One of our Educational Coordinators, Daniel Kao!

 Photo Credit:  t iffany phan

Photo Credit: tiffany phan

Benyam Alemu, SENDforC Inc. Chief Operating Officer: Program Director and Lead Instructor -- Hard Sciences Track Mentor

Second year Biochemistry & Cell Biology undergraduate student from the University of California, San Diego. Confident and energetic undergraduate medical researcher and educator. Mentors a variety of projects on campus and in the community.

Open to collaborations. Has his fingerprints over all the SENDforC projects locally and globally. Not afraid to fail, action-oriented leadership. Enjoys playing basketball and reading in his spare time. Usually soft-spoken and observant but motivational speaker with high expectations and will challenge others rigorously.

Hometown: Downey, CA

Career Goal: Pursuing Doctorate of Medicine as future Physician-Executive

“I want to use research as the engine to reinvent science education, youth leadership and social entrepreneurship.”

Research Interests: Pharmacokinetics, Drug Discovery and Materials Science Engineering. Also independently exploring Nanobiotechnology, Digital Health and Computational Chemistry for future projects.

Affliation: UCSD School of Medicine PCC Division FISP Student Fellowship

Leadership and Honors: UCSD Freshman Honors Program, NSF Innovation Corps, various Department of Education Studies programs and awards, co-founded 501(c)3 educational and charitable nonprofit organization JumpStart Medical Education, mentors other UCSD student groups, founder of SENDforC's student education/research groups

SENDforC Projects: Project Aether, StRIVE and Homeostatus


Email to contact or request mentorship:

 photo credit: tiffany phan

photo credit: tiffany phan

Gavin Shih, SENDforC San Diego Hard Sciences Track Lead

Fourth year student pursuing joint Bachelors and Masters of Science degrees under department honors thesis program. Extremely thorough educational and hands-on chemistry background including graduate school courses and seminars as an undergraduate. Pursuing a contiguous BS in Biochemistry and Cell Biology and MS in Biology - Specialization in Quantitative Biology.

Hometown: Bakersfield, CA, USA

Career Goal: Currently deciding between academic researcher and primary care physician.

Research interests: Molecular basis of aging, tumor microenvironments.

Affiliation: Han Research Group, Divison of Biological Sciences: Microbiology and Program of Bioinformatics and Systems Biology

Leadership and Honors: EducationCorps Co-President, Wushu Martial Arts President, Students for Integrative Medicine Research Committee, Founder and CEO of the Bootcamp tutoring service

Email to contact or request mentorship:

 photo Credit: chancellor scholar ceremony

photo Credit: chancellor scholar ceremony

Richard Miller, SENDforC San Diego Engineering Track Lead

Second year NanoEngineering student from UC San Diego, thoughtful and collaborative key cog in engineering collaborations and the creation of SENDforC. Thorough mentorship background.

“Studying NanoEngineering to make slow computers a thing of the past”  

Career Goal: Pursuing doctorate in NanoEngineering / Materials Science and Engineering

Hometown: Riverside, CA

Research interests: Nanotechnology, nanoelectronics, material properties, nanomedicine, embedded nanosystems

SENDforC Projects: Project Aether, NETS

Leadership and Honors: IDEA Scholar, UC San Diego Chancellor’s Scholar, NSF Innovation Corps Team Member, UCSD Frontiers of Innovation Scholars Fellowship, Co-founder and President of Delta Pepon Delta


Email to contact or request mentorship:

 photo Credit:  t iffany phan

photo Credit: tiffany phan

Suhas Arehalli, SENDforC San Diego Computer Science Track Lead

An ambitious and motivated second year passionate about learning as much as possible, and spreading that knowledge to as many people as possible. Always willing to learn new things and is passionate about finding connections between seemingly disparate fields of study. Genuinely excited about finding new challenges to take on. Loves puns, especially bad ones and is never afraid to laugh at himself. Personal interests include music! Out of practice trumpet player seeking practice time in a busy schedule.

Currently studying double major in Computer Science and Mathematics, but doing research in psycholinguistics, and has found a new passion for unveiling the mysteries of human communication.

“Always the beautiful answer who asks a more beautiful question” - e e cummings

Career Goal:

Education: BS Mathematics, BS Computer Science, will pursue PhD in Computer Science, Mathematics or Linguistics

My future profession is professor - the perfect combination of teaching and research.

Hometown: Twentynine Palms, California

My research interests include, but are not limited to: Cryptography, Machine Learning, Natural Language Processing, Computational Linguistics, Theoretical and Computational Pragmatics, Theoretical Computer Science, Programming Languages and nearly anything you find interesting after a conversation.

Affiliation: UCSD Computational Psycholinguistics Lab:

SENDforC Projects: gISMO

Leadership and Honors: Regents Scholar, NSA Codebreaker Challenge 2015 - Top 50 finisher, Project Team Member on UCSD ESW’s Bottles to Models -- which plans to build a system to recycle milk jugs into 3D printing filament, NASA Conrad Summit Delegate

CV: or

Email to contact or request mentorship:

 photo credit: tiffany phan

photo credit: tiffany phan

Ali Zamat, Hard Scinces Track Mentor

Second year Bioenginnering: Biotechnology major. Will pursue a doctorate in engineering and a masters in business.

“Just jump. It doesn’t matter if you know how to swim or not -- at least you’re in the water ”

Hometown: San Diego, CA.

Leadership and Honors: Formerly research assistant at IBM Brazil, UCSD Men's Lacrosse Team, former high school Basketball captain, UCSD Provost's Honors and always looking for an excuse to snowboard.

SENDforC Projects: Project Aether


Email to contact or request mentorship:  

 photo credit: tiffany phan

photo credit: tiffany phan

Neiman Liu, SENDforC San Diego Director of Finance -- Hard Sciences Track Mentor

Second year Physiology and Neuroscience major who will pursue a Doctorate of Medicine. Hard working and ambitious undergraduate looking to discover new topics in medicine. Eager to learn and willing to put a creative spin on new projects. Driven leader in SENDforC and has been a vital member in the organization. Wants to save lives, change the world and become a better human being. Enjoys water polo and reading.

“Take advice, take some time, take a breath, take the future, and give your all!”

Hometown: San Jose, CA

Research interests: Pulmonary Care, Biomedical Engineering, Pharmacology, Neurobiology, Imaging Devices

SENDforC Projects: Project Aether

Leadership and Honors: President of Health Corps at UCSD, UCSD Honors Program


Email to contact or request mentorship:

 photo credit: tiffany phan

photo credit: tiffany phan

Alexandria Ongjoco, SENDforC Inc. Operations: Grants Coordinator

Second year pursuing an undergraduate degree in Physiology and Neuroscience. Planning to pursue a Doctorate of Medicine to become a future Emergency Medicine Physician. Planning to continue medical/clinical research upon the neurobiology of drug addiction in order to improve future rehabilitation.

Hometown: Santa Clarita, CA

Research Interests: Neurobiology Research on Drug Abuse, Immunology, Clinical Research on Neurodegenerative Diseases, Nerve and Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation, Public Health, and Biomedical Engineering

SENDforC Projects: sTRIVE

Leadership and Honors: APAMA Scholar, Co-Founded First Asian Pacific American Health Disparity Conference, Neurobiology of Addictive Disorders Research Assistant, UC San Diego Emergency Medicine Medical Scribe, and Former Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation Physical Therapy Aide


Email to contact or request mentorship:

 photo credit: tiffany phan

photo credit: tiffany phan

Michele Tom, Hard Sciences Track Mentor

First year pursuing an undergraduate degree in Physiology and Neuroscience. Intends to pursue a Doctorate of Medicine or Doctorate of Philosophy; she is still deciding between the two.

"If you give up today, think of all the lives you won't save tomorrow."

Hometown: Mountain View, California — where Google HQ is!

Research Interests: Neuroplasticity and rehabilitation, Biomedical engineering, Prostheses, Clinical Research on colorectal and brain cancers, Neurodegenerative diseases — Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, Stem cells

Leadership and Honors: von-Liebig Entrepreneurship Center NSF I-Corps grantee — Carcino (Biomarker monitoring startup), Advanced Placement Scholar

Activities: Medical Educational Missions & Outreach Health Fair Vendors Committee // in high school I was involved in American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life, bringing the Stand Up To Cancer non-profit to my high school as a chapter, and Future Business Leaders of America.

Email to contact or request mentorship:

 from nasa kennedy center delegation

from nasa kennedy center delegation

Joseph Wong, Engineering Track Mentor

Career Goal: Pursuing Master’s Degree in Chemical Engineering with a focus on micro/nanoelectronic

Hometown: San Mateo, CA

Research Interests: Interested in nanotechnology, specifically micro/nanoelectronics. Considering either industry or academia after graduate school, depending on where I can best contribute my skillset to the advancement of technology.

SENDforC Projects: Co-Captain of Triton Space Scientists (TriSS), qualified finalist of Conrad Challenge in Aerospace & Aviation and Giant Leap to Mars categories. 

Leadership and Honors: Engineers for a Sustainable World: Lotus Project Biofiltration Researcher, ChemE Car: Thermoelectric Generator team member, Lion Dance Team.


Email to contact or request mentorship:

Josh Ruby, SENDforC San Diego Director of Research -- Engineering Track Mentor

Second year pursuing undergraduate dual degrees in physics and mechanical engineering—planning to enroll in a graduate program for physics.

Hometown: La Crescenta, CA

Research interests: Condensed matter physics, astrophysics, mechanical and aerospace engineering applications

Affiliation: Undergraduate researcher with the Shpyrko group (condensed matter / materials physics), formerly NASA and CalTech aersopace intern

SENDforC Projects: Project Aether (formerly)

Leadership and Honors: Provost’s Academic Achievement Award, NSF Innovation Corps (as an Aether team member), UCSD Frontiers of Innovation Scholars Fellowship: Enriching Human Life and Society (as an Aether team member), Triton Rocket Club, registered private pilot   


Email to contact or request mentorship:

 photo credit: tiffany phan

photo credit: tiffany phan

Hiroto Kakitani, Technology Assistant -- Computer Science Track Mentor

A highly motivated individual with a sarcastic and crude sense of humor. Is always on the lookout for new things to learn, and constantly partakes in independent learning outside of regular classes. Usually quite reserved, but able to be outgoing when the situation calls for it. Is open to intellectual challenges, and will take something away from it even when it ends in failure. Enjoys drumming, listening to music, and watching bad movies. First year student.

“Early bird gets the worm, but second mouse gets the cheese.”

Career Goal: Pursuing an undergraduate degree in computer science. Intending to pursue a career in software engineering or artificial intelligence development.

Hometown: Born in Uji, Japan, grew up in Chula Vista, California.

Research Interests: Artificial intelligence development, Cloud development.

Honors: Biliteracy Award


Email to contact or request mentorship:

Keenan Correa, Hard Sciences Track Mentor

Career Goal: First year pursuing an undergraduate degree in Bioengineering: Biotechnology. Intend to pursue a PhD in Bioengineering: Biotechnology to engage in research on synthetic biology and genetic engineering. Goal: Make a momentous impact in the field of bacterial engineering and its implications in GI microbiomes/protein engineering in field of drug target creation.

“I want people to see their own power” Ai Wei Wei

Hometown: New York

Research Interests: Research on protein folding mechanisms and better ways to predict bonding behavior of proteins - vital for drug target creation/protein engineering. Research on genetic engineering and the manipulation of phages and bacteria to benefit human health - hope to contribute towards microbiome project.

Former research experience and courses: George Washington University -- Biotechnology, Brown University -- DNA Biotechnology, Steven's Institute of Technology -- Kinematics/gaming

Leadership and Honors: von-Liebig Entrepreneurship Center NSF I-Corps grantee - Carcino (Biomarker monitoring startup), Revelle Hall Association Community Representative, former fencing assistant coach

Interests: Music geek- Jazz, blues, classical, rock. Guitar and drum player. Avidly read research articles as a pastime. Very passionate about aeronautics and space exploration- follow NASA publishings everyday and read on theoretical physics when I have the time

Email to contact or request mentorship: