BASIS Steering Committee

The BASIS Steering Committee is a group of seasoned BASIS volunteers in various science and engineering fields who help with departmental recruitment, outreach, and event coordination.


Erin Creel, Chemistry & BASIS Campus Coordinator

As a little girl, Erin always wanted to live in a castle and be a magical, pink princess named Sparkles Magic Girl. As she got older, she realized that the closest she could get to doing magic was doing science! Instead of ruling the world, she is now trying to save it by using pieces of gold that are so small that they turn pink to make fuels using energy they absorb from the sun.

Colin BurkeChemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Colin is a graduate student in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering where he studies new battery technologies for electric vehicles. He is very thankful of countless fantastic science teachers throughout his education and enjoys working with BASIS to give back to teachers.

Kristen CotnerBioengineering

As a PhD student in Bioengineering, Kristen makes little devices that can do experiments on cells. As a BASIS instructor, she loves to show kids that science is fascinating and lots of fun! Kristen also likes to use her science skills to perform experiments in the kitchen, which are sometimes successful and always tasty.

Stefanie GarciaElectrical Engineering & Computer Science

In elementary school Stefanie wanted to be a veterinarian, which led to her initial interest in science. Eventually, that love of biology evolved into a passion for interdisciplinary biology and medical physics projects. Stefanie is finishing her graduate program in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at UC Berkeley with a focus on radiation and semiconductor physics in silicon, and will be working part-time with CRS as she finishes her thesis. She is a Southern California native that enjoys surfing, skateboarding, hiking, amateur radio, and painting in her free time.

William HawleyEarth & Planetary Science

William studies earthquakes at UC Berkeley. His work is motivated both by a sense of wonder when gazing down from a mountaintop, and by a sense of impending doom whenever he takes BART to San Francisco. He likes to share the beauty and utility of science with kids who might not otherwise have the chance to encounter it.

Matthew HosekAstronomy

Matt is an PhD student in astronomy from the University of Hawaii who is finishing his degree in Berkeley. He was inspired to study astronomy at a young age by images of planets and galaxies from the Hubble Space Telescope, and now uses Hubble to study stars near the center of the Galaxy. He loves sharing his passion for science through teaching and outreach and is excited to be a part of the BASIS program. 

Benson JungMaterials Science & Engineering

When I was younger, I always like to take things apart as far as I could to "investigate". (Thanks mom and dad for letting me do this.) Now, as a Berkeley PhD student studying hybrid natural-synthetic materials used for delivering medicine to the brain, I m able to break down and examine things at a molecular level. I still take things apart, but I am a lot better at putting them back together now! 

Carolyn KieransPhysics

Carolyn is a PhD student in Astrophysics. She's always been fascinated about stars in the night sky and now she studies their highest energy signatures and explosions. Growing up, Carolyn wanted to be a teacher just like her mom, but her love for science has delayed that career. Teaching with BASIS gives her an outlet to partially realize her dream of working with and inspiring students.

Erika Lopez-Alfonzo, Molecular & Cell Biology

Erika is a young scientist from the beautiful island of Puerto Rico. She is now at Berkeley, where she studies proteins called molecular motors that have engines and need energy to work, just like cars do! Teaching with her BASIS team is always a wonderful experience for her because she gets to teach and share her love for science, and also learn tons from the students and teachers!

Jesyka MelendezIntegrative Biology

Animals have always fascinated me! What they do, how they do it, and why they do it, are questions I pondered even as a child.  Now, as a student of behavioral ecology, I get to live my life long dream of answering these fantastic questions while simultaneously gaining insight into the secret life of rodents!

(Left: Juvenile dusky-footed wood rat, Hastings natural history reservation)

Sara PophamNeuroscience

When Sara was younger, she wondered why she was so clumsy. In order to try and understand this, she started learning about the brain and motor system. Sara is still very clumsy as an adult, but now she does research on how the brain combines information from multiple sensory modalities.


Armbien SabilloMolecular & Cell Biology

Armbien grew up by the sea and loved observing sea creatures grow from gooey eggs to tiny hatchlings. Now, he is a graduate student at UC Berkeley studying embryo development. He loves to teach others about how a single cell can become an entire organism made up of lots of different cell types like bone, brain, and muscle! 

Tuesday Simmons, Plant & Microbial Biology

I am a graduate student in Plant & Microbial Biology studying how bacteria that live inside plant roots affect crops under drought stress. My interest in biology bloomed from a lifelong love of animals, which began in the hills of rural West Virginia. As a first generation college student who grew up in an unprivileged area of the country, one of my passions is sharing my love of science with kids who might not know any scientists.

Justin YimElectrical Engineering & Computer Science

In kindergarten, a tiny light-following car ignited Justin's interest in robots. Now as a PhD student in electrical engineering, Justin works on a small jumping robot named Salto. In his free time, Justin likes to read Wikipedia and share his excitement about science and technology. 

Professor Robert BergmanChemistry