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Biological Sciences Alumni Spotlights

UC San Diego True Triton Honorees

Service is one of the pillars of UC San Diego's mission and vision — it's in our DNA. To recognize alumni who have shown an extraordinary commitment to the university and our cause, we created the True Triton Award, one of our highest honors. These individuals go above and beyond to help advance our mission, on campus, in the community, and around the world. Whether by dedicating time to students and alumni, lending leadership skills to university initiatives, or acting as ambassadors for UC San Diego and higher education, True Tritons' passion for their alma mater is both inspirational and aspirational.


  • Wendy Kwok

    Wendy Kwok '99

    Wendy Kwok '99 serves on many boards and committees across campus, and takes an active leadership role in each. She has been instrumental in making valuable connections for the University, leadership, local alumni and students both locally and internationally. Specifically, Wendy has gone the extra mile by serving as a co-chair for the Bay Area region of the Campaign Cabinet, Director for the UC San Diego Foundation Board, member of the Biological Sciences Dean's Leadership Council, sponsor and mentor with the Eureka! Student scholarship program, creator of two unique endowments in the School of Biological Sciences, and supporter of the Student Foundation (has attended UC Regents meetings in the Bay Area and Sacramento).

    Congratulations to Wendy Kwok '99 for receiving the 2019 True Triton award — one of our highest honors. Thank you for your service and for helping to advance UC San Diego in the community and around the world.

    Watch Kwok's True Triton Video on Youtube


  • Colette Rudd and Marion Weiler

    Colette Rudd, '73 and Marion Weiler, '73

    This highly engaged couple established the Bay Area Summer Send-Off more than 25 years ago, our largest and longest-running volunteer-led welcome event for incoming students and their families. For decades, Marion and Colette have strengthened the alumni community in Silicon Valley and set the example as leaders and volunteers in various capacities, such as organizing the annual Post-Tax Day Hike, and both serving terms as club president.

    Colette is a former UC San Diego Alumni Board member and she and Marion continue to inspire and befriend our emerging alumni as they transition from campus to community.

UC San Diego Triton 40 Under 40 Honorees – Biological Sciences

  • Melanie Hayden Gephart

    Melanie Hayden Gephart ’01, MAS ’07, MD ’07

    Neurosurgeon, Stanford University
    (Marshall, Animal Physiology and Neuroscience; MAS, Clinical Research, Family and Preventive Medicine; MD)

    Life experiences often influence future career choice, and Melanie’s experience with a loved one’s brain ignited her passion for neurosurgery, a field that is not well known for welcoming women. She is now a brain tumor neurosurgeon, treating patients with malignant and benign tumors, including glioma, brain metastases, meningioma, vestibular schwannoma, and pituitary adenomas. Her lab focuses on translational neuro-oncology research, combining basic neuroscience, genetics, and tumor biology, with a unique insight into the pressing clinical questions facing patients with brain tumors. As a practicing neurosurgeon serving brain tumor patients in her clinic and operating room, Dr. Gephart's lab is uniquely positioned to be shaped by the clinical needs of patients.

  • Kent-Fuh Lee

    Kent-Fuh Lee ’07

    Executive Director, Pacific Arts Movement (San Diego Asian Film Festival)
    (Economics, General Biology)

    In 2016, at age 31, Kent was selected to be the executive director of Pacific Arts due to his evident passion for the organization through years of volunteering and his extensive experience in organizational strategy, volunteer management, and fund development. Pac Arts is the presenter of the San Diego Asian Film Festival, one of the largest Asian film festivals in the Nation, recognized by USA Today in 2012 as one of the top ten reasons to visit San Diego. Kent is involved in volunteer leadership of many local organizations, including the Asian Business Association and Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s Asian-Pacific Islander Advisory Group. When explaining the significance of community service, Kent often refers to Mahatma Gandhi's famous words, "The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others." He speaks Chinese, both Cantonese and Mandarin, and is learning Spanish and American Sign Language.

  • Keri Yen Ng

    Keri Yen Ng ’02

    Vice President, Regulatory, Clinical, and Quality, Willow
    (Animal Physiology and Neuroscience)

    Keri is on the senior executive team at Willow, where the mission to change breast pumps, which have not experienced any innovation in over 30 years. In January 2017, Willow unveiled itself at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and garnered unprecedented attention and press both nationally and internationally. It won 7 awards including Best Wearable and Best Digital Health and Fitness by Engadget. More recently, the Willow breast pump was awarded the Innovation by Design award according to Fast Company and it was also honored as one of the 100 greatest innovations in 2017 according to Popular Science. Keri has spent the last 15 years in the medical device industry taking medical devices from concept to commercialization--delivering over 40 medical devices into the hands of physicians and patients. The devices that she has worked on have a profound impact on the lives of people, ranging in the fields of cardiovascular, ear/nose/throat, and women’s health. They change the standard of care and give people a better quality of life.

  • Andrew Radin

    Andrew Radin ’07

    Chief Marketing Officer and Co-Founder, TwoXAR
    (Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Economics)

    Andrew has wanted to solve problems in the biotech world since he started at UC San Diego. His path led him through investment banking, business school, and into the biotech startup world. He's creating technology to solve medical ailments quicker and cheaper than large drug companies and helping people along the way. He's received numerous prominent student and professional awards. He's been an involved Triton alumnus, helping create the Biotech Professionals Network, the Financial Professionals network, and the UK Alumni Club, as well as assisting with the Basement feasibility study in mid-2010s to evaluate needs for a campus wide incubator program.

  • Kate Rubins

    Kate Rubins ’99, PhD

    NASA Astronaut
    (Molecular Biology)

    A cancer biologist, Kate was chosen from a pool of over 3,500 applicants to receive a spot on NASA’s 2009 astronaut training class; she became the 60th woman to fly in space when she launched on a Soyuz spacecraft to the International Space Station on July 6, 2016. After her selection by NASA, she spent years training at Johnson Space Center to become an astronaut. In her pre-astronaut career, Kate helped to create therapies for Ebola and Lassa viruses by conducting research collaboratively with the U.S. army. She also aided development of the first smallpox infection model with the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  • Amanda Schochet

    Amanda Schochet ’11, MS ’14

    Co-Founder, MICRO
    (Ecology & Behavior & Evolution; Biology)

    Amanda co-founded MICRO, a non-profit organization building a fleet of vending machine sized science museums that reach people in their daily lives - hospital waiting rooms, libraries, airports, and the DMV. MICRO worked with more than 40 active researchers, award-winning designers, story-tellers, and engineers, to develop their first museum series, the Smallest Mollusk Museum. Installations of the Smallest Mollusk Museum are currently scattered throughout libraries and hospitals across NYC, getting tens of thousands of visitors excited about natural history. They’re releasing their second museum series, the Perpetual Motion Museum, in early 2018, and will continue releasing series on new science topics.

  • Matthew Schultzel

    Matthew Schultzel ’05

    Colorectal Surgeon, Scripps Health
    (General Biology, Psychology)

    Matt is a minimally invasive colorectal surgeon, who performs single incision and natural orifice general and colorectal operations. He is one of the only doctors in Southern California with these skills, and he has performed more single incision operations than any other doc in the west coast, and now teaches his skills as a respected leader in his field. Despite being so busy, he also teaches the kendo class at UCSD, as their sensei, which was a class he started in as a college student. He was nominated by his twin brother, Mark Schultzel, also a UC San Diego alumnus and local doctor.