CCST Science Translators Showcase to Connect California Grad Students and Postdocs with Members, Staff

Science Translators Showcase

This CCST event will feature 16 graduate researchers and postdocs from UC, CSU campuses, LBNL, NASA Ames, and Caltech as part of CCST’s Science & Technology Week, on Wednesday, February 5th.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. | February 5, 2020

The California Council on Science and Technology (CCST) has invited 16 talented graduate students and postdoctoral researchers to the California State Capitol to practice a crucial skill: translating their research for decision makers in the Legislature and the Executive Branch.

The CCST Science Translators Showcase will take place on Wednesday, February 5th, from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. in the Governor’s Office Council Room. This event is open to legislative and executive offices, as well as members of the Capitol community. Details and RSVP can be found at

“As we know from our CCST Science Fellows program, there is great interest from graduate students in science policy and science communication,” says CCST Executive Director Amber Mace, PhD. “The Science Translators Showcase provides early-career scientists an excellent opportunity to present their research to a policy audience — and to highlight some of the relevant research being conducted in California.”

The presenters were recruited from CCST’s Partner Institutions and the finalists represent the University of California, California State University, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, NASA Ames Research Center, and Caltech campuses. Candidates were required to submit audition videos in which they had to explain the relevance of their research in less than 60 seconds; the 16 invited presenters then underwent training webinars and other exercises to prepare for the networking event.

The CCST showcase was organized in partnership with California State Assemblymember Jose Medina (D-Riverside), Chair of the Assembly Committee on Higher Education.

The Science Translators Showcase is one of many events during CCST’s 2020 Science & Technology Week at the California State Capitol, celebrating the role of science in service to state policy.

The 2020 CCST California Science Translators:

2020 CCST Science Translators Showcase

Amy Becker | PhD Candidate, UC Davis
Amy will explain how 3D imaging can be used to improve breast cancer screening.

Dayanni Bhagwandin | PhD Student, UC Los Angeles
Dayanni will explain how organic nanomaterials can improve the next generation of electronics.

Gabriela Bonilla | Master’s Student, CSU Fresno
Gabriela will explain how optimization of farmland use could promote groundwater recharge.

Karina Brocco French | PhD Student, UC Irvine
Karina will explain how toxins affect the health of California’s coasts and ports.

Stephen Cutie | PhD Candidate, UC San Francisco
Stephen will explain how some animals regenerate their hearts, and what that could mean for humans.

Yang Ha | Postdoctoral Researcher, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Yang will explain the impact of different ingredients on battery performance.

Jason John | PhD Candidate, UC Santa Cruz
Jason will explain how to measure the energy use of wild marine mammals.

Sara Johnson | Master’s Student, CSU Los Angeles
Sara will explain how to use remote sensing to study the impact of climate change on precipitation.

Weimeng (Stephanie) Kong | PhD Candidate, California Institute of Technology
Weimeng will explain how atmospheric particles form, grow, and impact air quality.

Fadji Maina | Postdoctoral Researcher, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Fadji will explain the impacts of climate extremes and wildfires on water resources.

Alex Mazhari | PhD Candidate, NASA Ames Research Center & UC Santa Cruz
Alex will explain how robots can be used to automate engineering processes.

Melissa Naugle | Master’s Student, CSU Monterey Bay
Melissa will explain the effects of pollution on coral reefs.

William Ota | PhD Student, UC Riverside
William will explain how wastewater discharges are affecting native species in urban rivers.

Meghana Pagadala | MD/PhD Student, UC San Diego
Meghana will explain how genetic information affects the immune system’s detection of cancer.

Samantha Werth | PhD Candidate, UC Davis
Samantha will explain the impacts of ground beef compared to meat alternatives.

Krista West | PhD Student, San Diego State University & UC Santa Barbara
Krista will explain how to determine a community’s wildfire risk using remote sensing.


About the California Council on Science and Technology
CCST is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization established via the California State Legislature in 1988. We engage leading experts in science and technology to advise State policymakers — ensuring that California policy is strengthened and informed by scientific knowledge, research, and innovation. Discover how CCST makes California’s policies stronger with science at

About the 2020 CCST Science & Technology Week
Celebrate science at your service! From February 3rd through 6th, CCST will host a series of Capitol community events showcasing how science helps inform policies impacting California’s economy, society, and environment. CCST was created by California state leaders to advise California state leaders — come learn what we can do for you. See event details and RSVP at

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