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Group Members

New Brunswick Group


Emily Atieh

Title: President, SPAR – RU New Brunswick
Area of Study: Computational Biophysical Chemistry; Chemistry Education
Awards/Organizations: GAANN Fellow ’15-’18; Vice President – Marketing, Orientations, and Communications of the Rutgers Graduate Student Association; AAAS CASE Award; Van Dyke Award for Excellence in Research; Coordinator of the Teaching Internship in Chemistry Program

About:  I am a 4th-year chemistry Ph.D. Candidate in the Rutgers University School of Graduate Studies in New Brunswick, NJ. I currently work in a computational chemistry lab that works with proteins and ribozymes, but my main focus is in Chemistry Education Research (CER). I run two programs – the Certificate in Chemistry Education and the Teaching Internship in Chemistry. I have taught seven different courses, including two that I created. My focus is on peer instructor pedagogy training and the effects of being a teacher on those peer instructors. I was selected to attend the AAAS’s Catalyzing Advocacy in Science and Engineering (CASE) workshop in April 2017, which really *catalyzed* my interest in science policy. My goal is to find ways to integrate what I know about science, education, and policy and serve as a liaison between policymakers and the community. In my spare time, I enjoy hiking, swimming, taking pictures, and traveling around the world. I am also a huge animal lover, and currently have 3 cats and a hedgehog – all rescues!

Johnny Quispe

Title: Treasurer, SPAR – RU New Brunswick
Area of Study: Ecology and Evolution
Awards/Organizations:  UCAR Public Policy Fellow ’18-’20; Rutgers University Coastal Climate Risk and Resilience Fellow ’17-‘19; Science Explorer Fellow ‘18; New Leaders Council Fellow ’18; student co-chair for the Atlantic Estuarine Research Federation’ 17-18; Vice President of the Ecology Graduate Student Association; Vice President for External Affairs of the Rutgers Graduate Student Association; Ecological Society of America’s Katherine S. McCarter Graduate Student Policy Award ’18; Eagleton’s Institute of Politics Graduate Fellow ‘17

About: My research focuses on the effects of sea level rise on coastal ecosystems and how we can better use coastal ecosystems, such as tidal marshes, to protect our communities from coastal flooding. I bring an Interdisciplinary approach that integrates social, economic, engineering, and natural systems to make coastal communities resilient to natural disasters and climate change. I am in SPAR because I believe that it is important for members of the scientific community seek experience and employment in policy settings. On my spare time I enjoy reading, eating new foods, and traveling!

Amin Khalili

Title: Outreach/Engagement Coordinator, SPAR – RU New Brunswick
Area of Study: Biomedical Engineering
Awards/Organizations: Eagleton Policy Fellow, Class of 2019

About: I am a second‐year Ph.D. student in the biomedical engineering department of the School of Graduate Studies at Rutgers‐New Brunswick. My current research focuses on tissue engineering with the aim to proliferate and differentiate patients’ own stem cells into functional skeletal muscle cells. Since current methods of treatment for skeletal muscle injuries have some serious drawbacks, my current research is aimed at potentially creating a personalized treatment that uses patients’ own stem cells to regenerate their skeletal muscle in vitro after injury or illness, which is crucial for patients that suffer from volumetric skeletal muscle tissue
loss to gain back mobility, such as soldiers with battle wounds. I hope to bridge the worlds of science, politics, and policymaking. I believe there is an inherent inter‐dependence that makes both science and politics thrive when they are in synergy with one another. As such, when I immigrated to the United States, I became a poll worker for the Bergen County Board of Elections. Having had the privileged opportunity to be at the forefront of the democratic process for several elections, I was able to meet many elected officials, all of whom further encouraged me to bridge the gap between science and politics. This motivation from government officials allowed me to cultivate my professional goals of mutual cooperation between science and politics.

Newark Group

Brian Canter

Title: President, SPAR – RU Newark Health Sciences
Area of Study: Radiation Biology and Biomedical Engineering
Awards/Organizations:  New Jersey Commission on Cancer Pre-doctoral Fellow; Scholars’ in Training Committee for the Radiation Research Society

About me: I work in an NIH funded lab examining how a bone seeking radionuclide can treat breast cancer that has spread to bone. Besides my passion for scientific research, I’ve long been interested in policy and politics. I attended the 2018 American Association for the Advancement of Science’s Catalyzing Advocacy in Science and Engineering workshop. There I learned how the federal government sponsors scientific research and met with several legislative staff members of the NJ congressional delegation. Since that workshop I’ve worked hard to educate my university, Rutgers, and my professional society, the Radiation Research Society, about how government policies affect research. Crucially, I see SPAR as an important link at Rutgers in fostering communication among scientists and between scientists and non-scientists.

Caitlyn Moore

Title: Outreach/Engagement Coordinator, SPAR – RU Newark Health Sciences
Area of Study: Stem Cell and Cancer Biology
Awards/Organizations: President, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School Student Stem Cell Education Society; New Jersey Commission on Cancer Research Pre-Doctoral Fellowship; Gallo Award for Outstanding Cancer Research; Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Presidential Fellowship

About: I am a 4th year PhD candidate using 3D bioprinting to study communication between metastatic breast cancer cells and cells in the bone marrow. This communication can be used as a target to make breast cancer cells more susceptible to chemotherapy treatments. Outside the lab, I work with Students 2 Science, BioBus, the New York Academy of Sciences, and the Rutgers New Jersey Medical School Student Stem Cell Education Society to improve science literacy across NY/NJ. I joined SPAR to promote awareness and understanding of science policy; not only for the public, but for fellow scientists. Other than science, I also really enjoy traveling, the great outdoors, cooking (but mostly eating), and playing with everyone’s dogs!