IMPORTANT: As the SURF deadline is fast approaching, our advisors are not open for appointments with students without drafts of their research proposal (L&S, Rose Hills) or application essay (SURF-SMART). If you do not have a draft ready for review, please contact the OURS peer advisors, or the UROC advisors.

Brittany Johnson

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

To schedule an appointment with Brittany, please email her at She is in the office Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.

Claire Hilburger – Physical Science and Math Advisor

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.

To schedule an appointment with Claire, please use this link.

Kayli Martinez – Life Science Advisor

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!

To schedule an appointment with Kayli, please use this link.

Note- if you are unable to schedule an appointment with Kayli, please consider meeting with Claire.

Mary Shi – Social Science & Humanities Advisor

Mary Shi grew up in the Central Valley of California and graduated with a B.A. in Political Science and Molecular Biochemistry & Biophysics from Yale University in 2014. She’s currently pursuing her Ph.D. in sociology, researching the various intersections of society and space and the politics of knowledge production in diverse settings, from large-scaled infrastructure projects in American state formation to present-day housing struggles in the San Francisco Bay Area. In her free time, Mary enjoys creating delicious food for friends, hiking, and reading. Mary is excited to encourage as many undergraduates as possible to discover their inner research scholars and feel empowered to follow their ideas wherever they may lead.

To schedule an appointment with Mary, please use this link.