About Us


Mary Susselman

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 kindergarten and 3rd grade. 


Erina Vlashi

Past Chair

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.

Nina profile picture.jpg

Nina Nattiv

Volunteer Coordinator

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 first grade at Westwood Charter.


Karen Cavassani

Volunteer Coordinator

Karen has a background in cellular immunology and is currently a Project Scientist at Cedars Sinai Medical Center where she is studying the role of immune cells in prostate cancer progression. Karen has two children who attend Westwood Charter.


Heidi Cruz

Treasurer and technology guru

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 4th grader at WWC.

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.