CAs

What do CAs do?


Community Associates (CAs) are graduate students who enjoy being involved with the Rains community. Their goal is to help build a sense of community among Rains residents. CAs:

  • Plan educational, cultural, social, and recreational programs at the neighborhood and Rains-wide levels.

  • Offer information and advice to anyone who needs help finding services or information on Stanford Campus.

  • Create opportunities for residents to take an active role in the organization of events.

Each building in Rains is part of a neighborhood served by at least two CAs. We have a lot of information about Stanford and the surrounding communities. We're available when you have specific questions and when you just want to talk.


Who are the CAs?


cas
Head CAs
Wes Michaels wpm216
Serena Saffarini srsaff
Neighborhood CAs
Playground
Buildings 201-206
Jon Calles

Alexandra Diabre

jecalles

adiabre
The Citadel
Buildings 207-209
Lara Spencer

Brandon Wilson

ls560

bdwilson
The Orchard
Buildings 212-214
Brandi Ransom

Ben Baker
bransom

benbaker
The Plains of Rains
Buildings 215, 216
Sai Koppaka

Tyler McDaniel
skoppaka

tylermc
The Beach House
Buildings 217, 218
Arec Jamgochian

David Kastelman
arec

david.kastelman
Midtown
Buildings 220-226
Tiffany Cheng

Sam Abernethy
tiffc

sabernet
Hilgard
Buildings 227-229
Irene Li

Shreya Deshmukh

Marc Zajac

liirene

shreyad

mzajac

Frontier
Buildings 229-238
Joan O'Bryan

Alex Toews
jeobryan

artoews
More Rains CAs
Treasurer David Mackanic mackanic
Webmaster Alex Colville acolvill

CA Bios


Alexandra Diabre


TBD

Alex Colville


Hey everyone! My name is Alex, and I'm the Webmaster CA who lives in Playground. I'm a rising fourth year Genetics PhD student who studies the biological mechanisms of aging using high-throughput screens. I'm from Maine and did my undergrad at Northeastern in chemical engineering. Before coming to grad school I worked as a management consultant in Boston for biotech. I spend most of my time thinking about breakfast foods, lakes, and dogs. Also spend a lot of time scheming up the latest Stanford football tailgates and gettin sendy at Tahoe with the ski team. Let me know if you have any fun ideas for events, and I look forward to getting to know you all this year!

Shreya Deshmukh


Hi friends! I’m Shreya, a longtime Hilgard resident and now CA. I’m a 5th year PhD student in Bioengineering, for which I levitate blood cells to look for malaria. My passion is designing diagnostics for field settings, so we can make healthcare more accessible to under-resourced and marginalised populations. Other than research, I am usually thinking about food -either eating or making it (followed immediately by eating). I also love being outside (it’s easy to do that here): I try to live on my bicycle as much as possible, enjoy climbing rocks and trees, and like to hike, camp, or snowboard in the incredible places around us. I grew up bouncing around between India and Tokyo and went to university in Boston. I embrace that cultural confusion by getting immersed in various cultures, both at Stanford and while travelling. Looking forward to connecting with you!

Tyler McDaniel


Hello Rainsfolk! My name is Tyler, I'm a second year PhD student in sociology, and a CA for Plains of Rains! I grew up in North Carolina, but I did my undergrad in Utah, and I love to chat about outdoor activities in the Beehive state. When I'm not hiking or skiing (so most of the time), I'm probably in a library somewhere. My other interests include vegetables, podcasts, and socks. If you have any ideas for events or ways that we can make Rains even better, feel free to send them my way!

David Kastelman


What up, world? It's your boy, just one of the guys down here Well, I could be more specific: I'm a human, and uh, in addition to plagiarizing Lil Dicky lyrics (when appropriate), I'm a 2nd year Masters in Statistics student, and first year Orchard CA. I'm a big sports fan, think trees are really neat, always have a book on queue, and if I could have one superpower it would be playing the saxophone really well (but I don't play the saxophone). I'm always here if you have any questions or event ideas! (Saxophones quietly play me off).

Sam Abernethy


Hey Rains! My name’s Sam (pronounced “Sa-mm”) and I’m a second year PhD student studying atmospheric methane removal. I hail from the magical land of Nova Scotia, and now I CA for the almost-as-magical land of Midtown. I’m happiest when my elevation is changing — whether that’s climbing a mountain, cycling up to Skyline, or scuba diving. I also love cooking and eating and talking about what to cook and eat. Looking forward to meeting you!

Brandon Wilson


Hi there and welcome to Rains, the best graduate community on campus! I'm Brandon -- a rising 5th year PhD student in Chemical Engineering, focusing on molecular methods in diagnostic medicine. I'm super excited to be CAing for The Citadel this year (Rains buildings 207-209). I hail from Boston and I have spent the majority of my life living in snowy places. Outside of research, I love music, rock climbing, playing squash and board games! If you see me walking around Rains, don't hesitate to say hi! Looking forward to a great year!

Lara Spencer


What’s up Rains! I’m Lara, a third year Philosophy PhD student who has just moved from CAing the bustling business of Midtown to the heady heights of the Citadel. In previous lives I’ve dabbled in physics, neuroscience, working for a charity that researched pregnancy complications, and actuarial consulting. I grew up in London (England, not Ontario) so naturally enjoy drinking tea and/or Pimm’s, scoffing marmite, hanging out in pubs (the Rose and Crown does NOT count), moaning about the weather, playing croquet, and being friends with the Queen. Oh, and watching the UK set fire to itself, it’s now our national spectator sport. Can’t wait to meet you all and please reach out if you have any questions/fancy a cuppa!

Tiffany Cheng


Hi everyone! My name is Tiffany, and I am one of your Midtown CAs this year. I am a second year Master’s student in Statistics originally hailing from Irvine (Southern California). Prior to grad school, I did my undergrad at U.C. Berkeley (blue and gold until I die!) and then I worked at a healthcare technology company in SF for a few years. In other words, my quest to avoid experiencing a real winter is going exceedingly well. In my spare time, I enjoy running, hiking, dancing, attending musicals and ballets in SF, eating my way through Trader Joe’s frozen food selection, and staying informed on all things Disney and Harry Potter. Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions, suggestions, or just to say hi. Looking forward to a great year ahead in Rains!

Jon Calles


gif committee member

David Mackanic


Hey! I'm the treasurer! My name is David and I run most days. Mountains and trails are my favorite getaways. I study chemical engineering and was born in May. Sometimes I put my handstands on display. Tell me if you have a fun event or game to play. I've already called party city and put supplies on layaway. Come hang out with me and Alex, he's bae

Wes Michaels


Hey y’all, welcome to Rains! I’m Wes. I grew up north of Philadelphia, playing soccer and winning the hearts of local townspeople through valiant acts of heroism and chivalry (directions to Wawa, rescuing chickens, resetting the router to get the WiFi to work, and so on). After disputes with the local innkeepers jeopardized my days of profligate errantry, I embarked on a desperate quest to redeem my honor and find the legendary land of Liliore Green; where bucolic plains meet windswept beaches, orchards yield bountiful harvests, and barbecues fit for kings are held in the revered Castle Willis. My peregrination concluded in the autumn of 2016 (Google Maps was a huge help); I found occupation as an apprentice in suppositious field of “chemical engineering.” To my astonishment, I found even the most mellifluous tales didn’t capture the dearest beauty of Rains – it’s knightly denizens! Magnanimous, alacritous, and beholden to Stanford’s honorable Code of Honor, their strengths of intellect and character inspired me to accept one final quest and become a CA. In my endeavors, whether grandiose or minute, I hope to champion values of fellowship, inclusivity, and merriment to ensure the true legend of Rains – the spirit of its residents – lives on.

Arec Jamgochian


Hi Rains! I'm Arec, a Beach House CA living nearby in the Orchard. Though I'm a 2nd year Aero/Astro MS/PhD, I focus my time on robotics applications for a flat earth, namely autonomous cars. I'm from the DC area, went to undergrad at Maryland, and have spent time living in Spain and Armenia. In my free time I enjoy hiking, playing violin, and travelling. My largest remaining bucket list items are doing a backflip and getting a flying license. I look forward to meeting you!

Sai Koppaka


Hey Rains! I’m Sai, a third year PhD student in ME from Chicago (and, no, not from downstate Illinois claiming Chicago, but actually from the heart of the city). I did my undergrad at Yale (boola boola!!!) and flew across the country to the Plains of Rains. I love cooking, running, coffee, and watching Kate McKinnon effortless nail every SNL sketch. I’m really looking forward to meeting you all! Please feel free to reach out at anytime— even if it is to ask: “is it socially acceptable to add milk before cereal?” Actually tho, is it?

Serena Saffarini


Hey all! My name is Serena and I'm excited to be one of your CAs in Plains this year. I'm a third year law student from Virginia and went to William & Mary for undergrad. Living in Rains added so much to my first year experience and I can't wait to share that with you, so I hope to see you at our events this year! In my free time you can find me at SAY classes, getting out to the beautiful parks in the area, and napping. Please reach out anytime time - I'm looking forward to getting to know you all!

Alex Toews


Hi there, I’m Alex a.k.a. Beets, Beats, or Toews (“Taves”). I am one half of the dynamic duo presiding over Frontier this year and you better believe we’re gonna have some fun! This is my 2nd year as a Rains CA and 3rd year as a PhD student in EE. I’m a big nature person, games person, and people person so don’t be shy when you see me around Rains :slightly_smiling_face: I also love cooking, travelling, and all things music so lets trade playlists, recipes, and travel blunders galore. This year will be a blast - see you around!

Marc Zajac


Hi Rains! My name is Marc, and I will be one of the CAs for Hilgard. I'm a fifth year PhD student in Materials Science and Engineering, studying the physics of phase-change materials. I'm from Sacramento (aka Sactown), but I've also lived in North Carolina and West Virginia. I did my undergrad at Berkeley, which means I've spent many a sleepless night trying to figure out who cheer for at the Big Game. When I'm slacking (not SLACing... get it?!), I'm running, swimming, reading, or playing pick up basketball. I can't wait to meet everyone, and I am very excited to be your CA!

Joan O'Bryan


Hello friends! I’m Joan, a second-year political science PhD student studying political theory. I grew up in a bunch of places, but I like to tell people I hail from the great state of Virginia (703!). I went to college at Swarthmore and spent a few years thereafter boppin’ around, only to find my home in the wild Frontier of Rains. Given my degree, it won’t surprise you to find that I love having deep conversations about politics and the meaning of life, interspersed with a little dancing (okay a lot) and the occasional sport. You’ll find me at events doing all three (sometimes at once!). Excited for a great year!

Irene Li


Hi Rains! I'm excited to be a CA in Hilgard, and am a third-year PhD student in Cancer Biology. I hail from the frozen tundra of Michigan and spent my undergrad years at Michigan State University (Go Green!!). My hobbies include painting, gardening, hiking in all climates, and playing the piano/ukulele. Looking forward to meeting everyone!

Ben Baker


Hi there future friend! I'm Ben, a third year anthropology phd student, where I work on development issues and environmental damage in Lesotho. I am beyond stoked to CA for the Orchard (bldgs 212, 213 and 214). As a Canadian, I had a fairly stereotypical childhood outdoors, where I now like to spend most of my free time hiking, camping and rock climbing. Can't wait to get to know you all!

Brandi Ransom


Brandi Ransom (she\hers) is now a second year PhD student in the department of Materials Engineering. One time she put strawberries inside of cupcakes and covered them in chocolate and they were delicious. Being raised in the south, she considers air-conditioning cold enough to be a health risk. She is a computational scientist who focuses on materials discovery by simulation in the fields of batteries and polymer fibers.