2016-2017 Members

Executive Committee

2016-2017Execphotos_WenniePresident Wennie Wang

Wennie Wang is a 4th year Ph.D. student in the Materials Department at UCSB, working with the Van de Walle computational group. Her research interests include studying electronic, optical, and transport properties of complex oxides using first-principles calculations. She hopes to continue to help develop an inclusive culture for graduate students and post-docs in STEM on campus and be able to see greater collaboration with existing UCSB efforts. While not researching or thinking about GSDS, she enjoys cooking and eating foods from different cultures.

2016-2017Execphotos_EmreSpeaker Series Director Emre Discekici

Emre Discekici is a 3rd year Ph.D. student in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at UCSB. He is co-advised by Professors Craig J. Hawker and Javier Read de Alaniz working in the area of synthetic polymer chemistry. His main research interests involve implementing light as a means to enable new chemical transformations for synthetic polymer systems. In addition to research, he aims to reach out to departments across the UCSB community to help promote the importance of diversity and culture in both an undergraduate and graduate school setting. During his spare time, he enjoys traveling and spending time with friends.

2016-2017Execphotos_MenakaMarketing Director Menaka Wilhelm

Menaka Wilhelm is a 2nd year Ph.D. student in the Mechanical Engineering department at UCSB. As a member of Dr. Megan Valentine’s lab in experimental biomechanics, she studies toughness in soft materials, using the marine mussel as a model system. She is excited about using a variety of media/communication avenues to cultivate an accepting community of students in science and engineering fields at UCSB and form partnerships with other universities. In spare time, she conducts informal experiments in breadbaking, ceramics, and wildflower identification.

2016-2017Execphotos_DougOutreach Director Doug Fabini

Doug Fabini is a 3rd year Ph.D. student in the materials department at UCSB, working in the lab of Prof. Ram Seshadri. His research investigates the relationships between composition, crystal and electronic structure, and optoelectronic properties of halide perovskite semiconductors using experiments and computation. He is looking forward to expanding opportunities for undergraduate students to learn about graduate study and careers in STEM. Outside the lab, Doug enjoys cooking, hiking, climbing, and music from around the world.

2016-2017Execphotos_MeganProfessional Development Series Chair Megan Butala

Megan Butala is a 5th year PhD student in the Materials department at UCSB. She uses local structure methods to elucidate mechanistic trends in alternative battery materials from an inorganic materials chemistry perspective under the advisement of Prof. Ram Seshadri. While pursuing her BS in Materials Engineering at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Megan also belonged to the school’s dance company and then a local company. She has continued to perform concert modern dance during her PhD as a company member of local Nebula Dance Lab and with other efforts in Santa Barbara dance community.

Speaker Series

Advertising Chair Ben Luginbuhl

Reception Chair Ryan DeCrescent

Scheduling Chair Clayton Cozzan,

Gift Chair Manny Sanchez Zayas

Host (rotates)


Scheduling Chair David Cao

Professor Contact Molleigh Preefer

Student Contact Yvonne Diaz

Accommodations Anna Melker

Chaperones (rotates)

Survey Chairs Brian Cabinian

Reverse Site Visits Chair Michael Swift

Marketing Committee


Tarnuma Tabassum

David Cao

Nikita Butakov


Akchheta Karki

Tuan Nguyen

Jacob Barrett

Recruitment/Social Hour Chair

Mayela Aldaz