Nona Clifton: Pre-College Education Manager
The CSNE is excited to welcome Nona Clifton as our new, pre-college education manager. Nona grew up in rural Oklahoma in a house full of science and math educators, including her mother and grandmother, and her family encouraged her educational pursuits. Some of her peers lacked this support and were unaware of the role of education as a stepping stone for future careers. Nona served as a mentor for her peers in high school and graduate computer science programs, and she continues this dedication to education today by fostering the success of all students, including those who are underrepresented. Nona’s vision strongly aligns with the Center’s commitment, through programs such as AccessERC, to increase diverse participation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. She also has extensive experience working in customer service and product technical support for companies including Medtronic Physio Control and Adobe Systems Inc., where she managed large teams of employees and ensured compliance with regulatory agency protocol.
Before accepting her position at the Center, Clifton worked as a senior consultant at Waldron HR, where she focused on systems implementation and program management. Clifton has also worked as a research coordinator for the UW Department of Chemistry where she managed funding from the National Institute of Health and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Prior to that, she worked as a program officer for the Washington Global Health Alliance Ambassadors Program at Seattle Biomedical Research Institute where she collaborated with scientists, educators and industry professionals to create a comprehensive global health curriculum in math, chemistry and social studies for underserved high school students. She is excited to work in a similar collaboration at the CSNE. She looks forward to the opportunity to work with teachers dedicated to educating future scientists, and to learning more about the CSNE’s work in neuroethics and other emerging areas of study within neural engineering. Her passion for working with diverse staff and students, proven management skills and commitment to multidisciplinary collaboration make her an outstanding addition to the CSNE team.
Aleenah Ansari: Student Assistant / Communications Intern
We would also like to welcome Aleenah Ansari, our new student assistant and communications intern. Ansari is a UW sophomore majoring in Biochemistry and Public Health, and she is passionate about bridging the gap between researchers and the public through writing. Currently, Ansari works as a reporter for The Daily of the University of Washington, and discovered the Center when she wrote a science article about the CSNE Hackathon, an event where student teams are tasked with solving a neural engineering problem in 36 hours. She was drawn to the students’ commitment to innovation and accessibility through use of open-sourced software and to their careful consideration of the ethical implications of their work. The CSNE’s commitment to diversity and education aligns with her own interest in empowering students to explore STEM and feel supported in the process. She is excited to learn more about the CSNE’s innovative research and help support pre-college, undergraduate and graduate research participants.