BSPPA - Past Board Members

Mohammad AkbarzadehMohammad Akbarzadeh, previous BSPPA At-large board member
Visiting Scholar in the  EECS Department

  • Reason for joining BSPPA: BSPPA is a great way to make friends with wonderful people around the world. These are the select best. There are also many excellent things one can do and see in the Bay Area. Having a group of such friends to share it with just makes it even more joyful. 
  • Recommendations for things to do in the Bay Area: There are so many beautiful national parks, unique city events, and amazing museums. Many of them are free, at least on certain days. And then, UC Berkeley itself offers many life-changing seminars and events.

Mercedes Bermejo standing by "Fire Danger Today is Low" sign

Mercedes Bermejo, BSPPA At-large board member
Spouse of Visiting Scholar in the Graduate School of Education

  • Reason for joining BSPPA: I was receiving the BSPPA emails even before we had actually arrived at Berkeley, and it made me feel like I wasn't going to a totally new place, like I already knew someone there that could help me feel at home. So I think BSPPA is a very good idea that really works!
  • Recommendations for things to do in the bay area: There are lots of interesting events every day at the UC Campus, you can find them here: There are a lot of beautiful places for walking: trails in the hills or by the bay, the Botanical Garden, or even walking around the different neighbourhoods can be fun!

Amrita Chakravarty standing in outside setting

Amrita Chakravarty, BSPPA At-large board member
Spouse of Post Doctoral Fellow in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

  • Reason for joining BSPPA:  When I had first arrived in Berkeley which was actually several months after my husband arrived, the BSPPA networking meeting was the first place where I got the chance to interact with different people from different walks of life and different parts of the world. Being a part of the Graduate community, joining BSPPA gave me the perfect opportunity to come out of the house, meet new people, have interactions and also get a chance to help out other spouses/ partners or parents who are new to Berkeley to get acquainted with this place. 
  • Recommendations for things to do in the Bay Area: Bay Area is a very unique and beautiful place where there are several opportunities around every corner to keep one involved and engaged. Whether going on hike to the beautiful mountains (Tilden park) or going to the seashore like the Berkeley Marina, every place has something new to offer to keep the mind happy. Further the beautiful San Francisco amazes with its huge diversity with so many places to visit and so many things to do that it is a must visit place for everyone coming to the Bay area. 

Angus Chandler with child in lap

Angus Chandler, BSPPA President
Postdoctoral Researcher in the Department of Cell and Molecular Biology

  • Reason for joining BSPPA: When I moved to UC Berkeley, I had a difficult time meeting fellow postdocs that were in the same situation as me - people that were juggling the responsibilities of being a parent and a researcher. BSPPA provides a community of like-minded people that could help me thrive in both my family and my career.
  • Recommendations for things to do in the Bay Area: The East Bay Regional Parks are great, specifically the riding the steam trains in Tilden, feeding the animals at Little Farm in Tilden, swimming at Lake Anza, hanging out by the creek in Wildcat Canyon, and going for walks in Redwoods.

Moez Ben Haj Hmida with family

Moez Ben Haj Hmida, previous BSPPA Website Coordinator
Visiting Scholar in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences (EECS) 

  • Reason for joining BSPPA: Sharing the settlement experience of my family. Helping new researcher families to integrate faster. 
  • Recommendations for things to do in the Bay Area: Attend Berkeley University, City, and Schools events. Bay area museums and parks.

Priyanka Joshi with spouse

Priyanka Joshi, BSPPA At-large board member
Spouse of Visiting Researcher in the Department of Mechanical Engineering

  • Reason for joining BSPPA: Coming to the USA is everyone's dream!! But the hardships we face after we land is what we experience. My aim of joining BSPPA is to know other colleagues and their families, having an international group to share our experience, thoughts, and ideas. BSPPA is a great platform where we find the best possible ways of making a stay at UC Berkeley a great memory for everyone. 
  • Recommendations for things to do in the Bay Area: Bay Area has plenty of museums, parks, varieties of food, many concerts and of course beautiful views of "Golden Gate Bridge"!!

Christine Steinhart with young childChristine Steinhart, BSPPA At-large board member

Editor, photographer, mom

  • Reason for joining BSPPA: I like the idea that people from all over the world help each other to feel at home in America. 
  • Recommendations for things to do in the Bay Area: Feel like being in the desert at the UC Botanical Garden, go down the slide at Codornices Park and enjoy a beautiful view of the Bay Area at the Berkeley Rose Garden!

Laetitia Wilkins with family

Laetitia Wilkins, BSPPA Vice President
Postdoctoral Researcher in the Department of Environmental Sciences, Policy & Management

  • Reason for joining BSPPA:  I want to contribute to the well-being of researchers with children.
  • Recommendations for things to do in the Bay Area: The huge public library at Kittredge in Berkeley, the Oakland Museum Of California (OMCA), going for walks on the Bulb at the Albany waterfront, relaxing at the Fieldwork Brewery.