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Meet the Staff

Learn more about AEP program leaders and staff members.


  • David Artis

    David Artis

    David Artis, Ph.D., Dean of Undergraduate Research Advancement, came to the Office of Academic Enrichment Programs (AEP) in November 2000, from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. There he had served as a faculty member, graduate school administrator and Director of Academic Services in the School of Public Health.

    At UC San Diego, he has overseen steady growth in the number of AEP programs and services, including coordinating more scholarship opportunities for students in all fields, increased participation in AEP-sponsored undergraduate research conferences, and more collaborative program efforts with other campus units. Dr. Artis is a graduate of Yale and Stanford.

Assistant Director

  • Veronica Bejar

    Veronica Bejar

    Veronica Bejar is the Assistant Director for the Academic Enrichment Programs and McNair Program. She has over thirteen years of experience preparing and encouraging talented students to pursuing post-baccalaureate degrees. As the Assistant Director, Veronica assists the ongoing operations of the AEP academic year programs, conferences, and summer research programs.

Program Coordinators

  • Justin Berens

    Justin Berens is the AEP STEM Comunity Coordinator. He will be organizing the MEDS 2020 Confernece as well as CAMP Summer Research Program. Justin is from Boston, MA but enjoys the California weather.
  • Thomas K. Brown

    Thomas K. Brown

    Thomas K. Brown has been the Coordinator of the UCSD McNair Program since December of 2005. He has earned advanced degrees in chemistry (C.Phil, Caltech) and anthropology (Ph.D., UCSD). In his role as McNair Program coordinator, he helps students find research placements with UC San Diego faculty. The McNair Program is a preparatory program for traditionally under-represented students (first-generation college students from low-income households and those from under-represented ethnic groups) who want to earn a Ph.D. in any field.
  • Claire Kim

    Claire Kim

    Claire Kim is the Faculty Mentor Program Coordinator. She helps students from all disciplines navigate the process of building strong relationships with faculty mentors and take advantage of all the research-related resources that AEP has to offer. She received her Ph.D. in English literature from UCLA, with a concentration on 18th-century British novels.

  • Kristen Kung

    Kristen Kung

    Kirsten Kung, Ph.D., works with a number of students through the Academic Enrichment Programs office. She has extensive experience coordinating multiple year research programs and helping students experience opportunities outside of the classroom. She is particularly interested in issues related to mentoring, engaged learning, and research ethics. Dr. Kung received her Ph.D. from the Ohio State University in Social Psychology with minors in Health Psychology and Quantitative Psychology. Prior to coming to UC San Diego, she was a faculty member at the University of Houston.
  • Tyler Rogers

    Tyler Rogers

    Tyler Rogers is the Program Coordinator for Triton Research & Experiential Learning Scholars (TRELS).  Through the Academic Enrichment Programs office, he collaborates with the Provosts of all seven colleges in creating pathways for students to access research & experiential learning opportunities under the guidance of faculty mentors.


    Tyler is completing his PhD in American Studies at Yale University, where he also earned an MA and MPhil in American Studies.  He also earned a BA in Ethnic Studies and Gender & Sexuality Studies from Brown University. Prior to coming to UCSD, Tyler held a faculty appointment as Gaius Charles Bolin Fellow in American Studies at Williams College.

  • Sophia Tsai

    Sophia Tsai

    Sophia Tsai coordinates multiple programs within the Academic Enrichment Programs office. She has experience coordinating student-mentor matching, research scholarships, and helping students get more out of their research programs. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Southern California (USC) in molecular biology doing x-ray crystallography, and her Bachelor of Science at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) studying Cybernetics with an emphasis on Bioinformatics. Prior to coming to UC San Diego, she was a postdoctoral scholar at UCLA.

Support Staff

  • Adana Martinez

    Adana Martinez

    Adana Martinez is the Executive Assistant for the Academic Enrichment Programs. She has over five years of administrative experience working in UCSD. As the Executive Assistant, Adana assists the Dean of Undergraduate Research Advancement and the AEP staff with developing and implementing ongoing projects. Adana is a UCSD alumni and received her bachelor’s degree in International Relations.
  • Kevin Vasquez

    Kevin Vasquez is the McNair Program Research Assistant.  Kevin has earned a master’s degree in philosophy and bachelor’s degree in international economics, both from San Diego State University.  In his role as the McNair Program Research Assistant, Kevin engages in student outreach and recruitment activities for current McNair Scholars.  In addition, Kevin tracks graduate degree completion and the professional career paths of previous McNair Program participants. This information is useful in reporting to the Department of Education.   Prior to coming to UC San Diego, Kevin worked for companies such as Samsung SDS and Sempra Energy.

Student Assistants

  • Simonne Darbonne

    Simonne Darbonne

    Simonne Darbonne is the front desk student assistant for Academic Enrichment Programs. She is a second year at UC San Diego from Eleanor Roosevelt College with a major in International Business. Simonne is from Fairfield, located in northern California. She began working for the Academic Enrichment Programs the fall of 2019 after returning from studying abroad in Spain for the summer.  In her free time she enjoys playing tennis and drawing.
  • Melanie Macario

    Melanie Macario

    Melanie Macario is a fourth year Molecular Biology student in Revelle College from Chula Vista, California. As one of the Student Assistants for Academic Enrichment Programs, she enjoys helping organize the conferences held by AEP and assisting interested students in finding ways to get involved in undergraduate research.

    "Working for AEP has exposed me to all the different academic opportunities offered to students at UC San Diego, and has given me guidance on what path I want to take as a student pursuing a career in the STEM field."