Sandra Okonofua, Head Graduate Affiliate
Sandra Okonofua is a Yale Sociology Ph.D. student as well as Head Grad Affiliate and Mellon Forum Coordinator at Grace Hopper College. Her research interests sit at the intersection of social stratification, policy, law, race, class, gender and education. Sandra is exploring how local laws and policies contribute to disparities in education access and outcomes. She is also examining the STEM underrepresentation of Black girls and women across the K-16 pipeline. Before coming to Yale, Sandra worked as a school counseling intern in Massachusetts, a high school science teacher in Philadelphia, and a ghostwriter for industry leaders. She holds a Dartmouth B.A., an M.S.Ed from the University of Pennsylvania and an Ed.M. from Harvard University. She enjoys reading fiction, listening to audiobooks, and undertaking culinary adventures.
Graduate Affiliates, 2023-2024
Joysha Agarwal (she/her) is a first year MBA candidate at Yale School of Management. She is devoted to studying consumer behaviour, especially in the Fashion and Lifestyle industries, in hope to build a truly sustainable model which is both affordable and accessible.
Before coming to Yale, she graduated (this year, 2022) with a Bachelors in Fashion Technology (Apparel Production) from NIFT, Delhi (India). Besides school, she has been engaged with campaigns to promote global gender equality.
In her free time, she enjoys walking around exploring the culture, rewatching Bollywood movies, solving sudoku puzzles, and trying her hand at cooking.
Braedyn Au is a 2nd year physics PhD student. His research focuses on neuroscience and how networks of neurons perform computations, particularly in the fly visual system.
Braedyn got his BSc in his hometown of Calgary, Canada where he also studied physics. His fond memories include doing exchange semesters at the University of Hong Kong and Freie Universität Berlin, hiking the Rockies, and exploring various research fields.
In his free time, Braedyn loves running, volleyball, hiking, music festivals, and recently started growing houseplants!
Chad (he/him) is a second-year student at Yale Law School. Originally from a small town in west Michigan, Chad was an English major at Harvard (in Lowell House—the best house) and spent two years as a paralegal at a law firm in D.C. prior to law school.
At the law school, Chad is a board member of the Yale Defenders Society and the Capital Assistance Project, and a co-founder of the Yale Association for Small Claims Assistance. He also works in the Challenging Mass Incarceration Clinic and the Housing Clinic. He aspires to be a public defender after graduation.
Chad is an avid reader and writer of poetry. He is also a first-generation college student and loves connecting with other first-gen students. He is so excited to be at the best college at Yale!
Emily Breeze is a first-year playwright at the David Geffen School of Drama. Her girlfriend calls her plays “women having a bad time”, and her rejection letters have called her plays “this is not comedy”.
She attended Vassar College for undergrad, and has worked in professional theatre and film for the last ten years, across the country and internationally.
Originally from the Bay Area, her family moved to the CT shoreline when Emily was in middle school, so she knows all the cool kid spots, especially MakeHaven, which she will happily give you a tour of.
Hillary Browning (she/her) is a first year student at Yale Law School. Originally from Texas, she enlisted in the Navy shortly after graduating from high school and served for six years as a journalist. She was stationed in Japan and Virginia and deployed to Afghanistan. While on active duty she completed her associate’s degree at a community college and then transferred to Yale College as part of the Eli Whitney Students Program. She graduated in 2020 and then worked with a non-profit that helps veterans apply to undergraduate and graduate programs.
At the law school she is a member of several affinity groups and student organizations. She’s interested in tax law and litigation finance.
She is married to an Eli Whitney student (James Glatt!) and has two kids. She enjoys cycling, baking and exploring the Northeast.
Adriana is a second-year PhD student in the Department of Sociology at Yale. Her academic interests include international migration, race and ethnicity, and social stratification. In particular, her work examines Central American migration to the U.S. and the mechanisms that shape the incorporation and exclusion of immigrant youth and adults.
A first-generation college graduate, Adriana earned her BA in sociology from Pitzer College in 2018. Prior to Yale, she was as an Admission Officer at UCLA, where she worked closely with first-generation and working-class students in the Los Angeles area, the city she calls home.
In her free time, Adriana enjoys traveling, going to concerts and music festivals, and watching new tv shows. She looks forward to meeting you all!
Joanna Fuyao Chen
Joanna is an MD-PhD student, pursuing her PhD in biomedical engineering. Her research aims to improve clinical decision-making with artificial intelligence tools and medical imaging.
Joanna was born and raised in Shanghai, China. She is an international student and first-generation college student. She came to the US at the age of nineteen to obtain her bachelor’s degree in engineering from Vanderbilt University.
At Yale, she is currently involved with HAVEN Free Clinic as one of the care coordination co-directors and is serving as a student lead for the AI in Medicine interest group. She is also active in several programs that support students from first-generation and/or low-income backgrounds.
In her free time, Joanna enjoys cooking, exploring different languages, watching documentaries, and attempting some crochet projects!
Mary is a 2nd year PhD student in History and Classics. Her research predominantly focuses on the Hellenistic Period, and she has a keen interest in cultural interaction, intellectual history, and religious syncretism.
Mary is from the North West of England and completed both her undergraduate and Masters degrees at St John’s College, Oxford. At undergrad she studied Classics and Egyptology, and studied for a year abroad in Munich on a scholarship. Her Masters was in Ancient History. Before joining Yale she took a year out of education to work in the catering department of her local hospital.
In her spare time she enjoys travelling, playing guitar and cooking new recipes. When she is at home in the UK she enjoys going to the pub with friends, and attends a weekly pub quiz.
Harry Doernberg is a current Yale medical student and former Hoplite (HC ‘19!) graduating with degrees in MB&B and Music then receiving an M.M. in Cello Performance through the 5-year program. At Yale College, he was a member of Low Strung, YSO, Yale Cellos, and club wrestling. A Massachusetts native, he plans to do Internal Medicine with a focus on patients with developmental disabilities.
In his free time, Harry enjoys running, playing music, and trying to keep his plants alive.
Alex Fialho (he/they) is a PhD candidate in Yale University’s Combined PhD program in the History of Art and African American Studies. As an art historian and curator, his research and writing focus on modern and contemporary art, Black feminist and queer theory, and AIDS cultural studies. Fialho’s dissertation thinks through photography by African American artists and archives of their work as apertures onto AIDS-related art histories.
Alex enjoys biking to the beach and on the Farmington Canal.
Alex Grizos (she/her) is a second year MBA candidate at the Yale School of Management. She is the Co-President of SOM’s Women in Management club. She spent her summer in NY working in consulting. Prior to Yale, she graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 2017 where she majored in Health & Societies. After graduation, she completed a fellowship in the Ruhr region of Germany and spent four years in consulting.
Outside of school, Alex can be found going for walks around New Haven and visiting museums.
Messiah is a 2nd Year Actor at the David Geffen School of Drama. They hold a B.A from Sarah Lawrence College. Credits include: The Ripple The Wave That Carried Me Home (u/s).
Laura is a second year J.D. student at Yale Law School. Originally from Texas, Laura became passionate about public health and health equity during her time at UT Austin, where she graduated with degrees in health and society and economics and worked in journalism. Before coming to Yale, Laura studied in the UK as a Marshall Scholar, earning her Masters in Public Health from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and her Masters in Global Governance and Diplomacy from Oxford.
At the law school, Laura works at the intersection between public health, law, and policy. She is involved with the Reproductive Rights and Justice Project, the Global Health Justice Partnership, the Solomon Center for Health Law and Policy, the Yale Law Journal, and the Yale Journal for Health Law, Policy & Ethics.
Outside of academic work, Laura enjoys exploring East Rock, kayaking, and generally trying to be artsy.
Daniel Henick is a current ophthalmology resident at Yale New Haven Hospital and former Hopper undergrad (HC ‘17!) who graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Psychology while also completing the premedical curriculum. As an undergraduate, he was a member of the Yale Symphony Orchestra, Superfly ultimate frisbee team, as well as the steel drums ensemble. Before starting medical school, he was a Medical Assistant in Massachusetts. He is from New Jersey and completed his MD at Mount Sinai in NYC.
In his free time, Daniel enjoys playing ultimate frisbee, cooking big dinners, and spending time with his fiance and cat named Asher.
Sergio Infante is a Ph.D. student in History and a Hopper alum (from the first class to graduate using the college’s new name: HC ‘18). After leaving Yale, he earned an M.Phil. in Modern South Asian Studies at the University of Cambridge and worked as an editor at Foreign Affairs. His current research focuses on how development economists (and other social scientists) understood the relationship between poverty and productivity.
Sergio loves cycling down the canal trail and hiking up Sleeping Giant.
Liz Jacob (she/her) is a third year student at Yale Law School. Liz is a passionate advocate for environmental justice and deeply committed to serving alongside communities of color and low-income communities to build a healthier, more just world for all. Liz received her B.A. in Environmental Science and Policy and Sustainability Marketing from the College of William and Mary, where she was a Gates Millennium Scholar. Prior to starting law school, Liz worked for several years in the environmental movement, organized for immigrant justice, and served alongside her colleagues to unionize her workplace. As a student leader at YLS, Liz has served on the boards of eight affinity groups and student organizations to advocate for environmental and immigrant justice, provide legal resources to community-based organizations, support students from underrepresented backgrounds, and facilitate student-led reading groups and learning spaces.
In her free time, Liz enjoys organizing in the New Haven community, trying new ice cream flavors, and running with her dog, Juno!
Galen is in his first year of a joint master’s degree program at the Yale School of Public Health and School of Management. Prior to Yale, he served for nine years in the U.S. Army as a Special Forces Medic. Galen spent four years stationed in Germany, where he was able to work and travel across Europe. After leaving the military, he moved to San Francisco to attend school, explore the Sierras, and occasionally volunteer in Eastern Europe. He is enthusiastic about further exploring humanitarian work during his time at Yale.
Galen absolutely loves learning new skills. From knitting to skydiving, he will try pretty much anything. On nice days you can often find him running through the park or having a coffee at one of the many East Rock markets.
Lauren Killingsworth (she/her) is a 4th year MD-PhD student in the History of Science and Medicine. She is from the San Francisco Bay Area, where she developed a love for the outdoors. She studied Biology at Stanford University, then went on to study the History of Science at the University of Cambridge as a Gates Cambridge Scholar. She studies the history of infectious disease control in the 20th century.
Lauren loves hiking, cycling along the Farmington Canal Trail, tending to her growing collection of house plants, and exploring new cities and museums. She also loves animals - she is an avid dog-walker in New Haven (pictured here with her pup Katrina) and also enjoys bird watching and wildlife photography in East Rock park. She can often be found walking pups around New Haven with her favorite beverage (boba from Whale Tea!).
Pawel is a first-year MPH student at the Yale School of Public Health focusing on social and behavioral sciences with a concentration on climate change and health. He is also a Policy Fellow at the Yale Center on Climate Change and Health, a member of the Yale Public Health First-Generation/Low-Income Student Group, and a member of the steering committee for the 2023 Yale Philanthropy Conference.
Pawel was the first in his family to attend college and received his BA in sociology from Columbia in 2018. Most recently, Pawel was on the corporate engagement and philanthropic team at Goldman Sachs. Outside of Yale, Pawel serves as an elected councilmember on his hometown’s city council in Garfield, New Jersey.
Beyond that, Pawel loves cycling (slowly), visiting museums (and pretending to know about the art), and reading books (but actually more like buying books and not reading them).
Sage Mason is a second-year J.D. student at Yale Law School. A native of New York City, Sage is passionate about using law and policy to increase access to opportunity for members of historically disadvantaged groups, while making space for all perspectives. Sage comes to Yale as a transfer student, having spent his first year of law school at Washington University in St. Louis. He graduated from Emory University in 2020 where he majored in Philosophy, Politics & Law.
At the law school, Sage is an Articles Editor for the Yale Law & Policy Review, a member of the Community and Economic Development Clinic, a Hurst Horizon Scholar, and a Ludwig Fellow in the Tsai Leadership Program. He is thrilled to join the Yale community, excited to explore New Haven, and grateful for the opportunity to get to know everyone at Grace Hopper.
Doménica Merino (she/her) is a third year student at Yale Law School. She calls both Quito, Ecuador (where she is from) and Atlanta, Georgia (where she grew up) home. At Harvard College, she studied sociology, history, and political science with a focus on reproductive health and rights in Latin America. After graduating, she with the U.S. Litigation and U.S. Human Rights teams at the Center for Reproductive Rights.
At the law school, Doménica is involved with the San Francisco Affirmative Litigation Project, the Latinx Law Students Association, the Ludwig Program in Public Sector Leadership, the Solomon Center for Health Law and Policy, the Reproductive Rights and Justice Project, and the Yale Law Journal.
In her free time, Doménica likes to travel with her fiancé, whether that means searching for easy hikes in the area or visiting a new city abroad. Since law school, she has started watching reality T.V. and reading romance novels—the verdict is still out on whether this current pastime will stick.
Jacob Morrow-Spitzer is a PhD candidate in Yale’s Department of History. An affiliate of the Yale Judaic Studies Program, he works broadly on American Jewish history, with a particular focus on Jewish engagement in issues of race, politics, and citizenship in the 19th and 20th centuries. He also works as a Writing Fellow at Yale’s Graduate Writing Lab. After graduating from Tulane University in 2018 with a B.A. in History and Jewish Studies, Jacob worked at a non-profit in Jackson, Mississippi, and then as a historical consultant to a local development project in Portland, ME.
Outside of work, Jacob is a competitive distance runner, an ultimate frisbee player, and a lover of all things outdoors.
Amanda Royka is a PhD student in psychology and former Hopper undergrad (HC ‘18). After graduating with her B.S. in cognitive science, Amanda won a Marshall Scholarship, which allowed her to study at Queen Mary University of London and the University of Edinburgh. She currently studies how humans and monkeys track what other individuals are aware of.
Amanda enjoys jogging up East Rock and crocheting.
Ann Sarnak is a third-year law student at Yale Law School. Originally from New Jersey, she graduated from Yale (and Hopper College!) in 2017 after studying history and participating in the Global Health Scholars program. She pursued a Master’s in Comparative Social Policy at Oxford through Yale’s Henry Fellowship and then returned to her home state of New Jersey to serve in state government. Ann focused primarily on affordable housing policy. At Yale Law School, she has been the co-president of the Law and Political Economy Society, and worked for SEIU 1199NE, SEIU International, and labor and public interest-focused firms.
In her free time, Ann enjoys long-distance running, crosswords, and live music.
Robert Xiangru Tang
Robert Xiangru Tang is a Ph.D. student in Computer Science. He got a master’s degree at Yale as well. His research focuses on the intersection of biology and machine learning. He is working on trustworthy machine learning methods development for computational biology and healthcare applications. Before coming to Yale, he worked in natural language processing at Microsoft Research Asia and Sinovation Ventures.
He is passionate about triathlon, cycling, tennis, and ping-pong. Beyond research, he would like to help to develop a tech community that is committed to increasing the representation, retention, and advancement of marginalized genders. He also loves being involved in Hopper student life!
Katy Wilson is a Ph.D. student in the School of Environment. Working at the intersection of environment, policy, and business, her research explores mechanisms that encourage corporations to support the transition to a low-carbon economy.
Katy graduated with her B.A. in geography from the University of Cambridge before being awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study her masters in Climate Science and Policy at Columbia University. She spent a year working at a climate tech start-up in Manhattan before returning to University for her Ph.D.
As a former Varsity swimmer, Katy loves all water-based sports and views daily exercise as a critical part of her well-being. She is also an avid foodie, cooking and exploring new restaurants whenever she gets a chance.
Stephanie is a 4th year Ph.D. student in Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science. Her research area is soft robotics, and within that she specializes in stretchable and soft electronics, shape-sensing, and shape-morphing robots. Before starting at Yale, Stephanie received her bachelor’s degree from Boston University, where she discovered her love for research (and Boston).
In her free time, she takes dance lessons of all kinds, sings Broadway tunes in the car, and is attempting to learn to mountain bike. She also has a passion for eating, but unfortunately not for cooking, and would one day like to go on a sea kayaking adventure.
Dmitriy Yakubov is a second-year MPP student at the Jackson School, focusing on international security and American foreign policy in Eastern Europe.
Dmitriy immigrated to the United States from Russia. He graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with a BArch and a BS in international relations and politics. He is a U.S. Navy Civil Engineer Corps officer and completed tours in Seabee battalions and SEAL teams, as well as at shore installations in the U.S. and Europe.
He rowed for the CMU Tartans and is currently a volunteer assistant coach for the Yale Men’s Lightweight Crew.
Marcus Yee is a Ph.D. student in History, studying environmental histories of modern Southeast Asia. Marcus is a member of the Yale Council of Southeast Asian Studies’ Graduate Student Committee. He earned a B.A. from the University of Hong Kong, double majoring in History and Earth Systems Science, with a minor in Thai.
Born and raised in Singapore, he is concerned about climate action, and enjoys hiking, kayaking, and doing pottery in his free time.
Jim Zhou is a second-year Computer Science Master’s student at Yale, having completed his undergraduate studies at UCLA. He is the course manager for CPSC 323, a core Computer Science course, and serves as the Computer Science Department representative at the Yale Graduate Student Assembly and the Yale Graduate School of Arts & Sciences representative at the Yale Graduate & Professional Student Senate. Additionally, he is affiliated with Hopper College, Captain for Yale Club Archery, Graduate Liaison for the Berkeley College Orchestra, and Student Ambassador for the Yale School of Engineering & Applied Science. Outside of academics, he enjoys playing the clarinet, cooking, and participating in community activism.