STARS 2014 STAFF (Enid Chen, Taneshia Higgins, Jennifer Wanninger, Dr. Elisa Maldonado)


Dr. Elisa Maldonado, STARS Director

Dr. Elisa Maldonado, STARS Director

  Dr. Elisa Maldonado is the interim director of the 2014 STARS program. Dr. Maldonado has extensive experience with undergraduate programs at the University of California and is the recipient of several  prestigious fellowships designed for underrepresented scientists. She received her Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology from UC Los Angeles. While at UCLA, she participated in the UC LEADS program. Dr. Maldonado then received a National Science Foundation Graduate Research and Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowships to attend graduate school and received her Ph.D. in Marine Biology from Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego. While a graduate student at UC San Diego, she was a graduate advocate for the STARS program. After graduate school, Dr. Maldonado was awarded a National Science Foundation Minority Postdoctoral Fellowship to work in the Aizenberg Biomineralization and Biomimetics Laboratory in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard University. She stayed on in the Aizenberg group for another year as the Laboratory Manager, where she managed the daily operations of a 50+ person laboratory. She is excited to be back in sunny San Diego and working with students again in the STARS program. In her spare time, Dr. Maldonado enjoys hiking, biking, rock climbing, and hanging out with her kitten Cumbia.

Jennifer Wanninger, Graduate Assistant

Jennifer Wanninger, Graduate Assistant

Jennifer Wanninger is the graduate assistant of STARS and assists in the planning and execution of the program. She is a recent UCSD alum, having graduated with her Master of Pacific International Affairs from the School of International Relations and Pacific Studies this past June. In addition to her new degree, she has a serious case of wanderlust and a penchant for getting lost.


Enid Chen is the undergraduate assistant of STARS and helps manage the many intricacies and details that arise day-to-day. She is entering her third year at UCSD, with a major in management science and a minor in accounting. She plans to graduate early and immediately take her CPA exam. Enid also loves German Shepherds and frequently chases after her own, named Brownie.

Taneshia Higgins is the financial officer of the 2014 STARS program.





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