Erin Viere is a PhD student at Duke University studying photochemistry. She focuses on developing molecules that can absorb a wide range of light in order to study energy transport. A graduate of Villanova University and born in Charlottesville, VA, Erin loves basketball and all things hiking. She is passionate about diversifying science and revolutionizing the scientific research process to consider political and social impacts.
Becca Van Hoeck is a PhD Student in Biology at UNC Chapel Hill. She is broadly interested in the role of sound in the life history of marine fishes. Her current research monitors the sounds fish make when reproducing to study their behavior and assess their vulnerability to anthropogenic noise. She is excited to help organize this years workshop and inspire other graduate students to participate in science communication. When not thinking about marine soundscapes, or troubleshooting code, Becca spends her time exploring nature, reading fiction, and listening to lots of podcasts!
Bradley Allf is a PhD student at North Carolina State University studying conservation biology through the lens of citizen science. His research focuses on how personal experience can lead people to care more about conservation and to increased trust between scientists and the public. Bradley is an award-winning science communicator who has written for outlets like Discover and Scientific American. He is also an editor for In Layman’s Terms, a science-focused literary magazine. Bradley greatly enjoyed his experience as an attendee of both ComSciCon-Tri and the ComSciCon Flagship workshop and is excited to pay it forward by serving on the organizing committee for both events this year.
Chiung-Wei Huang is a Chemistry Ph.D. candidate at UNC Chapel Hill. Her research focuses on using high-resolution spectroscopy to look at chemical properties on a very short length scale in materials used for solar cells. Chiung-Wei is passionate about making science accessible and human. She has been writing for multiple media outlets and using multimedia for public engagement. She is also serving for Science Writing and Communication Club (SWAC) at UNC where she helps facilitate and promote science communication. Chiung-Wei had a great experience in attending ComSciCon-Tri and is excited to encourage other scientists’ passion for science communication.
Chrissy Crute is a PhD student at Duke University studying environmental health and toxicology. Her research focuses on how maternal exposure to environmental chemicals during pregnancy affects the development of placenta and fetus. She is interested in the intersection of laboratory science, public health, and policy, and is pursuing further training at the Duke Global Health Institute. Within this role, she manages an interdisciplinary team that studies how electronic-waste recycling in China affects maternal and child health. Chrissy is passionate about environmental justice and hopes to use her training in science communication and outreach to educate and empower communities who are at an elevated risk of poor health effects resulting from environmental pollution. She is an advocate for evidence-based policy change to protect vulnerable populations and improve public health.
Garrett McKeown Wessler is an engineering Ph.D. student at Duke University. His research focuses on developing new materials for the next generation of solar cells and LEDs, concentrating on those materials that can enable lighter, cheaper, and more efficient devices. Garrett is active in the GREENgineering sustainability effort in Duke’s Pratt School and leads a mentoring program for undergraduate engineering students. Through science communication and outreach efforts, Garrett hopes to broaden the scientific community and increase the public’s science literacy and access to the scientific process.
Megan Damico is a PhD student at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) where she studies microbiology and microbial evolution. Her research uses honey bees as a model system to understand how different factors, like diet or genetics, influence what a gut microbiome community looks like. A graduate from Grand Valley State University in Allendale, MI, Megan is a passionate science communicator and an advocate for community engagement through activism. If you don’t find Megan in the lab, you can always find her in a Greensboro park bird watching, beekeeping at her field sites, or at a coffee shop reading the politics section in a newspaper. Megan hopes to pursue a career in science policy and communication to help bridge the gap between science, policy makers, and community members.
Meredith Schmehl is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Neurobiology at Duke University, where she studies how the monkey brain integrates vision and hearing. Outside of the lab, she is active in several science communication projects involving writing, policy, outreach, and multimedia. She has written for Scientific American and Massive Science, was an associate editor for the Duke Science Review, and is a member of the NPR Scicommers program. She also writes for the Duke SciPol.org Writers Studio and is a member of the Communications Committee of the National Science Policy Network. She organizes outreach events for the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences and has participated in outreach with groups such as Nu Rho Psi, the Research Triangle chapter of Graduate Women in Science, the Duke Science Olympiad, and the North Carolina Science and Engineering Fair. Finally, she is the editor and producer of the Gastronauts Podcast based at Duke University. Meredith is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University, where she studied Neuroscience and Cognitive Psychology.
Natalie Tanke is a PhD student in the Cell Biology and Physiology Department at UNC-Chapel Hill. Her research focuses on understanding how the cell cycle regulates angiogenesis, the formation of new vasculature from preexisitng vasculature. This is a highly collaborative project where she is co-mentored by a cell cycle and vascular biology lab. Outside of the lab Natalie enjoys participating in Science in the Stacks (SITS), an organization that helps teach science lessons to local elementary school kids. Natalie greatly enjoyed participating in ComSciCon-Triangle last year and is eager for an exciting workshop in 2020.