Alison is pursuing her PhD in Microbiology and is studying bacterial adaptation, evolution, and ecology with Prof. Martin Polz in Course 1. Originally from Los Angeles, Alison began her writing career in high school when she wrote a column for her high school newspaper called ”Study Break,” which won an award from the LA Times in 2004. Alison attended Rice University in Houston, Texas, where she learned lab techniques and how to read scientific papers as she completed her B.S. in Biochemistry and Cell Biology. As an undergraduate, Alison received a Wagner Fellowship to study abroad for a year in England at the University of Oxford, and she hopes to return there soon to read Jane Austen in the heathery meadows. When she isn’t spreading her love of good writing at the BE Writing Lab, she’s GRT-ing at Random Hall, jogging along Memorial Dr., or floundering – though she refers to it as ‘swimming’ – at the pool. Some of Alison’s recent writing can be found in The Tech and The Graduate.
Diana is a Ph.D student in the Microbiology program and a member of Martin Polz’s lab, where she studies how microbes interact with one another in the wild. She TA’d for 7.493: Microbial Genetics and Evolution in the fall of 2011, and is currently an officer for the Sidney-Pacific graduate residence. Diana’s undergraduate education was at Princeton University, where she majored in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology and minored in French and Creative Writing. Her senior collection of poetry and short fiction (some of which inevitably had to do with biology) received the Francis LeMoyne Page Creative Writing Award. Diana is particularly interested in the intersection between science and poetry and enjoys painting, swimming, reading, and supporting use of the Oxford comma.
Christina Birch graduated from the University of Arizona with a B.S. in Biochemistry & Molecular Biophysics and Mathematics in 2008. She is now a fifth year graduate student and NSF Fellow working on RNA aptamer technologies in Professor Niles’ malaria lab. Christina has been a teaching assistant for several science courses, including Vector Calculus (as an undergraduate) and the MIT Biological Engineering laboratory (20.109). Christina learned to love writing and composition while studying abroad in Argentina. She continues her scientific writing journey as a mentor for UROPs during the graduate fellowship application process and now as a BE Writing Fellow. When not in the lab, Christina is often found riding or racing bicycles.
Jen is a third year B.E. graduate student in Doug Lauffenburger’s lab (B.E.), working collaboratively with Ernest Fraenkel (B.E.) and Mike Hemann (Biology) on network approaches for functional genomic screens in cancer. Originally from Virginia, Jen attended the University of Virginia where she earned her B.S. in Biomedical Engineering. It was at UVa that Jen gained an appreciation for effective writing and communication while participating in a science and technology policy internship program. Within the department, Jen has TA’d for 20.320 (fall 2011), and currently acts as a student representative to the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee and serves as Community Outreach and Development co-chair on the B.E.Graduate Student Board. When she’s not in lab, she may be at McCormick Hall, where she lives as a GRT, riding with the cycling team, playing board games, or testing out new recipes.
Tony Kulesa is a third year graduate student in Biological Engineering. A New Jersey native, he studied Biomedical Engineering, Mathematics, and Chinese at Rutgers University before landing at MIT. Tony has long had a passion for teaching, which he has explored through tutoring a diverse array of subjects and hosting data analysis and presentation workshops for the Rutgers Department of Biomedical Engineering. Tony also spent a summer in China as a Rutgers Li Fang-Kuei Scholar, where he cultivated an interest in modern and classical Chinese literature. When not in the lab, Tony can be found reading books he can’t understand, practicing languages he can’t speak, or searching Amazon for things he can’t afford.
John is a fourth year Biological Engineering PhD candidate in Angela Belcher’s laboratory, where he studies protein engineering and de novo enzymology. He is active with campus entrepreneurship and currently serves as the biotechnology editor for the MIT Entrepreneurial Review. He was a TA for 20.109, Laboratory Fundamentals of Biological Engineering, in the fall of 2010. John grew up in Mandeville, LA and studied Biological Engineering at Louisiana State University, focusing on genetic engineering, RNA interference, and college football. Easily distractible, he also earned a minor in Chinese and has spent time studying in China and England.