Graduate Affiliates

The college maintains a roster of graduate and professional students who are selected in early fall and late spring drafts. These affiliates are available to give Branfordians advice on their studies, careers, and grad school, and they host events and study breaks for students. Feel free to reach out to any graduate affiliate; they are here for you! (Please direct all general inquiries about Branford’s graduate affiliate program to rebecca.byler@yale.edu)


Jolisa Brooks

Jolisa (Jo) is a first-year Master of Environmental Science candidate (MESc 2018). Her studies have focused on political theory, the history and philosophy of science, and environmental policy. As an undergraduate undergrad, Jolisa conducted geological research in Antarctica and Ushuaia, Argentina where she analyzed sustainable industrial fishing policies to protect keystone species. After graduating (2015), she served as a corporate responsibility analyst for ArcelorMittal USA. There, she worked on projects including land restoration at former industrial sites, and creating and investing in preexisting STEM programs for inner-city Chicago youth. Jolisa has also shaped international policy as a fellow with the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs and currently works with the US Agency for International Development (USAID). Her research interests include environmental justice, governance, as well as social, political and industrial ecology. She is a womanist, environmentalist, and human rights advocate. She loves Gilmore Girls and exploring, having traveled to six continents. You can reach Jolisa at jolisa.brooks@yale.edu.

Thomas Burke

Thomas is a second year Master’s of Divinity Candidate at Yale Divinity School. A former infantry Marine, Thomas served in Iraq and Afghanistan and is now training to becoming a US Naval Chaplain. As a Connecticut native Thomas is thrilled to serve the Branford community and help undergraduates facilitate the reintegration of veterans returning home from war on campus. In addition, Thomas is looking forward to opening up the interfaith dialogue of our beautiful and unique community here at Branford.

Becky Byler

Becky is a third year Ph.D. student in biomedical engineering. Her research focuses on the development of nanoparticle-based treatments and vaccines for leishmaniasis, the world’s second most debilitating parasitic disease. She graduated in 2013 from Georgia Tech with a B.S. in biomedical engineering and minors in women’s studies, chemistry, and international affairs. Becky also received her Master of Public Health from Yale in 2016, focusing on the epidemiology of microbial diseases with concentrations in global health and regulatory affairs. When not in lab, you can find Becky bouldering, trekking, and traveling. She loves to grab coffee and chat!
 

Marius Constantin

Marius is a fourth year Ph.D. student in Applied Physics. His research focuses on extending laser theory to chaotic resonators. Before Yale, he went to Princeton where he earned a BA in Physics in 2014. He is passionate about fostering interactions between students and alumni and serves as one of the Co-Presidents of STAY (Students and Alumni of Yale). In his leisure time Marius enjoys rowing, sailing, and going to the Yale Cabaret. For the coming year, he is hoping to organize regular Branford trips to explore the theater scene in New Haven. Feel free to contact him at marius.constantin@yale.edu.

Jonathan Gaillard

Jonathan is a third year medical student at the School of Medicine and hopes to one day become a pediatrician of some sort. Jonathan has served as the vice-president of the Medical Student Council. He also researches congenital arteriovenous malformations and Moyamoya disease with neurosurgeon Dr. Kris Kahle. He came to Yale after graduating from the University of Virginia with a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering and a minor in engineering business. When he isn’t busy in the hospital, Jonathan likes rowing with the Graduate School Crew Team, running, biking, reading science fiction, and baking. He looks forward to returning to the Branford community for his second year. You can reach him at jonathan.gaillard@yale.edu

Christopher Geissler

Chris Geissler (christopher.geissler@yale.edu) is a third-year Ph.D. student in the Department of Linguistics and co-manager of the Branford Pottery Studio. His research focuses on the phonology-phonetics interface and language change, examining the sound patterns and histories of Tibetan and related languages of the greater Himalayan region. Chris graduated from Swarthmore College in 2013 with majors in linguistics and religion, and is presently affiliated with the Yale Himalaya Initiative and Haskins Laboratories. He enjoys cooking, fencing, skiing, and reading science fiction, and is active in the Yale Buddhist Sangha.

Erinma Kalu

Eri is a first-year law student at Yale Law School and a Branford alum (2014). Her interests lie in women’s health and international human rights. Previously at Yale, she studied global health and graduated from the five-year BA-MPH program with a degree in health policy. Eri adores Branford and is thrilled to be part of our community again. She loves to read good fiction, think about theology, and laugh at pop culture. Please reach out to chat about anything at erinma.kalu@yale.edu!

Laurel Kaye

Laurel is a second-year MD/PhD student at Yale School of Medicine. Before coming to Yale, she studied physics as an undergraduate at Duke University and astrophysics as a graduate at the University of Oxford. She is extremely passionate about human space exploration and is a member of the national aerospace medical association, runs the space medicine group at Yale, and applied for a crewed mission to Mars. When she’s not spacing out, Laurel loves rowing, creative writing, painting, and going on adventures. Reach out for absolutely anything at laurel.kaye@yale.edu.

Anna Marra

Anna Marra (anna.marra@yale.edu) graduated cum laude from the University of Udine, Italy. She’s now working on her second PhD here at Yale, where she also serves as Curatorial Assistant at the Beinecke Library. Her research focuses on Medieval literature, meditation, and contemporary poetry. Anna is a filmmaker, too: her love for cinema has drawn her into Yale Law Visual Project, and into co-organizing the Yale Festival of New Italian Cinema. Anna also leads the Dante Working group and serves as Vice President of STAY (Students and Alumni of Yale). In her free time Anna loves meditating, sailing and filming.
 

Fatima Mirza

Fatima is in her second year at the Yale School of Medicine. Before Yale, she graduated from Harvard with a degree in biochemistry & biophysics and then earned her MPH from the University of Cambridge. She works passionately at the intersection between policy, media, research, and clinical medicine. In her free time, Fatima loves playing the violin, running around New Haven, and cooking Pakistani food. You can reach her at fatima.mirza@yale.edu
 

Charles O’Malley

Charlie is a first year student in Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism at the Yale School of Drama. Prior to coming to Yale, Charlie worked at a number of theaters in Chicago. He doubts that the idea of “free time” exists, but he does enjoy film, theatre history, training for marathons, rewatching 30 Rock, and his cat. He is a 2011 graduate of Vassar College. You can reach him at charles.omalley@yale.edu.

Matthew Piva

Matthew Piva (matthew.piva@yale.edu) is a third-year PhD student in the Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program. His research focuses on social neuroscience, utilizing interacting dyads of both human subjects and animal models. In 2014, he graduated with a BSc in Physiology from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. Matthew has a sincere love of television, movies, practicing his overly aggressive renditions of classical music, and trying desperately to lift heavy objects. He will be helping out in the Branford Digital Media Center (DMC), so feel free to reach out to him with any questions regarding digital media at Branford.

Holly Robinson

Holly is a second year student at the School of Public Health, concentrating in social and behavioral sciences with a particular interest in maternal and child health. Having just graduated from Yale (and Branford!) with degrees in Russian and anthropology in May 2017, she is thrilled to be remaining a part of the Branford community. After graduation, Holly worked at Amaltas Consulting in New Delhi, India, where she got to learn about public health initiatives and explore a totally different culture under the scorching Delhi sun. Outside of school and work, she enjoys reading, drinking coffee, and hanging out in the Branford dining hall! Feel free to reach out anytime at holly.robinson@yale.edu.

Yishai Schwartz

Yishai Schwartz is a second-year student at Yale Law School and a 2013 Branford alum. Before returning to Yale, he worked as a reporter-researcher at The New Republic and an Associate Editor at Lawfare, a national security law publication at the Brookings Institution. As an undergraduate, he majored in philosophy and religious studies, and spent a lot of time on the swing in the Branford courtyard. He’s thrilled to be back in the Branford community, and hopes you’ll reach out to him at yishai.schwartz@yale.edu.

Taylor Steinberg

Taylor is a second year MBA student at the Yale School of Management currently focused on corporate finance and investment banking. Prior to Yale, Taylor managed a roster of international touring artists and worked for C3 Presents, a leading producer of major music festivals. As an artist manager, he directed strategy for his clients and negotiated an array of performance, licensing, and distribution agreements. Before leaving Texas, he joined forces in opening Irene’s, a Downtown Austin bar and restaurant. Taylor is happy to join the Branford community and looking forward to sharing a coffee with anyone who would like to discuss music, finance, world travel, food, and just about anything else. Feel free to contact him at taylor.steinberg@yale.edu.

Sonia Taneja

Sonia is a first year student at the School of Medicine and a 2013 graduate from Yale, where she majored in Psychology. But most importantly, she is also a graduate of Branford College! She is incredibly excited to be back in New Haven and a part of the Branford community. After graduation, Sonia spent one year living in India where she worked on a mental health assessment of women who were trafficked and those who are involved in a cycle of intergenerational castebased prostitution. Sonia also recently completed her MSc in Public Health at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine where her thesis considered race as a barrier to cervical and breast cancer screening for women in the US. Outside of class, Sonia enjoys dancing bhangra, Hindi films, comedy clubs, food in general, and traveling. Feel free to come talk to her about any of the above or anything at all! BFA!

Iva Velickovic

Iva is a second-year law student and a former Branford FroCo (2014). A former consultant at the Boston Consulting Group, she returned to Yale to pursue her passion for immigration law and human rights. At the law school, she’s involved in Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic, the Immigrant’s Rights Clinic at New Haven Legal Assistance, Yale Law Women, and the Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project- and when she’s not doing those things, she’s probably watching theater. Iva couldn’t be more excited to be back in Branford and to get to know everyone over snacks in the buttery, tea during the tea room, and ice cream sundaes in the dining hall. She hopes you’ll reach out at iva.velickovic@yale.edu.

Katherine Werwie

Kate (katherine.werwie@yale.edu) is a second year Ph.D. student in History of Art studying medieval sculpture from France with an interest in perception and affect. She completed her B.A. (2014) in art history, architecture, and French at Barnard College in New York and received an M.Phil from Cambridge University in 2015. Before coming to Yale, she held positions at several museums including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Morgan Library. She currently lectures at the Cloisters and is hoping to organize trips to new exhibitions and other arty events this year.

Phil Yao

Phil Yao is a second-year J.D. candidate at Yale Law School. His interests lie in education, technology, and intellectual property. He is currently on the board of APALSA, the Asian law students organization at Yale. As an undergraduate, Phil studied physics and philosophy at Harvard University, and he later received a Masters in education and an MBA at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar. In the past, Phil has interned at the U.S. Department of Eduation and at Pratham, a national educational NGO in India. In his free time, Phil enjoys running, playing basketball, singing, and writing science fiction and poetry. Feel free to reach out to Phil anytime at phillip.yao@yale.edu.