ELISS Fellows

ELISS Fellows are graduate and professional students selected through a competitive application process to participate in a 15-month leadership development experience. The fellows run a collaborative think tank that taps campus and community expertise around a real-world challenge.

ELISS Class of 2014

ELISS Class of 2015

  • Ronan Arthur,  Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources, Stanford University
  • Kendra Brown, Civil & Environmental Engineering, Stanford University
  • Priyanka Brunese, Technology Leadership & Innovation, Purdue University
  • Ava Carter, Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, Stanford University
  • Emily Grubert, Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources, Stanford University
  • Gabriel Innes, Veterinary Medical Doctor, University of Pennsylvania
  • Yun (Rose) Li, Medical Scientist Training Program, University of Pennsylvania
  • Brynn Livesay, Bioengineering, University of Washington
  • Jing (Joy) Ma, Hospitality & Tourism Management, Purdue University
  • Simon Mosbah, City and Regional Planning, University of Pennsylvania
  • Michelle Munyikwa, Medical Scientist Training Program, University of Pennsylvania
  • Matthew Ostrowski, Chemical Engineering, Stanford University
  • Biswajit (Bish) Paul, Molecular & Cellular Biology, University of Washington
  • Christine Tran, Educational Leadership & Policy Studies, University of Washington


Ronan Arthur is a PhD student in the Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment & Resources at Stanford University. He received his BA in Geography from UCLA in 2010 and wrote his thesis on causes of Navajo linguistic retention. Before joining Stanford, Ronan lived and worked for 3 years as a Learning & Development Consultant at Vodafone Spain and then as a corporate translator in Madrid. He currently studies and models the geography of infectious disease dynamics in Indonesia and West Africa and believes that a broader, more interdisciplinary perspective on the role of the environment and community response in epidemics can lead to a greater understanding of effective intervention measures.


Kendra Brown is a PhD candidate in Environmental Engineering and Science at Stanford University. She studies coastal water quality, and in particular how bacteria in beach sand are transported to the coastal ocean. Some of these bacteria carry out essential ecosystem services, while others are pathogens that pose a risk to swimmers. She is interested in a career in problem-based research that is motivated by and informs community well-being. She was led to ELISS by a desire to identify the various stumbling points that prevent good ideas from moving into action. For fun, she hikes, knits, swims, and ruminates on just the right word to convey a particular idea.


Priyanka Brunese is a Ph.D. candidate in the Technology Leadership & Innovation department at Purdue University. She received a B.Eng. in Computer Engineering from Mumbai University and a M.S. in Computer and Information Technology from Purdue University. Prior to returning to Purdue to pursue her Ph.D., she worked as an IT project manager and change management specialist for a large global appliance manufacturer. Priyanka's research interests include leadership and collaboration. Priyanka envisions herself to be a connector of people with diverse backgrounds and is excited to use ELISS as her channel to bring people together. In her free time, Priyanka loves sharing her rich Indian culture with friends over a cup of her home-made "real" Chai and taking a zillion pictures of her two cats. 


Ava Carter hails from Boston, Massachusetts and studied Human Developmental and Regenerative Biology at Harvard College.  Now a Stanford PhD Student in Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, she studies how different cell types in the body establish their identity in development and disease.  She believes that as scientists and academics, it is essential that we disseminate scientific advances and apply them to tackling large societal problems. Outside of the lab Ava enjoys baking cakes and trail running.


Emily Grubert is a Ph.D. student in Stanford University’s Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources, studying policy and decision-making about large energy infrastructure in the United States using life cycle analysis, computerized text mining techniques, and other methods to investigate how communities prioritize various social and environmental outcomes. Emily studies energy and the environment because of their deep connections to people and communities and hopes to use her research to help those connections be as positive as possible. One of Emily’s favorite activities is teaching, and she also enjoys field trips to large infrastructure.


Gabriel Innes is currently a third year at the Veterinary School of the University of Pennsylvania, hoping to receive a VMD and continue with further education in the field of epidemiology and infectious disease. He received a Veterinary and Biomedical Degree with a minor in Chinese from the Pennsylvania State University through Schreyer Honors College.  Gabriel has a strong belief in the value of communications across all boundaries, including language, but also across fields and professions.  In order to tackle wicked, complex problems in the modern age, he believes that sharing and connecting mindsets are essential for solutions. Gabriel loves cooking, eating, and listening to music – and more likely, you will find him doing them all simultaneously.

Yun (Rose) Li, born in Beijing China, is a fifth-year MD-PhD candidate at the University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine. Rose is finishing her clinical training after having completed her doctoral dissertation in genomics and computational biology. She is passionate about applying modern genomic technologies to advancing personalized and targeted radiotherapy for cancer. Rose serves on the board of the American-Physician Scientist Association, is a past AMSA Medical Humanities and Public Health Scholar, and consults for CrowdMed and a DreamIt Healthcare Ventures startup. As an ELISS fellow, Rose hopes to leverage her knowledge and passion about healthcare and technology to understanding the needs and improving the health of people in her community. Rose is a 2012 Paul and Daisy Soros Fellow and a recipient of the NIH NRSA F30 Training Fellowship.


Brynn Livesay is a second year PhD student in Bioengineering at the University of Washington. Her dissertation work focuses on developing novel biomaterials for use in the emerging field of cell-based cancer immunotherapies, where a patient’s own immune system is trained to recognize and eliminate cancer cells. Brynn is passionate about STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) access and awareness, and seeks ways to impact society through her enthusiasm for effective science communication. A native Pacific Northwesterner, Brynn enjoys hiking, vegan baked goods, and local microbrews in her free time.


Jing (Joy) Ma is a Ph.D. student in the Hospitality and Tourism Management department at Purdue University. She studied finance and accounting as an undergraduate student, and later went on to study international business at the Thunderbird School of Global Management. Now she is a proud boilermaker. Her current research largely involves restaurant operations and food safety. Her belief that everyone should “be the change that you wish to see in the world” (Gandhi) has led her to ELISS. In her free time, she enjoys watching movies and reading. Biking and swimming (snorkeling, whenever possible) are her favorite sports.


Simon Mosbah is a doctoral candidate in City and Regional Planning at the University of Pennsylvania and a research associate at the Penn Institute for Urban Research. He specializes in transportation planning and he has been responsible for the transportation indicators within the Sustainable Communities Indicators Catalog, a project between the Penn Institute for Urban Research, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department for Housing and Urban Development. He is currently working on a dissertation on airports and economic development. A graduate of the Sorbonne and ESSEC Business School, both in Paris, he previously worked as a management consultant in France and in Central Asia.


Michelle Munyikwa graduated from the College of William and Mary with degrees in interdisciplinary studies (biochemistry and molecular biology) and anthropology. Currently, she is a fourth year student in the MD/PhD program in anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania, where she studies the experiences of refugees and asylum seekers fleeing violence and conflict. She believes that the world’s most difficult problems require collaboration, communication, and the humility to know when to ask for help. She is a voracious reader, compulsive tea-drinker, and can often be found nodding off under a warm blanket.


Matthew Ostrowski grew up in Durham, North Carolina and majored in chemical engineering and history at North Carolina State University. Matthew is currently a PhD candidate in Chemical Engineering at Stanford University. His current research focus is understanding and engineering biosynthetic enzymes with the goal of using nature’s machines to develop useful chemicals and materials (e.g. antibiotics). Matthew’s interests in history, policy, and the ELISS program stem from his belief that complex societal problems can be most effectively solved through a combination of technical and non-technical approaches. In addition to his academic pursuits Matthew enjoys playing trumpet, experimenting in the kitchen, and fly fishing.


Biswajit (Bish) Paul is a Seattle-based community leader whose work straddles science, education and outreach, immigration policy, and LGBTQ advocacy. He is currently pursuing a PhD in Molecular & Cell Biology through the University of Washington. His research at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center focuses on investigating gene editing therapies for protection from HIV. Born and raised in India he can’t get enough of Bollywood movies, Hyderabadi biryani and racing mopeds!


      Christine Tran is a third year PhD student in Educational Organizations, Leadership, & Policy Studies at the University of Washington’s College of Education. Her research interests include school nutrition equity, school culture, and policy implementation. Given that school nutrition intersects across many sectors, ELISS is a great fit for her to explore the multidisciplinary nature of her research interests. Christine’s professional experience includes teaching middle and high school at the Los Angeles Unified School District as well as conducting policy and program analysis at federal, state, and local levels regarding P-20 and school nutrition issues. She holds a B.A. in English and Asian American Studies, a M.Ed. in Urban Education from UCLA, as well as a M.A. in Sociology from Columbia University. On weekends, Christine enjoys frequenting Farmers Markets and cooking.