Sean Burns

Dr. Sean Burns, UC Berkeley

Sean Burns is Director of the Office of Undergraduate Research. Sean earned his PhD at UC Santa Cruz's History of Consciousness Department. His scholarship and teaching focus on U.S. social movement history and the dynamic intersections of community activism, political education, and the remaking of the social imagination.  

Claire Hilburger - Physical Science and Math SURF Mentor

Claire graduated with a B.S. with honors in Biomedical Engineering from Northwestern University. Her past research focused on developing vesicle-based technologies by integrating synthetic biology building blocks and artificial membranes. She is a NSF GRFP fellow and a first-year Ph.D. student in the joint Bioengineering program between UCSF and UC Berkeley where she is currently rotating through labs in the synthetic biology space. She hopes to empower undergraduates in research by providing them a platform to build their confidence, technical abilities, and critical-thinking skills. In her free time, she enjoys playing soccer, hiking, trying new coffee shops and puzzles.

Brittany Johnson - Program Coordinator and SURF Advisor

Brittany Johnson is proud to return to Cal as the SURF Program Coordinator. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from our English department and went on to earn her Master of Studies in Victorian literature from the University of Oxford, Christ Church College. She is a Haas Scholars and McNair Scholars alumna. Her past research focused on femininity, idealism, the Gothic, and the Romantic legacy in Victorian poetry and novels. She is especially fond of the Brontë sisters, Tennyson, Keats, PB Shelley, and Hardy. She works to support undergraduate research and academic wellness for all and empower underrepresented students. She is a big fan of dance, live music, travel, and food. Brittany can answer all your SURF program questions. Please email her or request a meeting via



Kayli Martinez - Life Science SURF Mentor

Kayli Martinez is from Pennsylvania and graduated from Eastern University with a B.S. in biochemistry and a minor in astronomy in 2018. She is herself an alum of various summer research programs including the NSF-REU and Amgen Scholars Programs. Kayli’s current research in chemical biology focuses on the study of electrophysiology of cardiomyocytes using voltage sensitive dyes as a member of Evan Miller’s lab. She enjoys participating in campus organizations and events, going to the beach, finding new local coffee shops, and attending concerts. Kayli looks forward to working with the Summer 2021 SURF cohort throughout the next year!