Graduate Affiliates

Hey TD! We are the TD Grad Affiliates and we’re excited to meet you! We’re a group of graduate and professional students who are interested in working with, giving back to, and learning from the TD undergrad community. Our main function within the college is mentoring seniors on thesis presentations for Mellon Forums. We’re a great resource for students in both social and academic contexts. Feel free to ask us about grad school life, the process of applying to grad programs, New Haven life outside of Yale College, life after college, the “real world,” or anything really! We’re a growing program and we’re all really friendly, so feel free to say hi if you see us around the courtyard.

Head Graduate Affiliate

James Bonanno (Email:

Hello! My name is James (he/him) and I am a fourth-year student in the Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program. I am originally from Long Island and I studied Neuroscience and Cognitive Science at Vassar College. At my undergraduate college, I researched the role of astrocytes in cognition. My current research focuses on functional recovery from spinal cord injury. Outside of research, my interests include science outreach and American politics. Please feel free to reach out if you are interested in research or graduate school. I look forward to meeting you all!

Graduate Affiliates 

Caroline Francis (Email:

Hello TD! My name is Caroline, and I am a third-year M.D. student from Portland, OR. My undergraduate years were spent in Missouri at Washington University in St. Louis where I studied biology and psychological and brain sciences. At WashU, mentoring first-years as they adjusted to college and working with students as a teaching assistant were two of my favorite roles. After WashU, I spent two gap years working at an employment agency in Portland – Mulberry Talent Partners. Optimizing resumes and LinkedIn profiles as well as providing interview practice and career guidance were rewarding parts of this job and previous undergraduate mentorship positions. Whether you are aspiring toward a career in medicine or any other profession, I would be excited to speak with you about achieving academic and personal success in college, planning gap years, applying to graduate school and jobs, and anything else! Looking forward to working with each of you as one of your Graduate Affiliates!

Jenna Cook (Email:

Hello! My name is Jenna (she/her) and I am a third-year law student. I graduated from Yale College in 2014 and majored in Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies (WGSS). After graduation, I lived in China for three years–first, as a Fulbright scholar; then, as an instructor at Yale Young Global Scholars Beijing; and finally, as a MA student at Peking University. In 2017, I returned to the US to begin the Harvard sociology PhD program. I lived in Cambridge, Massachusetts until moving to New Haven to start law school. Last summer (2022), I worked in Connecticut state government, and this coming summer (2023) I will work at a law firm in New York. If you are interested in WGSS (or are trying to decide which major to choose–I changed my major four times!), China, sociology, PhD programs, law school, or legal careers please feel free to reach out. Looking forward to getting to know you.

Adi Kumar (Email:

Hi! I’m Adi, a fifth year History PhD Candidate researching race, social movements, and South Asian American history. In my spare time, I love to meditate, listen to rnb, and hang out with my cat Keanu. If you’re interested in PhD programs, history, or want to see more photos of my cat — feel free to reach out!

Henry Burnam (Email:

I’m a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Music. This is my seventh year at Yale—and my seventh year as a grad affiliate in TD! My dissertation project examines the intertwined histories of comparative musicology and Gestalt psychology in early twentieth-century Berlin. I also work on 13th- and 14th- century polyphony and notation, and am one of the organizers of Yale’s Medieval Song Lab. In my spare time, I play the piano and harpsichord. Other hobbies include bicycling, lifting, and keeping up with my favorite “reality TV show” (the Twitter v. Musk litigation). Let me know if you have any questions about grad school, music at Yale, or the New Haven food scene!

Atreyo Pal (Email:">

Hey TD! My name is Atreyo Pal (pronouns he/him), and I’m a fourth year PhD candidate in Genetics. I graduated from the University of Chicago in 2020 after majoring in Physics and Biology. I study specific regions in the genome (called Human Accelerated Regions or HARs) to identify genomic elements that might affect uniquely human traits, such as having a larger brain compared to other primates (like chimpanzee). I love talking about science to people outside my field, and have taught at the Yale Young Global Scholars for the past two years. I’m happy to chat about grad school and careers across the physical or biological sciences, especially about interdisciplinary opportunities spanning (seemingly) unrelated areas. Outside lab, I am an avid chess and tennis player, and love traveling. Excited to meet and get to know you all!

Saahil Chadha (Email:">

Hey there! I’m Saahil (he/him), and I’m a second-year medical student. I’m originally from Minnetonka, MN – we’re known for Tonka Trucks and Minnetonka Moccasins if you’ve heard of those! After growing up in the Midwest, I went to the West Coast and got my bachelor’s in Computer Science from UC Berkeley. Had a blast exploring the Bay Area and Northern California during that time. During college, I also worked at the Jain Lab at UCSF studying the basic science of how the human body responds to varying oxygen levels (too high or too low) as well as the cellular effects of vitamin deficiencies. I was primarily computational, developing pipelines to analyze the data my lab generated. Having really enjoyed the research I did in this lab, I continued to be interested in how we can utilize technology to answer clinical research questions as well as assist at the point of care in medicine. After graduating, I spent a year working at Amazon as a software engineer to continue developing my technical skills before moving to the East Coast to start here at YSM this fall. Outside of class, I enjoy hiking, trying out new restaurants, and just watching Netflix/Hulu (current favorite is Abbott Elementary). Let me know if you have any recs! Feel free to reach out if you have similar interests or just want to chat.  Àshe!

Jialu Zhang (Email:

I am a seventh-year Computer Science Ph.D. student at Yale University, advised by Prof. Ruzica Piskac. My research interests are Automated Program Repair, AI-assisted Programming, Large Language Model in Software Engineering and Machine Learning. Currently I am focusing on automated program repair. Previously, I worked on detecting misconfigurations in systems.

Louise Oelofse (Email:

Hi all, I’m Louise (she/her). I’m a second-year MBA student at the Yale School of Management. Before starting my journey at SOM, I was an Associate in the JPMorgan Chase & Co. Finance Function, based in London. I earned my undergraduate degree in Economics and Accounting from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. On a lighter note: I am proudly South African, I enjoy swimming and running for exercise, and I take board games and card games way too seriously! I’m excited to connect with you all and happy to discuss any academic questions and related interests!

Steve Bai (Email:

Hey folks! My name is Steve Bai (he/his) and I am a Ph.D. student in political science at Yale. My research primarily focuses on political behaviors and social policies in authoritarian states; I am also interested in anthropology, particularly on the topic of food and immigration. As a self-proclaimed city nomad, I have lived in Beijing, Boston, Beirut, Hong Kong, and Montreal, while conducting fieldwork in various countries and regions. Prior to my arrival at Yale, I also worked as a journalist, a bartender, a food writer, and a barista. In case you are interested in politics, food, or drinks, feel free to reach out to me! 

Audrey Smith (Email:

Hey TD! I’m Audrey. I’m a distance runner, travel lover, food enthusiast, and wannabe painter. I’m also a second-year PhD student in the School of the Environment, where my research focuses on the health and equity dimensions of urban climate mitigation and adaptation. Built environments and cities are central to my research–and I’m fascinated by them, maybe because I’ve lived in so many all over the country! I’m a native of Santa Cruz, CA and most recently lived in Miami, FL (so of course I’m a big ocean lover, and recently got scuba certified!). I also lived in Houston and Oakland for my undergrad and masters at Rice and UC Berkeley, respectively. I was an active member of my own residential college while at Rice, so I’m very excited to get to know the TD community!

Stephan Waizmann (Email:

Hello everyone! I am Stephan, a Ph.D. student in Economics. Before coming to Yale, I studied in Germany, Scotland, and France. I love to play football and chess, and drink too much coffee. While I cannot tell you what stocks to buy, feel free to reach out if you have a question or just want to talk. Excited to get to know you!

Shuozhen Bao (Email:

Hello! My name is Shuozhen (she/her/hers) and I’m a fourth-year PhD student in biomedical
engineering. My research topic focuses on the co-profiling of spatial epigenome and
transcriptome of glioblastoma, which is the most malignant brain tumor. I come from China
with a strong background of traditional Chinese culture, and I am good at Chinese calligraphy
and historical literature. In my spare time, I play a lot of table tennis and read the detective
novels including Agatha Christie and Seicho Matsumoto. I also have a great toolset for needle
felting and temari (hand-made decorations). I will be happy to share anything I know about the
PhD study and above interests. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions. Looking
forward to getting to know you.
Bohan Chen (Email:

Hi TD! I’m Bohan, a second–year M. Arch student at YSoA. I come from Singapore and completed my undergraduate at the National University of Singapore. I’m currently a designer and fabrication specialist at the Yale Center for Ecosystems + Architecture, where I focus on 3D-printed textiles, circular materials, and lightweight structures. I’d be happy to chat about anything design-related and the application processes for arts/architecture programs. Outside of work, you can find me at Brady Squash Center, Rudolph Hall’s Badminton court, and playing with the graduate rugby club. Feel free to reach out and looking forward to meeting y’all :)
Franklin Bertellotti (Email:

Hi all! My name is Franklin (he/him) and I am a first-year Master of Environmental Management at Yale School of the Environment. I am from Los Angeles and attended TD as an undergrad from 2018-2022, helping run the buttery and plan college events. I spent a gap year employed by for the Yale Forest as well as the California Conservation Corps working as a cook, helping with invasive species management, and learning forestry skills. I am so excited to be back as a grad affiliate and I hope to make myself available for anything I might be able to help with. I am happy to answer any questions about undergrad classes, New Haven dining, the E&EB major, applying to/attending YSE’s accelerated 5-year program, the history and architecture of Yale, or land management skills. Feel free to reach out for any reason!
Nancy Billings (Email:
Hello! My name is Nancy (she/her), and I am a first-year PhD student in American Studies. I grew up in Maine and majored in American Studies and Hispanic Literatures and Cultures at Wesleyan. My research interests build off of my undergraduate work and center on US impacts and influence on Asian migration throughout the Americas in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Prior to Yale, I worked for a couple of years in the Senate on immigration, technology and telecom policy. Please reach out if you have any questions about graduate school, the application process, working on the Hill, or living in D.C. I look forward to meeting you all this year! 
Sven Witthaus (Email:
Hi all!! My name is Sven (he/him) and I’m a third-year graduate student in Physics. I’m originally from Madrid, Spain but I did my undergrad in Santa Barbara, California before embarking on my Ph.D. here at Yale. I am generally interested in Soft and Active Matter, which is the discipline of Physics that studies all things soft. This includes a wide variety of stuff ranging from biological tissues all the way to sand, basically everything other than hard metals. I am specifically interested in how small components can come together to form large-scale emergent behavior. In my free time, I love playing volleyball, cooking and playing video games. If you have any questions about graduate school, research, or anything else, please feel free to reach out! I hope to get to know some of you.

Here are some photos from the Kayaking Trip that the Graduate Affiliates organized during Fall Break: