About ASC

ASC members represent 50 countries!

Students in science tend to encounter many difficult and important decisions, though there are few available resources to guide students through these challenges. The purpose of the Aspiring Scientists Coalition (ASC) is to provide free education, career-counseling and networking to students interested in science at all levels. ASC is free to join for students worldwide. By building a large global community, we hope to enable our members to establish international scientific networks. 

The Aspiring Scientists Coalition holds regular online meetings including Q&A sessions with experts in the field, networking sessions for members, and research presentations from established scientists. ASC will also be launching a Mentor-Mentee Program to connect junior students with more experienced members to provide learning and teaching opportunities within the organization. ASC creates free resources to inform students making major career decisions, and clarify their career options. All of our previous meetings are available to watch in the Meetings tab.

Our Team


Ben Rein

President & Founder

Ben is a neuroscience PhD candidate and Presidential Fellow at SUNY Buffalo. In his research, he is investigating molecular mechanisms underlying social deficits in genetic mouse models of autism spectrum disorder. In his scientific career, Ben aspires to supervise his own research lab and serve as a professor at a university. Ben founded the Aspiring Scientists Coalition to provide free, large-scale guidance and mentorship to students in science globally, with hopes that ASC will provide a friendly scientific community for students to share advice, ideas and experiences. Ben originates from Buffalo, NY and is a proud member of Bills Mafia. In his time outside of the lab, he enjoys reading, spending time outdoors, and sampling/rating chicken wings.


Directors

Ben Oreskovic

Assistant Director

Ben Oreskovic is a 3rd year undergraduate at Canisius College studying Chemistry. Ben plans to go on to earn a PhD in chemistry, specializing in materials science. Ben would like to either run his own research lab at a university or work in the research and development industry. A fun fact about Ben is that he has been fly fishing since he was 9. It's taken Ben all across the country and has gotten him invitations out of the country as well. Ben envisions ASC being a welcoming scientific community, that is able to provide invaluable resources to its members, and an open platform to be able to share ideas and experiences.

Elana Stephan

Creative Director

Elana Stephan is ASC's Creative & Social Media Director. She is a SUNY Buffalo graduate with a bachelor's degree in Marketing. Elana hopes to create and curate content that connects with the scientific community. In her free time, Elana enjoys crafting and spending time with her golden retriever.

Marie Runfola

Mentorship Director

Marie A. Runfola is a Mental Health Counselor in New York State. Marie is currently studying Human Development and Psychology at Harvard Graduate School of Education. Marie aspires to teach as a professor and run her own developmental research lab, to continue to inform clinical practice. Marie's research interests include parenting stress and caregiver-child relationships, particularly in caregivers with psychopathology; mindfulness-based practices for parents and teachers; and the impact of risk and protective factors affecting social-emotional and behavioral development in early childhood. Marie would like to learn more about educational testing. Marie is excited to develop and oversee the Mentorship program for ASC. In her free time, Marie enjoys gardening and traveling the world to learn about cultures other than her own.


Education Team

Alex Nieto

Education Program Supervisor

Alex has a Master of Science in Experimental Psychology. She aspires to be a clinical psychologist and enroll in a Clinical Psychology PhD program. Her research interests include emotion regulation, improving evidence-based interventions, stress reduction, and cognitive control. Specifically, she is interested in the implications of mindfulness on such factors in clinical populations. Alex is also a yoga teacher and in her free time loves baking, weightlifting, and going to concerts.

Andrew Bryanton

Education Program Assistant

Andrew is a second year Neuroscience and Mental health undergraduate at Carleton University. In his spare time he enjoys reading, running, snowboarding, playing the drums and photography. Andrew's goal is pursue a career in a science related industrial setting and during his journey he aspires to help and encourage those around him in their pathways through science.

Ian Vollmer

Education Program Assistant

Ian is a second year Biochemistry undergraduate at the University of Georgia. Ian works as a personal trainer, but in his free time he loves making art, hiking, and watching movies. Ian's goal is to become a genetics research professor with a focus on aiding genetic ailments. Ian also loves teaching and hopes to spread his love for science with others by showing them how fascinating the field can be!

Jennifer Figueroa

Educational Resource Manager

Jennifer is a 1st year Psychological Science MA student at CSUSM, studying the role of close relationships in adolescence and emerging adulthood. Jennifer aspires to pursue a PhD in Developmental Psychology and lead a career as a researcher, mentor, and professor. Jennifer hopes that ASC will provide guidance, support, and a welcoming community to those who would like to pursue a career in science. In her free time, Jen enjoys making playlists and having movie nights.


Event Coordination Team

Karla Barillas

Event Coordinator

Karla is currently attending Tarrant County College, hoping to eventually study Neuroscience, specifically the endocannabinoid system. She loves playing video games with her husband in her free time and hopes to meet people who are just as curious about the world, and the brain, as she is.

Larrie Laporte

Assistant Event Coordinator

Larrie is a 21 year old undergraduate medical student at Escola Bahiana de Medicina e Saúde Pública, living in Salvador, Bahia, Brasil. She is a member of the Brazilian Metascience Research Group, and the Center for Evidence Based Medicine at Bahiana University, which promotes medical thinking based on uncertainty and probability, scientific integrity and meta-science. Larrie enjoys a good book but can also be found on long bike rides.

Lewis Li

Assistant Event Coordinator

Lewis is a 3rd year undergraduate at the University of Warwick, in the UK, studying chemistry. While still undecided about future careers, ideas range from studying zintl ions at Oxford to consulting and innovation. He enjoys feasting at restaurants and keeps a record of each rating. Lewis hopes that ASC will be able to help reduce the disparity for disadvantaged students in higher eduction as well as provide a safe space to share creative ideas, collaborate, and to act as a source of inspiration.

Steven Lewis

Speaker Recruitment

Steven Lewis is a fourth year Computational Cell Biology, Anatomy, and Pathology PhD student at SUNY Buffalo, studying the practical use of deep learning and artificial intelligence on CT imaging datasets. Steven aspires to work for an industry performing research using pathological images to accurately predict disorders. Steven hopes that ASC will provide good opportunities for networking, for future work with PhD students, medical professionals, and researchers and their datasets. In his free time, Steven enjoys watching anime, and spending time with his wife, Hannah.


Mentorship Team

Neya More

Mentorship Program Assistant

Neya More is a second year Neuroscience major at University of Rochester. Neya aspires to go to medical school and travel the world volunteering with medical services, while researching public health issues in different areas of the world. Neya looks forward to helping students find a supportive mentor and become part of a community of scientists. In her free time, Neya relaxes with yoga, good books, and hiking a new trail.

Sasha Valentino

Mentorship Program Assistant

Sasha Valentino is a second year Forensic Science and Law student at Duquesne University. Sasha hopes to be either a questioned document or fingerprint analyst in the future. During her free time she enjoys photography and listening to music! Sasha joined ASC to connect with other future and current scientists as well as make new friends!

Social Media Team

Airton Sinott

Multimedia Manager

Airton Sinott is an undergraduate student of biotechnology at UFPEL (Brazil). Focusing on neuroscience, he studies new drugs and treatment approaches for depression and Alzheimer's disease in mouse models. ASC represents to him the environment needed in the academic field where people can share their experience, be guided, and make networks. Airton loves to ride his bike and play videogames in his free time.

Eva Darow

Assistant Social Media Manager

Eva is a junior at Loyola University Chicago studying psychology and neuroscience. She spends her free time writing for her school newspaper, practicing her cello, and spending time with family. Eva plans to pursue a graduate degree in neuropsychology, with a focus on how brain injuries and disorders impact cognition and behavior.

Saniya Jain

Assistant Social Media Manager

Saniya Jain is a sophomore undergraduate at the University of Kansas studying Behavioral Neuroscience. Her career plan is to become a research psychologist. A fun fact about her is that her Myers and Briggs personality test is ENFP-A. She joined ASC because she is an international student in the USA and this platform has given her lots of great mentorship and opportunities.


Student Ambassadors

Haley Searcy

Student Ambassador/Writer

Haley Searcy is a senior in high school in the Cincinnati area. She hopes to go through med school and become a neuro-otologist. In her free time, she likes reading medical autobiographies and listening to music. She joined ASC to learn more about careers in scientific research.

Japhet Kineze

Student Ambassador

Noe Cazares

Student Ambassador

Noe attends the University of California Los Angeles where he studied Neuroscience and Political Science as a first year student. Noe wishes to further study the brain in the hopes of gaining a better understand of behavior and brain disorder. From ASC he hopes to create community and support between people who enjoy science.