Meet the 2021 Contestants!

Meet the Finalists!

Megan Chong is a PhD student in cell biology at UC San Francisco, interested in self-organizing structures within and among cells. In addition to science, she loves hiking, swimming, and solving crossword puzzles.

Joelyn de Lima is a biology education researcher, motivated by and committed to science education and communication.

Sabrina Elkassas s a first-year Ph.D. student in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) Joint Program in Chemical Oceanography. Her current research focuses on studying microbial life from extreme environments, such as deep-sea hydrothermal vents and terrestrial sodic lakes, as analogs for life possible on other celestial bodies with oceans.

Winner – Audience Choice. Ghiska Ramahdita is currently a PhD candidate at McKelvey School of Engineering, Washington University in St. Louis, and a researcher in Research Center for Biomedical Engineering - Indonesia. Her on-going PhD research topic is about mechanobiology in engineered-heart-muscle, under collaboration of Nathaniel Huebsch (Biomedical Engineering) and Guy Genin (Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science). She is awarded as James & Mary Wertsch Scholar of McDonnell International Academy.

Winner – Judges’ Pick. Christina McGahan is a postdoctoral researcher at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts. She probes the local electrical properties of 2D materials, organic semiconductors, and quantum dots with scanning probe microscopy to make better electrical devices like solar cells and transistors. Outside of the lab, she explores cast iron baking and snowy hiking trails.

Benjamin Pingault is a postdoc in experimental physics, trying to get his head around quantum mechanics for potential technological applications. When he needs a break from the lab, he enjoys learning foreign languages and going for hikes.

Meet All the 2021 Contestants


Semi-Final Round 1 - April 6, 2021

Name STC Institution
Anna Raschke Center for the Study of Evolution in Action (BEACON) Michigan State University
Joelyn de Lima Center for the Study of Evolution in Action (BEACON) Michigan State University
Katherine Skocelas Center for the Study of Evolution in Action (BEACON) Michigan State University
Miles Roberts Center for the Study of Evolution in Action (BEACON) Michigan State University
Ghiska Ramahdita Center for Engineering MechanoBiology (CEMB) Washington University in St Louis
Kari Miller Center for Engineering MechanoBiology (CEMB) Washington University in St Louis

Semi-Final Round 2 - April 13, 2021

Name STC Institution
Sabrina Elkassas Center for Dark Energy Biosphere Investigations (C-DEBI) Massachusetts Institute of Technology/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Rachel Weisend Center for Dark Energy Biosphere Investigations (C-DEBI) Texas A&M University Corpus Christi
Gabriela Díaz-Figueroa & Ana Sofía Santiago-Russe Biology with X-Ray Free Electron Lasers (BioXFel) University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez
Tek Narsingh Malla Biology with X-Ray Free Electron Lasers (BioXFel) University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Megan Chong Center for Cellular Construction (CCC) University of California, San Francisco
Anamika Agrawal Center for Cellular Construction (CCC) University of California, San Diego

Semi-Final Round 3 - April 20, 2021

Name STC Institution
Jarrod Hicks Center for Brains, Minds, and Machines (CBMM) Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Mengmi Zhang Center for Brains, Minds, and Machines (CBMM) Harvard Medical School/Boston Children’s Hospital
Kathryn Sullivan Center for Emergent Behaviors of Integrated Cellular Systems (CEBICS) University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Oluwakanyinsola Adebayo Center for Integrated Quantum Materials (CIQM) Howard University
Benjamin Pingault Center for Integrated Quantum Materials (CIQM) Harvard University
Christina McGahan Center for Integrated Quantum Materials (CIQM) Mount Holyoke College