President Courtney Benson
Secretary Juliati Rahajeng
Treasurer Ana Laura Guerrero
Member at Large Alex Clark
Member at Large Kina Thackray
Member at Large Wendy Ochoa

President: Courtney Benson

CBensonCourtney Benson, Ph.D. earned her B.S. and M.S. at SDSU in cell and molecular biology, and her Ph.D. in neuroscience from the University at Buffalo. Courtney is currently working at BlueNalu, Inc. as a scientist and is excited to help generate a sustainable food product that will be of value to humans and for our oceans. When Courtney joined AWIS San Diego in October of 2017, she immediately joined the Outreach Committee and then joined the AWIS San Diego Board as a Member at Large. She is enthusiastic about outreach in the community and leading AWIS-SD as President. As president of AWIS-SD, you can reach her This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..








Secretary: Juliati Rahajeng


Juliati Rahajeng, Ph.D., R.A.C. is a Clinical Strategy Scientist at Cato Research. She earned her Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of Nebraska Medical Center in 2011. Then, she went on to obtain postdoctoral training from the University of California San Diego in cancer cell biology. She received her Regulatory Affairs Certification from the Regulatory Affairs Professional Society (RAPS) in July 2019. Juliati has been a member of AWIS-SD since 2012. Previously, she served as a co-chair of the Newsletter Committee and the Academia to Industry Coffee Club of AWIS-SD.

Email her by clicking This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.




Treasurer: Ana Laura Guerrero

Ana Laura Guerrero, Ph.D. is Sr Logistics Analyst, Packaging Engineer at Illumina. She earned her Ph.D. in Bioengineering from the University of California Riverside and her M.S. in Industrial Engineering from the University of Texas at El Paso. She has been a member from AWIS since 2012 serving on multiple positions on the board. She is currently the treasurer for the AWIS San Diego chapter. On her free time she enjoy a wine tasting, reading fiction novels and spending time with her dogs baloo and pulgas.

Click here to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Ana.




Member at Large: Alex Clark

alex2018 Alex is a postdoc at UCSD in the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine studying host-viral interactions during Zika Virus and Human Cytomegalovirus infections.

Alex obtained a B.S. in Biology from Purdue University and a Ph.D. from the UCSD Biology Department studying the interplay between Cytomegalovirus and the host cell cycle.

Outside of the lab, Alex enjoys photography, running, and all things sci-fi. Alex became a member of AWIS in 2014 and has been a co-chair of the Website Committee since 2015 and also served on the WIST 2015 Committee.






Member at Large: Kina Thackray

kina Varykina (Kina) Thackray, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences at UC San Diego. She did her graduate work at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center and completed her post-doctoral training in reproductive endocrinology at UC San Diego. She has been passionate about supporting and expanding the participation of women in STEM for many years. She has been a member of AWIS San Diego since 2005. Previously, she served as a member and co-chair of the AWIS Scholarship Committee for 10 years. She then joined the AWIS Outreach Committee where she enjoys organizing outreach activities for the San Diego community. Click here to email her.









Member at Large: Wendy Ochoa


52018 abstract art 285173Wendy Ochoa has worked as an Assistant Professor at Grossmont and National University and UCSD Extension. She is about to embark in a new professional adventure as a Scientific Solutions Consultant at Benchling. She worked as a Senior Marketing Communications Manager at MO BIO Laboratories, now Qiagen. MO BIO researchers and manufactures DNA & RNA Isolation Kits that support Microbiology Research all over the world.

She obtained her Ph.D. at the University of Barcelona in the field of Structural Virology. She continued her academic research at The Scripps Research Institute, UCSD and The Sandford-Burnham Institute in San Diego.













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