Our Team

To contact us, please email CUNO-admin@columbia.edu

Rebecca Vaadia
President

Rebecca is a PhD student in the Neurobiology and Behavior program at Columbia. She has been CUNO president since 2016. Her main roles as President are to secure funding, organize executive board meetings, recruit volunteers, and oversee CUNO’s programming and curriculum development. She has volunteered for many of CUNO’s programs, including the Brain Bee, Brain Fairs, Multi-visit program, and single classroom visits.



Melina Tsitsiklis
VP, Multi-visit classroom teaching

Melina is a PhD student in the Neurobiology & Behavior program at Columbia. She is Vice President of the multi-visit classroom teaching program, which is a hands-on after school neuroscience class that we teach once a week for a semester in various middle schools in our community. In addition to coordinating the multi-visit program, she has also taught the program multiple times and volunteered for other CUNO events such as the Brain Fair.



Laura Long
VP, Late Night Science

Laura is a PhD student in the Neurobiology & Behavior program at Columbia. She is Vice President of Late Night Science, a seminar series that invites the public to tour labs and hear lectures about current research at Columbia. She has also volunteered for the Brain Bee, Saturday Science, and other brain fairs.



Ali Kaufman
VP, Late Night Science

Ali is a PhD student in the Neurobiology & Behavior program at Columbia. She is Vice President of Late Night Science, a seminar series that invites the public to tour labs and hear lectures about current research at Columbia. She has volunteered for many of CUNO’s programs, including the multi-visit program, single classroom visit program, and brain fairs. She also helps organize Brain Awareness Week with braiNY, and has volunteered at the World Science Festival as well as at Brain Awareness Week.



Georgia Pierce
VP, Single-Visit Classroom Teaching

Georgia, a Neurobiology & Behavior PhD student, has been the vice president of the single-visit classroom teaching program since 2014. She coordinates visits to New York City schools in which CUNO’s volunteers teach a neuroscience lesson to students ranging from kindergarten to 12th grade. In addition to coordinating and sometimes teaching for the single-visit program, Georgia has also volunteered for several of CUNO’s brain fairs and for similar events with braiNY, the Greater NYC Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience. Georgia also manages CUNO’s internal volunteer mailing list.



Leslie Sibener
VP, Curriculum

Leslie is a PhD student in the Neurobiology and Behavior program at Columbia. She is Vice President of Curriculum for CUNO. In that role Leslie helps create new curriculum for CUNO’s various outreach programs (Saturday Science, In-School Visits), and maintain CUNO’s database of curriculum. Leslie has volunteered for Saturday Science, the Brain Bee, and Brain Fairs.



Kelly Martyniuk
VP, Brain Bee

Kelly is a PhD student in the Neurobiology & Behavior program at Columbia. She is Vice President of the regional Brain Bee competition that brings together high school students from all 5 boroughs of NYC to showcase their knowledge of brain facts. Kelly helps organize the event and coordinates study sessions taught by graduate students at Columbia to help prepare the participants for the competition. Kelly also volunteers at Saturday Science and has taught single-visit classroom visits to high school students in NYC.



Katherine (Katie) Shakman
VP, Brain Bank Manager

Katie is a PhD student in Neurobiology and Behavior, focusing on the neural underpinnings of olfactory learning in fruit flies. She has been involved in outreach at Columbia since 2011, and joined the leadership of CUNO in 2012 as secretary. She served as Co-VP of Brain Bee in 2014 and 2015, and now assists with resource management. Her favorite outreach activity is the “Vision-Shift Goggles” (a.k.a. “The Bean Bag Toss”).



Jennifer Scribner
VP, Saturday Science

Jennifer is PhD student in the Neurobiology & Behavior program at Columbia. As Vice President of Saturday Science, she coordinates monthly events relating to brain science for families and community groups. A different theme is featured each month, and the program is hosted in collaboration with the Zuckerman Institute and BioBus. In addition to managing volunteers and developing activities for Saturday Science, Jennifer has also volunteered for similar brain fair events with braiNY, the Greater NYC Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience. Her favorite outreach activity is the Jelly Bean Taste Test.



Elena Carazo
VP, Spanish Speaking Events

Elena is a PhD student in the Biological Sciences department at Columbia, studying how antidepressants modulate neuronal activity in the brain. As a native spanish speaker, she joined CUNO with the hope of bringing neuroscience to the spanish speaking community in NYC. She has collaborated with the Spanish Scientists in the US association (ECUSA), as well as with the Education Chapter of the Spanish embassy in New York to organize neuroscience workshops in spanish at different bilingual schools across NYC. She has also started the seminar series Ciencia en Español, the spanish version of CUNO’s own Late Night Science.



Sean Bittner
VP, Saturday Science

Sean is a PhD student in the Neurobiology & Behavior program at Columbia studying how lots of neurons work together to cause movement. As a VP of Saturday Science, Sean helps coordinate these educational events by organizing graduate student volunteer involvement and facilitating theme-specific activities on a monthly basis. Sean has designed a couple of interactive Saturday Science activities regarding the neural basis of movement and building your own neural circuits. Sean also maintains the website and educational resource database.