream. 

Sarah Hubbard (Chemistry — Biochemistry)

Sarah was born and raised in the Southeast. After graduating high school, she moved to North Carolina to attend Wake Forest University, where she earned a BS in chemistry. While she spent most of her time doing research in photochemistry in the lab of Paul Jones, she did manage to get to quite a few ACC basketball games. After graduating in 2004, Sarah moved to Berkeley and is currently a third-year graduate student in Carolyn Bertozzi’s laboratory. Sarah’s research focuses on the identification of novel carbohydrate-bearing biomarkers in cancer, in the hopes of finding cancer metabolites that are diagnostically and therapeutically useful. In the future, Sarah hopes to learn more about the field of “molecular medicine,” possibly by moving into diagnostic imaging. In addition to a career in research, she hope to continue teaching.

Steven Y. Reece (Chemistry — Energy Conversion)

Steven Reece is a PhD candidate in his fifth year of graduate school in the research group of Prof. Daniel Nocera at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is currently studying proton-coupled electron transfer reactions in chemistry with a particular focus on the mechanisms of charge transport in proteins that utilize amino acid radicals. Following graduation this summer, he will perform postdoctoral research with Prof. Michael Marletta at the University of California, Berkeley, to study the mechanism of nitric oxide biosynthesis.

Steve was born in Kinston, N.C. in 1980 and raised there until the age of 16 when he headed north to attend Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, N.H. for his final two years of high school. He then returned to North Carolina for his undergraduate years at Davidson College and graduated in 2002 with a major in chemistry and minor in mathematics. While at Davidson, he performed research during the summers and in his senior year on the synthesis of light harvesting peptides to be used for solar energy conversion. Following graduation, he worked as a summer intern for ExxonMobil before entering graduate school at MIT. Currently, Steve is generally interested in photochemistry and catalysis related to energy conversion and storage in both synthetic inorganic and biological systems.

Christian Staii (Chemistry — Nano Technology)

Cristian Staii is a postdoctoral fellow working in Prof. Giacinto Scoles group at Princeton. He received his PhD in physics from the University of Pennsylvania in 2005, where he worked in Professor Charlie Johnson’s group.

Cristian’s research interests lie at the interface between the general area of nanotechnology and biophysics. His work at UPenn was in the area of electronic transport in nanostructures such as carbon nanotubes, conducting polymers and silicon nanowires. A good part of his PhD work was focused on applying various scanning probe techniques for the study of local electronic properties of these nanoscale circuits. Another main project aimed at studying the interaction between carbon nanotubes and various biomolecules such as DNA and thyroid hormones, and in using these nanostructures for biodetection and chemical sensing. At UPenn he was also involved in measuring the optical properties of carbon nanotubes freely suspended across micron-sized open apertures.

One of Cristian’s main research projects as a postdoctoral fellow at Princeton is to design new proteins and to use the Atomic Force Microscope in a mode called nanografting to create microarrays of these proteins on Au surfaces. This project has two main goals: 1) to study the fundamental properties of these novel proteins packed at high density on Au substrates (e.g., kinetics of the folding/unfolding, optical/electrical properties of the different protein patches under applied external forces), and 2) to use the knowledge gained in this process to prototype a variety of protein-based biosensing platforms. As a side project he has also acquired expertise in various protein expression and purification techniques (work done in collaboration with Prof. D. Wood in chemical engineering at Princeton).

2007 Catalyst Scholars

Kiran Gollacota (Chemistry — Nano Technology)

Science, to Kiran, is a harmony between the hypothetical and the practical, and the rigid and the abstract. He hopes to apply his experiences from Catalyst towards functions that are not only supremely interesting, but also useful. After all, science is about making life better.

Kiran’s greatest non-academic interest is his music. He’s played the piano for 12 years, and is currently pursuing a professional qualification (like a BA) in piano performance through the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music. Additionally, Kiran loves tennis, and he thoroughly enjoys just sitting down with a good book and reading for hours on end.

Ben Gross (Chemistry — Chemical Engineering)

Ben Gross is a tenth grader attending a coed private school in San Diego, Calif. In his free time he plays video games, guitar and piano. He participates in History Day, Science Olympiad, Academic League and various math competitions. To stay in shape, he weight lifts and does karate. He likes listening to loud rock music (ranging from the works of Jimi Hendrix to those of Anthrax (the band not the disease)) when he weight lifts, and drives. When among friends and fellow students he enjoys engaging them in heated debates, usually using the Socratic method.

David Ku (Chemistry — Nano Technology)

David is fascinated by science and values it for its ability to explain our universe. He applied to this program because he wants to get acquainted with scientific research. Hopefully, this mentorship will allow him to get involved in the field and perhaps probe the unknown.

Looking at his daily schedule, most of David’s time is devoted to eating and reading; sometimes, he’ll do both simultaneously. He treats cereal as a food group. In the newspaper, David usually hits the op-eds, sports, travel and science (of course) sections. If he has time, a good science fiction or fantasy novel is always nice. He enjoys playing the cello and belongs to his high school's symphonic orchestra. In less than a month he will be in Russia, playing in Novgorod and St. Petersburg. David also loves being outside. Tennis and basketball are usually what he plays with friends.

Lawrence Ku (Chemistry — Biochemistry)

Lawrence Ku is a 16-year-old sophomore who attends Mission San Jose High School in Fremont, Calif. Lawrence is fascinated by math, biology and chemistry, and has been in an accelerated curriculum since seventh grade. He has received numerous awards in many regional and state science and math competitions. Recently, he helped his school capture 2nd place at the State Science Olympiad by taking 1st place in the Food Chemistry event; in addition, Lawrence is a 2007 Biology Olympiad semifinalist. Lawrence actively participates in the school’s Math Club, Academic Challenge Club (Science Bowl and Science Olympiad teams), and Speech and Debate Club.

Lawrence was born in Troy, N.Y., and moved to California when he was 3. Ever since he was 10 years old, Lawrence has been avidly studying and playing Go, an Asian strategy-based board game. He is one of the top ten youth Go players in the United States and the captain of his high school Go team, leading them to win the California High School Go Tournament for 3 years in a row. Lawrence is an active part of the Go community; he is the American Go E-Journal’s West Coast Correspondent, frequently contributing articles to the weekly news journal. Besides Go, Lawrence also enjoys playing basketball and is interested in computer hardware and web design.

Stephanie Lau (Chemistry — Biochemistry)

Stephanie applied to Catalyst hoping to explore her interests more in depth with chemistry and biology. Catalyst seemed like the perfect opportunity because it really emphasized this correlation between the two subjects. As a scientist, she has been a part of a research team looking at water quality, specifically lead in drinking water and air quality around Lake Merritt in Oakland, Calif. Furthermore, she also really likes experiments relating to biotechnology. Taking AP biology has really intrigued her to look at molecular structures.

A sport she loves to play is tennis. It makes her stay in shape and stay competitive when she plays against others at her school and other schools. Also, she has taken an interest in mechanical and drafting engineering. She really loves doing the line work and seeing objects in different positions. She also likes experiencing new things that are not the usual of what she would do at home such as trying new food and seeing other cultures.

Ruby Lee (Chemistry — Energy Conversion)

Ruby Lee is currently a sophomore at Shrewsbury High School in Mass. She is new to the world of research science, but this year, she completed her first project, titled "Utilizing Thermocouples to Create a Heat-Powered Flashlight." Doing this inspired her to look for more research opportunities, so she applied for Catalyst! In the future, she hopes to become a researcher in a biological or chemical field.

Ruby is also an avid clarinet player in several ensembles, including one of the Greater Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras. In addition, she is a "mathlete" and a tennis player for her school. When not occupied with these activities, Ruby may be found working on her website, chatting on AIM or even indulging herself by watching YouTube, once in a while.

Aditya Mahalingam-Dhingra (Chemistry — Energy Conversion)

Aditya Mahalingam-Dhingra is a top-ranking member of his school's Model United Nations and Debate teams, and an international award-winning debater and public speaker. His passion for politics and world issues is closely tied to his interest in science as a vehicle for change, and the Catalyst program naturally struck him as an opportunity for independent research and the chance to contribute to the body of scientific knowledge.

Aditya is 16 years old, lives in Brookline, Mass. with his parents, younger sister and dog, and attends the Roxbury Latin School. In his free time he enjoys walking his dog, playing tennis, chess, jazz piano or saxophone, and reading or writing political articles. He listens to his iPod for hours and hours each day, while doing everything from homework to walking his dog, and his musical interests range from Dave Brubeck to the Red Hot Chili Peppers to Anberlin to D12.

Jeffrey Samuelson (Chemistry — Chemical Engineering)

Science is Jeffrey Samuelson's chief life interest — he focuses primarily on math and science courses at Campbell High School in North Hollywood where he is currently a sophomore, has participated in multiple summer science courses at Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth, and was fortunate to spend time with Richard Garr, the CEO of Neuralstem Inc. — a leading organization in stem cell research.

He also enjoys designing and creating and has built a functional hovercraft, his own two-hard drive RAID computer and dozens of rockets. He is tremendously interested in Catalyst and would like to gain knowledge, insight and attitude from the opportunity to further develop his own lab skill and understanding of the area. He doesn't yet know where his career direction will lie, but his central foci seems to be in chemistry, engineering and computer programming.

Jeff is a voracious reader, and whenever he has free time, he inhales Science fiction novels and satires, especially those of Vonnegut and Robbins. Technical theatre is another of his great passions, and he has been the master electrician and light board operator on several productions. Recently, his family took part in a salon, and he has been inspired to construct an orange cannon. Unfortunately, as of late, he has run into problems, but he hopes they can be resolved soon after he finishes his exams so that he might seed orange groves with great velocity.

Gabe Skyrms (Chemistry — Chemical Engineering)

In school Gabe has completed science courses in chemistry and physics, and is currently enrolled in AP chemistry.  He received information about the Catalyst program from CTY because he completed the advanced topics chemistry class. The program interests him because it will combine an interactive learning experience with the other creative participants in the program at Williams College, as well as continue throughout the year to allow room for continued research and a more involved project and learning experience. He is especially interested in the program because he wants to learn more about chemistry and other sciences, and their applications in engineering. Although he is not completely sure what he will choose his major to be in college, he is very interested in the fields of engineering, chemistry and biology, specifically biomedical engineering.

Gabe lives in Laguna Beach, Calif. He likes music a lot and enjoys playing bass cello and piano. He especially enjoys rock and funk music. He also plays volleyball and likes to go to the beach. He looks forward to the program and meeting all of the other scholars and the masters.

Nitin Viswanathan (Chemistry — Nano Technology)

Nitin lives in East Brunswick, N.J. He love reading books (classics and contemporary); He is a huge fan of John Grisham. In his free time, he builds robots, practices programming and plays video games. His favorite band is Green Day, but he does not have any particular genre of music he enjoys. His favorite TV shows are Jeopardy and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

Nitin is a member of his school's Science Bowl, Math Team and Academic Team; he will be attending national competitions for both Science Bowl and Academic Team this year. The Catalyst program interested him because it gave him an opportunity to get hands-on experience with research through an experience mentor. He hopes to gain valuable insight into the rapidly developing modern world of science and into researching as a whole as well.

Stephanie Wong (Chemistry — Biochemistry)

Stephanie really enjoyed attending the CTY summer program administered by John Hopkins' University, and was especially interested in the Science and Engineering, Intro to Biomedical Studies and Fast-paced Chemistry courses. These courses have cultivated her strong interest in pursuing a career in science and medicine, and have encouraged her to take more challenging classes at school. She hopes that, with the Catalyst Program, she could attain a heads-start on a research/medical career by being able to take part in a research project — one of the very few opportunities available for people like her who are interested in scientific research.

Aside from her classes and summer courses, Stephanie does various other activities she enjoys as well. She has been playing the piano for the past 9 years and performs in piano concerts regularly. She is also the West Valley Chinese School Student Council Vice President, where she helps organize events and activities for the school. She also really enjoys playing sports. Stephanie’s on the Saratoga track team as a varsity girls thrower for shotput and discus and has done martial arts for the past five or six years. She doesn’t have any pets, but she does have a younger brother, and she likes to read in her free time.

Peter Zhang (Chemistry — Energy Conversion)

Peter applied to the Catalyst Program because he’s wanted to become a scientist since he was a child. He has always been curious to understand how the world works, and venerated the discovery of something new.

His goals for this program are to learn more about being a scientist (and chemistry as a field) and hopefully make a contribution, no matter how small, to the general advancement of science.

Athletically, he’s mostly a racquet-sports player, as he plays tennis, ping-pong and a little squash, but he also skis. His main musical instrument is the cello, but he’s learned to play several other instruments as well. he enjoys reading, watching television, eating food, having fun with friends, et al.

Catalyst Staff

Rena Subotnik

Rena F. Subotnik began her position as director of the Center for Psychology in the Schools and Education at the American Psychological Association in January 2002. Before she came to APA, Dr. Subotnik was professor of education at Hunter College, where she coordinated the secondary education program and served as research and curriculum liaison to the Hunter College laboratory schools (grades PK-12). In 1997-1998, Dr. Subotnik was an APA Congressional Fellow in child policy with U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman, a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee. Her fellowship assignment involved drafting and promoting legislation related to teacher quality, which led to passage of Title II of the Higher Education Act in 1998. Since the fellowship, Dr. Subotnik has been actively involved in the community of scholars and practitioners concerned about federal policy related to teacher education.

Dr. Subotnik has been awarded grants from the McDonnell Foundation, the Institute for Education Sciences, Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation, the American Psychological Foundation, National Science Foundation, U.S. Department of Education Javits program and the Spencer Foundation.

She is co-editor (with Robert Sternberg) of "Optimizing Student Success with the Other Three R’s" (in press), (with Herbert Walberg) "The Scientific Basis of Educational Productivity" (in press), (with Kurt Heller, Franz Monks, and Robert Sternberg) "The International Handbook of Research on Giftedness and Talent" (2nd Edition) (2000), (with Karen Arnold and Kathleen Noble) "Remarkable Women: Perspectives on Female Talent Development" (1997), (with Karen Arnold) "Beyond Terman: Contemporary Longitudinal Studies of Giftedness and Talent" (1994), and the author (with Lee Kassan, Alan Wasser, and Ellen Summers) of "Genius Revisited: High IQ Children Grown Up" (1993).

Ashley Edmiston
Ashley Edmiston is the project director for Catalyst in the Center for Gifted Education Policy. She also works in the Center of Psychology in Schools and Education where she assists with projects involving the Coalition for Psychology in Schools and Education; the Applications of Psychological Science to Teaching and Learning Task Force, and the Task Force on Math and Science Education. Prior to working at APA, Ashley spent a year abroad teaching ESL at an independent English school in Japan. She holds a BS in psychology with a concentration in neuroscience from the University of Westminster, UK.
Maya Bassford
Maya Bassford is the program officer for the Center for Psychology in Schools and Education. Before she came to APA she was with Clear the Air/National Environmental Trust, where she worked on environmental federal legislation. She is a graduate of the George Washington University School of Law and is admitted to practice law in Virginia. She got her BA in psychology from Tufts University, receiving a Magna Cum Laude and Highest Thesis Honor. She has lived in many different countries including Spain, the Dominican Republic and Egypt.
Elan McCollum

Elan McCollum is a summer intern with the Coalition for Psychology in Schools and Education, where in addition, to helping with Catalyst, she also provides research support related to their various projects and task forces. She is a rising senior at Smith College. There she is majoring in psychology with a minor in Spanish. Elan’s research interests include the link between standardized tests and academic achievement as well as alcohol use among college women. Currently, she is studying religiosity and alcohol use among college students. In addition to academics, Elan is a member of the Epilepsy Foundation National Youth Council. In her spare time she enjoys traveling abroad, playing her piano and watching a good movie with friends.