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About Us

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Nina Nattiv
2024 Chair

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 3rd grade at Westwood Charter.

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Bisrat Gee
2023 Chair

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 5th grade at WWC and another daughter who is a 8th grader at the Girls Academic Leadership Academy (GALA) STEM school.

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Mary Susselman
Volunteer Coordinator/Tech/2022 Chair

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 2nd and 5th grade at WWC. 

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Megha Vasavada
Publicity and Communications

Megha received her PhD in Neuroscience from Pennsylvania State University and completed her postdoctoral training at UCLA. She has a passion for how the brain works and loves sharing that knowledge with her daughter (1st grader at Westwood Charter) and son (preschooler). 

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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 2nd and 5th 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.

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Pooja Kulkarni
Raffle/Passports/T-shirt Coordinator

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 7th grader- Vihaan and a 5th grader- Ayra.

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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 4th 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. 

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Gislaine Martins
Volunteer Coordinator

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 1st at WWC.

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Aaron Nazarian
Logistics Coordinator / Future Chair 2025

Aaron Nazarian received his degree, in Microbiology, Immunology & Molecular Genetics from UCLA. Aaron is currently Principal Scientist in Small Molecule Therapeutic Discovery at Amgen, where he conducts research utilizing laboratory robotic automation to discover & develop new therapeutic candidates. Aaron has a son Elan in 2nd grade at WWC as well as 2 younger daughters that will join WWC in the coming years.

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Rahul Vasavada
Logistics Coordinator

Rahul received his BS in mathematics and biology at Stanford University and MD at Pennsylvania State University. He is currently an Internal Medicine Hospitalist physician (Assistant Clincal Professor) with UCLA. Rahul's daughter is in first 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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