top of page


2024 Steam Day Presenters.jpg

Thursday, April 11, 2024


STEAM Career Day is designed to introduce students to potential career paths in fields related to Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math. During 3rd period class, students hear from 3 knowledgeable and engaging presenters that work in a variety of STEAM-related occupations. Presenters share information about the content of their work, what they enjoy about it, what academic path they took and what is required for their field, what kinds of skills and interdisciplinary thinking it requires, the impact of their industry in the world, and what they see as the future of their line of work. They are also encouraged to share their personal stories of growth, challenge and success. Each speaker has 15 minutes of presentation time followed by 10 minutes of Q & A. By the end of 8th grade, students will have been introduced to 9 different STEAM-related potential career paths. If you want to inspire our students at the next STEAM Career Day, please do not hesitate to email our STEAM co-chairs - Cindy Hickman & Jackie Fisk at!



Patricia Bainter, MD  
Dr Bainter attended Middle school and High school at Bishop's (but don't hold that against her). She went to Pomona College in Los Angeles, where she majored in Art History while doing her pre-med classes. She did Medical School and Ophthalmology
residency at the University of Colorado in Denver. She currently works in a private practice eye clinic in La Jolla.

Shannon Kenealy Carter, Biotech Patent Attorney 
Dr Shannon Kenealy Carter is a registered patent attorney with expertise in the biotech and pharmaceutical industries.  She represented numerous innovator companies and universities while serving as outside counsel at the law firm Knobbe Martens, held the
position of Vice President of Intellectual Property & Deputy General Counsel at Arena Pharmaceuticals (which was acquired by Pfizer in 2022), and is now the Senior Vice President of Legal at Zura Bio.  Dr Carter earned a law degree from Stanford University, a Ph.D. in Human Genetics from Vanderbilt University, and a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Iowa.  She enjoys going to concerts, watching stand-up comedy, cheering for the Padres, and hanging out with her husband and kids in her free time.

Jeff Chang, Software Engineer turned Entrepreneur 
As a child, Jeff Chang was pretty sure he would be a garbage truck driver, a chef, or a comedian. Things didn’t work out the way he planned. Instead, he started his career as a software engineer, then transitioned to tech entrepreneur, and is currently a small
business owner. He holds a BS in Computer Science & Engineering from UCLA, an MS in Computer Science from SDSU, and an MBA from UCSD. Early in his career as a software engineer, Jeff worked on communication systems for advanced jet fighters and
ground vehicles for the US military and infrastructure/chipset products for the telecom industry. Eventually, He decided to make a career change to become an entrepreneur. He started two companies, one using cell phones to help schools and non-profits raise
money and an AI marketing technology company. Currently, he is interim CEO of a wireless IP company that holds over 100 US patents and he also runs a small business with his wife. Jeff enjoys doing things with his family, golfing, playing and watching sports, getting out in nature, and being involved with the Boy Scouts. 


Laura Crotty Alexander, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine

Dr Laura Crotty Alexander went to a public high school in L.A. county before attending Duke University. She is a graduate of Duke University School of Medicine and completed her residency in Internal Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital. She

went on to complete a Pulmonary Critical Care Fellowship at Harvard, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship in Host Defense and Bacterial Virulence at UCSD. She is currently an Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of California San Diego (UCSD) and a Staff Physician and Researcher at the VA San Diego Healthcare System. Dr Crotty Alexander is a Pulmonary and Critical Care specialist with clinical and research-based interests in e-cigarettes. She studies the effects of e-cigarettes on airway inflammation, organ and innate immune function, and the effects of cigarette smoke and e-cigarette vapor on bacterial virulence. Dr Crotty Alexander has two sons
(11 and 13 years-old), whom she hopes will also love science.

Stacy Cuddeback, MS, Senior Project Manager, Clinical Research
Ms Cuddeback has been a Project Manager for over 25 years overseeing the implementation of clinical trials. She has worked at pharmaceutical and biotech companies and currently works at PPD, a part of Thermo Fisher Scientific, who contracts with pharma and biotech companies to execute clinical trials. In her role she brings together specialists such as statisticians, data managers, laboratory experts, pharmacovigilance experts, and regulatory experts to coordinate trials from protocol development through clinical study report which supports submissions to regulatory agencies like the FDA. Most recent trials include rare disease pediatric studies. Ms Cuddeback received a bachelor’s degree in public health education from Indiana University and masters degrees in nutrition and exercise physiology from San Diego State University. In her spare time Ms Cuddeback enjoys hiking, gardening and spending time with her middle school age son.

Dana Derissi, MMS, PA-C
Dana Derissi is a compassionate Physician Assistant with over a decade of experience in healthcare, having received her medical education from Stanford University. With a diverse background in emergency medicine and various healthcare departments, Dana's expertise extends to pediatric emergency,  hospital inpatient care, home health, medical aesthetics, women's health, and pain management. As a type one diabetic herself, Dana is deeply committed to educating others about diabetes management,
drawing from her personal journey and professional insights. Her passion lies in empowering young individuals to make informed choices for their health, advocating for lifestyle changes that promote longevity and well-being. Beyond clinical practice, Dana has also contributed to diabetes research, exemplifying her commitment to advancing healthcare knowledge and improving patient outcomes. Outside of her professional endeavors, Dana finds joy in an array of hobbies including cooking, playing the cello, dance, art, gardening, and traveling. She loves visiting San Diego beaches with her two boys. Dana has lived in San Diego and alumni of Muirlands and La Jolla High. 

Jackie Fisk, Industrial Engineer
Jackie Fisk is a San Diego local as she grew up in Fallbrook, California.  After high school, she attended Cal Poly San Luis Obispo where she earned a degree in Industrial Technology.  After graduation from college, she began her working career as an Industrial Engineer with The Boeing Company in Huntington Beach, California. While at Boeing, Jackie completed her Master’s in Business Administration at Long
Beach State, with an emphasis in Finance and Human Resources.  She decided to take her newly acquired skills to San Diego where she landed a position as a Finance Manager for The Northrop Grumman Company. Currently, Jackie works part time as a Finance Manager for Waypoint Management.  In her free time she enjoys triathlons, Girl Scouts and spending time at the beach. 

Christopher Franklin, Director of Engineering - Medical Technology
Christopher Franklin is a Director of Engineering at Enterprise Peak, a Chicago, Il based senior engineering consulting firm specializing in cloud, AI, Embedded and Application Software, Systems Integration, and Test Engineering, and Health Technology advisor for DoD USAMMDA HRAPS program. He additionally serves as Principal for Acadine Solutions, Inc. a San Diego based health technology advisor specializing in mobile health initiatives. In 1994, he joined the US Navy as an Anti Submarine Warfare, Sonar Technician and received his C-School education in Electronics Engineering. He then served on the USS Shiloh CG-67. After receiving a service-connected honorable
discharge, he received an internship at Texas Instruments in Attleboro, Ma where he was tasked in R& Robotics Engineering for Lead frame semiconductor manufacturing. 
This was his introduction to Software Engineering.


After returning back to San Diego, CA, he then worked in multiple companies and industries where he eventually specialized in Health Science and Life Science technology for the past 20 years. During this time he also received a BS in Software Engineering from Phoenix University and completed multiple years of extended course work in computer science and health technology at UCSD. Mr Franklin has since had multiple successes in areas of software, systems and project engineering including, designing and developing multiple medical devices and systems for cardiology/radiology, genomic/pathology data management, POCT (Point of care testing), Virtual health, Hematology and laboratory science, EEG, ECG, Pulse Oximetry, Immunization Tracking, Healthcare Cybersecurity, and  Medical Cloud data management. He has additionally served as Senior Technology Advisor to DHA and the US Navy for Health Informatics and Medical Device Technology, NIWC Gov Cloud Senior Architect, and commercial Fortune 500 companies that include, Beckman Coulter (Danaher), Medtronic, Google X, Terumo, and Teleflex.

Aaron Gary, Software Engineer
Aaron has worked extensively in healthcare and life sciences providing expertise in secondary use of clinical data and systems biology.  He has contributed to many open-source projects in academic and private industry which have been used to generate significant research publications. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering with a minor in Math and a masters degree in Computer Science.  In addition to software development he also spends time as a volunteer web-master for a non-profit health initiative based in Haiti.

Allison Haders, M.D.
Dr Allison Haders is a Board-Certified Emergency Physician currently working as a senior attending at Sharp Grossmont Hospital, one of the busiest Emergency Departments in the country. Dr Haders completed her residency at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York, where she served as Chief Resident. She earned her medical degree at Rutgers University, where she graduated with honors in Research. Prior to that, she attended Barnard College of Columbia University, where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Biology. Dr Haders has co-authored numerous peer-reviewed papers across the fields of emergency medicine, women’s health and neuroscience. In her free time, she enjoys travel, cooking, yoga, reading and cheering on her kids from the soccer and football field sidelines.

Michael Halloran, Radio Personality, Disc Jockey & Purveyor of Other People's Music Since 1977 (Team Halloran/Najor)
Michael Halloran is a radio personality and disc jockey based in southern California. Halloran has programmed many radio stations in southern California, including 91X, 92/5, 92/1, and KUPR. He’s also worked as a music director and on-air personality on such legendary radio stations as KROQ-FM and Y107 in Los Angeles, and KROCK in New York. In San Diego that Halloran really found his stride. He started as the evening disc jockey and worked his way up to music director and eventually program director within a few years. Some career milestones include launching a pirate radio station in London, playing onstage with multiple bands, and has interviewed artists, such as Robert Plant, U2, and Trent Reznor. He also launched many “alternative” radio stations and more recently two hybrid Spanglish radio stations in Tijuana/San Diego and Mexicali/Calexico.

Federico Halpern, Ph.D
Federico Halpern grew up in Buenos Aires, Argentina and moved to the United States right after high school to start university. He spent the next 10 years studying physics, mathematics, and computer science, most of that time learning about plasma science and fusion energy. His doctoral thesis concentrated on predicting the fusion performance of future fusion reactors – this includes ITER, one of the largest and most complex scientific collaborations in history. After receiving his PhD, he moved to Europe to start a career as a researcher in theoretical and computational plasma physics. He worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the Ecole Polytechnique in Paris for two years,
followed by 5 years at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. Federico has been a scientist at General Atomics in San Diego since 2016, working as a computational and theoretical physicist. His everyday work pulls knowledge from mathematics, physics, and computers to develop and run scientific software on the largest supercomputers in the world. His software mostly deals with how plasma turbulence and magnetic reconnection phenomena behave inside fusion reactors. Based on these topics, he has co-authored about 60 peer-reviewed articles about fusion in specialized journals.

Alan Hargens, Ph.D., Emeritus Professor, UCSD
Alan Hargens, PhD is Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of California, San Diego. He served as Chief of the Space  Physiology Branch at NASA Ames Research Center. He has edited 14 books and published more than 380 peer-reviewed articles and over 60 chapters. He has trained over 250 students, two of whom became NASA astronauts. His recent awards include the Nello Pace Award for Outstanding Leadership and Contributions to the Field of Gravitational Physiology, the Citation Award from the American College of Sports Medicine, the NASA Distinguished Public Service Metal (NASA’s highest award), the Nicolas Andry Lifetime Achievement Award
from the Association of Bone and Joint Surgeons (given for research and clinical progress in compartment syndromes and tissue pressure measurement), the American Society for Gravitational and Space Research Founders Award, the highest honor given to a member of the Society for distinguished scientific contributions to and leadership in the field of gravitational research, the Distinguished Scientist Award from the International Society of Adaptive Medicine (given for distinguished scientific contributions to the field of adaptive medicine) and the distinguished and inaugural speaker for the Charles M Tipton Lectureship, American College of Sports Medicine.

Adam Hsieh, Engineer, Scientist & Entrepreneur
Adam grew up on the East Coast, received his college degree in Mechanical Engineering from Cornell University, and his Ph.D. in Bioengineering from UCSD. After 4 years of postdoctoral research in Orthopaedic Surgery at UCSF, Adam took a faculty position at the University of Maryland, College Park in the Department of Bioengineering and spent 14 years performing research, teaching, and university administration duties. When the opportunity presented itself to move back to La Jolla, Adam resigned his tenured Associate Chair position and decided to make a career change. He started a company called Aesclepius Corporation in 2018 to develop novel orthopaedic implants and instruments; they are preparing to launch their first product in late 2023. Adam has continued his interest in education by previously serving as a volunteer for robotics at Muirlands and La Jolla Elementary.

Jack Kennedy (Captain Jack), Retired Navy/SWA Pilot
Mr. John (Jack) Kennedy was Born in 1958 in Sarasota Florida. He received decent grades in high school even though he was an orchestra dork who loved playing tennis. Mr. Kennedy attended college at the US Naval Academy where he majored in Chemistry and was a member of the Rowing Crew. He then served in the Navy for 20 years as an E-2/C-2 Pilot eventually leading his own squadron (VRC-30, the Providers) as their Commanding Officer until he retired as a Commander (just like James Bond). His notable duty stations included Naval Air Station (NAS) Cubi Point in the Republic of the Philippines and Naval Air Facility (NAF) Atsugi in Japan. After retiring from the military, Captain Jack went on to fly Boeing 737 as a First Officer, Captain and Check Pilot with Southwest Airlines for over 21 years. Mr. Kennedy has been happily married for 34 years to Dr. Clare Feigl, who is a former Navy Pilot and Physician. They has a 10-year old son and in quiet moments Captain Jack finds himself wondering, “Am I and an old dad or what?!?!”

Ashley Mackin-Solomon, La Jolla Light Reporter 
Ashley Mackin-Solomon has been a reporter for La Jolla Light since September 2012 covering everything from local politics and  development to sports, science and entertainment. She studied journalism at Humboldt State University, now Cal Poly Humboldt. Since then, she has worked for community newspapers her entire career in various cities across California and New York.

Jake Najor, drummer (Team Halloran/Najor) 
Jake Najor is a drummer who has played on a Grammy Award winning album and has recorded and/or performed with Big Daddy Kane, Empire of the Sun, TV On the Radio, Kelis, Redman, Jason Mraz, the Beatnuts, Mindi Abair, Karl Denson, Weapon of Choice, Bad Credit, Raphael Saadiq, Robert Walter, Incredible Moses Leroy, Breakestra, Connie Price and the Keystones, Joss Stone, Soul of John Black, De La
Soul, AJ Croce, Aloe Blacc and more. He is the brother of Zak Najor, a founding member of The Greyboy Allstars. Jake Najor currently plays with his own San Diego Music Awards - nominated project Jake Najor and the Moment of Truth in addition to being a drummer in The Redwoods.

Thuy Nguyen, PharmD
Dr Nguyen attended Hoover High School and graduated from Serra High School. She studied Biochemistry at University of San Diego. She received a pharmacy doctorate from University of California, San Francisco. She got a pharmacy residency at Parkland Hospital in Dallas, TX. She currently works at Sharp Specialty Pharmacy under Grossmont Hospital.

Peter Park, MD
Peter Park was born in Seattle Washington to first-generation immigrants from Korea. He was raised in Minnesota. As a child he enjoyed winter sports such as hockey and learned to appreciate the outdoors through Boy Scouts, attaining the rank of Eagle. Dr Park went to college at the University of Minnesota’s College of Liberal Arts where he earned his bachelors of arts with a double major in computer science and history. Afterwards, he went on to earn his Medical Doctorate at the University’s Medical School. Along the way he has worked a variety of odd jobs including paperboy, convenience store stock boy, corporate records room clerk, horse race track 
groundskeeper, seasonal construction worker, training manual writer, bartender, hospital station secretary, and autopsy assistant.


Dr Park graduated from the University of Minnesota medical school in 1994 and went on to complete a surgical categorical internship at the Naval Medical Center San Diego in 1995 and Naval Flight Surgeon training in 1996. He served two tours as a Flight Surgeon before returning to training to complete a residency in Emergency Medicine (EM). He has been a board-certified EM physician since 2002. During that time, he has worked across abroad range of settings abroad in here at home in America. His most challenging and rewarding tour as a military physician was the 6 months he was deployed with the First Marine Expeditionary Force in Al Anbar, Iraq in 2006 fighting Al-Qaeda. In addition to being an active EM doctor, Dr Park just had the fortune of being able to blend his passion for healthcare with his love of technology and is also board certified in Clinical Informatics. As such he was selected to serve as the Chief Medical Informatics Officer (CMIO) for Navy Medicine.  Dr Park retired from the Navy in 2016 and now practices medicine here in San Diego with Sharp Rees-Stealy and travels once a month to Eureka, California where he provides care to the under-resourced rural community there.

Tom Rice, Retired Pilot 
Tom Rice, US Navy call sign UB, was born and raised on Long Island, New York. Graduated from Fairfield University in Connecticut in 1980. Commissioned as an Officer in the USN in 1981. Flew F-14s for 15 years including 2 World cruises on the USS Kitty Hawk. Started working for American Airlines in 1988 and recently retired after 35 years. Happily married for over 30 years with 3 kids who graduated from Muirlands Middle School and La Jolla High School.

Britta Richardson, Cinematographer
Britta Richardson has been a Cinematographer in the Local 600 International Cinematographers Guild for 27 years. She works on Feature Films such as Top Gun Maverick, Episodic Television, Commercials, and Music Videos. She also owns her own business as a Professional Still Photographer. She is a mother of 2 boys Drake who is in 8th grade and Dashiel who is a Senior at La Jolla High. She attended McDonogh Preparatory School in Baltimore, Maryland and received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Media Arts in Film Production and Photography and a Minor in Eastern Asian Studies at The University of Arizona. Britta has also worked with the Associated Press as a Still
Photographer, covering major news stories and sporting events, such as the World Series and the Super Bowl.

Firefighter Joel Ebstein, San Diego Fire-Rescue Department
For more than 150 years, the City of San Diego Fire-Rescue Department (SDFD) has kept a vigilant watch over the community. We encompass all fire, emergency medical, lifeguard and emergency management services. This includes 9-1-1 services, fire inspections, permits and community education. Firefighters are always on duty, whether you see us or not, we are here to keep you and your family safe. Our Mission Statement: To Serve the Community of San Diego by providing the highest level of emergency/rescue services, hazard prevention and safety education ensuring the protection of life, property and the environment. We cover 343 square miles of service

area including 17 miles of coastline, with responsibility extending 3 miles offshore, with a population of 1,419,845. We have 52 fire stations, 9 lifeguard stations, 949 Fire personnel, 98 Lifeguards and 246 civilian personnel. We are the second-largest municipal Fire Department in the State of California, after Los Angeles. We respond to nearly 162,000 calls per year, work 365 days a year for 24-hours at a time and sleep overnight at the fire station.

Paul Scurio, Chief Pilot – Sunbird Aviation
Captain Scurio has been a pilot for over 30 years. He began his flying career in the US Navy in 1987 where he served as a Tactical Aircraft Commander and an Instructor Pilot. He was a pilot for Delta Air Lines and flew the Boeing 727 and 737. He then became a corporate pilot flying for companies including Qualcomm and Netflix. He is currently the Chief Pilot for Sunbird Aviation. He manages the flight department and as a Captain his primary responsibility is the safety of the aircraft, passengers, and crew as they fly all over the world. Captain Scurio grew up in Illinois and remembers always being fascinated by airplanes and flying. He graduated from the University of Notre Dame and then joined the US Navy. After completing flight training he became a Naval Aviator. After many more years of training he earned several qualifications including Airline Transport Pilot and Flight Instructor. During his career he has flown many different types of aircraft, including the Gulfstream 650, Gulfstream 550, Gulfstream 450, Gulfstream V, Citation X, DC-9, Sabreliner, and Navy P-3.

Lamont Smith, Founder LSBA, Former College Basketball Coach
Lamont Smith is a basketball coach with an impressive track record of success in both youth sports and collegiate coaching. Lamont Smith Basketball Academy (LSBA) was founded in 2019 by Lamont Smith, and has seen tremendous growth since its inception. LSBA was created with the vision of providing a platform for youth basketball players to maximize and advance their skills. The goal is to grow the game, make a positive impact, and serve the community. In addition to his coaching accomplishments, Coach Smith holds a B.A. in Communication from the University of San Diego, where he was a standout player. He served as team captain, earned Defensive Player of the Year honors twice, and received the Leadership Award. Beyond his playing and coaching roles, Coach Smith has been actively involved in various basketball-related programs and organizations, demonstrating his dedication to the growth and development of the
sport. With his coaching philosophy, extensive experience, and remarkable achievements, Coach Lamont Smith stands as a prominent figure in the world of basketball

Evan Snyder, M.D. and Ph.D.
Evan Snyder earned his M.D. and Ph.D. jointly at the University of Pennsylvania (as a grantee of NIH’s Medical Scientist Training Program) and studied psychology, philosophy, and linguistics at the University of Oxford (Balliol College). He completed residencies in pediatrics and neurology and a clinical fellowship in Neonatology (Newborn Intensive Care) at Children's Hospital-Boston, Harvard Medical School, where he also served as Chief Resident in Medicine and then in Neurology. Concurrently, he was a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Genetics, Harvard Medical School. In addition to going onto the clinical faculty at Harvard in both Neonatology and
Neurology (becoming the country’s first to be dual-boarded in those specialties), he also started his independent lab where he helped define the basic and translational properties of stem cells (particularly neural). He was recruited to the Sanford Burnham Prebys Institute (SBP) in La Jolla to found a Center for Stem Cells & Regenerative Medicine and help build the stem cell program in California.  


Dr Snyder is a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics (FAAP). Regarded as one of the “Fathers” of the stem cell field, he’s been elected to the Association of American Physicians and to the American Institute of Medical & Biological Engineering. He served two terms as Chairman of the FDA’s Cell, Tissue, & Gene Therapy Advisory Committee (after helping found the FDA/NIH Stem Cell Working Group) and presently chairs the SAB of NIH’s Human Genetic Disease Biobank. He’s a Diplomate of the Health Leadership Academy. He previously served president of the American Society for Neural Therapy & Repair & was a recipient of its Sanberg Award for lifetime achievement. His biography was chosen for inclusion in Ashwal’s textbook “Child Neurology: Its Origins, Founders, Growth & Evolution.
Ray Vizcaino, Head Cake Decorator
Ray Miranda Vizcaino is the Head Cake Decorator for Sugar and Scribe Bakery. Ray served 5 years with the United States Marine Corps before following his dream in the pastry world. Ray has been on numerous Food Network Shows such as Halloween Baking Championship, CANDYLAND, Food Network Challenge and Big Time Bake, and other numerous shows. Ray has also won Food Network Challenge Pokemon and Food Network Candyland. Ray is also a manager for Sugar and Scribe Bakery and oversees event/coordinating details for the bakery as well.  He is always finding new and innovative ways to create beautiful cakes and desserts that everyone will enjoy. 

Kevin Walsh, Systems Engineer and Scout Leader
Kevin Walsh has studied at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) and Leningrad State University. He received a bachelor’s degree in history, with a minor in Russian and Soviet Studies from (UCSD), and he also received a master’s degree in systems engineering from the Jacobs School of Engineering at UCSD. He has several decades of experience engineering computer networking and satellite communications at UCSD, the San Diego Supercomputer Center, the Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO), the U.S. Academic Research Fleet, and the U.S. Navy, supporting high-performance computing, science at sea, educational outreach, and Telepresence. As a scout leader, he has served as the Eagle Scout service project counselor for over 50 scouts in the San Diego imperial Council of the Boy Scouts of America. He is currently serving on a national task force to rewrite the requirements for the oceanography merit badge. He also serves as the assistant section manager for youth for the San Diego section of the American Radio Relay League. He is a member of the Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation, the American Radio Relay League, the Association of Computing Machinery, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the National Marine Educators Association, the Oceanography Society, the Society for the History of  Technology, and the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Katherine Williams, Ph.D.
Katherine Nguyen Williams, Ph.D. is a licensed child and adolescent psychologist specializing in psychological assessments and evidence-based treatments for childhood and adolescent mental health concerns. She is a clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego, and the supervising psychologist at Rady Children’s Hospital - San Diego, Department of Outpatient Psychiatry. Dr. Nguyen Williams trains mental health clinicians on child/adolescent mental health treatments, as well as maintains an active clinical practice. She provides evidence-based mental health therapies for children and adolescents at the Transforming Mental Health and
Outpatient Psychiatry programs at Rady Children's Hospital. Dr. Nguyen Williams is the author of the Psychology Today parenting blog, The Modern Child, which has been published in countries around the world. She is the host of Ask Dr. Kat, with topics spanning from common teen issues to parenting concerns. She was featured in the PBS documentary, You Know the Drill, a film about teen anxiety/depression and active school shooter drills. Dr. Nguyen Williams is the primary author of the cognitive-behavioral treatment manual, Modular CBT for Children and Adolescents with Depression: A Clinician's Guide to Individualized Treatment.

Yusuf Yazici, M.D.
Yusuf Yazici is a Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine at the New York University School of Medicine. He earned his medical degree from Cerrahpasa Medical Faculty of Istanbul University in Istanbul, Turkey (1994). He completed his internship and residency at Creighton University in Nebraska (1994-1997) and his fellowship in rheumatology at the Hospital for Special Surgery of Weill Medical College of Cornell University (1997-2000). His areas of interest are Behcet syndrome, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, early arthritis, patient reported outcomes, database and registry management and monitoring of arthritis patients in regard to clinical response and adverse events related to treatment. He has published over 250 articles and presented at various national and international meetings over 200 times. He has also been the Chief Medical Officer of Biosplice, Inc. since 2013, leading the development of new therapies for  osteoarthritis, various oncologic conditions and Alzheimer’s disease, among others.

Deborah Yelon, Ph.D.
Dr. Yelon is a Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology at the University of California, San Diego, where she is also the Chair of the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology.  She began studying Biology as an undergraduate at Yale, where she investigated the evolution of African antelopes.  She received her Ph.D. from Harvard, where her thesis research focused on the development of the immune system in mice.  As a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, San Francisco, Dr. Yelon started to examine how the heart develops in the zebrafish embryo, and she has continued to focus her research on this topic for more than 27 years.  Her laboratory
studies the genes that regulate the size, shape, and function of the developing heart in zebrafish.  Since similar genes control the  formation of the human heart, the Yelon laboratory’s discoveries will ultimately help us to understand the causes of common cardiac birth defects.  

Bryn (Nau) Young, Architect
Bryn Young, a Muirlands Middle and La Jolla High alumni, founded her eponymous studio, BYoung Design, at the age of 25 while still attending school; she has since successfully grown her firm to specialize in projects of all scales and has received awards and accolades. Bryn's passion for design and curiosity has resulted in an innovative body of work, even at the nascency of her career. Her entrepreneurial spirit and media savvy has not only contributed to the success of her business but has also helped countless emerging professionals find success along the path to licensure. Bryn received her Master's in Architecture from New School of Architecture & Design. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design, and a degree in Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management, both from Chico State. She earned her license in California in 2020 and is NCARB certified.


A native San Diegan, Bryn's design philosophy is that architecture should blend with the natural world rather than compete with it. One of her most noteworthy projects, the Wing House in La Jolla, is an accessory dwelling unit that expresses a mid-century modern aesthetic, while incorporating sustainable design principles. The project received a design award from AIA San Diego in 2019 in its unbuilt form and again as a built ADU in 2022. The project's clever use of rainwater harvesting is consistent with Bryn's award-winning Master's thesis, "Drought Tolerant Architecture." Bryn's leadership in the architecture and design community shines brightest through her work as a mentor. Bryn's candor in sharing her struggles and successes as an architectural student studying for - and passing - her exams, all while growing a business and a family, has inspired thousands of architects in training. "If I could make it a little easier for just one person, it would be worth it." What started as Bryn's responsiveness to an increasing flow of individual inquiries from other aspiring professionals has resulted in a robust media platform, including a blog, podcast, and YouTube channel. The impressive body of work that Bryn has cultivated at such an early stage in her career is a testament to her entrepreneurial spirit, generosity, and passion for the craft; her contributions have empowered countless other emerging professionals to persevere, especially women and mothers. Bryn Young's commitment to education, mentorship, and design excellence embodies the core values of the American Institute of Architects.

Click here to read about last year's presenters.

Thank you to our sponsors...

bottom of page