Other activities I enjoy staying involved in include volunteering for the Stanford At The Tech program in San Jose, mentoring high school and undergraduates at Stanford, teaching the NAMI Family-to-Family program for family members of individuals living with mental illness, and continuing to take courses while at Stanford to expand my expertise.


Stanford At The Tech

Stanford at the Tech is a program that connects the general public with graduate students through hands-on science experiments. We lead lab activities with children in an interactive environment, including experiments like spooling DNA from a cow thymus, preparing slides of cheek cells in order to visualize nuclei, and transforming E. coli with a GFP tagged plasmid that makes cells fluoresce green under UV light.

Zoe teaching kids about why some people can detect bitter flavors better than others at the Tech Museum in San Jose

Zoe teaching kids about why some people can detect bitter flavors better than others at the Tech Museum in San Jose

This has been a great opportunity to reach out to underprivileged youth and learn how to communicate science to a general audience. Through this program I worked primarily at the Tech Museum in San Jose, but I have also connected with a variety of audiences including kids at the Bay Area Science Festival Discovery Days in AT&T park, and students at Overfelt High School in San Jose.

Zoe leading high schoolers at Overfelt in an experiment to transform bacteria with a plasmid carrying GFP.

Zoe leading high schoolers at Overfelt in an experiment to transform bacteria with a plasmid carrying GFP.


Through Stanford at the Tech I have also contributed to the ‘Ask a Geneticist‘ exhibit at the Tech Museum, a program where people submit questions about genetics and then graduate students compose responses (an example of such a response I wrote can be found here). This was a fantastic experience in learning to write about science in a clear and interesting style, and also gave me an understanding of which issues in genetics the general public cares most about.




Katelyn Haduong interned (2014-2015) as a high school research assistant with Zoe Assaf through the San Mateo Biotechnology Career Pathway. Katelyn helped with fitness measurements and PCR of Drosophila melanogaster mutation accumulation lines. Katelyn graduated from San Mateo High School in 2015 and is now an undergraduate at UC Irvine, where she participates in a tutoring program and is excited about her studies in bioengineering!


Leslie Chan also interned (2013-2014) as a high school research assistant with Zoe Assaf through the San Mateo Biotechnology Program. During her time at Stanford she contributed to the Drosophila mutation accumulation project. Leslie is currently an undergraduate at UC Berkeley and is enjoying her research studying telomeres in the Hockemeyer Lab. Next stop, medical school!

Melanie_photoMelanie Arnold was a Stanford undergraduate when she worked with Zoe (2013) on a project estimating the fitness differences between Drosophila lines from the wild. She majored in Human Biology with a concentration in Child and Adolescent Development, and plans to pursue a career in medicine. This passion for health has driven her to assist with research and lead events on campus such as Relay for Life, raising campus awareness of cancer.

Alison_DSC_0743Alison Nguyen was a Stanford undergraduate majoring in Biology when she helped Zoe (2013) with a project studying the homozygous viability of wild-caught fruit flies. She also completed an honors project in the Petrov Lab! Alison is from Boston, Massachusetts, and is currently a Ph.D. student at U.C. Berkeley in the Bachtrog lab. Her interests range from evolutionary biology to science education, art, and architecture.



While working on my PhD I regularly take courses to expand my expertise in genomics.

  • Bio 220 – Introduction to Theoretical Population Biology
  • Bio 244 –  Fundamentals of Molecular Evolution
  • BioMedin 205 – Biomedical Informatics for Medicine
  • Bios 223 – Introduction to Quantitative Reasoning in Biology
  • CS 106A – Programming Methodology
  • CS 106B – Programming Abstractions
  • Gene 203 – Advanced Genetics
  • Gene 209 – Current Topics in Human, Population, and Statistical Genomics
  • Gene 211 – Genomics
  • Gene 215 – Frontiers in Biological Research
  • Gene 222 – Method and Logic in Experimental Genetics
  • ICME Summery workshop – Introduction to Machine Learning
  • ICME Summer workshop – Introduction to Matrix Computations
  • ICME Summer workshop – Introduction to Scientific Python
  • Math 51 – Linear Algebra and Differential Calculus of Several Variables
  • Math 52 – Integral Calculus of Several Variables
  • Stats 116 – Theory of Probability
  • Stats 200 – Introduction to Statistical Inference
  • Stats 202 – Data Mining and Analysis