Graduate Affiliates

Kohar Avakian is a first-year Ph.D. student in American Studies. She graduated from Dartmouth College in 2017, with a major in History, modified with Native American Studies. While at Dartmouth, Kohar was a peer mentor for first-year indigenous students, co-president of Native Americans at Dartmouth (NAD), and a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow. After graduation, she interned at the Women’s Resource Center in Armenia (she’s Armenian, Native, and Black) and worked as an ESL teacher at the Adult Learning Center in her hometown of Worcester, Massachusetts. This past year, Kohar was an ESI-PREP Fellow here at Yale, which helped her to get to know the city immensely. Outside of the classroom, Kohar enjoys taking photographs of beautiful landscapes, eating Ben & Jerry’s, playing/watching soccer, and rewatching the Lord of the Rings trilogy. She is always happy to discuss any academic, social, or cultural questions or concerns you might have. Please feel free to reach out to her at

Josh Blecher-Cohen is a third-year student at Yale Law School, where he focuses on antidiscrimination and civil rights law. As an undergrad at Harvard, he studied philosophy and Classics, coxed crew, and organized to make Harvard more equitable for queer and trans students. After graduating, he earned a master’s degree in ancient philosophy at Oxford and did LGBT policy work in New Jersey. He enjoys rock climbing, exploring New Haven coffee shops, and the Yale Cabaret. If you have questions about postgraduate fellowships, law school, or anything else, don’t hesitate to email him at

Rachel Brown is a third-year student at Yale Law School, where she focuses on foreign policy, national security and technology law. Prior to coming to law school, she worked as a research associate at the Council on Foreign Relations, focused mainly on Chinese domestic and international politics. She studied Ethics, Politics, and Economics as an undergrad at Yale. During college she worked with recently resettled refugees in New Haven and was involved with on-campus journalism. She enjoys reading fiction, doing crosswords, running and playing squash. If you have questions about law school, international opportunities at Yale, or anything else, feel free to reach out at

Jill Capotosto is a Master of Environmental Management and Master of Arts, Global Affairs joint-degree student at the School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and the Jackson Institute. After graduating with her BA in Environmental Studies and Strategic Communications from Elon University in North Carolina, Jill moved to Vietnam as a Princeton in Asia fellow to work for a nonprofit combatting wildlife trafficking. She left Hanoi after two years to move to Vermont, where she did communications for a nonprofit working to build climate resilience in U.S. cities and completed her 200 hour yoga teacher training. At Yale, Jill is interested in environmental justice, particularly understanding how climate change affects marginalized urban communities and looking at issues related to climate-induced migration and climate mobility. She spent her first year on campus working both for the Office of Fellowships and Yale Program for Climate Change Communications. If you are interested in environmental justice, climate change, undergraduate and post-grad fellowships, yoga, or generally pursuing a master’s degree in the environment or global affairs, feel free to email Jill at

Tong Cheng is a second-year Ph.D. student in Computer Science, specializing in programming language theory and operating systems. Before starting at Yale, he did his undergraduate degree at HUST in Wuhan, China, where he explored ways combining engineering practice with theoretical foundations in computer systems research, and he views computer science as an exciting amalgam of engineering, mathematics, and philosophy. He is happy to talk about any field of computer science, as well as art, traveling, photography, classical/jazz/minimal music, piano playing, and anything else on your mind. Please feel free to email him at

Brian Earp is a Ph.D. student in philosophy and psychology, as well as Associate Director of the Yale-Hastings Program in Ethics and Health Policy. In college (here at Yale) he studied cognitive science and did a lot of theater and singing (through the Dramat and with the Whiffenpoofs), both of which he’s gone on to do professionally for a number of years. In addition to his academic research, Brian writes for popular magazines like the Atlantic and Slate, and is a proponent of public science communication. Before coming back to Yale as a graduate student, Brian did masters degrees in psychology (Oxford) and philosophy of science (Cambridge) in England; he has also lived in Germany and Poland for a time. Brian is really happy to be affiliated with Benjamin Franklin College and is eager to help build a thriving community here. If you have interest in fellowships or studying abroad, choosing a major or applying to graduate programs in any of the above areas, working as a writer or performer (or want help preparing auditions), or have just general questions about life, feel free to send him an email at

Brian Earp
Joshua Garcia is an M.A.R. student in the Divinity School concentrating on Bible. Before coming to Yale, he double majored in psychology and biblical studies in college and completed an M.T.S. at Boston University School of Theology. As an undergraduate, he traveled through southern and western Europe. As a graduate student, he presented on trauma and the Bible in Jakarta and Indonesia, in addition to participating in an archaeological dig in northern Israel. While his research at Yale concerns the Hebrew Bible in its ancient Near Eastern context, particularly Late Bronze Age/Early Iron Age cult, his training at BU’s seminary gave him the vocabulary to talk about social justice through a theological lens, a perspective that is oftentimes misunderstood but completely necessary in contemporary discourse. If you are interested in the value of a theological education within and apart from formal ministry and the academy, want to talk about the place of religion and spirituality in today’s climate, or would like to swap tips about traveling or trying to adult, let him know at Joshua Garcia
Emily Gerdin is a Ph.D. student in psychology, but before that, she got her bachelor’s at the University of Chicago, where she studied psychology and religious studies. Right after graduating, Emily left the U.S., first to study Arabic in Rabat, Morocco, as a Critical Language Scholar, and then to be a Fulbright Research Fellow in Tel Aviv, Israel. After an exciting year of research and travel, she came back to the U.S. and managed two developmental psychology labs at her alma mater. Emily is happy to talk about pretty much anything but is especially helpful when it comes to the following topics: Applying to language study fellowships (e.g., CLS), applying for research fellowships to study outside of the U.S. (e.g., Fulbright), living outside of the U.S (without fluently speaking the native language), finding and making the most of research experiences prior to graduate school, and all aspects of applying to graduate school in psychology. Please feel free to email Emily anytime at Emily Gerdin

Sheridan Green is a Ph.D. student in physics with research interests in computational and theoretical astrophysics and cosmology. Sheridan grew up in North Carolina and did his undergrad at the University of North Carolina in astrophysics and mathematics. He’s worked on research across a large span of topics in computational modeling, including fluid dynamics, atmospheric chemistry, biological physics of proteins, and cosmological N-body simulations of structure formation in the Universe, so he is happy to talk about research careers in the physical and computational sciences across all sectors (government, academia, and even industry!). Also well trained in the statistical and mathematical sciences, Sheridan can advise on careers in data science and quantitative finance. If you have an interest in a major, a job, or a graduate program in any field that falls under the quantitative or physical sciences umbrella, shoot him an email at

Sheridan Green


Peter Haskin is a first-year Ph.D. student in the history department. With a focus on New Spain, he studies maps, religion, and the environment in the early modern Atlantic world. Peter worked as a legal service provider in Massachusetts’s immigrant communities for three years before moving to New Haven. A graduate of Boston College, Peter has studied in Egypt, Spain, Mexico, and Argentina. He enjoys scoring baseball games, playing volleyball, cooking vegetarian meals, identifying birds, and showing off at bar trivia. You can reach him at

Jimin Hong is a 3rd year PhD candidate in the GRAB Lab of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science department investigating the strategies humans use to dexterously interact with objects. She was born in Seoul, grew up in LA, and earned her BSE in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Princeton University. She’s been to Korea, Japan, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, and Israel in the last 3 years. At Yale, she is the president of Korean Graduate Student Association and leads W{holy} Queer. Jimin considers herself a survivor of Evangelical Christianity, loves to rap, enjoys edgy films, is a masochistic hedonist of 5-star spicy foods, is deprived of a pet doggo, and is always down to chat over coffee or drinks for 21+. If any of the above resonates with you, send her a hello at

Jimin Hong

Ysabel Ilagan-Ying is a fourth-year MD student at Yale School of Medicine. She was born and raised in Pennsylvania, went to high school in Florida (where her family moved permanently to escape the snow), and was a MCDB intensive major from Ezra Stiles College at Yale. In undergrad, she played IM tennis, pursued classes in the School of Art, managed the Buttery, worked as an Asian American Cultural Center Peer Liaison, and conducted basic science research at YSM Reproductive Sciences department. Fun fact – she met her (now) husband at Toad’s. She is extremely involved with YSM curriculum development and clinical research in liver disease at the West Haven VA Hospital, and plans to go to Internal Medicine residency. She is also a fitness instructor and has hosted many bootcamp and barre workout classes at Franklin and Silliman College, as well as MPWR Fitness on Crown St. She is happy to introduce you to her fur baby, Ollie, whom you’ll see running up Science Hill with her when the weather is nice. Let’s talk about surviving (and hopefully thriving) at Yale, painting/drawing, working out, dogs, science research (like finding a lab), taking a gap year (10/10 would recommend), and medical school. She doesn’t drink coffee, but will meet up for tea and/or boba anytime – email
Marius Kothor is a graduate affiliate who can be reached at  
Shirley Kuan is in her second year of nursing school at YSN studying to become a Nurse Practitioner in Adult Gerontology. She is originally from Los Angeles, CA and received her B.S. from University of California-Irvine in Biological Sciences with a minor in Medical Anthropology. She is very passionate about promoting self-care and academic success in students with her myriad of past mentoring and advising experience working as a peer educator for Student Support Services and as the President of XAE National Honor Society Zeta Rho, which is dedicated to promoting student success, especially to those whom identify with being financially disadvantaged and first-generation. Before deciding to come back to school as an MSN student, she spent time working and traveling in Singapore, Malaysia, China, and Japan. She enjoys going on adventures to discover and experience new things. Her hobbies include rock climbing, weight lifting, yoga, arts and crafts, and cooking. Shirley is open to talking to students about academics, traveling, and anything on their mind. Email her at Shirley Kuan

John Lazarsfeld is a first-year Ph.D. student in Computer Science interested in algorithms, machine learning, and the intersection of computer science and the social sciences. He was also an undergraduate at Yale (Silliman, 2017) where he studied economic sociology, traveled abroad to China, and played on the lacrosse team. John is happy to discuss interdisciplinary research, life at Yale, and everything else. He can be reached at

James Nie is a first-year medical student from California. In college (at Stanford), he studied neuroscience and creative writing, and spent a lot of time conducting neuroscience research, running an on-campus publication, and working for a prosthetics based medical non-profit. For the past two years, he worked as a consultant in the biotech and pharmaceutical industries in the Bay Area. Since coming to Yale, he has been involved in biomedical ethics research, plastic surgery research, and the Yale-Canaan Fellows program (venture capital).  If you have an interest in medical school, biomedical ethics, healthcare, or consulting, feel free to send him an email at

Shweta Raghu is a second-year Ph.D. student in the History of Art. She did her undergraduate degree at Dartmouth College, where she double majored in Art History and Math. She also spent a lot of time playing the piano, woodworking, and exploring running and hiking trails in the Upper Valley. During her off terms, she explored a wide variety of career possibilities, including art historical research, art gallery work, sales and trading at a bank, and risk management at a hedge fund. After graduation, Shweta did an art history research fellowship in The Hague, Netherlands, while travelling and studying oil painting. If you are interested in graduate school, double majoring in the arts and sciences, discussing diverse career possibilities, or in living abroad, email Shweta at Shweta Raghu

Nicole Shibley is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Geology & Geophysics, with a focus on studying the dynamics of the Arctic Ocean. She attended Yale as an undergraduate in Trumbull College and majored in Physics. Between college and starting her Ph.D. at Yale, Nicole studied math in Cambridge, England and traveled around Europe (she loves to travel!). If you have questions related to science/math academic trajectories, applying for fellowships to graduate school, or traveling and doing research abroad, shoot her an email at

Nicole Shibley

Daniel Stadtmauer is a Ph.D. student in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology studying the evolution of pregnancy in mammals. He graduated from Yale not too long ago (Ezra Stiles ‘17) and majored in E&EB andin Anthropology, with a focus on East Asia. He grew up near Philadelphia, a city that is very fond of Benjamin Franklin. He ishappy to discuss courses at Yale, a career in science, or anything else. Contact Daniel at
Chang Su is ia third year medical student. Chang was born in Xi’an, China, and immigrated to Calgary, Canada, at the age of 15. Chang attended the University of Pennsylvania, graduating with a major in Bioengineering and a minor in Chemistry. While at Penn, among many things Chang was involved with, she joined the Penn Latin and Ballroom Team and organized the collegiate ballroom competition in Philadelphia for 2 years, went on service trips to Panama and China, did basic science and clinical research, and participated/volunteered for many women in engineering events. She then came straight through to Yale Med. She is happy to talk to you about art, traveling, med school, and anything else on your mind at any time. Email her at Chang Su

Alexandra Suberi is a third year MD/PhD student interested in engineering implantable tissues and devices for medical therapies. She is from Maryland and went to the University of Maryland for college where she majored in Biochemistry and minored in Physics and Nanoscale Science and Technology. Before college, she worked as an English and Math teacher in a Nepali elementary school. She is happy to talk to anyone considering making the plunge on choosing MD vs. PhD vs. both. Contact her at

Alexandra Suberi

Joseph Sullivan is a physics PhD student specializing in condensed matter theory. He did his undergraduate degree at the University of Florida double majoring in math and physics. Before starting at Yale he did a masters degree in math at the University of Cambridge. Joe’s primary hobbies include playing soccer and the guitar. Since arriving at Yale he’s also made futile attempts to become a cryptocurrency millionaire and rekindled his teenage passion for skateboarding.  Joe is happy to talk about science, scholarships, sports etc. Just send him an email at

Joseph Sullivan

Yingqi “Ariel” Tang is a current PhD student in political theory. Hailing from Shanghai, she finds Chinatown to be the most exotic place in New York City. Her research features childhood and education as themes in intellectual history. In particular, she asks how children turn into citizens under different regimes. A former philosophy major at Barnard College, Yingqi is fond of Platonic dialogues, Greek plays, and plants. She occasionally serves as a translator. Her passion for learning languages and travelling took her to Athens, Berlin, and Paris before landing her in New Haven. If you are considering studying humanities, social sciences, or aboard, and if you wonder what college education is for, Yingqi will be happy to chat. Write to

Yingqi Tang

Bailey Trierweiler is a second-year MFA student at Yale School of Drama where she studies sound design. She graduated from the University of Colorado Boulder in 2018 with a BFA in Theatrical Design, Technology and Management and a BA in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. Her theatrical background is rooted in more technical aspects and enjoys the complex problem solving aspects of sound design. Bailey enjoys hammocking, exploring local ice cream shops and listening to music. If you have questions about theater, sound design, grad school in general or anything else, don’t hesitate to email her at

Renee Wasko is a fourth year graduate student in the department of Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology investigating how particular innate immune cells contribute to skin wound healing. She is a Connecticut native and earned her B.S. in molecular and cell biology from the University of Connecticut. In college, Renee spent a semester abroad at the National University of Singapore (when the Yale-NUS College was just opening!) and is always eager to talk about traveling and the profound benefits of studying abroad. After she receives her Ph.D., Renee aspires to enter the startup biotech industry and someday run the research division of her own company. When she’s not in lab, Renee enjoys playing volleyball on virtually any terrain (indoor, beach, and grass), cooking vegetarian and vegan food, and social dancing. She is an avid swing dancer and the current president of the Yale Swing, Blues, & Fusion club. Renee is always happy to grab a meal at Benjamin Franklin’s cozy dining hall and chat about science, entrepreneurship, traveling, the joys and stresses of under-/graduate student life, or virtually anything else. Don’t hesitate to reach out to her at Renee Wasko

Trevor Williams is a second-year graduate student in economics interested in international trade and, more generally, the spatial distribution of economic activity. He graduated in 2017 from Yale College with a major in Economics & Math. During college he was heavily involved in Yale VITA, a volunteer tax preparation service targeted at low-income residents of New Haven, and also did a summer stint in investment banking. He enjoys intramural soccer, good food, and good company (always down for a game of Catan). His email is

Trevor Williams

Xin (Kate) Yang  is a Ph.D. student in psychology, but before that, she got her bachelor’s at the Tsinghua University in Beijing, where she studied psychology and economics. Kate was born in Henan, China, and moved to Guangdong at the age of nine. During her undergraduate, she explored many different subfields of psychology and (especially) the great nature. She has trained and led teams to hike on mountains, deserts, and even plateaus. In terms of research, Kate is always fascinated by the psychology of prejudice, discrimination, and inequality, and she strives to reduce them. Outside research, she enjoys all kinds of outdoor activities, reading books, and making friends. These days, when she is not doing research, you can always find her climbing rocks in City Climb Gym. Kate is happy to talk about pretty much anything but is especially helpful when it comes to the following topics: travelling/living in diverse cultural settings, outdoor activities, exploring various career choices, and all aspects of applying to graduate school in psychology. Please feel free to email Kate anytime at


Lee Ying is a seventh-year MD/PhD student at Yale School of Medicine and Department of Pharmacology/Cardiology. He grew up in San Diego, and went to college at UC Berkeley (Go Bears!) where he majored in Molecular & Cellular Biology and worked as a research associate at the Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute studying gene therapy for inherited diseases of metabolism. He met his (now) wife at Toad’s in his first year of medical school. He completed his PhD in Dr. Kathleen Martin’s lab on the epigenetic regulation of obesity and hormonal mechanisms of weight loss surgery. His passion is fitness – you will see him regularly at Payne Whitney, coaching a workout class at Silliman College or MPWR Fitness on Crown St, or running outside with his dog, Ollie. Feel free to email Lee with questions about MD and/or PhD programs and fitness/diet/nutrition –

Lily Zhao is a Ph.D. student in astronomy and an NSF fellow.  She completed her undergrad at the University of Chicago where she majored in biology, physics, and math, and so she can speak to any of those subjects as well as how to pick the warmest scarf.  Lily does not like travel, so if you want to talk about not going anywhere, she is all ears.  If you are interested in studying any sort of science, applying for graduate programs/research fellowships, or own a struggling house plant, feel free to contact Lily at

Lily Zhao