BSPPA - Current Board Members

headshot of Gabriella Di PascaleGabriella Di Pascale - BSPPA Chair, Spouse of a Visiting Postdoctoral Researcher at the School of Law

Hello, I made the exciting move to Berkeley in September 2023 from Oxford, UK, following a journey that has taken me through Belgium and Italy, fostering an appreciation for diverse cultures and experiences. 

The theater scene captivates me, and I find immense joy in musicals and operas. Volunteering for causes close to my heart is a significant part of my life, contributing to meaningful endeavors. Exploring the vibrant café and restaurant scene is another passion - I’m always seeking new tastes and experiences. However, what truly invigorates me is exploring the breathtaking hiking trails of the Bay Area. Nature's embrace during these hikes provides inspiration and tranquility in equal measure.

The initial move was tough, leaving behind friends and a cherished job. My hope is that revitalizing the BSPPA Group will create a community for mutual support for those facing similar challenging transitions. 

Recommendation of things to do in the Bay Area: Berkeley hosts Farmers' Markets (Berkeley Farmers' Market and North Berkeley Farmers' Market) showcasing local produce, arts, and crafts. Additionally, every Wednesday at noon, there is a free concert held at Hertz Hall on the Berkeley Campus.

headshot of Kayleigh TompkinsKayleigh Tompkins - BSPPA Vice Chair, Spouse of postdoctoral researcher in the College of Chemistry

Hi, I’m Kayleigh and I moved to Berkeley in May 2022 from Oxford, UK. I like playing field hockey and netball, swimming in Berkeley’s outdoor pools, and going for long hikes around the Bay Area.

When I first moved, I found it difficult leaving my family, friends and job back in the UK. Meeting people in a similar position gave me a wonderful support group and allowed me to gain advice and ideas from people who understood what I was going through. I now want to pay it forward and make the adjustment easier for future spouses, partners and parents! 

Recommendation of things to do in the Bay Area: San Francisco hosts some amazing free concerts during the summer including Hardly Strictly Bluegrass and Stern Grove. 

Anna Andreoli - BSPPA Secretary, Spouse of postdheadshot of anna andreiolioctoral researcher in the College of Chemistry

Hi, I'm Anna and I moved to Berkeley from Switzerland in May 2023. I am a global wanderer who has called five different countries home. I love discovering new cultures and connecting with people from all over the world. In my free time, I am passionate about yoga, acroyoga, and salsa dancing.

Currently, my excitement is fueled by the revitalized BSPPA. I am excited to help build a strong and inclusive community with other partners and families of UC Berkeley scholars. My focus is on planning engaging activities that cater to diverse tastes, fostering connections, and creating lasting memories for all involved.

Recommendation of things to do in the Bay Area: If you're seeking enjoyable hikes with stunning scenery, make your way to Marin County. There, you can explore hiking trails suited for all levels, offering breathtaking views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the Pacific Ocean.

Marie Kerckx - BSPPA Social Media Lead, Spheadshot of Marie Kerckxouse of a visiting PhD researcher in the Energy and Resources Group of the UC Berkeley

Hey! I am Marie, a Belgian who moved to Berkeley in September 2023. I’m passionate about theater, music, food, travel and hiking. Therefore the Bay Area is the place to be! I love to go on weekend trips to find the best hidden gems of California or explore the new brunch places in San Francisco.

The first few weeks after our move were tough. I just left my job, my family and friends in Belgium and I had no idea how to start my new life in America. After some time, thanks to many events organized by UC Berkeley, I discovered that Berkeley has an amazing community of international people who love to connect with one and another. Making new friends and meeting people from all over the world meant a lot to me and helped me to settle down in my new hometown.

That is the reason why I love being part of the BSPPA! Building a community for partners is truly meaningful as we can all relate to the same challenges and opportunities. 

Recommendation of things to do in the Bay Area: If you love history and museums, try to catch the late night visit to Alcatraz instead of the regular visit. You will be treated to one of the most amazing sunsets of your life and you will have a view of the San Francisco skyline by night (which is so stunning!).

Anja Allenspach headshot with purple top and white wall background.Anja Allenspach - BSPPA Treasurer, Spouse of postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences

Hi everyone! I am Anja and I moved from Switzerland to Berkeley in August 2023. As my free time increased in the last months, I found new leisure activities including gardening, volunteering, yoga, baking and puzzling. I also love dancing, climbing at Pacific Pipe and getting to know new people.

As this is my first experience living abroad, I had many challenging moments in the last seven months. I found it difficult to leave my beloved friends and family, culture and job behind. My first event at BSPPA was a game changer for me. I found people who really understood me and felt this great sense of community and connection!

Recommendation of things to do in the Bay Area: If you like plants I can recommend the Blake Garden & the Botanical Garden in Berkeley. I enjoy observing the stunning sunset from the Lawrence Hall of Science, Berkeley Rose Garden or Indian Rock Park.