Invited Experts


Panelist Biographies 

Sci Comm Careers Panelist Bios

Dr. Srikant Iyer, Ph.D

Srikant Iyer, Ph.D. is the Associate Director of Science Alliance at New York Academy of Sciences. He drives STEM growth by building strong STEM ecosystems that bring together government, business, schools, and non-profits. He leads program development to identify, promote, enhance and advocate opportunities for over 5000 graduate and post-doctoral fellows to build a diverse and inclusive community. Iyer received his PhD in Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Cornell University and was a post-doctoral fellow at Georgia Institute of Technology where he worked in the interdisciplinary field of biomedical, materials science and nanosciences which resulted in a patent and multiple scientific publications. Prior to joining the academy, Iyer was a research scientist at Johns Hopkins University. He developed metrics to quantify diversity and inclusion within academic institutions, organized and facilitated multiple workshops for top 100 STEM departments to increase diversity, inclusion and equity by engaging senior leaders and diverse stakeholders within academia. He can be reached at

Dr. Budhan Pukazhenthi, PhD

Budhan Pukazhenthi is a Staff Scientist at the Smithsonian National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute located in Front Royal, VA ( Specifically, he manages research on several rare and endangered species including the Przewalski’s horse, Persian onager, Hartmann’s mountain zebra, Scimitar-horned oryx, Brow-antlered deer, black rhinoceros, and tapirs. His research focuses on wildlife ecology, improving animal management and health, development of assisted reproductive technologies, stem cell biology, and genomics. Pukazhenthi is committed to enabling students and researchers interested in biodiversity conservation and often participates in various public outreach events ( He completed his Bachelor of Veterinary Sciences in India (1987), Masters (1992) and Ph.D. in animal sciences (1996) at the University of Maryland, USA. Pukazhenthi is the Chair of the Association of Zoos and Aquarium Biobanking Scientific Advisory Group, serves on several International Union for Conservation of Nature Specialist Groups, is a Steering Committee member of the Association of Minority Zoo and Aquarium Professionals, and serves on the Board of the Conservation Centers for Species Survival, a non-profit conservation organization. 

Dr. Wisler Charles, PhD

Dr. Wisler Charles received his Ph.D. in Immunology from the Biomedical & Biological (BBS) program at Cornell University. Wisler is currently a Field Applications Scientist for Mission Bio. At Mission Bio he supports clinicians in studying the complexity of varying cancers using a single-cell multi-Omics platform used in Next generation sequencing (NGS).   

Prior to attending graduate school, his experiences range from Asset Management in the US Military to Research Associate at BD Biosciences Pharmingen and UC San Diego. These experiences molded his views on the formation of relationships between industry and academia.

After graduating from Cornell, Wisler has been involved in several startups including his own which was a video game based on B-cell and T-cell immunity. He used these experiences at these startups along with his knowledge from his time with the Cornell BEST program to achieve his many goals including his roles in industry. 

Passionate about paying it forward, Dr. Charles also volunteers his time networking, speaking, and mentoring at every opportunity to help students explore the range of career options out there for future thought leaders in the sciences.

Dr. Kate Furby

Kate Furby is a science writer, producer and host. She’s a National Geographic Emerging Explorer and the founder of Tiny Beaker Media. She has a PhD from Scripps Oceanography in marine biology, specializing in coral reefs and climate change. She hosts and produces a science video series called Wavelengths. She works to elevate authentic voices in science storytelling, use humor whenever possible (bad puns especially), and find new angles for overlooked stories. She’s worked with the Washington Post, National Geographic, US Dept of State, PBS, among others. She’s based in Washington DC with a polka dot dog named Banjo.

Dr. Sabrina Solouki
Sabrina Solouki, PhD, is a medical science liaison who works in the respiratory and immunology therapeutic field. Previously, she earned her PhD in Immunology & Infectious Disease at Cornell University under the supervision of Dr. Avery August. Her dissertation focused on adaptive immunity where she explored different parameters responsible for modulating CD8+ memory T cell development. During her time in graduate school she served as President of the Advancing Science and Policy student organization and was active in the science communication, intellectual property, and science policy tracks. Prior to starting her role as a MSL, Sabrina worked as a technical advisor at the patent law firm Ropes & Gray where she assisted with both the litigation and transactional practice groups. Outside of work you can find her at the gym boxing, salsa dancing, or hanging out with her two nephews. 

Dr. Adrian Cho
Adrian Cho covers mainly physics, cosmology, and some scientific policy for the news section of Science magazine. He joined the magazine's staff in 2005 and has been writing for a living since 1999, when he completed the Science Communication Program at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Adrian earned a Ph.D in experimental particle physics in 1997 from Cornell University. He received his A.B. from the University of Chicago in 1987. He lives in the suburbs of Detroit with his wife and two teenagers. In his spare time, he picks a little guitar and helps coach youth hockey and baseball. He firmly believes there's no such thing as a bad pun.

Art & Science Speakers

Dr. Matteo Farinella, PhD

Matteo Farinella is an expert in scientific visualization. He received a PhD in neuroscience from University College London in 2013 and as a Presidential Scholar in Society and Neuroscience (2016-2019) he studied the role of visual narratives in science communication. He is the author of Neurocomic (Nobrow 2013) a graphic novel supported by the Wellcome Trust, and several other science comics. He currently works as Scientific Multimedia Producer for Columbia's Zuckerman Institute and collaborates with scientific publications all over the world to make science more accessible.

Dr. Tullio Rossi, PhD

Dr Tullio Rossi is an award-winning science communicator, marine biologist and graphic designer. ‍As founder of the science communication agency "Animate Your Science", he helps researchers tell their story to the world. ‍His engaging video animations and eye-catching graphics make science understandable for everyone, reaching millions of people around the world, thereby creating a real-life impact.‍


Community Engagement Panelist Bios

Gabrielle Graham

Gabrielle Graham is currently the Public Programs & Community Partnerships Manager at the Buffalo Museum of Science. A native of Tallahassee, Florida, Gabrielle holds a Master’s degree in the History and Philosophy of Science and a Bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Humanities, both from Florida State University.  After four years with the Museum of Florida History, they moved to Buffalo in 2017 to join the Buffalo Museum of Science in a newly created role focusing on adult programs and community engagement. At the Buffalo Museum of Science, they create cross-disciplinary workshops, lectures, and after-hours events. Gabrielle has presented nationally and internationally on the influence of amateurs in scientific practice and the role of museums in scientific understanding.  In their free time, they enjoy watching arts and crafts competition shows, cooking vegan meals with their spouse, and thinking about birds. You can find Gabrielle sporadically on Twitter at @gabsellefancy, where the bulk of their original content is live-tweeting conference sessions of the History of Science Society annual meetings.

Kara Fikrig, Ph.D. candidate

Kara Fikrig is a Ph.D. candidate in the Entomology Department at Cornell University studying mosquitoes and founder of Vaccination Conversations with Scientists (or VaCS for short). VaCS is an Advancing Science and Policy community outreach initiative that facilitates conversations between Cornell scientists and community members via phone banking, tabling, and Q&A sessions. We have a group of about 30 Cornell scientists who volunteer for VaCS leadership committees to keep the outreach going. I believe that the best way to dispel vaccine misinformation is to have compassionate one-on-one conversations with people to try to establish trust. It has been really rewarding to work alongside other scientists who feel the same way!

Dr. Angela Odoms-Young, PhD 

Angela Odoms-Young, PhD is an Associate Professor and Director of the Food and Nutrition Education in Communities Program in the Division of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell University. 

Her research explores social and structural determinants of dietary behaviors and diet-related diseases in low-income and Black/Latinx populations and centers on identifying culturally appropriate programs and policies that promote health equity, food justice, and community resilience. Dr. Odoms-Young has over 20 years’ experience partnering with communities to improve nutrition and health and 200+ academic publications, book chapters, and presentations. She has served on numerous advisory committees and boards including the National Academy of Sciences Food and Nutrition Board, the Institute of Medicine committees to develop the nutrition standards for the National School Lunch Program/School Breakfast Program and revise the food packages provided in the Supplemental Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), and Council on Black Health. Dr. Odoms-Young has also been a member of the Board of the Greater Chicago Food Depository (previous), American Heart Association Chicago Metro Board (current), Grow Greater Englewood (current), and Blacks in Green (current).  She also currently serves as the inaugural Equity Visiting Scholar at Feeding America.  

Dr. Odoms-Young received her B.S. in Foods and Nutrition from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and M.S./PhD in Community Nutrition from Cornell University. Additionally, she completed a Family Research Consortium Postdoctoral Fellowship examining family processes in diverse populations at the Pennsylvania State University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Community Health Scholars Fellowship in community-based participatory research at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. Prior to joining Cornell Dr. Odoms-Young was on the faculty at University of Illinois at Chicago in the Department of Kinesiology and Nutrition.

Kimberly Griffiths

Kimberly Griffiths is currently volunteer program Manager at the Sciencenter Discovery Museum in Ithaca, NY. She lives with her husband and two children in Ithaca. Kimberly grew up in Brooklyn, NY visiting museums throughout her life. These experiences provided the impetus of pursuing a career in the museum field. 

Kimberly graduated with a BA from Hobart William Smith Colleges with High honors, majoring in Studio Art and minoring in Environmental studies. Kimberly went on to graduate from Syracuse University with a MA in Museum Studies. In 2007 Kimberly began interning within the Education Department at the Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse, NY and was quickly promoted within the Department to the position of Associate Curator of Education. In 2015 Kimberly took on a leadership role within the department as Curator of Education. She effectively expanded the number of programs offered as well as number of participants in educational programming. 

Kimberly’s current work at the Sciencenter focuses on revitalizing and expanding the volunteer program as well as expanding and strengthening community partnerships. Kimberly plays a role in DEAI efforts as part of the museum’s DEAI taskforce and serves as union representative to the board of directors.

Kimberly’s work is focused on equity of access and inclusion and aims to achieve this by creating meaningful, authentic, long-lasting and reciprocal partnerships with the community.

 She is a dedicated, visionary leader, committed to creating innovative and meaningful learning opportunities that connect visitors, inspires open dialogue, and fosters a space where the community feels welcome, safe, seen, and heard.


DEI Panelist Bios

Dr. Fanuel Muindi, PhD  

Fanuel Muindi is a scholar and social entrepreneur with previous completed research and leadership projects at Morehouse College (undergrad), Stanford University (grad student), MIT (postdoc), and Harvard University (grad program assistant director) over the last 15+ years. He is also the founder/chief resident of SAi, an experimental non-profit incubator that is making it easier for the new founders to experiment, explore and ultimately build impactful and sustainable programs that connect people to science around the world. His lab at SAi focuses on (1) analyzing trends and needs to develop new ideas and strategies that will enable the growth of informal STEM learning (ISL) initiatives around the world and (2) engineering new tools and programs to support innovative exposure, training, career development and education of a diverse ISL workforce and broader publics. Fanuel and 998 other Black scientists were recently highlighted in a blog post titled “1000 Inspiring Black Scientists in America” on Cell Mentor, a career development resource hosted by Cell Press. Fanuel is originally from Tanzania and likes walking, playing chess, and is an avid google maps reviewer/photographer. He is a fan of black and white photographs and is the curator of the Reflections book series.

Twitter: @fanuelmuindi & @MuindiLab

Leland Graber, PhD Candidate

Leland Graber is a third year PhD candidate in Entomology at Cornell University. His current research focuses on the evolution of diet in ants that harvest seeds. He has more than eight years of research experience, and has worked with a diverse group of invertebrate systems that include honeybees, springtails, and malaria mosquitoes. Outside of his research work, he is very involved with diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts; he serves as the vice-president of the Cornell Affiliate group of Project Biodiversify, and has facilitated or co-facilitated four workshops focusing on accurate and inclusive teaching of biological concepts. He is a National Science Foundation Graduate Research fellow, is a former post-baccalaureate fellow at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and has received research awards through the Cornell Department of Entomology and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell. Leland is originally from rural South Dakota, maybe wants to be a professor at a liberal arts college, and loves Ariana Grande’s entire discography.

Dr. Sean Eversley Bradwell, PhD

Dr. Sean Eversley Bradwell is an assistant professor in the Department of Education.   Dr. Bradwell also serves as a faculty associate for Ithaca’s Martin Luther King Scholars Program and has research and teaching interests in educational policy and social change. Dr. Bradwell, an alumnus of Amsterdam High School (NY); received a B.A. in political science from the University of Rochester; an M.S. in education from Rochester’s Margaret Warner Graduate School of Education and Human Development, and a Ph.D. in policy analysis and management from Cornell University. Throughout his career, Dr. Bradwell has worked in for-profit education, public schools, and higher education. In addition to his active research agenda and speaking schedule, Dr. Bradwell is also an active community member.  He has been appointed to serve as a Tompkins County Heritage Ambassador and he was recently elected to serve his fifth (5th) consecutive term on the Ithaca City School District Board of Education where he also serves as the Board’s Vice President. 

Spouse, parent, grandparent, sneaker collector, and part-time provocateur, Dr. Bradwell is committed to working towards more meaningful learning and teaching.

Alyssa Paparella Headshot

Alyssa Paparella


Alyssa Paparella is currently a second year PhD student in the Cancer and Cell Biology Program at Baylor College of Medicine. In 2019, Alyssa graduated from Sarah Lawrence College before pursuing a NIH PREP program at UC Davis. Alyssa is currently a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program recipient. 

Besides pursuing STEM, Alyssa has been actively involved in disability advocacy. In 2020, Alyssa created the DisabledInSTEM platform, which is hosted across a website, Twitter, and Instagram in order to raise more awareness and create community. Through this platform, Alyssa has also created a mentorship program, which is launching its second year, and has partnered with Disabled In Higher Education to run a Non-STEM mentorship program in its inaugural year. Alyssa also is an Executive Team Member for Disabled in Higher Education. Additionally, Alyssa serves on DisabilityIN’s Advisory Council. Alyssa also is an Executive Team Member for Disabled in Higher Education. Within her own institution, Alyssa serves on the Inclusion and Excellence Council. 

Through her work, Alyssa aims to continue conversations regarding accessibility. Thus far, Alyssa’s impact has ranged from presenting at individual institutions, such as being an invited keynote speaker for Yale University’s Science Communication week, to conferences, such as ReclaimingSTEM and The Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS), and to the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy. Alyssa strives to make STEM more inclusive for all throughout her career. 



Funding Sci Comm Panelists

Dr. Kelly Singel, PhD

Kelly Singel, PhD, (she/her) is a Health Science Policy Analyst at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). She works to capture, communicate, and enhance the value of NIH research through stewardship activities including strategic planning, evaluation, and reporting. Her portfolio focuses on implementing mandates specific to the NIH in the 21st Century Cures Act of 2016 and the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2018. In this role, Dr. Singel prioritizes communicating the impact of NIH research on science, health, and society to NIH’s stakeholders, the American people.

Dr. Singel received her PhD in Microbiology and Immunology, with a focus in Tumor Immunology, from the University at Buffalo and Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience and Anthropology from the University of Pittsburgh. To facilitate her transition from academia to government, Dr. Singel was a Christine Mirzayan Science & Technology Policy Graduate Fellow at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in 2018, and a AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow at the NIH from 2019-2020.

In her personal capacity, Dr. Singel serves as the co-Director of Programming and Professional Development for the DC Society of Health Policy Young Professionals, and has become an avid birder during the pandemic!

Twitter @kellylsingel




Dr. Haley Dunleavy, PhD

Haley Dunleavy is the Communications and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Manager at Toolik Field Station, a scientific research site in Arctic Alaska operated by the University of Alaska Fairbanks. She holds a PhD in Biology and a graduate certificate in Science Communication from Northern Arizona University, where she studied the responses of tundra plants and their fungal partners, known as mycorrhizas, to a warming Arctic. Previously, Haley was a 2021 AAAS Ralph W.F. Hardy Mass Media Fellow and served as an Outreach Fellow with NAU’s McAllister Program for Community, Culture, and the Environment. Her bylines include Inside Climate News, The Xylom, the US Long-Term Ecological Research Network News, and the radio show Earth Notes. Haley currently lives in Anchorage, Alaska.

Twitter: @hrdunleavy