2014 ELISS Fellows (and several mentors) at Orientation on Bainbridge Island, WA.  | ELISS

Current ELISS Fellows

Purdue University

  • Abby Boggs – Hospitality and Tourism Management
  • Jonathan Kershaw – Food Science
  • Mariya Krisenko – Interdisciplinary Life Sciences
  • Kai Kuang – Communication

Stanford University

  • Urusa Alaan – Materials Science and Engineering
  • Afroz Algiers – Sustainable Design and Construction
  • Abdul Rasheed Alabi – Molecular and Cellular Physiology
  • Allison Rhines – Biology

University of Pennsylvania

  • Benjamin Chrisinger – City and Regional Planning
  • Ruth Masterson Creber – Nursing
  • Johannes Eichstaedt – Psychology
  • Madeleine Stone – Earth and Environmental Science

University of Washington

  • Cyan James – Public Health Genetics
  • Eva Linh – Pharmacy
  • Chantz Thomas – Chemistry
  • Amber Trout – Built Environments

About the ELISS Team

ELISS unites national leadership and resources with the passion of students from multiple campuses. A group of early–career PhDs with experience in government, industry, and academia founded ELISS. Graduate and professional students have been engaged in all stages of its development, and serve as ELISS liaisons to our partner campuses.

AAAS hosts ELISS and provides advice on strategy on program development and help with fundraising and administrative needs. ELISS draws upon AAAS’s vast experience in leadership development and public engagement, while maintaining its grassroots, student–driven culture.

Leadership Committee

Melanie Roberts – Founder and Director of ELISS and independent consultant

As a graduate student, Melanie gathered like–minded graduate students, including ELISS co–founder, Bree Mitchell, to start two grassroots organizations – a career seminar series for scientists and an organization to promote dialogue among scholars, the public, and policy makers about issues at the intersection of science and society. Both groups continue today at the University of Washington. Since finishing her Ph.D. in neurobiology in 2005, Melanie has contributed to policy and programs in innovation, university research, and education at both a federal and campus level. She won prestigious AAAS S&T Policy Fellowships in the U.S. Senate and the National Science Foundation. At the University of Colorado Boulder, she studied knowledge transfer as a research fellow at the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research and facilitated research collaboration across disciplines and with industry and government as Assistant Director of the Colorado Biofrontiers Institute. With Ed Derrick, she organized a national symposium and edited a companion report, “Facilitating Interdisciplinary Research and Education: A Practical Guide.” Melanie lives in Seattle.

Mark S. FrankelDirector, Scientific Responsibility, Human Rights & Law Program, AAAS

Mark S. Frankel, Ph.D., directs the Scientific Responsibility, Human Rights and Law Program and is responsible for developing and managing AAAS activities related to science, human rights, ethics, and law. He serves as Staff Officer to two AAAS committees - the Committee on Scientific Freedom and Responsibility and the AAAS - American Bar Association National Conference of Lawyers and Scientists. He is editor of Professional Ethics Report, the Program's quarterly newsletter, and is a Fellow of AAAS.

Samantha WhiteELISS Program Director

Samantha (Sam) is a Ph.D. graduate of the Neuroscience Graduate Group at the University of Pennsylvania where she studied Addiction Neuroscience. During her graduate career, Sam was very active in service to fellow students, the university, and the community. She served on the executive board of the Biomedical Graduate Student Association and as a graduate student representative in the Graduate and Professional Student Association. In those capacities, Sam worked to fund student-organized initiatives and to provide cross-disciplinary networking opportunities for graduate and professional students on campus. Additionally, Sam contributed to university-wide policies and programs as a student representative to the University Council. Within her graduate program, Sam was the founding co-director for GLIA, the Graduate Led Initiatives and Activities committee that oversees a variety of student-run programs ranging from professional development seminars to educational outreach opportunities and networking and community building ventures. Finally, Sam spearheaded the effort to bring ELISS to UPenn and worked closely with the co-founders to prepare for the inaugural class of fellows as an ELISS student liaison before becoming program director in September. Sam is also a science policy fellow for Research!America, one of the nation’s largest non-profit public education and science advocacy organizations.

AAAS Oversight Committee

  • Edward G. Derrick – Chief Program Director, AAAS Center of Science, Policy, and Society Programs
  • Juli Staiano – Director of Development, AAAS
  • Cynthia Robinson  – Director, AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellowships
  • Richard Weibl – Program Director, AAAS Center for Careers in Science and Technology

Senior Advisors

  • Gail Cassell – VP at Eli Lily (retired), VP at Infectious Disease Research Institute, and Visiting Professor in Global Health, Harvard University
  • James M. Gentile – President Emeritus, Research Corporation for Science Advancement, and Dean of the College of Natural Resources, Hope College
  • David Goldston – Director of Government Affairs, Natural Resources Defense Council
  • Jeff Hamaoui - Superconnector & Partner, Further by Design
  • Anthony Janetos – Director, Pardee Center for the Longer–Range Future at Boston University and Director, Joint Global Change Research Institute
  • Neal F. Lane – Former Presidential Science Advisor and Director of the National Science Foundation and Distinguished Professor of Science and Technology Policy, Rice University
  • Gail McClure – VP at W.K. Kellogg Foundation (retired) and Senior Advisor, National Science Foundation
  • Gilbert Omenn – Director, Center for Computational Medicine and Bioinformatics, University of Michigan
  • Judith Ramaley – Distinguished Professor of Public Service, Portland State University  

Strategic Advisors

  • Kelly Edwards (Program Development) – Associate Dean of the Graduate School and Associate Professor of Bioethics and Humanities, University of Washington
  • Connie Bourassa-Shaw (Business Strategy) – Director, Burek Center for Entrepreneurship, University of Washington
  • Elizabeth McNie (Program Development) – Research Scientist, Western Water Assessment and Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Science, University of Colorado
  • Bree Mitchell (ELISS Co-Founder) – Deputy Director, Canary Center for Cancer Early Detection, Stanford University
  • Andrew Robertson (Applications and Themes) – Director of U.S. Regulatory Policy, Merck and Trustee of Gates/Cambridge Scholarship Program
  • Kate Stoll (ELISS Co-Founder) – AAAS/ACS/NSF Congressional Science and Technology Policy Fellow



Campus Leaders

University of Washington

University of Pennsylvania

Purdue University

Stanford University


Project Managers - These folks have all donated many hours of their lives to ELISS

  • Terrell Brotherton (Orientation)
  • Patrick Clemins (IT) – Cyber Specialist, Vermont EPSCoR, and Assistant Research Professor, Department of Computer Science, University of Vermont
  • Jay Hardy, Carter Gibson, and David Peterson (Team Work / Program Evaluation) – PhD Candidates in Industrial & Organizational Psychology, University of Oklahoma
  • Nate Engle (Recruiting)
  • Aaron Goldner (Marketing and Recruitment) – Congressional AAAS/AGU Science and Technology Policy Fellow
  • Jay Hardy, Carter Gibson, and David Peterson (Team Work / Program Evaluation) – PhD Candidates in Industrial & Organizational Psychology, University of Oklahoma
  • Melissa Phillips (Writing & Editing)
  • Ryan Ritterson (Data Analysis)
  • Skye Schuhman (Design)
  • Amanda Shea (Applications) – AAAS Intern and Ph.D. Graduate, Virginia Tech
  • Bethany Spencer (Events and Administration)  – Center Administrator, AAAS Center of Science, Policy and Society Programs
  • Jason Yang (Video)

Thanks to many other volunteers for so generously donating time, especially: Mirvat Abdelhaq; TJ Augustine; Katy Beggs; Peter Blair; John Caldwell; Rebecca Carlson; Jenny DeRaspe-Bolles; Bryan Fioret; Brandon Hatcher; Ian King; Anita Mastroieni; Lisa McCloud; Henry Miller; Khara Ramos; Toby Smith; Meredith Stow; UPenn GAPSA; Nate Wade; Abby Watrous; Readers and Interview Panelists.