Organizing Committee

ComSciCon-Triangle 2017 Organizing Committee

Kayleigh O’Keeffe is co-chair of the ComSciCon-Triangle 2017 Organizing Committee and a Ph.D. student in the Evolution, Ecology and Organismal Biology program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her work looks at the how the microbes that live in and around plants affect disease-causing pathogens. This work lets her spend some days in the field, other days in the lab, and still other in the greenhouse. She is a science ambassador at the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center, has written for the Genetics Society of America, and loves all things science education and communication.


Christina Lebonville is co-chair of the ComSciCon-Triangle 2017 Organizing Committee and a Ph.D. student in the Psychology & Neuroscience department at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her work looks at the intersection of opiates, learning and memory, and the immune system within the brain – basically how our immune system can be “trained” from past experience. She is chair of the Triangle Society for Neuroscience Outreach Committee, has hosted a geeky podcast, done a bunch of museum events, and loves teaching undergraduates. In her sparse spare time, you can find her hiking/backpacking, watching movies, playing video games, and reading incredibly nerdy and geeky books.

Reggie Bain is a PhD student in Theoretical Physics at Duke University. His research focuses on Quantum Chromodynamics...the physics of the tiny particles that make up protons and neutrons called “quarks.” Reggie enjoys teaching physics, especially the wacky workings of the quantum world to any audience willing to listen. His favorite particles are the stop squark and wino and in his free time he enjoys friends, sports, and popular science. As an undergraduate he co-founded Carolina Science Outreach, an ongoing student organization that has delivered fun and interactive science talks to thousands of K-12 students across South Carolina. Reggie was a ComSciCon 2014 attendee and has been an organizer for the ComSciCon-Triangle and national ComSciCon workshops since 2015


Kelsey Boes is both a graphic designer and a polymer scientist. More than just making scientific progress, she aspires to share the progress with other scientists and the greater public through strong, convincing, graphics-based communication. She is passionate about sharing science in visual forms that overcome language and education boundaries in order to facilitate greater collaboration and understanding.


Christina Marvin is a fourth year PhD candidate in Chemistry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She received her B.S. in chemistry and biology in 2013 from King’s College in Wilkes-Barre, PA. For her thesis research, Christina is studying cell mediated delivery of photoresponsive therapeutics. Her goal is to improve the safety of common drugs by using localized delivery to curb side effects. A passionate advocate of science communication, Christina is president of the UNC Science Writing and Communication club (SWAC) and writes for multiple science blogs on campus, including SWAC’s blog, The Pipettepen. She develops, assembles, and presents her own interactive science demonstrations to promote informal science education. As a Morehead Science Communication Ambassador, she frequently volunteers with the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center, as well as with other outreach organizations such as Science in the Stacks (SITS). While not working or teaching, Christina likes to run, travel, cook, and read as many books from the public library as humanly possible.


Molly A. Matty is a 5th year graduate student in Genetics and Genomics at Duke University. She uses zebrafish as a model to study tuberculosis. When she's not in lab moving small, colorless liquids from one tube to another, Molly likes to run, travel, and eat ice cream.



Deirdre Sackett is a 4th year graduate student at UNC-Chapel Hill. She works under Dr. Regina Carelli in the Behavioral and Integrative Neuroscience Department. Deirdre researches the neurobiology of decision making, with a specific focus on the neural substrates of impulsive choice. In the rare moments that she’s not in lab, Deirdre can be found advocating for science communication. She is the current Vice President of UNC’s Science Writing and Communication (SWAC) club, and the Chief Editor of the club’s student-run science blog, The Pipettepen. Deirdre also serves as the Communications Chair of the Triangle Society for Neuroscience chapter. Outside of work, Deirdre enjoys going on long hikes, reading science fiction books, and cooking new recipes.



Michael Vella is a third year PhD student in Biomathematics at NC State University. His research involves using mathematical modeling to predict the efficacy of control measures that could limit impacts of vector-borne diseases. He also spends time studying the relationship between science, technology, and society as part of the Genetic Engineering and Society (GES) Center at NC State University. Michael enjoys exploring these topics in everyday interactions and as a volunteer at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.