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About Us

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Nina Nattiv

Chair 2024

Nina has has a BA in Molecular and Cell Biology from UC Berkeley. Currently she practices dentistry at her own dental practice.  She loves doing science experiments with her daughters who are in 2nd grade at Westwood Charter.

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Bisrat Gee
Past Chair 2023

Bisrat has a degree in Bioengineering and a MS  in Mechanical Engineering.   As an engineer, she was responsible for developing medical devices like stents, pacemakers, and implantable drug pumps. Currently, she heads a consulting firm providing med tech companies strategic expertise in the development and implementation of clinical research trials. 

She has a daughter in 4th grade at WWC and another daughter who is a 7th grader at the Girls Academic Leadership Academy (GALA) STEM school.


Mary Susselman

Past Chair 2022/Volunteer Coordinator/T-Shirts/Tech

Mary received her BS in Psychobiology at UCLA and completed her Nuclear Medicine Technology internship at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. She is currently an Associate Chief Nuclear Medicine and MRI Technologist at the UCLA Brain Mapping Center. Mary's daughters are in 1st and 4th grade at WWC. 


Erina Vlashi

Past Chair 2021/External Volunteer Coordinator

Erina studies cell biology and drug development and is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology at UCLA. Erina has one son at Westwood Charter.


Heidi Cruz

Tech Support

Heidi is a technology lover who works in advertising. She enjoys board & video games, art and science-fiction. She'd like to make a science-fiction experiment for Science Slam, but her teleportation experiments have been unsuccessful. Her daughter is a 5th grader at WWC.


Ashley Alexopoulos

Treasurer/Snack Bar

Ashley received her BA in Psychology from UCSB and her MA in Secondary Education from LMU. She is an 8th grade math teacher in Santa Monica and has two small science experiments/daughters at WWC, in 1st and 4th grade. Ashley is excited to apply her vast knowledge of snacks to the snack bar (6 years of restaurant management experience paying off) and to insert formulas into excel spreadsheets to balance the books (3 years at 20th TV as a financial analyst .) She also has a newly developed inferiority complex after reading the bios of the other Science Slam Committee Members.


Pooja Kulkarni


Pooja Nawathe MD, FAAP, FCCM, CHSE-A, CHSOS is a Pediatric Critical Care physician by background. She finished her fellowship at Columbia University, New York, then worked as a junior faculty at Columbia University. 

She is presently the Associate Director of the Congenital Cardiac ICU at Cedars Sinai Medical Center, Medical Director of Simulation, Department of Pediatrics. She has a 6th grader- Vihaan and a 4th grader- Ayra.


Carlos Alcala

Experiment Coordinator/Rocket Launch

Carlos has a degree in Economics from UC Irvine and is a licensed commercial Drone pilot and unmanned vehicle researcher. He received his flight and aeronautical training from the US Air Force as an officer, the FAA Wings program, and with other organizations such as NASA and the various government agencies. Carlos also has experience working for lab testing companies and is a certified gemologist. 

He has a daughter in 3rd grade at WWC who aspires to become a geologist and/or a veterinarian. Carlos and his daughter spent most of the pandemic doing difficult science experiments in search of new ways to use geological materials. Carlos and his daughter also firmly adhere to the NASA 8 step Engineering Design Process. 


Stacey Cohen


Stacey attended dental school in South Florida and completed her dental residency at UCLA. She currently practices dentistry in Beverly Hills with her husband. At home, Stacey loves to read, draw, and do science experiments with her kids!


Stacey has a first grader at Westwood Charter. 


Gislaine Martins


Gislâine received her PhD in Cellular Immunology from the University of São Paulo, in São Paulo, Brazil

and did her postdoctoral training in Molecular Immunology at the University of Pennsylvania, and at Columbia University, NYC.

Gislâine is currently an Associate Professor in the Departments of Biomedical Science and Medicine at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and an Associate Professor-in-residence at the David Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA.

Gislâine’s son is in Kindergarten at WWC.


Aaron Nazarian

Logistics Coordinator

Aaron Nazarian received his degree, in Microbiology, Immunology & Molecular Genetics from UCLA.  Aaron is currently Senior Scientist in Therapeutic Discovery at Amgen, where he conducts research to discover new therapeutic candidates.  Aaron’s son Elan is in 1st grade at WWC.

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Christina Close

Teacher Representative

Christina is a Family 4-5 teacher and serves the critical role of liaison between the Science Slam steering committee and the teachers and staff at Westwood Charter.

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