Session 4: 3:00PM to 4:15PM, choose one to attend

Workshop: Improving Your Presentation Skills #2
Panel: Science Writing and Editing (STEM)
Panel: The Media and Entertainment Industry)
Panel: Research in Industry (Humanities & Social Sciences)

Back to Thursday Sessions

Workshop: Improving your Presentation Skills #2

This interactive workshop will focus on techniques to help participants communicate clearly, confidently, and persuasively. Participants will explore techniques for identifying ineffective behavior, neutralizing stage fright, selecting persuasive language, using voice, eye contact, and gestures appropriately and effectively as well as the artful use of notes and slides. The workshop will provide a safe, constructive atmosphere to maximize participation. Space limit: 25 attendees, first-serve-first-come basis.
Lura Dolas
Senior Acting Instructor, UC Berkeley - MA, Theater Education
Lura Dolas is the senior acting instructor in UC Berkeley’s Department of Theater, Dance, & Performance Studies. In addition to her work as an actor and acting teacher, she has more than thirty years of experience using modified theater techniques to help individuals from the academic, business, arts and legal sectors communicate their visions clearly, confidently and persuasively. She has worked with organizations such as Google and Kaiser Permanente, and has conducted workshops for Haas Business School, Continuing Education for the Bar, UC Berkeley’s Office of Media Relations as well as many private firms and corporations.

Return to top

Panel: Science Writing & Editing

Interested in investigating and narrating science for the general public, or for some narrower audience? Editing/publishing articles in the press? Discover diverse science or non-science careers opportunities for STEM PhDs: writers and editors may work for newspapers, mass-market magazines or science journals, trade publications, broadcast media, or press offices, among many other venues!
Thomas McBride
Senior Editor, PLOS Medicine at Public Library of Science - PhD in Neuroscience
Tom McBride is currently a Senior Editor at PLOS Medicine. He received his PhD in Neuroscience from UC Davis, where he studied the structural changes to neurons that underlie learning. That led to a postdoc at the Buck Institute, where he investigated similar processes in reverse during neurodegeneration in mouse models of Alzheimer’s disease. His broad interests in science and passion for science communication led him to his current job at PLOS where he oversees the peer review process for research manuscripts in a broad range of medical topics and runs the blog Speaking of Medicine (
Meenakshi Prabhune
Science Journalist and Writer, Freelance - PhD in Biophysics
Meenakshi Prabhune is a freelance science writer and journalist, passionate about the dissemination of science. A biologist at the core, Meenakshi is adept at communicating interdisciplinary topics, specifically in the fields of biophysics, genetics, biochemistry, molecular biology, and microbiology. She has written for various publications, including Natureblogs, Science Careers, Biotechniques, and Science News for Students. She also simplifies research articles for a general audience via informal articles on her blog. You can find Meenakshi’s selected publications in her portfolio.
Karen Ring
Website and Social Media Manager at the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine - PhD in Biomedical Sciences
Karen Ring is the website and social media manager for the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) and writes about stem cell research for the CIRM Stem Cellar Blog. Karen received a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences from the University of California San Francisco in 2012, and did a two year postdoc at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging on Huntington's disease. While at the Buck, she founded the Science of Aging blog (SAGE) with a group of postdocs and scientists to promote ongoing research at the institute to the larger scientific community. You can learn more about Karen and her experience as a science communicator and blogger on her website
Adam Becker
Author and Astrophysicist, Freelance - PhD in Physics
Adam Becker is a science writer whose first book, What is Real? The Unfinished Quest for the Meaning of Quantum Physics, will be published March 20th by Basic Books. He has written for the BBC and New Scientist; he also recorded an animated video series with the BBC and several podcasts with the Story Collider. Adam was awarded an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Book Grant in 2016 to support his work on What is Real?. He earned a PhD in astrophysics from the University of Michigan in 2012 and a BA in philosophy and physics from Cornell in 2006. He is currently a visiting scholar at UC Berkeley's Office for History of Science and Technology. He lives in Oakland, CA.
Rachel Bernstein
Editor, Science Careers at AAAS, PhD in Chemistry
Rachel Bernstein is the editor of Science Careers, a publication of Science magazine and AAAS, where she oversees coverage of various aspects of scientific training and workforce issues. Prior to that, she was a staff reporter for Science Careers; a freelance writer and editor working on journalistic, educational, and promotional content; and an associate editor at PLOS ONE. She earned her B.A. in biochemistry with a minor in English from University of Pennsylvania and her Ph.D. in chemistry from U.C. Berkeley, where she was also a writer, editor, and editor-in-chief for the Berkeley Science Review.
Jyoti Madhusoodanan
Freelance Science Journalist – Ph.D. in Microbiology
Jyoti Madhusoodanan is a freelance science journalist based in San Jose. She covers life sciences and biotechnology for Nature, Science, Discover magazine and other outlets. She holds a PhD in microbiology and is a graduate of the UC Santa Cruz Science Communication program.

Return to top

Panel: The Media and Entertainment Industry

Passionate about movies, music, or media? Come to the media and entertainment industry panel to see how PhDs have used their skills to work in areas such as gaming, filmmaking, and podcasting.
Katie Galloway
Filmmaker / Investigative Reporter / Campaign Strategist at Big Pictures & Curious Matters - PhD in Political Psychology
Katie Galloway is a documentary director, producer and writer whose films explore the intersections of institutional power, civil & human rights, and political activism. BETTER THIS WORLD (POV, 2011 & 2012) tells the story of two young men from Midland Texas charged with domestic terrorism and their relationship with a radical mentor and undercover FBI informant. The film won the WGA’s Best Documentary Screenplay Award, Best Documentary at the Gotham Independent Film Awards and an International Documentary Association Creative Recognition Award and is currently being developed as a narrative feature. Galloway’s feature documentary PRISON TOWN, USA (POV, 2007) broadcast nationally on POV/PBS and was developed as a fiction television series by IFC, for which she co-wrote the first three episodes. Galloway produced and reported an award-winning trio of films on the American criminal justice system for PBS FRONTLINE: SNITCH, REQUIEM FOR FRANK LEE SMITH, and THE CASE FOR INNOCENCE. A two-time Sundance Fellow and recent HBO/Film Independent Documentary Fellow, Galloway taught documentary production at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and now teaches in Media Studies at U.C. Berkeley, where she was also recently the filmmaker in residence at the Journalism School’s Investigative Reporting Program. She holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from UC Berkeley with an emphasis on Political Psychology and Public Law.
Patrick Wyman
History Podcaster and Writer - PhD in History
Patrick Wyman is a history podcaster and writer in Los Angeles. He is the creator and host of Tides of History (in partnership with Wondery) and previously Fall of Rome, which have been downloaded more than 5.5 million times in the last 18 months. His podcasts combine academic research with storytelling from the perspective of real and composite characters to package cutting-edge history in a format accessible to general audiences. On the side, he writes about history and mixed martial arts for Deadspin, and formerly covered MMA for the Washington Post and Bleacher Report. He holds a PhD in History from the University of Southern California.
Pedro Cano
Co-Founder of BlindDog communication, Editor at IGN entertainment - PhD in Biomedicine
Pedro Cano is CEO and co-founder of BlindDog Communications, a Public Relations and Marketing agency focused on video game developers in San Francisco. Because of his passion for video games he is also editor and US Correspondent for IGN Spain. Nowadays, video games are a multi-billion dollar industry with thousands of companies developing and publishing games. That means gamers/players are living in a gold era. However, on the other side, we are witnessing a highly competitive market for developers. The latter is the situation where Pedro feels comfortable working on. He and his team help these creators to make their games stand out from the rest. Contrary to what you might be thinking, Pedro was a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Neurology at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). Pedro and his research about neurotransmitter transporters won the Parkinson's Disease Foundation Award. Previous to his American adventure, he obtained his B.Sc. degree in Chemistry at the University of Granada and a Summa Cum Laude Ph.D. in Biomedicine from the University of Barcelona in 2008. His research during the Ph.D. training period was focused on the role of the high-affinity nucleoside transporter hCNT1 on antiviral and antitumoral therapy supported by a Spanish Ministry of Science and Technology Grant. Now, he has become a fine-tune strategic thinker capable of controlling winks in the small details, nuances, timing, tenderness or non-strictly verbal parts of communication that set the tone and make it more effective. How? Because of polishing his scientific background and the skills acquired such as observation, analysis, deduction, detail-oriented, communicability, teamwork, discussion of ideas, managing multiple projects simultaneously, objectivity, and creation of reports. Pedro is also the proud father of Maia and Thiago, and enjoys playing soccer and hiking in his free time.
Tim Lee
Comedian, PhD in Ecology and Evolution - PhD in Medical Anthropology
Tim wasn't supposed to be a comedian. A biologist by training, he graduated magna cum laude from UC San Diego with honors in biology. He went on to complete his PhD at UC Davis. He spent years developing simulation and analytical models of population dynamics before he discovered that this bored him to tears. When he tried comedy for the first time the tears stopped. Tim can be seen on How Do They Do It on Science Channel
Samah Gad
Software Developer Manager at Amazon Music - PhD in Data Mining/Machine Learning
Samah is in the digital music industry working at Amazon Music as a Software Development Manager. She is building the next generation Amazon Music catalog platform while focusing on globalization and automated quality measures. Before Amazon, she was the Chief Technology Officer at Transpose. She built the engineering team and took the company from an idea on paper to launching across major platforms in 169 countries. In 2014, she got her Ph.D. in Computer Science from Virginia Tech. During her Ph.D. she worked on NSF (National Science Foundation), NEH (National Endowment for the Humanities), and IARBA funded projects focused on Data Mining. During this time she published more than seven research papers in IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers), ACM (Association of Computing Professionals), and Elsevier Journals and Conferences
Diane Tober
Founder of Moonchaser Productions - PhD in Medical Anthropology
Diane Tober is a medical anthropologist and documentary filmmaker. She is also an Assistant Adjunct Professor at University of California, San Francisco Institute for Health and Aging. Her forthcoming book, Romancing the Sperm: Shifting Biopolitics and the Making of Modern Families (Rutgers 2018) explores the intersections between the sperm-banking industry, the women who select donors for their future children, and men’s experiences as sperm donors. She has been conducting research with egg donors since 2013. Her documentary film, The Perfect Donor, is an investigative look at the high-demand market for human eggs, and what happens to the women who provide them, and is currently in post-production. Her research has been funded by the Social Science Research Council, the National Science Foundation, and UCSF. She has written for Undark, Psychology Today, and Rewire, and has appeared in Huffington Post, Nature, The Atlantic, and Die Welt, among others. She has also appeared on BBC, public radio, and a range of news and media outlets.

Return to top

Panel: Research in Industry (HSS)

Love social science research, but not sure what it looks like in industry? In the humanities and curious about how your skills can open up opportunities in industry? This panel is focused specifically on humanities and social science PhDs who are working in research at corporations, nonprofit, etc.
Sytske Besemer
Criminal Justice Researcher / Data Scientist, Uber - PhD in Criminology
Sytske is a social scientist (developmental criminologist and psychologist) with a strong background in quantitative methods and a passion for education. She has a PhD in Criminology from the University of Cambridge (UK) and did her postdoctoral research at UC Berkeley. Since early 2017 she works as a criminological researcher (data scientist) at Uber conducting social science research to make Uber as safe as possible and to support Uber's criminal justice reform efforts ( Outside of work she loves being outdoors (rock climbing, skiing, snow shoeing) and spending time with her 2-year old.
Beth Devine
Project Manager, AnswerLab - PhD in Organizational Behavior
Beth manages user experience (UX) research projects for Fortune 500 clients representing a variety of industries, including e-commerce, retail, financial and social media. With a background in organizational psychology, she has a decade of experience in academic research and theory. Beth is also skilled in qualitative and quantitative research methods and data analysis.
Laith Ulaby
UX Research Manager, Uber - PhD in Ethnomusicology
Laith Ulaby completed his PhD from UCLA in ethnomusicology (ethnographic study of music and popular culture). The focus of his research was on the use of technology and folk culture in creating national identity in the Arab Persian Gulf. After graduating he completed a Mellon Foundation Post-doctoral Fellowship with the Convergence Center for Policy Resolution. More recently Laith has worked in the field of User Experience research at AnswerLab, Google, Shyp, and Uber. He has given guest lectures for the US Department of State Foreign Service Institute and over fifteen universities. Laith has also taught at UCLA, the Georgetown School of Foreign Service, University of Redlands, and the UC Berkeley Extension.
Kyle Johnson
Principal Research Scientist, Accenture - PhD in Classics
I work and lead teams, at Accenture, in the automation of labor, at the intersection of natural language processing (NLP), machine learning, and software development. My experience ranges from R&D to startups to Big 4 consulting. My current research revolves around the Classical Language Toolkit (CLTK), open source software bringing state–of–the–art NLP to the under–resourced languages of Ancient, Classical, and Medieval Eurasia. While in graduate school, I published on comic book theory, Homer, and Etruscan pharmacology; and wrote a network-theoretical study of Julius Caesar's organization and leadership of the Roman army. My formal education was in Classics (BA, Reed College; PhD, NYU).
Alison Marlin
UX Researcher at Lyft - PhD in Anthropology/Science and Technology Studies
Alison Marlin is a User Experience Researcher at Lyft, where she helps product teams better understand users. She completed a PhD in Anthropology/Science and Technology Studies from the University of Melbourne, which focused on how families use technology to connect and communicate. She has been a research intern at Microsoft Research, a visiting researcher at UC Davis and a research assistant at Ruhr-Universität Bochum.

Return to top