Faculty & Board of Advisors

Board of Advisors

Oved Kedem, Ph.D.

Oved Kedem, Ph.D.Advisor

Dr. Kedem is the founding Director of Educational Projects at the Davidson Institute for Science Education at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel. For over 15 years he has been an expert on science curriculum design for K-12 classrooms and workshops. His work includes training teachers, designing educational labs, and multimedia development. In addition, Dr. Kedem designed and developed a series of science education films used for television. Earlier in his career, Dr. Kedem taught science for 12 years at the university level. Dr. Kedem received his Ph.D. in physics from the University of Salford, England, and holds a Masters of Science and Ph.D. from the Weizmann Institute of Science.

Jessica Maxfield, Ph.D

Jessica Maxfield, Ph.DAdvisor

Jessica is an accomplished life sciences academic, teacher, and scientist.  One of her main scientific pursuits is to understand better human sexuality by researching unique marine species.  She strongly believes in science outreach for youth, especially for girls.  She has taught life science courses to college students at the University of Hawai’i and San Francisco State University.  Jessica has been creating exceptionally creative curricula for Celsius and Beyond since 2009.  Our campers are fascinated and love the topics Jessica chooses such as genetics, Eco-Evo-Devo, human biome, Love and Mating in the Animal Kingdom and more.  She holds a B.S. in Marine Biology from Northeastern University in Boston, an M.S. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from SFSU, and a Ph.D. in Zoology with a specialization in EECB from the University of Hawai’i in Honolulu.

Anna Bakardjiev, MD

Anna Bakardjiev, MDAdvisor

Anna is a physician and infectious diseases specialist. She conducted research at UC Berkeley for six years and at UCSF for ten years, where she was also an Associate Professor of Pediatrics. She is currently a Senior Director of Clinical Research at Vir Biotechnology as well as an Adjunct Professor at UCSF.

Anna’s parents were both scientists which afforded her to appreciate the beauty of science early on.  She has become one of Celsius’s chief science supporters as soon as her children were able to enroll in Celsius camps.  Anna inspires many of our choices of topics.  Her own inspiration comes from her very curious children and her rich and interesting work environment.

Anna earned her MD from Medizinische Hochschule Hannover, trained at Harvard Medical School in the Department of Pediatric Neurology and did her residency at University of California San Francisco (UCSF)


Auritte Cohen-Ross

Auritte Cohen-RossFounder

It is hard to believe, but Auritte was once banned from doing any science experiment.

For her sixth-grade science project, Auritte built a lightbulb at her home in Israel and connected it to batteries.  Not satisfied with the results, she connected the light bulb to the electric outlet.  For a split second, the room lit up like a baseball field at night!  Then the fuse box burned, and her parents banned her from doing any science experiment without supervision.  Luckily, her teacher was not fazed by the near-disaster event and thought it was worthy of a good grade.

Auritte’s love for science has never ceased.  Over a decade ago, she got involved with her two daughters’ science school projects and was disappointed to see that they were not as “electrifying” as her own experience.  She then decided, in 2007, to create Celsius and Beyond, where kids can enjoy and experiment science, with an encouraging supervision.

Auritte spent 12 years in the high tech industry in Silicon Valley prior to opening her first science kids camp, and is a cum laude economics graduate of Temple University in Philadelphia.  She is also a huge fan of worldwide science museums.


Ofer Yizhar-Barnea

Ofer Yizhar-BarneaPh.D.

As a child, Ofer enjoyed watching science-fiction movies with his father.  When he was in middle school, he read about Dolly, the first cloned sheep. The idea of turning a previously unimaginable idea to a scientific reality became his life’s pursuit.  The problem was that he didn’t find his schools’ science classes engaging.  Luckily, a retired scientist took him and a few other students under his wing, and science became at once exactly what Ofer had envisioned it.

Today Ofer is a genetics researcher at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF).  His rich work history includes developing a life science curriculum for high school and college level students at the University of Haifa.

Ofer earned his B.Sc. in Life Sciences from the Ben-Gurion University, an M.Sc. in Biotechnology and Food Engineering from the Israel Institute for Technology (Technion), and  Ph.D., Human Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry from Tel Aviv University.

Sarah Hillenbrand

Sarah HillenbrandPh.D.

When Sarah was younger, she was fascinated by how living things like plants and animals work. Brains were particularly exciting to her because they were full of mystery, just waiting to be discovered. She soon discovered that she loves to think, learn, write, and teach about brains.

Sarah received her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from UC Berkeley in 2015, using brain scans to figure out how people learn to control their movements. She taught at Stanford University courses in how to develop a research argument and another on how to think like a scientist when solving real-world problems. Sarah also taught brain biology in the Psychology department at the University of San Francisco. Currently, Sarah is an AP Psychology teacher at Making Wave Academy in Oakland, CA.

Lucky Ding

Lucky DingB.A.

In third grade, Lucky wrote a class report on Dr. Mae Jemison, a physician-scientist-astronaut who was the first African American female to go into space. As she grew older, Lucky learned that Dr. Jemison also conducted biomedical research in space and built numerous science-education programs when she returned to Earth. Lucky has been inspired by her ever since. Lucky aspires to improve medical treatments for patients through scientific discovery and patient care, which is why she majored in science and now attends medical school.

In addition to extensive research work, Lucky mentored high school students through UCSF’s workshops focused on scientific discovery and interactive hands-on activities.

Lucky is a medical student at the UCSF School of Medicine. Previously, she earned her B.A. in Molecular and Cell Biology—Immunology from UC Berkeley.

Emily Orzechowski

Emily OrzechowskiPh.D. Candidate

During her first year of college, Emily lived in the Blue Ridge Mountains; one of the oldest mountain ranges in the world, mountains filled with the traces of ancient animals. The majestic surrounding inspired her to learn the sciences. Today Emily’s research focuses on how climate change has impacted coastal marine species over the last million years. Her work helps us predict the impact climate change will have on us in the future.

Emily developed science curriculums for the K-12 Alliance Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) Institute and at the National Science Foundation. She taught college-level students as well as elementary school students in schools and camps.

Emily is a Ph.D. student in Integrative Biology at UC Berkeley, graduating in May 2019.  She received her Integrated Biology from the College of William and Mary. Emily has also participated in numerous teacher-training programs.

Amanda Carbajal

Amanda CarbajalPh.D. Candidate

Amanda would have never become a scientist if it weren’t for her 10th-grade science teacher.  He strongly encouraged his students to become science majors in college and believed in their ability to do so.  Amanda took his encouragement to heart and studied biology.

In addition to extensive research work, Amanda guided an SFSU’s sponsored science club in a local high school. She also worked with kids at the Boys & Girls Club and at YMCA After School programs.

Currently, Amanda is a Ph.D. candidate in Molecular, Developmental, and Cell Biology at UC Santa Cruz.  She has an M.S. in Physiology and Behavioral Biology, and B.S in Zoology/Animal Biology from San Francisco State University.