Mission Statement Interstitials is a peer mentoring program designed to support both undergraduate and graduate students through challenges that might arise throughout the degree program.
Undergraduate Students: There is a weekly interactive seminar series on Mondays from 5:00 – 6:00 pm in HMMB 348 designed to introduce lower-division students to materials science applications in the real world, as well as to discuss the challenges that might arise throughout the first two years of your studies. Check the calendar for topics! Additionally, you can request an undergraduate or graduate student mentor to discuss these challenges more privately with. Professional advice is available for upper-division undergraduate students as well. If you are an undergraduate interested in getting additionial mentorship, fill out this form: https://forms.gle/yDchQ5LMNseYrDjw8
Graduate Students: The transition into graduate school can be quite challenging, and we are here to provide support during this challenging period. If you are a graduate student and would like to request a mentor, fill out this form: https://forms.gle/Gk6DhBrv5Nurrf116
Graduate Student Mentors
Second Year PhD Student, Mary Scott
Alex recieved her B.S. in Chemistry and Biology from Temple University (Go Owls!). During her time in Philadelphia, she spent a lot of time in educational outreach, and hopes to use what she learned in throughout her time at Temple to help guide undergraduate and graduate students through different challenges they might face during their time in school. She is especially interested in mentoring first year graduate students through the challenges faced switching into an MSE program from a different field and undergraduates who are interested in applying to graduate programs in a field different from their major. Her favorite thing about living in Berkeley is being so close to the beach.
Third year PhD Student, Kristin Persson
Martin’s favorite things about Berkeley are the good views right behind campus, the various street festivals, the food, and the nearby national and state parks. Martin feels comfortable mentoring anyone, but is especially interested in helping people earlier in the college career, and people who are having doubts about staying in STEM. Additionally, Martin is a member of the LGBTQ+ community and would be happy to mentor anyone who identifies with this community.
Second year PhD Student, Kristin Persson
Hi! I grew up in Rockville, Maryland and I am very excited to be out on the West coast, close to real mountains and lots of beautiful nature. In my undergrad I had great mentors in the labs where I worked, but I definitely would have benefited from an outside mentor. Through Interstitials, I hope to provide that outside mentorship to others! A little bit about me: I spend a lot of time thinking about plastic recycling, both for research and for science policy. For fun, I climb, run, and in general try to spend as much time outside as I can. I also transferred during my undergrad and changed majors as a junior, so I know a bit about taking a meandering path to Materials Science.
Second year PhD Student, Mark Asta
Nick grew up in Las Vegas, Nevada, and got his degree at the University of Nevada, Reno. As an undergraduate he worked as a tutor for student athletes, and as an editor for student science publications. Now, he works on computer things with Mark Asta. Nick loves the great food and music in Berkeley, which are some of his favorite hobbies. He’s especially interested in helping students that are new at the university or students wanting to go to graduate school.
Hi! I did my undergrad at UC Berkeley, so I have a good understanding of the student life in the area and can reminiscence about how things were back in my day. I like cooking, video games, basketball, and am involved in a church on campus. I’m really excited to be able to be a resource for students who are a little bit earlier in their journeys (I feel like I sound old, I’m 24), and help them have a productive, but also really satisfying experience in their programs. My favorite part of Berkeley is the people I’ve met who are really intelligent, genuine, and passionate about the things they do. I’m working in high throughput computation of piezoelectric materials properties and so I’d be comfortable mentoring someone in theory or someone who just wants to know they’re on the right track for their PhD/undegrad program.
2nd Year PhD Student, Persson Lab, Economics (Materials Science through extension at Berkeley)
Hey everyone! I’m a second year in the Persson group studying cobalt-free battery cathode surfaces. I did my undergraduate in economics at Vassar College and then spent two years taking MatSci and physics classes at Berkeley. I also worked in the Alivistaos lab in chemistry and in the Chrzan lab before starting graduate school here. I’m really into urban design, namely making cities denser, affordable, more walkable and pedestrian friendly. To relax, I play a little guitar or bass and study German or Spanish.
Favorite part about Berkeley: There are so many fantastic departments here. It’s cool you can take classes from real experts and leaders in their field.
What you are comfortable mentoring in: Work-life balance, de-stressing, scheduling and time management, changing from one field to another.
Ellis Rae Kennedy
2nd year PhD Student, Mary Scott
Ellis studies STEM Fluctuation Electron Microscopy Studies of Amorphous Materials. Her favorite part of Berkeley is the diverse, colorful flowers and fruit trees in people’s yards; her favorite part of the Bay Area is the active grassroots political and social groups and the ease with which one can get involved in non-academic communities. Ellis is comfortable mentoring undergraduates with a career focus or a grad school focus, as well as those looking for internships.
2nd Year PhD Studen, Ting Xu
Emma works on self-assembly of block-copolymer supramolecules with nanoparticles. Her favorite thing about living in Berkeley is a three-way tie between my classmates, the glorious weather, and Berkeley Bowl. Emma is comfortable mentoring students transitioning from high school to undergraduate, and those looking to go to graduate school focus.
Second Year PhD Student, Kristin Persson
Ann works on multivalent batteries. Her favorite thing in Berkeley is the Berkeley Bowl and the diverse fruit selection! Ann is happily interested in mentoring students wanting to go into grad school or careers.
2nd year PhD Student, Kristin Person
Matt studies the computational prediction of solid-state material synthesis pathways and has a love for robotics/automation. He grew up in Austin, TX and has a B.S. Mechanical Engineering from The University of Texas at Austin, where he was an active member of the Longhorn Band and the Austin music scene. Matt’s favorite part about Berkeley is its fantastic weather and location next to some of the world’s most beautiful environmental wonders. He especially loves mentoring students who are going through transitions — whether that means moving to grad school, or just starting an undergraduate degree here and finding their best life routine!
1st-year PhD student, Mark Asta
Enze uses simulations and machine learning to study the behavior and properties of metallic alloys. His favorite part about life at Berkeley is the vibrant community that’s created by the diverse student body. When not thinking about MSE, Enze enjoys cooking, dancing, teaching, and living in uncertainty. He is happy to discuss anything on the mentee’s mind, particularly if it pertains to a liberal education, work-life balance, and post-undergrad career paths (e.g. industry, Masters, or PhD—or all three!).
Evan Walter Clark Spotte-Smith
First-year PhD student, Kristin Persson Group
Evan is originally from the suburbs of Maryland, but he managed to escape to New York long enough to receive a degree in Materials Science and Engineering from Columbia University. Evan’s current research centers on computational modeling of complex reactive environments with a special focus on the solid-electrolyte interphase in Li-ion and Mg-ion batteries. His favorite part about Berkeley is the hills and the fog – it feels like you’re on an adventure every day! Evan would be happy to mentor students considering research or teaching careers, or just to give general guidance and support!
Undergraduate Student Mentors
MSE Major, Junior (Graduation: Spring 2021)
I like how collaborative our department (mse) is due to how small it is. I also like how its a large collection of nerds. I am comfortable mentoring only the high school- college transition, selecting course work, and possibly getting involved in lab work. I don’t have experience with getting internships or applying to grad school.
MSE/ME Joint Major, Junior
My favorite part of Berkeley is getting the chance to meet so many different and interesting people! I also love all the good food and boba around Berkeley. I’m comfortable mentoring anyone in the High school – college transitions or also in the MSE/ME joint major.
MSE Major, Junior
My favorite thing about living in Berkeley is being surrounded by so many intelligent people! I’m really inspired by the people around me to work harder and learn more
I’d like to mentor people in the high school-college transition, and people minoring in non-STEM topics.