Howdy! I’m a mechanical engineer from Houston, Texas and moved up to Utah to work as a manufacturing engineer for Stryker Neurovascular in Salt Lake City. In college at Texas A&M University, I was a student-athlete for the women’s swim team and a member of the Zachry Leadership Program. I’m extremely passionate about using engineering and providing necessary resources to help serve people both globally and locally.
I am a sophomore at West High School who thoroughly enjoys participating in STEM extracurriculars such as robotics club, science fair, HOSA, and SheTech. Prominently, I’ve participated in robotics for four years, and I am a software captain of two teams. One of which is an all-girls team because I believe in the recruitment of more girls into engineering fields because I strongly support minimizing the gender gap in male-dominated STEM fields. As a software captain and team member, I participate in outreach in which I advocate for STEM specifically computer science and robotics. I also work at CodeNinjas where I teach kids the basics of game and app development. HOSA is another activity I have participated in for numerous years competing in public health where I work with a group to present global health issues to the community in a concise and effective presentation. Through these extracurriculars, I aspire to provide my community with knowledge of STEM and how it has global impacts. I am extremely excited to be a STEM Ambassador so that I can contribute to the STEM Action effort.
My name is Casidee and I am an Environmental and Sustainability Studies Major at the University of Utah. I’m focusing on air and water quality as well as implications for human health.
Clifton Taylor is currently the STEM and PE Specialist at Amelia Earhart Elementary School in Provo, UT. I love working with the youth and teachers to show them how STEM relates to almost everything that we do! I am currently an EMT, going to school to get my paramedic certification. After that I will become a licensed nurse. I love the medical field and learning about how the body works and recovers from injuries and illnesses. Our bodies are amazing things that we are constantly learning about! I have a goal of becoming a flight medic or nurse and on the side working with youth and teachers. I love teaching and helping others – every goal I set can be related to one of these two things. I am excited to work with the STEM Action Center to help introduce people to the amazing world of STEM.
Donghwi (Danny) was born in South Korea but grew up in Provo, Utah. He is currently earning his Ph.D. in cell biology at the University of Utah. His love of biomedical science started when he first learned about the Eustachian tube and an important role it plays in the auditory system. During his undergraduate degree in biology, he fell in love with scientific research in cell biology and decided to pursue a Ph.D. in it to do more research and gain more understanding of how biological systems work. After his graduation, he plans to continue to do his research in biology and inspire other students to join the effort.
Daphne Liu is a Junior at West High School in Salt Lake City. She has been heavily involved in high school STEM activities such as Science Fair and competition math. Besides her STEM interests, Daphne strives to minimize the gender gap in computing. She founded the Girls Who Code club at her school in hopes to provide a sisterhood community and help expose girls to computer science. As the president of West’s Science Fair Club, she actively advocates and mentors her peers to succeed at the University of Utah Science & Engineering Fair. Daphne has been selected as 1 of 40 national winners of the 2019 National Center for Women & Information Technology Aspirations in Computing Award because of her scientific research achievements and leadership potential. Daphne is very excited to be allowed to build a bridge between science and society as a STEM Ambassador.
Emily Hyer is a first-generation undergraduate student at Utah Valley University majoring in Biology. She grew up in Louisiana and California and spent most of her time outside climbing trees. She has spent time in South Africa at a wildlife rehabilitation center and sanctuary while teaching orphaned children about the wildlife they live around. She worked at Hogle Zoo in the Education Department and gained experience in helping her community understand topics such as climate change, ocean acidification, and sustainable lifestyles. She is a National Science Foundation S-STEM scholar at UVU where she carries out research under the guidance of a faculty mentor. She loves all things biology, and her favorite subjects within biology are ecology, animal behavior, parasitology, genetics, ornithology, and vertebrate and invertebrate zoology. She also likes chemistry and will receive a minor in chemistry. Her passion for biology is something she loves to talk about and share with others to help them get excited about science too. Her future goals are to attend grad school and to eventually be a teacher herself.
Gary Zhan was born in Tucson, Arizona. He moved to Logan, Utah in 2008 and is now a sophomore at Logan High School. Gary is passionate about STEM. He has been conducting scientific research since the sixth grade and actively participates in local, national and international science fairs. He was selected as one of the top thirty finalists in the nation and won the Second Place Technology Award and Scott A. McGregor Leadership Award at the 2018 Broadcom MASTERS (Math, Applied Science, Technology and Engineering as Rising Stars) national competition hosted by the Society for Science & the Public in Washington, DC. In 2019, Gary was also selected as a finalist to attend the International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in Phoenix, AZ, where he received a special award for his work on discovering new plant growth-promoting soil bacteria. Besides STEM activities, Gary enjoys various sports such as basketball, tennis, swimming and skiing. Gary is excited to become a Utah STEM ambassador and promote STEM education and activities in Utah.
Grace is a student at Corner Canyon High School where she is a member of the Dance Company and was selected by faculty and students to be a member of the HOPE Squad (students who are trained to watch for at-risk peers, provide friendships, and seek help from adults when needed). As Miss Draper’s Outstanding Teen in 2018 and in the time since she has been actively promoting her advocacy platform titled: Bright Futures Begin With STEM. In conjunction with her responsibilities as Miss Draper’s Outstanding Teen, she has been instrumental in her advocacy for STEM education, particularly with young girls. She is striving to raise awareness about the importance of getting girls interested in STEM-related topics at a young age and the career options that are available in these important fields. Grace presents helpful information and resources at many community events to promote this platform. She has also worked with the Engineering teacher and students at a local Elementary school to build fascination and excitement about STEM.
In addition to the community outreach Grace has been involved in, she has created an Instagram account called Bright Futures Begin With STEM. She utilizes this site and her Facebook account as a resource to motivate the younger generation to learn more about STEM and see how it connects to real jobs.
This is Grace’s second year serving as an Ambassador for the Utah STEM Action Center and she was a recipient of the CenturyLink and NBA STEM Excellence Award in 2019. Not only is Grace an advocate of STEM, but she also meets a high standard of excellence in these subject areas. Grace is a 4.0 student and excels in her STEM classes. She is fluent in speaking, reading and writing Chinese. Grace has become a role model for her peers and the younger generation about what is possible when you find your passion and are determined to follow your dreams.
Grace’s long-term vision is to become a Biomedical Engineer, specializing in prosthetics. Her interest in this field and in STEM began as a middle school student when a Biomedical Engineer who works on artificial hearts, gave a presentation in her Math class. This sparked a passion in Grace that she hopes will occur with other young people if given the opportunity to see the exciting career paths that STEM education can lead to.
Jean is a student at West High School. She loves pursuing STEM fields and sharing her passions with her community. She has competed in numerous math competitions and is a member of Mission Math, a local non-profit organization devoted to inspiring a love for STEM, especially maths, in elementary and middle schoolers. Jean has also been a part of West High School’s Science Olympiad team since 8th grade, placing in the top 5 every year at the state competition. She is particularly interested in machine learning and her astronomy event in Science Olympiad and is planning to begin studying applications of machine learning to astrophysics this year. She is excited to start contributing further to the STEM community!
My name is Joseph Furniss, I am 20 years old, half Puerto Rican, and a student at Utah Valley University. I am a National Science Foundation S-STEM Scholar majoring in Biology and minoring in Mandarin Chinese and Spanish. After finishing my Bachelor’s Degree I am hoping to go to medical school. I am not sure about what specialty I want to go into yet, but I know that I want to serve underserved populations here in the United States and around the world. I love interacting with people of all backgrounds and am excited about all the opportunities science has to offer, both to unite people and move humankind forward.
Layne Wells works with the Cardiovascular Genetics team at Primary Children’s Hospital as a Genetic Counseling Assistant. She recently completed her undergraduate work at Scripps College in Claremont, CA, where she studied Neuroscience with added interdisciplinary studies in linguistics, genetics, and Chicanx-Latinx Studies. Before graduation, Layne worked and studied in many places around the world, including several regions of the United States, Chile, and the Netherlands. She has served as an international medical shadow and translator, photo correspondent, lab instructor, and Expecting Health intern at a non-profit organization. She is a certified Emergency Medical Technician and trained advocate in working with survivors of sexual violence, harassment, and stalking. Now an official Utahn, she volunteers with the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition as a trained LINKline advocate. A nominated member of Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Honor Society, Layne serves as a mentor and poster judge for young students with an interest in science. She is passionate about promoting equity in science and creating STEM materials that are engaging, empowering, and accessible. As an aspiring genetic counselor, Layne is excited to be a part of a field enriched by bioethics and cultural competence in healthcare. While serving as a STEM Ambassador, she plans to highlight Utah’s rich history of human genetics and promote both awareness and appreciation of diverse STEM careers to young scientists.
Maria Zaitsev is a junior at West High School. Sophomore year, Maria Zaitsev and fellow STEM ambassador Daphne Liu introduced Girls Who Code to their school, running the club throughout the school year. Additionally, she holds a leadership position in her local HOSA chapter. Her greatest accomplishment was placing first at the 2019 International HOSA Conference in Researched Persuasive Writing and Speaking and top ten in the Health Care Issues Exam, after placing first in both events at the State level. Her love for research in science led her to spend the summer volunteering at the Cardiovascular Research and Training Institute at the University of Utah, doing cDNA extraction and running qPCRs for a project. She hopes to continue working there during her school year.
At school, Maria is enrolled in both AP and IB classes. She chose to take higher-level IB Maths and Biology for her next two years of high school, after trying all the base sciences at her school. She is most excited about pushing her limits and learning new things in her higher level Math class, the hardest class available at her school. Along with pursuing STEM, Maria strives to be a well-rounded student by playing Varsity Tennis in all of her three years at West, being a tennis captain, and participating in Varsity Oratory in her debate club. Maria is inspired by all the other STEM ambassadors and will do her best helping the STEM action center by their side.
Mariyam has been professionally in IT for 8+years with a role as Database Engineer and Cloud Engineer and Security/ Audit Lead. I believe in fixing issues when it comes to my attention as I see a solution in every problem. I’ve got a “never give up ” attitude. I am not afraid of failures or rejections may it be in professional or personal as in my eyes failure or rejections lead to success. I believe in “Can do” terminology with the help of my peers to make sure the team reaches its goals on or before the time I bring in a positive attitude in both my personal and professional life. I am also socially active with the Utah Refugee.org community, where I’ve provided classes through GirlsWhoCode project to girls from ages 14 -18. Where I teach them on coding and inventing games. I am also a Speaker at GirlsWhoCode where I’ve provided my sessions on “empowerment ” with 40+ girls in 5 different locations. I’ve been part of this Utah refugee club since 2017 to present. I’ve 2 beautiful siblings (brother and sister), my parents to which I am blessed, they’re everything to me as they’re my motivation. I like to be humble all the time and be appreciative of what I’ve. I am a great motivator, I like to help in any way I can if someone asked me to help them My favorite quote is: “Then which of the favors of your Lord will you deny?”
I’m a sophomore at Timpview High School. I love science and technology, particularly the natural sciences, and I hope to become a microbiologist or environmental scientist sometime in the future. I want to learn as much about STEM as possible while I’m still in high school, largely because it is so interesting, but also because I think that it will be through STEM fields that we will be able to solve current problems such as climate change and sustainable development. I participate in several STEM clubs at my high school (Science Bowl, Stem Club, Math club) and am currently taking advanced math and science courses. I am also a member of the Cross Country and Track teams at Timpview as well as a member of the school’s Dance Crew. In my free time, I love to hike, paint, bake, spend time outside, and play the piano.
Miranda Jones is an undergraduate student at the University of Utah studying for her Bachelor of Science in Psychology with Honors. Her area of personal research is in Cultural Psychology, specifically factors impacting the health of indigenous peoples in the United States of America. Miranda volunteers at the Utah AIDS Foundation, Utah Pride Center, and Edible Campus Gardens. It is important to Miranda that her volunteer work is rooted in organizations that strive toward equality in healthcare, education, and food security. Miranda loves spending time at home with her two dogs, reading non-fiction literature, and watching the news.
Narine Ishhanov was born in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan. She comes from an Armenian heritage. At the age of ten, Narine immigrated with her family to the United States of America in 2004. Narine’s dream is to become a dentist just like her great grandfather. She was always so inspired by her great grandfather’s selfless generosity to his community. He was not allowed to help and serve the people of the Soviet Union. He still found the courage and strength to help. He was the ultimate humanitarian.
As a young student, Narine struggled with Chemistry. In fact, she never took the course until college for the first time. It wasn’t until Narine took Organic Chemistry 1 when she absolutely fell in love with the subject. Narine now aims to make those around her realize the idea that no matter how hard a subject field may be. It is important to never give up! She prides herself on the idea that if you dedicate yourself and remain consistent you will end up falling in love and gaining a passion for the subject matter.
Narine was recently crowned Miss Utah USA 2018. She will be representing the state of Utah at the Miss USA competition, which will be nationally televised on Fox. As an Ambassador for the STEM Action Center, her goal is to inspire kids, especially immigrant girls, to pursue an education and career in the STEM field. Narine is determined to complete her goal by becoming a dentist in the future. She is grateful for the opportunities she’s had with pursuing an education in the science field. She encourages everyone, especially young girls to understand the importance of a career in STEM. She finds the STEM field to be stimulating, fulfilling, and provides its students with a great amount of stability. She seeks to emphasize how important STEM careers are for our future! Narine will be graduating this upcoming Spring of 2018 with a B.S. in Psychology and a minor in Chemistry. Narine is currently a CEO of a national transportation services trucking company, KTI Transportation INC. Ever since she was a young girl she was highly intrigued and fascinated by art. In her free time, she loves to create new forms of art through painting.
Rebecca McGregor is a senior at Wasatch High School in Heber City. She is involved in the CAPS (Center for Advanced Professional Studies) where she is a member of the CAPS student leadership team. With CAPS Rebecca is part of a field project surveying micro invertebrates on the middle Provo River. During the summer she helped build her high school’s aquaponics greenhouse. Rebecca has always loved science. She would like to earn a Ph.D. in Marine Biology and study migration patterns of Arctic Animals. She is excited to be a STEM Ambassador and help encourage more kids along the Wasatch Back to get involved in STEM.
Tarun Martheswaran is a junior in high school at the Waterford School in Sandy. He has always had a passion for STEM and participates in several activities related to the subjects. Currently, he is the CEO of an organization called Mission Math that raises funds for STEM organizations in Utah. He loves doing research and competing in math competitions. He has qualified for the AIME on several occasions, and recently took a trip to the International Science and Engineering Fair(ISEF). In his free time, Tarun loves spreading STEM in his state and often teaches math concepts to younger students. Working with the STEM Action Center is very rewarding for him, as it allows him to see a similar passion for science and math, among others.
Taylor Fang is a senior at Logan High School. She’s the co-founder of Allgirlithm (allgirlithm.org), a community and resource for girls in tech, reaching over 16 countries and thousands of views every month. She was inspired to start Allgirlithm after attending the Stanford AI4ALL summer camp during her freshman year. Additionally, this past summer, she had the opportunity to spend four weeks at Apple global headquarters in Cupertino, California, working in teams to design an engineering project.
Taylor is also the founder and director of GET: Girls Explore Tech. GET, a seven-week series of afterschool workshops for middle school girls in Logan, was the recipient of an inaugural Community Impact Grant from AI4ALL. GET has been running for two years and reached nearly 60 girls. Taylor has also partnered with Junior Achievement of Utah and the Girl Scouts to independently direct two summer camps for girls and coding, totaling 14 hours and reaching 74 students. Her main goal through workshops is to ignite curiosity, provide a basis for future involvement, and connect computers to real-world stories.
Besides STEM, Taylor also loves creative writing and outdoors activities. She’s excited to help spread tech and STEM to more girls in Utah communities as a Utah STEM Ambassador.
Tyler Ball is attending the University of Utah as a second-year Chemistry major with biological and professional emphases and a minor in Physics. She is currently working in the chemistry department as a Teaching Assistant and as a member of the Sigman research group studying organometallics. After earning her undergraduate degree, Tyler intends to attend graduate school and earn her Ph.D. environmental and/or organic chemistry. She tries to involve herself in volunteering as often as possible, focusing on events that pertain to education and the well-being of children.
Tyler grew up without much exposure to science—she didn’t discover her passion for STEM until high school. Due to her late introduction to STEM, Tyler hopes to nurture a passion for science and engineering in young students living in the state of Utah. Scientific communication is incredibly important in shaping an educated and involved community. Discussing with educators how they can relate these subjects to students in an interesting and exciting way is just the first step in the cultivation of such a community.