Biodiversity Center Students

Current Students

kristigadalla

Kristi Gadalla

2013 – present

Student Assistant

University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California

Kristi is a junior studying biomedical engineering. Since childhood she has loved fishing and catching small crabs with her bare hands. To date she considers eating an entire Freebirds super monster burrito in one sitting to be her greatest accomplishment. While eating obscene amounts of food is currently her most treasured talent, running obscene distances is a close second.

tristanjordan

Tristan Jordan

2013 – present

Student Assistant

University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California

Tristan is a freshman majoring in Biochemistry and plans to minor in Economics. Since he was young, he has been passionate about the study of nature and life. One of his goals is to pursue biological research that contributes to medicine. In his spare time, he enjoys playing piano and drawing manga.

kelsey

Kelsey Bailey

2012 – present

Student Assistant

University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California

Kelsey is majoring in Political Science and minoring in Photography. She used to fear worms, but after her first day curating Polychaetes (marine worms), she is slowly getting used to them (after all they are no longer alive). She is fond of antiquated forms of photography, voluminous clouds, eclectic music, coffee, butterflies and being sassy.

jennifer

Jennifer Shen

2012 – present

Student Assistant

University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California

Jennifer is a first-year Masters student studying Environmental Engineering. As an undergrad at the University of California Berkeley, she studied Environmental Science and Economics. She enjoys exploring zoos and museums, especially ones with dinosaurs because they are both interesting and exciting.

maria

Maria Peltekova

2011 – present

Student Assistant

University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California

Maria is an English major who is happy to have an excuse for wandering over to the Museum everyday. If she were a fruit, she would be a strawberry; if she were an animal, she would be a cat; if she were a day, she would be Monday; and if she were a specimen in a marine bio lab, she would be an Uca mjoebergi, though she wouldn't mind being a Eubranchipus holmanii.

jean

Jean Pongsai

2011 – present

Student Assistant

University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California

Jean is a freshman majoring in Fine Arts. She plans to pursue fashion design in the future. Her special talent is squirrel calling, and yes, they do run over to her. Whenever she is bored, she likes to watch scary movies. Her favorite food is curry, so please buy her some.


Student Alumni

giovani

Giovani Zelada

2012

Student Assistant

University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California

Giovani is a Sophomore majoring in Human Biology and considering a minor in Theatre. He is passionate about helping his community which is motivating his studies and leading him on the path to becoming a physician. His favorite part about working in the MBC is the fabulous variety of marine animals — seeing so many different invertebrates!

silke

Silke Ann Mariz Mariano

2011 – 2012

Student Assistant

University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California

Silke Ann is a sophomore majoring in Biophysics and hopefully minoring in Astronomy. She loves stargazing (not happening in LA), travelling, reading, anime and pandas(!). Whenever she has time, she watches Asian romantic comedy dramas and plays badminton or tennis. She is nocturnal. She has been in close proximity with the ocean all her life, having lived in the Philippines up to the age of 13 and Hawaii until she was 18.

rollin

Rollin Baker

2011 – 2012

Student Assistant

University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California

Rollin is a freshman majoring in Electrical Engineering and with minors in math and physics. He is from East Lansing, Michigan and is really looking forward to winter so he can laugh at all his friends stuck in snow back home. He also wants to give a shout out to his dad, who will probably show this to anyone and everyone he possibly can.

kristal

Kristal Ha

2012

Student Assistant

University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California

I am currently a freshman majoring in Biochemistry and am planing to minor in Nonprofits, Philanthropy, and Volunteerism. I hope to become a dentist and one day start an organization that works to provide dental care to those in less developed areas. My favorite part about this job is that it helps me overcome my irrational fear of all kinds of animals.

jenny

Jenny Callahan

Fall 2012

Student Assistant

University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California

Jenny is a freshman majoring in Engineering. She is from Boston (and loves the Boston sports teams!) and does not miss the cold weather. She enjoys playing tennis and having fun. She is very excited to be working at the Museum.

psun

Phyllis Sun

2008 – 2011

Student Assistant

University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California

Phyllis is a Fine Arts major emphasizing photography, design, and drawing. She is a very busy lady with lots and lots of art projects that have yet to be finished. Phyllis loves museums and is excited about the challenges of her museum job doing design and preparing photographs, line drawings, and other marine invertebrate art for use by staff. She learns something new everyday at work and loves the lab cappuccinos. In her spare time, Phyllis likes going to concerts, cleaning, and spending time sleeping.

maegan

Maegan Hilliard

2011

Student Assistant

University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California

Maegan is a sophomore majoring in Neuroscience with a minor in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention originally and originally from Virginia. She plans to pursue a career in researching neurological diseases. In her spare time, Maegan likes to play volleyball, hike, travel, and bake cupcakes.

nicole

Nicole Chang

2010

Student Assistant

University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California

Nicole is a freshman majoring in Biological Sciences. She loves international travel, shopping, cupcakes, chocolate, and dogs. She is very excited to work at the Natural History Museum.

molly

Molly Schaeffer

2010

Student Assistant

University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California

Molly is a sophomore majoring in International Relations and minoring in Natural Sciences (pre-med). Molly hopes to one day be an epidemiologist with the World Health Organization and help third-world governments eradicate disease. Molly has always loved the ocean and so she is excited about curating marine invertebrates. She knows she and the critters will become fast friends. In her spare time, Molly enjoys listening to music and reading.

maricela

Maricela Zurita

2010

Summer Youth Program

Cal State Bakersfield, California

Maricela is a sophomore at Cal State Bakersfield majoring in Family Studies and minoring in Sociology. She hopes to one day work helping those in need. She is looking forward to the summer season and camping at Mono Lake. She is always up for a challenge and loves doing new things, which is one of the reasons she is working at the MBC.

miles

Miles Beal-Ampah

2010

Summer Youth Program

University of Houston, Texas

Miles is a graduate of St. John Bosco High School and currently a sophomore at the University of Houston in Houston, Texas. He is studying Psychology, with hopes of becoming a criminal lawyer. Miles is also a High Jumper for the University of Houston Track and Field team, with a career best of 6ft. 10in. In his spare time he enjoys playing basketball, reading, watching movies, and hanging out with friends.

ty

Tyvaey Lott

2010

Summer Youth Program

Palisades Charter High School, California

Tyvaey, or Ty, is a Senior at Palisades Charter High School. He enjoys playing football and practicing marshal arts. Ty loves science but has not yet decided his future career plans. After graduating from high school he intends to go to college.

cynthia

Cynthia Godfrey

2008 – 2009

Student Assistant

University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California

Cynthia is a Pre-Med undergraduate majoring in Health and Humanity and minoring in International Relations. She loves anything related to the ocean, including water sports such as jet skiing. She can outrace anyone! Working with the MBPC represents an amazing opportunity for her to explore biology “outside the book,” and she hopes that it will open the door to opportunities such as research and fieldwork across the world. After practicing as a Hematologist and Oncologist, Cynthia will retire to a tiny cottage on the shores of Fiji watching the sunset and singing her favorite tunes by The Strokes.

kristan

Kristan Culbert

2008 – 2009

Student Assistant

University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California

Kristan is a sophomore pursuing a minor in Peace and Conflict Studies as well as searching for a major course of study she will fall hopelessly in love with. She hopes to go on to either grad school or medical school and eventually work for a NGO. She enjoys speaking French to anyone who will listen, loves chemistry, reading, going for long hikes in the wilderness and on occasion pretending she is Julia Child. Kristan hopes to get really cozy with the specimens she is organizing and to explore the “dungeon” under the NHM.

ashley

Ashley Avery

2009

Student Assistant

University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California

Ashley is a second year Biological Sciences major, which has spurred her interest in the Natural History Museum. Ashley is overly fascinated with anything that has to do with science. She plans to gain experience related to biological research and wants to pursue a career in bio-medical research after graduating from USC.

jeanette

Jeanette Carpenter

2009

Student Assistant

University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California

Jeanette is a freshman Biochemistry major. When she's not in class or at work, she is reading books by Jane Austen, watching “House,” eating oreo cream pie, or, if she's lucky, sleeping. She is excited to be working with all of the little critters in the lab and preserving them with untold amounts of alcohol.

saw

Saw Hun

2008

Student Assistant

University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California

Saw is a freshman majoring in Biology with pre-med emphasis and doubling in Political Science. She is debating whether or not to add a minor in Fine Arts. Saw is interested in anything scientific, and is excited to work in a place that is committed to scientific pursuits. When she’s not handling dead animals or has her face stuck in a book, she likes to draw, listen to music and figure out how to expand her artistic side.

jessica

Jessica Wedemeyer

2005 – 2006

Student Assistant

University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California

Jessica is a Freshman studying theater and broadcast journalism. Ever since she was a child, Jessica has loved museums. She's very excited to be working behind the scenes now, making her small mark on information that'll be around for decades to come. Besides playing with animals that have been dead, some for 30 years or more, Jessica enjoys music, movies and searching for new hand creams to moisturize her alcohol dried out hands.

celia

Celia Carter

2004 – 2006

Student Assistant

University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California

Celia is a sophomore at the University of Southern California and is currently majoring in Communication. She would like to double major in Cinema Production and later direct music videos or mix movie soundtracks. Working at the museum has definitely given Celia insight to all of the hard work that goes on behind the scenes. Researchers don’t just go out into the field, pick up dead animals and put them on display. There is so much more that is done that no one even knows about, but she’s slowly learning. She'd like to give a shout out to the echinoderms chillin’ on the shelves of the collection room.