Živa Alif is a PhD student of Economics of Natural Resources at the University of Ljubljana, focusing her research on the social aspects of nature conservation in farmland – in other words, trying to convince farmers to protect biodiversity on their farms. She completed a research masters in ecology, evolution and conservation at Imperial College London and holds a BA in Biological Sciences from the University of Oxford. Having moved from biology to social sciences, Živa is keen to get an insight into experimental and behavioural research in the environmental field, therefore she is excited to visit prof. dr. Sara Dolničar at the University of Queensland. In her free time, she enjoys singing and participating in all kinds of outdoors activities, from birding to cycling.
Žana Brilej is completing her undergraduate studies at the Faculty of Pharmacy in Ljubljana. During her studies, she developed an interest in biochemistry and began research at the Department of Synthetic Biology and Immunology at the Institute of Chemistry, where she researched potential prototypes of agents for the treatment of SARS-CoV-2. She later joined other projects at the institute, including the study of degradation mechanisms in mammalian cells and the regulation of immunologically active coiled-coil compounds. She is currently working on a gene therapy project to treat CTNNB1 syndrome. In addition to research, she likes to pass on her knowledge to younger generations, which she does in the context of individual instruction and tutoring at the Faculty of Pharmacy. She likes sports, especially dancing, hiking, climbing and surfing. Together with her friend, she leads two dance groups for preschool and school children. In her free time, she likes to hang out with friends and travel. As part of the ASEF Research Abroad fellowship program, she will be researching at the laboratory of prof. Jernej Murn in California, where she will deepen her knowledge of RNA biology and acquire research competencies that will help her continue her academic career in biomedicine.
Frenk Dragar is currently pursuing his Master's degree in Artificial Intelligence at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. He completed his Bachelor's degree in Computer Science and Mathematics at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, where he worked on a thesis project for automating the evaluation of language models, creating SloBench: the Slovenian Natural Language Processing Benchmark. His interests and experience in the field of artificial intelligence and computer science include deep learning, natural language processing, evolutionary computing and data engineering. In his spare time, he enjoys organizing student association activities, boulder climbing, running, playing guitar, cooking and traveling. He will visit Dr. Gašper Beguš at the University of California, Berkeley and have the opportunity to conduct research on deep learning for language models.
Simona Gričar is a doctoral student of Chemical Sciences and a junior researcher at the Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Technology, University of Ljubljana. She works in the field of bioinorganic chemistry and is dealing with the synthesis and evaluation of inhibitors of metalloenzymes that are causing antimicrobial resistance. During her student years, she was a student researcher at the faculty, synthesizing ruthenium coordination compounds with potential anticancer activity. She gained more research experience at the Institute ˝Jožef Stefan˝ and as an Erasmus+ intern at the Inserm institute in France. After finishing her Master's degree, she was employed as a researcher at the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Ljubljana, studying the role of immunoproteasome in the immune response. She wants to expand her doctoral research project on metalloenzymes to the field of structural biology. During her research visit, sshe will visit Prof. Boštjan Kobe’s research group at The University of Queensland in Australia, which she is very excited about. In her free time, Simona likes to travel, play board games and dance, especially Cuban salsa.
Katja Horvat is a Master student of Biotechnology at the Biotechnical Faculty, University of Ljubljana. In collaboration with the Faculty of Pharmacy and the Faculty of Medicine she has performed gene expression analysis of patients with coronary artery disease, the results of which were published in the scientific article in Journal of Cardiovascular Development and Disease. She is currently part of the research group investigating osteoporosis during her traineeship at University of Turku. She has also gained experience in an industrial environment at the company Lek d.d., Novartis first in the Regulatory department and later in the production of Biopharmaceuticals. In her free time she enjoys spending time in nature and doing different sports. Sometimes she also likes to volunteer at bigger sports events.
Ignacio Scasserra José
José Ignacio Scasserra is an Argentinian philosophy teacher. He did his master's degree in Interdisciplinary studies of subjectivity at the Buenos Aires University. He worked in different pedagogical programs with children and teenagers from vulnerable neighborhoods in Buenos Aires. Currently he is doing his PhD in Philosophy. His research is on the topis of ethics, education, gender studies, and the construction of subjectivity in current times. He publishes in both academic and non academic media. In 2022 a story he wrote about Slovenia got a mention on an Argentinian literature award. He is fluent in Spanish, English, and Portuguese. In 2020, José was an ASEF Junior Fellow in the program “Visit Slovenia”, where he developed part of his research work with his mentor Prof. Vojko Strahovnik, studied Slovenian language, and got to deliver two classes at the University of Ljubljana. Now, he has been selected for the “Research Abroad” program, during which he will continue working with Prof. Peter Verovšek at the University of Groningen, Netherlands. In his free time, José loves writing and reading literature, studying languages, and working out at the swimming pool or running in the park.
Tina Logonder is a master's student in biochemistry at the Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Technology of the University of Ljubljana. She is currently doing laboratory work in the biotechnology company Acies Bio as part of her master's thesis. The work focuses on the preparation and characterization of Yarrowia lipolytica yeast strains with altered lipid metabolism. Besides that, she gained practical experience mainly through laboratory work for her bachelor's thesis, which included the preparation of recombinant constructs for the expression of the EpCAM protein in mammalian cell lines. She has been interested in natural sciences since primary school and has regularly successfully participated in various competitions. She won a bronze medal at the International Biology Olympiad. Because she finds competitions to be an excellent opportunity to deepen knowledge, she now helps assess competition sheets of national knowledge competitions (biology, logic, natural science). She enjoys spending time in nature, drawing, playing chess, and snowboarding in the winter. She is excited about visiting prof. dr. Boštjan Kobe at the University of Queensland in Australia, where she will work in the field of structural biology.
Luka is a 6th year medical student at the University of Maribor. He is the co-founder of the SiOHCA project, which is successfully laying the foundations for tracking out-of-hospital cardiac arrests in Slovenia. In his free time he runs the Doctors project at the Sledilnik scientific society. He enjoys working in a wide range of fields, researching bacteriophages, nutrition and health technology. His awards include the Dr Uroš Seljak commendation in 2022 and the Perlach commendation in 2023. He also reviews articles submitted to the BMJ open and Epidemiology and Infection.
Leon is a second year Master’s student of Computer Science and Mathematics at the University of Ljubljana. He completed his undergraduate studies defending his diploma thesis in which he worked on efficient computation of subgraph isomorphism. As part of the ASEF fellowship program Research Abroad, Leon will visit prof. Jure Leskovec at Stanford University. He is looking forward to gaining new research experience. Leon also volunteers as a tutor at the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics. He is a recipient of the MOL scholarship for prospective students. In his free time Leon likes to travel and enjoys playing guitar and cooking.
Lara Snoj is a MSc student of Laboratory Biomedicine at the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Ljubljana. She is currently part of a research group at the Institute for Special Laboratory Diagnostics at the Pediatric Clinics in Ljubljana, where she is working on her master's thesis. She is studying the genetic background of autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease, a rather rare disease, caused by a mutation in PKD1 gene which, undetected, leads to an end-stage renal failure. During her undergraduate and graduate studies, Lara gained many practical skills and upgraded her knowledge by attending Erasmus+ traineeship programe in Malta. She also received a recognition for her scholarly achievements from her faculty. Lara is looking forward to joining the laboratory of prof. Klementina Fon Tacer at the School of Veterinary Medicine, Texas Tech University, where she will acquire new knowledge in the field of cancer genetics and development. She believes this experience is going to enable her personal and professional growth. At her home university, Lara also volunteers as a tutor to younger generations, helping them with her advice and experiences. She likes to spend her free time with her dogs and friends in nature. She is always up for a good hike, run or any other sports activity.
Tim is completing his Master’s degree in Business Informatics at the School of Economics and Business, University of Ljubljana. He completed his Bachelor's degree in Biology at the Biotechnical Faculty, University of Ljubljana. During his studies, he took part in an Erasmus+ exchange at the University of Augsburg, Germany. He is currently working at Deloitte as an IT Risk Consultant, where he is helping to mitigate the risks in the IT environment. In his free time, he enjoys playing football, reading books, and running the Speaker team at TedxUniversityofLjubljana. He is also keen on dancing Cuban salsa and competing in hackathons. As an ASEF Junior Fellow Tim will visit Prof. Dr. Sergeja Slapničar at the University of Queensland in Australia, where he will work on the quantification of cyber risk.
Ines Žabkar is a 6th-year medical student at the University of Ljubljana. Her area of interest lies mainly in the field of neurodegenerative diseases. During her studies so far, she researched the influence of estrogen on the expression of genes related to Parkinson's disease, for which she received the faculty’s research (Prešeren) award. She presented her work at the international ICUR conference 2021. During her student exchange at the Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg in 2021/22, she joined the Diem lab and learned new methods such as Calcium imaging to study NMDA receptor changes in early optic myelitis and multiple sclerosis. Currently, she is conducting a retrospective study at the Clinical Institute for Neurophysiology at the University Clinical Center Ljubljana on patients suffering from chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy and the effects of commonly used intravenous immunoglobulin therapy. For the past 4 years, she’s been an active member of SiNAPSA, Slovenian Neuroscience Association, and for 2 years the leader of the collaboration with the National Gallery. She helped organize various lectures and round tables in the field of neuroaesthetics for the wider public. ASEF will enable her to visit Prof. Dimitri Krainc at Northwestern University, where she will be learning new approaches for the diagnosis and treatment of extrapyramidal diseases. In her free time, she enjoys hiking in the mountains, reading, and writing poetry.
Brina Blaž (1993) is a painter, film producer and phd student of humanistics and social studies at Acadamy of Fine Arts Ljubljana. She has completed her BA at Acadamy of Fine Arts Ljubljana with student visit at Acadamy of Fine Arts Krakow and MA at Accademia di belle Arti Bologna, with student exhange at Akademie der bildende Kunste Munchen. Her works are intertwinment beetwen tactility, memory, illusion and presence, nature and space.
Nuša Dijak is a master's student at University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Education, studying Teaching program on Art Pedagogy field. She completed her bachelor's degree at the mentioned institution. During her studies she had participated in a five month Erasmus exchange at Polytechnic Institute of Porto in Portugal. Her previous research was based on illusion in painting, where she explored establishing the illusion of three-dimensionality in a painting, and delved into the possibility of practically displaying the illusion of two-dimensionality on a three-dimensional object. At the moment she is focusing on her Master’s thesis where she is going to research the use of color in art and its effect on the observer. During the ASEF Junior Fellowship program, Nuša will visit prof. dr. Kaja Antlej at the Deakin University in Victoria, Australia. In her free time, she loves to play her ukulele, create handmade pottery and handcrafted earrings made with seashells. Her biggest passion is traveling and experiencing hidden corners of the world.
Dominko Kobilica Natan
Natan is a physics undergraduate at the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics in Ljubljana. He is currently taking a year off studies to try out research and travel. He will be visiting prof. dr. Uroš Seljak at UC Berkeley in California. The topic of the research will be simulating the Ising model, a common theme in statistical physics. In the past Natan gained experience in research at the Jozef Stefan Institute in Ljubljana and at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering Ljubljana. He is excited to undertake a new challenge - theoretical research and is honored to be given the opportunity to visit UC Berkeley.
Žiga is a first stage Researcher (R1) and PhD student at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, University of Maribor. He works in the design of cellular structures and numerical structural analysis of solids. He uses computer simulations to determine how specific structures respond to external loads. As a part of his doctoral studies, he aims to develop personalized vascular stent structures from biodegradable materials for cardiovascular interventions. That would facilitate better recovery of patients and reduce complications in surgical procedures. As a part of the ASEF Junior Fellowship program, Žiga will have the opportunity to visit Dr Luka Pocivavsek at the University of Chicago, where he will gain additional knowledge from the interdisciplinary field of biomechanics. Žiga plays professional volleyball for his home club on a national and international level, so he spends most of his free time on the volleyball court. He also enjoys music, cooking, traveling and hiking.
Tadej is currently a final year student at the University of Ljubljana, University of Veterinary Medicine. Over the past couple of years, Tadej developed a strong interest in Cancer Medicine. Last year he embarked on laboratory-based research where he has been attempting to identify the predictive value of several tumor markers in animals treated with metronomic chemotherapy. He is grateful to be given a chance to join Dr Fon Tacer's lab at the Texas Tech University this summer. After a long day of working, Tadej likes to spend his leisure time outdoors. He especially enjoys discovering new places and doing sports, mainly road cycling, hiking and running.
Timotej Klemenčič is a Master student of Robotics at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering in Ljubljana. His main interests are robot control, gripper design and human-robot interaction. In the robotics lab, he participates in the organisation of the Days of Industrial Robotics event and helps with lectures as a student demonstrator. His research stay will be with Professor Milos Žefran at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he will conduct research on human-robot interaction as part of his master's thesis. In his free time, Timotej enjoys beekeeping, hiking in the mountains, and volunteering at the Biseri summer camp. He is also an amateur electronics engineer with a keen interest in quadcopters and 3D printing.
In December 2021 Jakob graduated from interdisciplinary Multimedia study programme at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Faculty of Computer and information science at the University of Ljubljana. Title of his graduation thesis was »Fundamental frequency recognition in a chord«. He developed his own algorithm for a chord recognition from a sound recording. He was always very eager to explore the connection between art (music) and science. A little over a year ago he also graduated with honors from Conservatory of Music and Ballet in Ljubljana. His principal subject was classical accordion, but he is also interested in other theoretical and practical musical aspects. In January Jakob will start his music studies at Berklee College of Music in Boston, which is one of the most prestigious contemporary music colleges. He hopes that there he will be able to broaden his musical horizons and to continue exploring connections between science and music. Beside music Jakob likes to spend his free time outside. He enjoys a good book, a concert, or an interesting debate. He is grateful for ASEF's help and he is very excited to gain new knowledge and experience in the USA.
Meta Kodrič is a master's student of Biochemistry at the Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Technology in Ljubljana, where she also obtained her bachelor’s degree. During her undergraduate studies she conducted an Erasmus+ traineeship at the University of Helsinki, where she worked with oncolytic adenoviruses for cancer immunotherapy and participated in the development of improved adenoviral vaccines against COVID-19. Besides that, Meta has gained plenty of practical experience as a student intern at the Institute of Pathophysiology in Ljubljana and while working in Novartis company Lek, d.d. in the department for Analytical science and technology. In her free time Meta likes to explore the outdoors and enjoys doing sports such as climbing, hiking, skiing and windsurfing. As an ASEF Junior Fellow Meta will join prof. dr. Boštjan Kobe’s research group at the University of Queensland in Australia, where she will be working on the structural characterization of proteins involved in innate immunity.
Gregor is an undergraduate student of physics at the University of Ljubljana. He also works in the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at the Jožef Stefan Institute, where he is currently working on machine learning on graphs. He has also been involved in a research project with the Slovenian NMR centre at the National Institute of Chemistry. In his free time, he enjoys reading books, spending time in nature, and traveling. Gregor will be joining Prof. Jure Leskovec’s research group at Stanford University and is looking forward to the opportunity to gain deeper insights into machine learning and the workings of such research institutions.
Maruša Lekše is a final year Master’s student of Mathematics at the University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Mathematics and Physics, where she also completed her undergraduate degree. During her studies, she worked as a tutor for Computer Science classes. She also participated in a summer workshop focusing on 2-crossing-critical graphs, after which she continued to work on the topic with one of the supervisors and some classmates from the workshop. As a part of the ASEF Junior Fellowship, Maruša will have the opportunity to visit prof. dr. Mateja Šajna at the University of Ottawa, where she will work on projects related to Graph Theory. She is excited to participate in ASEF and gain new experience and knowledge. In her free time, she enjoys reading, diving, taking long walks in nature and playing board games with friends.
Domen is currently a first year Data Science masters student at the Faculty of Computer and Information Science, University of Ljubljana, where he also completed his bachelors with research in automatic music transcription using convolutional neural networks. During his studies he was a two-time recipient of the Dean's award for top 5% students. At the faculty, Domen was part of the Laboratory of Algorithms and Data Structures, where he developed an assembly line optimization algorithm and created an automatic reporting system for an outside company. He also designed an exploration based robot rescue algorithm at another private company. Domen is a part of the wind orchestra Ave, where he is currently a board member and a curator of their website. He is also a volunteer at Super Glavce, where he is a robot game judge for the FLL competition. In the past he has held a few programming summer schools, targeted at primary school students. As part of his ASEF Junior Fellowship, Domen will visit prof. Marinka Žitnik at the Harvard University in USA, where he will be acquiring new knowledge about machine learning in bioinformatics.
David Nabergoj graduated from the Faculty of Computer and Information Science at the University of Ljubljana as a Master of computer and data science. Throughout his studies, he worked on various interdisciplinary projects that connected computer science with medicine, sports, industrial applications and other areas. He is currently applying for a PhD position at the Faculty of Computer and Information Science in Ljubljana. His primary research interests are artificial intelligence and machine learning, both their theory and application. Most recently, he has been working with the Berkeley Center for Cosmological Physics, developing machine learning algorithms and applying them to problems in Bayesian statistics and physics. He is grateful to be joining Prof. Uroš Seljak at the University of California, Berkeley and to have the opportunity to conduct research there.
I am a second-year mathematics master student at the Faculty for Mathematics and Physics at Ljubljana, where I finished my undergrad as well. In the next academic year, I will start my PhD studies in the US. At FMF I have been volunteering as a tutor for younger mathematics students at the University of Ljubljana since my second year. This means that each week I am available to undergraduate students and help them with the problems they are having in their coursework and solving homework. During my masters studies, I worked as a student researcher at Jozef Stefan Institute, in the department of artificial intelligence, where I analysed causal relationships between indicators. In my free time, I often volunteer at ZPM. During my ASEF visit, I will work with Prof. dr. Bojan Mohar on a project from Spectral graph theory.
Jona is currently a 1st year master's degree student of biotechnology at the Biotechnical Faculty of the University of Ljubljana. During his education he worked in the field of neurodegenerative diseases with doc. dr. Helena Motaln at the Jožef Štefan Institute, where he participated in research on RNA-binding proteins, their interactions, and localization within neurons. He later extended his studies to the biology of plant-microbial interactions at AciesBio, where he earned his degree and where he still works as a research assistant. Over the summer, he will join the laboratory of prof. dr. Jernej Murn in California, where he wants to further broaden his knowledge of RNA-binding proteins and methods of bioinformatical data analysis. In addition to research work, Jona also works in the association BEST (Board of European Students of Technology), where he is the co-founder and main organizer of the event Biofair. He is also involved in humanitarian projects such as Summerjob and Pearls.
Sara is a first year Master’s student of Computer Science and Mathematics at the University of Ljubljana. In 2021 she completed her undergraduate studies by defending her diploma thesis in which she used machine learning to develop an algorithm for detecting telecommunication fraud in a network with several million subscribers. She previously worked in a team that developed a legal disclosure solution for mobile IP traffic. Her interests include machine learning, cryptography and the use of artificial intelligence in medicine and biology. In the following year she is visiting prof. Jure Leskovec at Stanford University. She is excited to gain new research experience.. Sara volunteers as a tutor at the Faculty for Mathematics and Physics. She is a recipient of the MOL scholarship for prospective students. In her spare time she enjoys climbing and scuba diving.
Domen is a student of Chemistry with Molecular Physics at Imperial College London. He is currently working on his master’s thesis in the field of machine learning on graphs. His research interests are mainly centered around the use of mathematics, physics, and computer science to study relevant biological or medicinal problems. During the past 6 years at the National Institute of Chemistry with Prof. Janez Mavri he was focusing on the central nervous system, describing it at different length and time scales. He was also gathering research experience at the University of Oxford and at BIA Separations. He wants to deepen his knowledge in building models to describe phenomena at different scales. Domen is looking forward to working with Prof. Andrej Šali during his research visit as well as participating in numerous other ASEF activities in the coming years.
Jure is finishing his bachelor’s studies at the Biotechnical faculty of the University of Ljubljana. He got his first research experience with his bachelor’s thesis, about new enzymes from marine microorganisms. In addition, he finished an individual research project in the department for microbiology and microbial biotechnology of the Biotechnical faculty. He likes to spend his free time outdoors or by reading an interesting book. He sees great importance in constant learning and sharing knowledge with others. He was a member of a student organization called Project LOKUS, where he was giving lectures to high school students and writing articles for a broader audience about genetically modified organisms and their applications. He is also a member of the European student organization BEST (Board of European Students of Technology), where he participated in the organization of summer school, the biggest European student engineering competition and other events with the primary goal of sharing knowledge. He is excited to become a part of ASEF and continue organizing educational events and projects. As an ASEF junior fellow, Jure will visit dr. Jernej Ule in London, where he will join the research on RNA networks in nerve cells. For him this will be a great opportunity to strengthen his knowledge about bioinformatic tools and analysis.
Martin is a Master's student of Chemistry at the University of Ljubljana. During his studies he has build a big interest in Organic Chemistry and he wishes to become a researcher. He has gained valuable research experience in professor Jernej Iskra’s group at the University of Ljubljana. He participated in a Students’ Innovative Project for the Benefit of Society (ŠIPK), where they developed a 3D printed molecular kit. Furthermore, he is the mentor of International Chemistry Olympiad preparation at Škofja Loka and Kranj Grammar Schools. ASEF enabled him a research visit to professor David Šarlah’s group in Illinois, where he will work on the field of total organic synthesis. He is super excited about the research visit and membership in ASEF. He is sure that ASEF will provide him with important experience and a great opportunity to build knowledge. In his free time, Martin likes to ski, climb, and play beach volleyball. He also loves traveling and tasting funny-looking food.
Arjana graduated from a double-major study program of Sociology and Pedagogy at the Faculty of Arts, University of Maribor. She is currently finishing her Ph.D. at the Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program in the Humanities and Social Sciences in the field of Ethnology, Cultural, and Social Anthropology at the Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana. Her current research focuses on North American Indigenous and gender studies. In the academic year 2018-19 she was a Fulbright Visiting Researcher at the College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Idaho, where she was conducting ethnographic fieldwork among the North American Indigenous Communities. The core of her ethnographic research is based on studying the roles and mission of the North American indigenous cultural tradition of multiple genders identifications or the Two-Spirit Movement today. She is excited and honored to collaborate with prof. Peter J. Verovšek at the University of Sheffield, UK, on his project on Jürgen Habermas - »The Philosopher as a Public intellectual« and to supplement her knowledge in political science. She worked in various social, educational, and prevention programs. She adores traveling, learning about new cultures and wildlife, and going to various music and cultural events. She is a real »philmophile«, she loves to watch movies and analyze the cultural representations portrayed in them. Besides spending free time with family and friends, she is following several social initiatives and movements (as Progressive International, DiEM25). Her life philosophy is self-identified in Mahatma Gandhi's statement: »Be the change you wish to see in the world«.
Matej is currently pursuing a Master’s in Finance at the London School of Economics (LSE). Before that, he obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Financial Mathematics at the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics in Ljubljana. Alongside the formal education curriculum, Matej has already authored three scientific articles; published in The Journal for Money and Banking and mathematical journal Matrika. In 2020 he won 1st place at the Innovative All-Nighter competition with his team. After obtaining his Bachelor’s degree, he worked as a quantitative research analyst at Generali Investments Slovenia. In his spare time, Matej enjoys playing tennis, beach volleyball, skiing, dancing, and sailing. As a part of the ASEF Junior Fellows programme, Matej will research with Prof. Dawn Song at the University of California, Berkeley.
Denis is currently enrolled in the Molecular and Functional Biology program of the Biotechnical Faculty of the University of Ljubljana. After completing his Bachelor of Science degree in the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematic in Maribor, he took a keen interest in the more medical side of biology and thus decided to pursue a career mainly focused on neuroscience and genetics. In his research, which currently focuses on the physiological role of MAGE proteins in the Prader-Willi and Schaaf-Yang syndromes, he is trying to combine classic genetic and neuroscientific methods with his love of neural network modeling and phylogenetic analyses. In his free time, he is a volunteer firefighter and a Red Cross certified paramedic. He is very excited to have been given this opportunity and cannot wait to meet his mentor, dr. Fon Tacer in Amarillo, Texas.
Stojanov Konda Jakob Timotej
I am a fifth-year medical student at the University of Ljubljana and I will be visiting prof. dr. Dimitri Krainc at Northwestern University in the USA during my ASEF Research Visit. With prof. Krainc, I will be conducting research concerning extrapyramidal disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease. During my studies thus far, I was actively involved in two research projects, among which one studied the occurrence of adverse effects of breast cancer radiotherapy, while the other studied the effect of adrenalin and insulin on the AMPK molecule in skeletal muscle cells. Both projects received the faculty research (Prešeren) award, whereas for the first I also received the Krka award and many publications in scientific journals and conferences. Besides my studies, I am active in our faculty’s Erasmus+ exchange program, helping foreign students who come to Slovenia, while also currently taking part in a year-long study exchange at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Heidelberg in Germany. Additionally, I am active in two student-led projects, one of which is focusing on conferring knowledge of risk factors and methods of prevention of cardiovascular diseases to the general population, whereas within the other I supervise the creation of podcasts including conversations with experts about various medical or health-related topics. In my free time, I like to do sports, especially cycling and fitness, as well as socialize with friends. Besides medicine I am also very interested in history, therefore I often like to read about topics from this field as well.
Beti Strgar is an actress, singer, pianist and future producer and composer who has just started her studies at the prestigious music school Berklee College of Music in January. She is interested in mixing different art forms and genres. As a child she first discovered music; later on she studied film directing and after that she was exploring acting. In 2019 she graduated from acting at Academy of Theater, Radio, Film and Television in Ljubljana. In 2020, she studied theater singing and had her masters show called Pišem pismo, tebi. Between 2019 and 2021, she was a part of SLG Celje theater ensemble and she performed in many TV series and films but now with the opportunity to study at Berklee College of Music, she is heading back to school and back to music. In the future she wants to combine all of her areas of interest. She wants to help gifted individuals with pursuing their dreams. She wants to travel the whole world and live fully every day. She wants to have endless walks in nature and take dips in the winter sea. She also wants to pass on her knowledge to younger generations one day. But most of all, she wants people to build a better world and for them to be nice to each other in which, as a true utopist, she truly believes. She is honored to receive an ASEF scholarship which will help her with her studies in the USA and she is excited about new experiences and knowledge that are waiting for her.
Anja is a Master's student of Machine Learning and Neuroscience at ETH Zurich and UZH. During her studies, she worked on various research projects, including implementing a bioinspired neural network learning algorithm on a neuromorphic chip at IBM Research in Zurich. She completed her undergraduate studies in Electrical Engineering at the University of Ljubljana. As part of ASEF, Anja will visit prof. Jure Leskovec at the Stanford University. In her free time, she enjoys traveling and doing sports such as jazz ballet, running and skiing.
Lucija Tacer is a 4th year law student at the Law Faculty at the University of Ljubljana. She is also active as the president of the European Law Students ’Association (ELSA) Slovenia and the coordinator of tutors at the Faculty of Law. Prior to studying law, she completed her studies in economics and political science at Vanderbilt University. She is interested in research in the field of human rights and comparative law, especially on the topic of gender equality. In the coming year Lucija will join Dr. Fikfak’s research group and contribute to the Human Rights Nudge project.
Nastja is a undergraduate student of Biology at the Biotechnical Faculty, University of Ljubljana. Currently she is enrolled in her third year of studies. In her final year she is going to be helping at the department of Biochemistry. The work of the research group for biochemistry is focused on the structure and function of proteins or other substances that bind to biological and artificial lipid membranes or certain receptors in membranes, transforming them and forming transmembrane pores in the lipid layer. In connection with these processes, they study the potential use of these proteins (or other substances) in biomedicine, pharmacy, and elsewhere. She is also a member of the Biology Students Association. She is also a humanitarian as she has volunteered at a fundraiser “To be a woman” in her hometown Celje, where they raised money for a family in need. Nastja is looking forward to expanding her knowledge and experience with the help of her mentor prof. dr. Dimitri Krainc at the Northwestern University in Chicago. Aside from her research she enjoys dancing, spending time in nature, reading and the company of animals.
Anja is currently a fourth-year undergraduate student of Mathematics and Computer Science at University of Oxford in the UK. Alongside her degree she has always been fascinated by linguistics. During her studies she discovered she can combine her interests by focusing on the areas of Natural Language Processing and Computational Linguistics. She is currently working on an undergraduate project in Machine translation. Anja wants to further study the field and gain more research skills, which is why she is excited to work with prof. Gašper Beguš at at the University of California, Berkeley. In spare time, she likes to dance, play table tennis and travel.
Špela is currently a final-year student of Laboratory biomedicine at the University of Ljubljana. Before she continues studying Biomedicine at the graduate level, she wishes to obtain more research experiences. She had her first taste of research in the summer of 2019, when she worked at the Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Faculty of Pharmacy. She then joined a project aiming to determine the role of secondary DNA structures (G4 quadruplex) in the promotor region of a specific gene. In the coming year, Špela is going to join the laboratory of prof. Jernej Murn in California, gaining research experience in the field of RNA biology. She is excited about the research visit and appreciative for the opportunity provided by the ASEF organisation.
Špela has volunteered at Slovene Philanthropy and helped with rapid antigen testing of healthcare workers during the epidemic. She is also a recipient of the MOL (City of Ljubljana) scholarship for prospective students. She enjoys running and hiking in the mountains.
Larsen is an undergraduate student at the Faculty of Computer and Information Science (FRI), University of Ljubljana and is currently working on his bachelor thesis in the field of Machine Learning. Before his research visit, he is finishing his last bachelor’s semester at the Faculty of Engineering, South Denmark University, as an Erasmus exchange student. During his studies, Larsen has been working in the Laboratory of Algorithms and Data Structures. He is designing different optimization algorithms and machine learning models for the industry. Because of his passion for entrepreneurship, he also founded a natural honey cosmetics company, called Beesmetic, and wants to found a tech company in the near future. During his free time, he likes to work out and play board games with his friends and family. He also loves to learn and teach others about computer science and mathematics. That is why he also went to The Gambia, Africa, as a volunteer and helped organize summer camp workshops for kids, where he taught them Mathematics and English through different games and exercises.
Larsen is truly excited to be this year’s ASEF Junior Fellow. He can’t wait to gain new knowledge related to Artificial Intelligence under the mentorship of prof. Mateja Jamnik at Cambridge University.
Maruša Gorišek is a MA of Political Science and a PhD student of Sociology at the School of Advanced Social Studies in Nova Gorica. She is working as a young researcher at the Institute for developmental and strategic analyses in Ljubljana, where she is a member of a research program titled Socio-cultural and organizational aspects of knowledge and technology transfer. Her research currently focuses on the concept of meritocracy and the role of experts, knowledge and science in societies. She gained practical experiences working at the field of public relations and as a Schumann trainee at the European parliament liaison office. Already during her undergraduate studies, she participated in two international exchanges at the Masaryk University in Brno and the University of Helsinki. As a part of ASEF Junior Fellowship, she is going on a study visit to prof. Peter J. Verovšek to the University of Sheffield.
In her free time, she is mainly involved in curling, where she is also a multiple-time national champion and a member of the Slovenian national team.
Maruša Gorišek je magistrica politologije in doktorska študentka sociologije na Fakulteti za uporabne družbene študije v Novi Gorici. Kot mlada raziskovalka je zaposlena na Inštitutu za razvojne in strateške analize, kjer je članica programske skupine Sociokulturni in organizacijski vidiki prenosa znanja in tehnologije. Trenutno se raziskovalno ukvarja predvsem s konceptom meritokracije ter vprašanjem vloge ekspertov, znanja in znanosti v družbi. Praktične izkušnje si je med drugim nabirala tudi z delom na področju odnosov z javnostmi ter v pisarni Evropskega parlamenta v okviru programa Schumannove prakse. Že tekom dodiplomskega in magistrskega študija se je udeležila dveh izmenjav na Masarykovi univerzi v Brnu ter na Univerzi v Helsinkih, v okviru ASEF Junior Fellowship pa se podaja na študijski obisk k prof. Petru J. Verovšku na Univerzo v Sheffieldu.
V prostem času se ukvarja predvsem s curlingom, kjer je tudi večkratna državna prvakinja in slovenska reprezentantka.
Gašper Grad is a Master’s student at University of Ljubljana, School of Economics and Business where he also obtained his bachelor’s degree. During his studies he has participated in study exchanges at Universidad de Deusto (San Sebastian, Spain) and Tecnologico de Monterrey (Nuevo Leon, Mexico). At his home university, he carries out seminars of human resources management for undergraduate students. Furthemore, he is an active member of student’s society TopEF and a co-founder of the business hackathon Innovative all-nighter. His main field of research interest is organisational psychology. Thanks to ASEF he will join forces with prof. Tina Saksida on his research visit in Canada. His favorite spare time activities are sports, dancing and socializing.
Gašper Grad je magistrski študent na Ekonomski fakulteti Univerze v Ljubljani, kjer je tudi diplomiral. Tekom študija se je udeležil izmenjav na Universidad de Deusto (San Sebastian, Španija) in na Tecnologico de Monterrey (Nuevo Leon, Mehika). Na domači fakulteti vodi seminarje za dodiplomske študente pri predmetu Ravnanje z ljudmi pri delu. Poleg tega je aktiven član študentskega društva TopEF in soustanovitelj poslovnega hekatona Innovative all-nighter. Področje, ki ga z raziskovalnega vidika najbolj privlači, je organizacijska psihologija. S pomočjo ASEF bo na svojem raziskovalnem obisku v Kanadi združil moči s prof. Tino Saksida. Njegove najljubše prostočasne aktivnosti so šport, ples in druženje.
Metod recently graduated from the Masters in Data Science program at ETH Zurich. Before that, he obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Financial Mathematics at Faculty of Mathematics and Physics in Ljubljana. Throughout his Masters, he worked on various research projects, ranging from developing privacy-preserving Machine Learning algorithms to analyzing the dynamics of financial markets based on the news sentiment. In his thesis work, Metod focused on the area of deep probabilistic modelling, namely on improving the scaling properties of such models. Outside of studies and work, Metod enjoys travelling and all kinds of sports (basketball, skiing, tennis). He is excited to join the ASEF Junior Fellows program and ASEF’s mission to strengthen academic ties between Slovenian researchers back home and abroad. As part of the program, he will visit Prof. Jure Leskovec at Stanford University.
Metod je pred kratkim zaključil magistrski študij na področju Data Science na univerzi ETH v Zürichu. Pred tem je diplomiral iz finančne matematike na Fakulteti za matematiko in fiziko v Ljubljani. Tekom magisterija je delal na različnih Machine Learning raziskovalnih projektih: od razvoja algoritmov, ki slonijo na ohranitvi zasebnosti podatkov do analize dinamike finančnih trgov na podlagi sentimenta iz novic. V svoji magistrski nalogi se je osredotočil na področje globokih probabilističnih modelov. V prostem času Metod uživa v potovanjih in je športni navdušenec (košarka, smučanje, tenis). V okviru programa ASEF bo obiskal profesorja Jureta Leskovca na univerzi Stanford in se veseli, da bo lahko prispeval k krepitvi akademskih vezi med slovenskimi raziskovalci doma in v tujini.
Vid Keršič is a Computer Science Master's student at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, University of Maribor, where he also obtained his bachelor's degree in Computer Science. In the year 2020, he was selected as the 2nd best student at the University of Maribor. During his bachelor's degree studies, he started working at the Blockchain Lab:UM at the faculty, researching blockchain and distributed ledger technologies, data privacy, and self-sovereign identity. He is also researching and developing machine learning models for learning representation of entities in graph-structured data (e.g., Wikipedia graph). As part of the ASEF Junior Fellowship program, Vid will visit prof. Jure Leskovec at Stanford University, to work on artificial intelligence-related projects. He is very excited about the research visit, which will surely help him learn many new skills for his future projects.
During his spare time, Vid likes to travel, play tennis, read science fiction books, and watch movies and documentaries.
Vid Keršič je študent magistrskega študija Računalništva in informacijskih tehnologij na Fakulteti za elektrotehniko, računalništvo in informatiko Univerze v Mariboru, kjer je tudi diplomiral. Leta 2020 je bil izbran za drugega najboljšega študenta Univerze v Mariboru. Tekom diplomskega študija je na fakulteti začel sodelovati v skupini Blockchain Lab:UM, v sklopu katere raziskuje tehnologijo veriženja blokov, zasebnost podatkov in upravljanje digitalnih identitet. Aktiven je tudi pri razvoju in raziskovanju modelov strojnega učenja za učenje predstavitve entitet v podatkih v obliki grafa (na primer graf Wikipedije). V sklopu programa ASEF Junior Fellowship bo Vid obiskal prof. dr. Jureta Leskovca na Univerzi Stanford, kjer bo delal na projektih s področja umetne inteligence. Raziskovalnega obiska se zelo veseli, saj mu bo gotovo pomagal pridobiti nove veščine, ki mu bodo pomagale pri bodočih projektih.
V prostem času rad potuje, igra tenis, bere znanstveno-fantastične knjige in gleda filme ter dokumentarce.
A Slovenian raised in the US, Rhea is pursuing a Masters of Business Informatics at the School of Economics and Business (SEB) University of Ljubljana. As the Project Manager at BLCKB Applied Neuroscience, she primarily focuses on the product development of Whitebox, a cloud platform for processing EEG as well as BRNoutID, a system for fatigue detection. Her research on neuromarketing data made her a finalist for the science breakthrough of 2020 at the Falling Walls & Berlin Science Week Conference. She joined BLCKB after COVID19 interrupted her work developing AI movie trailers performance predictions in Dublin’s startup Picasso Analytics founded in collaboration with her colleagues from Prague Film School. Her interest in neuroscience started with her volunteer work in Epilep.si where she was part of the team that achieved the top 5 NASA Space Challenge in 2015 and IEEE Brain hackathon award for the most humanitarian startup in 2016. As an ASEF fellow, Rhea will research at the University of Wyoming, on projects pertaining to biomedical signal processing, sensor fusion and virtual reality, under the mentorship of prof. Domen Novak.
In her spare time, Rhea is an avid fan of comic books and has successfully self-published a History of American comics on Kickstarter. She also edits films and loves going to film festivals.
Rhea – Slovenka, ki je odraščala v ZDA – opravlja magisterij iz poslovne informatike na Ekonomski Fakulteti (SEB) Univerze v Ljubljani. Kot vodja projekta pri aplikativnem nevroznanstvenem startupu BLCKB, se Rhea osredotoča na razvoj projektov Whitebox, oblačne platforme za obdelavo EEG-jev, ter BRNoutID, sistema za odkrivanje utrujenosti. Njene raziskave na nevromarketinških meritvah so jo pripeljale med finaliste znanstvenega preboja leta 2020 na konferenci Falling Walls & Berlin Science Week. Startupu BLCKB se je pridružila potem, ko je COVID-19 prekinil njeno delo v dublinskem startupu Picasso Analytics, ustanovljenem v sodelovanju z njenimi kolegi iz praške filmske šole. V Dublinu se je osredotočala na razvoj napovedovanja uspešnosti filmskih trailerjev z AI. Njeno zanimanje za nevroznanost se je začelo s prostovoljnim delom v Epilep.si, kjer je bila del ekipe, ki je leta 2015 dosegla top 5 NASA Space Challenge in IEEE Brain hackathon Award za najbolj humanitarni startup v letu 2016. Kot ASEF fellow bo Rhea pod mentorstvom prof. Domna Novaka raziskovala na Univerzi v Wyomingu biomedicinsko obdelavo signalov, fuzijo senzorjev in navidezno resničnost.
V prostem času je Rhea ljubiteljica stripov in je na Kickstarterju uspešno izdala Zgodovino ameriških animacij. Ureja tudi filme in rada hodi na filmske festivale.
Lea Knez is a Biochemistry Master’s student at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich. During her Bachelor’s studies, she worked at the Jožef Stefan Institute, where her research was focused on uncovering the molecular mechanism of a rare genetic disease – the Prader-Willi syndrome. In the last year of her studies in Ljubljana, she was selected to participate in the TRANS-GLIOMA project at the Faculty of Medicine to develop nanobodies that target novel glioblastoma stem cell markers. This summer Lea will have the amazing opportunity to join the research group of Prof. Jernej Ule at The Francis Crick Institute in London, where she will explore the dynamic world of RNAs and RNA-binding proteins and their involvement in neurodegenerative diseases. She is a strong believer that real growth begins at the end of one's comfort zone. That is why she welcomes the set of challenges that come with this opportunity, as she sees them as key components to her personal and scientific growth.
When Lea is not pipetting in the lab, she transfers her experiments into the kitchen, where she likes to try out new dishes and combinations of flavours. She also enjoys reading good books, travelling, discovering new cultures and exploring art.
Lea Knez je magistrska študentka biokemije na Univerzi Ludwiga Maximiliana v Münchnu. Tekom dodiplomskega študija biokemije je na Inštitutu Jožef Stefan raziskovala molekularno ozadje redke genetske bolezni – Prader-Willijevega sindroma. V zadnjem letu študija v Ljubljani je bila izbrana za sodelovanje v projektu TRANS-GLIOMA na Medicinski Fakulteti, v sklopu katerega je razvijala nanotelesa, ki specifično prepoznajo markerje glioblastomskih matičnih celic. Letošnje leto pa se je Lei ponudila izjemna priložnost, saj bo v okviru ASEFA obiskala prof. Jerneja Uleta na Inštitutu Francis Crick v Londonu, kjer bo raziskovala dinamični svet RNA in RNA-vezavnih proteinov ter njihovo vpletenost v nevrodegenerativne bolezni. Ker verjame, da se resnična rast začne, ko izstopiš iz cone udobja, je ni strah izzvov, ki prihajajo skupaj s ponujeno priložnostjo, saj jih vidi kot ključne komponente svoje osebne in znanstvene rasti.
Ko Lea ne pipetira v laboratoriju, svoje eksperimentiranje preseli v kuhinjo, kjer rada odkriva nove jedi in kombinacije okusov. Poleg tega rada bere dobre knjige, potuje in spoznava nove kulture ter odkriva umetnost.
Špela is a second-year PhD student of Biosciences, University of Ljubljana. During her master's study of Biotechnology at the University of Ljubljana, she worked as a student intern in Novartis company- Lek, d.d., in a Bioprocess laboratory, developing high yielding bioprocesses. She finished her master's degree as a part of Erasmus+ exchange at the University of Natural resources and Life sciences, Vienna, working on a metabolic model of CHO cells. After that, she spent a semester in Max-Delbrück centre for molecular medicine, Berlin, where she enthusiastically joined a project that aims to develop an autonomous cell-engineering approach for B cells.
Now, Špela focuses on innate immunity, especially on Toll-like receptor 10. She feels honoured to be accepted to prof. dr. Boštjan Kobe at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, where she will be working on crystal domains of TLR10. She's a big enthusiast of nature and outdoor sport, and spends her spare time alpine climbing, hiking the mountains or backcountry skiing.
Špela je študentka drugega letnika doktorskega študija Bioznanosti, Univerza v Ljubljani. Med magistrskim študijem Biotehnologije, Univerza v Ljubljani je kot študentka delala v podjetju Novartis -Lek, d.d., v bioprocesnem laboratoriju in razvijala visoko donosne procese. Magistrirala je v okviru izmenjave Erasmus+ na Univerzi za naravne vire in znanosti o življenju na Dunaju, kjer razvijala metabolični model celic CHO. Po tem je preživela semester v centru za molekularno medicino Max-Delbrück v Berlinu, kjer se je navdušeno pridružila projektu, katerega cilj je razviti avtonomni celični inženiring za celice B.
Zdaj se Špela osredotoča na prirojeno imunost, zlasti na cestninsko podoben receptor 10. Počaščena je, da je bila sprejeta v laboratorij prof. dr. Boštjan Kobe na Univerzi Queensland v Brisbane, kjer bo delala na kristalnih domenah TLR10. Je velika navdušenka nad naravo in športom na prostem, v prostem času se ukvarja z alpinizmom, pohodništvom in turnim smučanjem.
Ajda Krišelj recently graduated from the University of Edinburgh with a 1st class honours MA degree in Cognitive Science (Humanities). For her honours dissertation, she explored the differences in mental representations between Slovenian and English native speakers, specifically how the dual grammatical number affects them. She spent the third year of her undergraduate degree in New Zealand studying at the University of Auckland, where she actively engaged with the Slovenian community. Currently, she is working as an Academic Mentor in a primary school in London, where she is doing interventions in primary numeracy and trying to tackle the gaps in pupil’s knowledge caused by the school closures. She is hoping to pursue a master's degree in Speech and Language Science at UCL later.
She is very honoured for the opportunity to explore linguistic intricacies further by visiting prof. Gašper Beguš at UC Berkeley as an ASEF Junior Fellow. She is excited to contribute to research about how language works in the brain and applying that to clinical practice. In her free time, she enjoys playing the harp, singing in a choir, climbing, and mountaineering. She likes to travel and meet new people as well.
Ajda Krišelj je pred kratkim z odliko diplomirala iz kognitivne znanosti na Univerzi v Edinburghu. Za diplomsko nalogo je raziskovala, kako se mentalne reprezentacije razlikujejo med maternimi govorci slovenščine in angleščine, bolj natančno, kako na njih vpliva dvojina. Tretji letnik je preživela na Novi Zelandiji, kjer je študirala na Univerzi v Aucklandu. Aktivno se je vključila v tamkajšnjo slovensko skupnost. Trenutno dela kot akademska mentorica na osnovni šoli v Londonu, kjer pomaga učencem, ki so zaradi zaprtja šol ostali za svojimi vrstniki. Upa, da bo naslednje leto nadaljevala študij jezikoslovja in logopedije na magistrski stopnji v Londonu.
Zelo je počaščena, da bo lahko nadaljevala svoje lingvistično raziskovanje med obiskom pri prof. Gašperju Begušu na univerzi Berkeley v Kaliforniji. V prostem času rada igra harfo, poje v zboru, pleza in hodi v gore. Rada tudi potuje in spoznava nove ljudi.
Tadej Krivec is pursuing a Ph.D. at Jožef Stefan Institute, Department of Systems and Control. He graduated from college with a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Electrical Engineering, University of Ljubljana. He aims to bridge the gap between engineering and recent developments in probabilistic machine learning, mostly using Gaussian Processes for learning dynamical systems. Frustrated by the uncertainty in the world, he prefers a probabilistic approach to model from data. He will be visiting professor Gregor Verbič at the Centre for Future Energy Networks, University of Sydney, where he will try to contribute to solving the sustainable energy supply puzzle which holds the key to the prosperity of humankind.
Tadej’s free time is consumed with sports, from his favorite cycling to running, swimming, hiking, skiing, and lately also free climbing. Only the list of his injuries is longer than the list of sports he participates in.
Tadej Krivec je mladi raziskovalec na Inštitutu Jožef Stefan, Oddelek za sisteme in vodenje. Diplomiral in magistriral je na Fakulteti za elektrotehniko, Univerza v Ljubljani. Njegov cilj je premostiti vrzel med inženiringom in aktualnim razvojem verjetnostnega strojnega učenja, večinoma z uporabo gaussovskih procesov za modeliranje dinamičnih sistemov. Zaradi pristotnosti negotovosti v svetu preferira verjetnostni pristop za modeliranje iz podatkov. Obiskal bo profesorja Gregorja Verbiča v Centru za prihodnost energetskih omrežij na Univerzi v Sydneyju, kjer bo poskušal prispevati k reševanju uganke o trajnostni oskrbi z energijo, ki bo ključna za blaginjo človeštva v prihodnosti.
Tadejev prosti čas je zapolnjen s športom, od njemu najljubšega kolesarjenja do teka, plavanja, pohodništva, smučanja, v zadnjem času pa tudi plezanja. Le seznam njegovih poškodb je daljši od seznama športov s katerimi se ukvarja.
Luka Kropivnik has a degree in Russian Studies and Slovene Studies. He completed his studies at the first level with a diploma thesis Mayakovsky in Contemporary Slovene Poetry, where he dealt with the influences of the Russian poet Vladimir Mayakovsky on contemporary Slovene poets. Between 2017 and 2019, he held the position of student vice-dean at the Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana. Luka Kropivnik is currently completing the study program Slovene Studies and History, and at the same time he is studying ethnology and cultural anthropology and comparative literature and literary theory at the master's level. He mostly focuses on issues of contemporary Slovene literature, contemporary Slovene history and didactics of literature.
As part of ASEF, Luka Kropivnik will visit dr. Kaja Antlej at the Deakin University in Australia, where he will deal with contemporary museum presentations and the Slovenian community in Australia.
Luka Kropivnik je diplomirani rusist in slovenist. Študij na prvi stopnji je zaključil z diplomsko nalogo Majakovski v sodobni slovenski poeziji, kjer se je ukvarjal z vplivi ruskega pesnika Vladimirja Majakovskega na sodobne slovenske pesnike. Med leti 2017 in 2019 je opravljal funkcijo prodekana študenta na Filozofski fakulteti Univerze v Ljubljani. Luka Kropivnik trenutno zaključuje študijski program slovenistika in zgodovina, vzporedno pa na magistrski stopnji študira še etnologijo in kulturno antropologijo in primerjalno književnost in literarno teorijo. Večinoma se posveča vprašanjem sodobne slovenske književnosti, sodobne slovenske zgodovine in didaktike književnosti.
V okviru ASEF bo Luka Kropivnik gostoval na Univerzi Deakin v Avstraliji pri dr. Kaji Antlej, kjer se bo ukvarjal s sodobnimi muzejskimi prezenatcijami in slovensko skupnostjo v Avstraliji.
Tjaša Mlakar graduated from Laboratory biomedicine at the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Ljubljana. After graduation, she went to Ireland, where she completed a four-month Erasmus+ trainee program working with flow cytometry at Conway Institute of Biomolecular and Biomedical Research, University College Dublin. Due to her great experience, she decided to stay in Ireland and pursue an MSc in Molecular medicine at Trinity College Dublin, University of Dublin. She graduated with awarded distinction and continued her studies in Ljubljana where she is currently a first-year student of the master's program in Biochemistry at the Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical technology. In her free time, she loves to go horse riding as she has been an equestrian for many years. She also loves to travel and experience new cultures and meet new people.
ASEF fellowship enabled her to collaborate with professor Jernej Murn at the University of California, Riverside, whose research group focuses on researching biology of RNA molecules. She is really excited about the collaboration as it is a great opportunity to gain new knowledge and practical experiences.
Tjaša Mlakar je diplomirala iz laboratorijske biomedicine na Fakulteti za farmacijo v Ljubljani. Po končanem študiju je na Irskem opravila štirimesečno Erasmus+ praktično usposabljanje iz pretočne citometrije na Conway Institute of Biomolecular and Biomedical Research, University College Dublin. Zaradi dobre izkušnje na Irskem je ostala v Dublinu in opravila magisterij iz molekularne medicine na Trinity College Dublin, Univerza v Dublinu. Po zaključenem magisteriju nadaljuje študij še v Ljubljani, kjer je trenutno prvi letnik magistrskega študija biokemije na Fakulteti za kemijo in kemijsko tehnologijo. V prostem času se že vrsto let ukvarja s konjeništvom, rada tudi potuje in spoznava nove kulture ter ljudi.
V okviru ASEF-a bo sodelovala s profesorjem Jernejem Murnom iz Univerze v Kaliforniji, Riverside, ki se ukvarja predvsem z raziskovanjem biologije RNA. Sodelovanja se že zelo veseli, saj je to odlična priložnost, ki ji bo omogočila nadgraditi znanje in pridobiti dragocene praktične izkušnje.
Dagmar Nared is currently a master’s student of sociology at the University of Oxford. She has an avid interest for social networks and connectedness, with an emphasis on public health and pro-environmental behaviour and attitudes. This interest grew from her high school years onwards, when she was a health and environmental activist at No Excuse Slovenia. After that, she participated in research projects regarding health and environment at the Faculty of Social Sciences in Ljubljana, and the Institute of Health and Environment. Dagmar is incredibly excited to work with dr. Teja Pristavec at the University of Virginia and to find out more on how to gather data and use it for public good.
Besides research, Dagmar believes there is nothing better than an early morning workout and an evening TV-show while crocheting. Or laughing at ridiculous jokes with friends and family.
Dagmar Nared je trenutno magistrska študentka sociologije na univerzi na Oxfordu. Zainteresirana je v socialne mreže in povezanost, s poudarkom na javno zdravje ter okoljsko vedenje ter prepričanja. Tovrstno zanimanje se je razvilo že v srednješolskih letih, ko je bila aktivistka na področju zdravja in okolja pri organizaciji Brez izgovora. Pozneje je sodelovala pri raziskovalnih projektih, ki se tičejo javnega zdravja in okolja, na Fakulteti za družbene vede v univerzi v Ljubljani in Inštitutu za okolje in zdravje. Dagmar se veseli sodelovanja z dr. Tejo Pristavec iz univerze v Virginiji in učenja novih kvantitativnih metod za javno dobro.
Poleg raziskovanja, Dagmar veseli še šport, kvačkanje, narava in serije, predvsem pa druženje s svojo družino in prijatelji.
Tijan Prijon is an undergraduate student of physics at the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics, University of Ljubljana. The ASEF Scholarship Program is a tremendous opportunity for him, allowing him to spend the summer at Princeton University, where he will gain new knowledge and important research experience. Tijan will participate in the research of phase separation in multicomponent systems with Professor Andrej Košmrlj and his research group. Last year he also worked at the Jozef Stefan Institute, in the department of artificial intelligence, where he focused on data analysis with the Python programming language.
Tijan likes to spend his free time outside, in the company of friends, preferably playing basketball. He also enjoys reading books.
Tjaša Šavorič is a PhD student for art history at the University of Leipzig in Germany. She lives in London and as an enthusiastic art history lover attends art history workshops and international conferences, visits numerous exhibitions and participates as a junior curator at art exhibitions in Slovenia. Tjaša dedicates time to work on her thesis and to do individual research on Slovenian artist and art historian Marijan Tršar (1922-2010). Tršar captivated her with his creativity so much that in 2017 she wrote a Master's thesis about his early art and diary entries, under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Barbara Murovec at the Faculty of Arts, the University of Maribor. Tjaša enhanced her thesis by curating the exhibition I paint, therefore, I write, which celebrated Tršar’s 95th anniversary of birth. It was curated in collaboration with the France Stele Institute of Art History, Ljubljana.
Tjaša wishes to strengthen the classical art-historical methodology used in her PhD thesis, by adopting the benefits of digital art history. She sees the ASEF study exchange under the supervision of Dr. Kaja Antlej from Deakin University in Australia, as an exceptional opportunity to deepen her understanding in the field of virtual museums and immersive VR experiences and to learn about new interdisciplinary ways of raising the profile of cultural heritage.
Tjaša enjoys travelling and visiting art exhibitions. In her free time, she loves to read and cycle.
Tine Šteger is a Master's student at the University of Maribor, Faculty of Economics and Business. He completed his Bachelor's degree in the field of political science at the University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Social Sciences. He is particularly interested in the field of community based local and regional development, which takes into account ethical, environmental, and other relevant dilemmas. In the past few years, he has deepened his understanding of the functioning of the modern world through different internships and study visits. He completed his internship at the Institute for Political Management (IPM) in Ljubljana as well as at the Permanent Representation of the Republic of Slovenia to the Council of Europe in Strasbourg. Additionally, he participated in various international educational and humanitarian activities abroad, such as Youth Leadership Program with Central Europe in the United States or project named Never Lose Your Sould in Uganda.
This summer Tine will visit prof. Sara Dolničar at the University of Queensland, Australia, and work in her research group in the field of sustainable tourism.
Blaž Stojanovič is a graduate student at the University of Cambridge, reading for an MPhil in Scientific Computing. He completed his undergraduate degree in Physics at the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics in Ljubljana. While studying, he worked part-time in the Parallel and Distributed systems Laboratory, Jozef Stefan Institute, under the supervision of dr. Gregor Kosec, where he helped develop an open-source library for solving partial differential equations. His interests lie at the intersection of Machine Learning and the natural sciences, hoping to better understand deep learning using methods from statistical physics. He is grateful for the opportunity to work with prof. Jure Leskovec, at Stanford University.
His free time is spent windsurfing, hiking, and backcountry skiing, as well as reading and adding books onto his already too long reading list.
Sara completed her bachelor’s degree in Biotechnology at the University of Ljubljana. After her undergraduate internship at the Umeå University in Sweden (Nordic EMBL), she continued with a master’s program in Biochemistry as a DAAD scholar at the University of Bonn, Germany. At present she is working on her master’s thesis in the field of mucosal immunology at the Center for Regenerative Therapies Dresden. She is passionate about cancer biology and aspires to continue with her research work in a translational setting. Sara will join Dr. Klementina Fon Tacer’s research group at the Texas Tech University, where she will work towards uncovering novel mechanisms that evolved to protect mammalian germ cells against stress and further defining their role in cancer.
Sara likes to battle the frustration caused by occasional failed experiments known to every molecular biologist with evening runs by the Elbe and large amounts of tea. She strives to challenge her “status quo” by learning foreign languages, choosing travel destinations, reading non-fiction and discovering hidden street art.
Uroš Vezonik is a Master's student at the Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Technology, University of Ljubljana. The first research project he was involved in was a PKP project Development of Water-based Dispersion Coatings with Improved Rheological Properties in his second year. He is the most interested in the field of organic chemistry, which is why he was working on the synthesis of new ligands for the transition metals under the supervision of prof. dr. Janez Košmrlj for his Bachelor's degree. As an ASEF fellow, he got the opportunity to join prof. Šalah's research group at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign this summer, where he will work on the synthesis of complex and biologically active natural products. Uroš is a big sports fan. His favorite is basketball, which he used to play. Besides following sports, he enjoys walking his dog and watching suspenseful movies.
Marko Zeman is a PhD student of Computer and Information Science at the University of Ljubljana, where he researches the field of artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms. For the last four years, he has focused his study of computer science mainly on the challenges of machine learning, both engineering and research. In the second stage of his studies, he began his international career. First, he was on a study exchange in Denmark, where, in addition to full-time study, he also worked on the European research project Plan4Act, where he was developing deep learning models. A year later, on an exchange of research type with a mentor in Sweden, he developed new approaches to learning neural networks, which also motivated him to continue his research path. In addition to his studies, he also gained experience in industry, where he worked as a developer in the team for artificial intelligence. Marko became a member of ASEF Junior Fellows in 2021 and will visit prof. Marinka Žitnik at Harvard University in the USA, where he will be developing new methods in machine learning under her mentorship. In his free time, Marko likes to play football, enjoy nature and laugh in the company of his friends.
Gregor is a 2nd-year undergraduate Physics student at the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics, University of Ljubljana. During his studies, he worked at Jožef Stefan Institute at the Department for Artificial Intelligence. He has been focusing on areas related to natural language processing. He is also working on mobile applications and web platforms. This summer, Gregor will work with professor Dawn Song at the University of California, Berkeley on projects related to Artificial Intelligence. Gregor is excited to expand his knowledge in Machine Learning at one of the top universities in the world.
During his free time, he enjoys playing basketball and all kind of sports. He also likes to travel.
Matej Corn is an undergraduate student of chemistry at the Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Technology (FCCT) University of Ljubljana and is currently enjoying his extra year after finishing all the exams. During his studies he participated in Student Inovative Project for Social Benefit named The importance of environmental factors in the conservation of written cultural heritage. For a year and a half he worked as a student and intern in company Lek d.d., Novartis divison on a department of assuring Quality Control of aseptic products. For his bachelor degree he has been working under mentorship of izr. prof. dr. Jernej Iskra, from FKKT. His thesis was development of a method for selective oxidation of sulfides under green conditions. Matej has as an ASEF fellow received an opurtunity to work at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, where he will participate in a project of total synthesis of complex and biologically active products under mentorship of prof. David Šarlah. After a day of working in a laboratory he relaxes in a game of volleyball, tarok or playing guitar but sometimes only by watching a good TV serie or a movie.
Dobravc Škof Karin
Karin was born in Maribor, where she graduated from physics on the Faculty of natural sciences and mathematics. Now she is the 1st year of MSc in physics at the Faculty of mathematics and physics. Her interests lie in subjects related to biophysics and astrophysics, that is why she's visiting prof. Gregor Gorjanc at the University of Edinburgh, where she will work in the area of genomics. In the course of the fellowship, Karin is hoping to explore multidisciplinary work on the project, where she can use knowledge of physics and gain information from other fields. In the past she has worked on a PKP project, participated in Physics days in Bistra and offered voluntary tutorship in scientific subjects.
In her free time, Karin is a member of SiNAPSA (Slovenian society for neuroscience), she enjoys skiing in the winter and reading books in the summer. She also plays the clarinet in several wind orchestras. Currently she represents Bizeljsko as its wine queen, where she is promoting local wines and viticulture amongst young people.
Sara Ermenc is a Master’s student at the University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Law. Her legal research interests encompass commercial law, including all its branches. During her studies she was enthusiastic about gathering international experience – she studied at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich, apart from the latter she took part in numerous legal competitions and workshops, attended conferences, pursued internships, etc.. As she is eager to transform the theory into solving conundrums in practice, she has done legal research for various moot-courts, academic collaborations with the University of Ljubljana, School of Economics and Business and last but not least for the work at the international law firm, where she is currently acquiring expertise.
She is honoured to be granted the opportunity to visit prof. Urška Velikonja at the Georgetown University in Washington D.C., where she will research corporate governance in the banking sector, focusing mainly on the comparative analysis of the Slovenian (continental) and American (common-law) systems.
Tina is a sixth-year medical student at the University of Ljubljana. During her studies she has developed a great interest in eye disorders. She improved clinical skills at the Eye Clinic in Freiburg and is going to spend her summer in Utah in a laboratory of a renowned researcher in the field of Ophthalmology, professor David Križaj. Grateful for this opportunity she is convinced the research visit is going to add valuable experience to her future career.
Apart from interest in eye diseases, Tina enjoys spending her free time in the nature doing hiking, climbing as well as alpine and cross country skiing.
I am currently finishing my master program in Biotechnology, Biotechnical faculty, University of Ljubljana. Although I’ve undertook both BSc and MSc in Slovenia, I have done multiple traineeships in Germany, Sweden and Portugal. I am a two-time recipient of The Milan Lenarčič University Foundation scholarship and received a Charter for the outstanding academic achievement by University of Ljubljana (2018). My practical research experience has led me into the intriguing world of stem cells. Whether they are the answer to all modern medical problems – I am yet to decide. However, it will be my outmost pleasure to spend the summer in the group of prof. dr. Jernej Ule in London, where I’ll have a chance to explore stem cells from another extremely interesting perspective of RNA molecule and RNA-binding proteins.
Most of my free time is filled up with music since I play the violin in many different groups. While abroad, I love to explore small, local places with live music and to learn about the locals’ habits and their pace of life.
Sara Košenina is a second-year PhD student at Stockholm University, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics. She is studying the botulinum neurotoxins using a wide variety of methods, including X-ray crystallography and cryo EM, to understand toxins basic mechanism and to improve their therapeutic properties. Before starting her PhD she obtained her master’s degree in biochemistry at Stockholm University. As a passionate structural biologist, she´s looking forward to expanding her knowledge by doing a research project with prof. Boštjan Kobe at the University of Queensland this summer, where she’ll be working on structural studies of proteins important in infection in immunity. In her free time, Sara enjoys spending time outdoors, hiking, skiing and discovering nature.
Dafne Marko is a MA student of Cognitive Science at the University of Ljubljana. In 2015, she finished her BA studies in translation (Slovene-English-German) at the Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana. During her undergraduate education, she developed a strong interests in corpus linguistics, natural language processing and language technologies. She joined several national research projects related to corpus linguistics and language resources, mainly helping with manual annotations, building datasets and evaluating tools for automatic annotation. In 2015 she joined the bilateral project “Semantic Role Labelling in Slovene and Croatian” with the main goal of developing a corpus with semantic role annotations to be used as training data for supervised machine learning systems. Dafne co-authored several scientific articles and attended different summer schools, seminars and conferences with the aim to gain experience and knowledge in her topics of interest. This year she will collaborate with prof. Gašper Beguš at the University of Washington, where she will work on projects related to computational linguistics, phonology and computational modeling. Apart from her interests in natural language processing, Dafne is a sport enthusiast who loves to ski, ride her road bike and train martial arts.
In 2018 she graduated with honors at the Faculty of Administration and received the Prešeren Award for her bachelor thesis. She is currently pursuing a Master's Degree in Business Informatics (EF UL), where she also completed a study exchange in Sweden. Throughout her student journey she was committed to involving herself in many extracurricular activities and gaining hands-on experiences as a student employee. By leading Student Organization and being member of Student Council, Faculty bodies and Student Parliament, she made a big step in her personal and business development. Student job that shaped her career the most was a 2,5-year journey she had in multinational company Bisnode, where she worked as a digital marketing assistant. Curiosity, grit and positive attitude most reflect her as an individual. Critical thinking, wisdom and the ability to make constructive feedback are qualities she values the most in people. She enjoys reading good books, gaining new knowledge and meeting like-minded people. Hiking and being in nature is also one of her favorite way of spending spare time. Core focuses of interest include corporate entrepreneurship, innovation management, corporate engagement models with start-ups and digitalization of business models. That is why her research visit will take place in Canada at Queen’s University, where she will work with prof. Nuša Fain, who is specialized in entrepreneurship and innovation management.
Gašper is a 2nd-year Biomedical Engineering Master's student at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, University of Ljubljana, where he also obtained his bachelor's degree. During his master's degree studies Gašper is working in the Laboratory of Imaging Technologies as a student researcher. He is developing machine learning models for automatic classification of MR image modalities and is exploring possibilities of predictive diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease based on MR images. To broaden his knowledge in this domain he attended the Summer school of biomedical imaging at ETH Zürich in 2019.
This summer, Gašper will join the research group of Prof Mateja Jamnik at Cambridge University, to work on artificial intelligence-related projects. He is ambitious to use new ideas from the data science domain gained during this visit in his later projects.
Besides actively participating in the Student Council, his favourite free-time activities include playing basketball, cycling, windsurfing and hiking. He also enjoys theatre and likes exploring historical cities, as well as spending time in nature.
Pavlin Poličar is a first-year PhD student of computer science at the University of Ljubljana, working in the field of artificial intelligence and machine learning. For the past two years, he has been focusing on developing and applying methods to applied biological sciences. His research for his master's thesis was awarded the Prešeren Award from the University of Ljubljana - the most prestigious award given to students in Slovenia - and his resulting software has garnered thousands of users around the globe. Additionally, he has ongoing collaborations with the University of Florida, University of Padua, and the Baylor College of Medicine.
This fall, Pavlin will be visiting prof. Marinka Žitnik at the Department of Biomedical Informatics at Harvard University in Boston, where he will be working on developing new, robust and interpretable, machine-learning methods for biomedical data.
Despite the technical nature of his research, Pavlin is interested in all facets of life. He likes learning about the humanities and attending cultural events. He is fascinated by different cultures and enjoys traveling. He enjoys playing different sports, reading, and is always up to try something new.
Tim Poštuvan is an undergraduate student of Computer Science and Mathematics at the Faculty of Computer and Information Science in Ljubljana. Currently, he is conducting research at Bioinformatics Laboratory at the faculty where he is developing an efficient biclustering algorithm for better data representation. He is also collaborating on a Biochemistry project with a research team from the Institute of Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine in Ljubljana. His responsibility is designing and implementing approaches for curve fitting of Lambert W - function on enzyme absorbance data. The objective of the research is to get a good approximation of the middle part of curves, which are poorly described using existing models. His greatest passion is research so the ASEF fellowship offers him an ideal opportunity to perfect his research skills. This summer, he will be undertaking a project focusing on artificial intelligence with prof. Jure Leskovec at the Stanford University. In his free time, he enjoys playing volleyball and watching good movies. He also adores travelling.
Tim Prezelj completed his BSc studies in microbiology. Currently, he is completing his master's studies in molecular and functional biology at the University of Ljubljana (Slovenia). Parallelly he studied cognitive sciences and spent quite some time improving his knowledge abroad – especially in Germany and Italy. He started his research in the fields of molecular biology, immunology and the evolution of cancer. Past few years his interests are focused more on evolutionary psychology, biology and neurology of sex and gender, religion and language. He is very fond of art history and tries to integrate humanities into natural sciences as much as possible. He finds new interdisciplinary approaches and fields especially challenging. During his spare time Tim likes to read, visit different cultural and fashion events, exhibitions and concerts.
Under the patronage of ASEF he will spend 10 weeks on a research visit in Vienna supervised by prof. Mihaela Pavličev, PhD. He will broaden his skills and knowledge in the field of evolutionary biology. Tim is very grateful for the opportunity he got and will try to seize it best.
Domen Ribnikar is a medical doctor, a specialist of medical oncology, currently working at the Institute of Oncology Ljubljana. He deals with breast cancer patients and is responsible for the systemic treatment of these patients. He is also a PhD student of Biomedicine at the Medical Faculty of Ljubljana. Already as a medical student, he was actively involved into research in the breast cancer field and he continued with research also during his residency.
In 2016 Domen left Slovenia and went to Toronto, Canada, for a 2-year breast cancer clinical-research fellowship under the mentorship of professor doctor Eitan Amir. So far, they have published many good papers in different medical journals and some of them are still in a writing phase.
ASEF will give him an excellent opportunity to be even more actively involved into breast cancer research as he will be conducting a research of tumor heterogeneity in patients with invasive lobular breast carcinoma, which is also a theme for Domen's doctoral thesis. Domen has been constantly actively involved into breast cancer research as he regularly attends national and international meetings, also as an active speaker.
His family (his wife Nina and two daughters Julija and Lana Mae) gives him enthusiasm and strength for further clinical and research work in medical oncology. In his free time Domen likes jogging, hiking and he also practices transcendental meditation.
Mariana Rožanec was born in Argentina, where she graduated as a National Public Accountant from the Faculty of Economic Sciences at the University of Buenos Aires, and afterwards worked as an external auditor.
Mariana has Slovenian roots, and in 2015 she moved to Slovenia, where she continued working in the field of external audit, and later in financial controlling and internal audit. Besides her work, she is doing a masters program in Business Studies at the Faculty of Law and Business Studies at the Catholic Institute in Ljubljana. Currently she is working on her master’s thesis in the field of intercultural management. Related to this research and as part of the ASEF fellowship program Mariana will be visiting Prof. dr. Matevž Raškovič at the Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand.
In her free time she enjoys outdoor activities such as running, as well as spending time in nature, particularly hiking and cycling.
Tadej Satler has obtained MSc in Biochemistry from the Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Technology at the University of Ljubljana. This year he wants to pursue his career in science as a PhD candidate. During his studies, he gained the most of his research experience at the Department of Synthetic Biology and Immunology at the National Institute of Chemistry, where he also did his master thesis supervised by prof. dr. Roman Jerala. He was involved in the preparation and characterization of modular protein nanostructures made from coiled coils. Tadej also participated in a research exchange at Stockholm University where he studied the regulation of nitrogen fixation in photosynthetic bacteria. Currently, he is doing an internship at the University of Bristol, where he is developing computational and experimental skills in the field of de novo protein design.
As part of the ASEF fellowship program, Tadej will have an opportunity to visit the Prof. Andrej Šali at the University of California San Francisco, where he wants to deepen his knowledge in computational and structural biology.
Krištof Skok is a master's student in physics at the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics, University of Ljubljana, where he also graduated. He focuses his studies on astrophysics - a field that he enjoys since childhood. He is currently focusing his interests on cataclysmic variables and stellar pulsations. Already in high school, he participated in the International Olympiads in Astronomy and Astrophysics where he earned a silver medal and two honorable mentions. He is now continuing his mission as a mentor to the new Slovenian Olympic teams which he has already taken to the olympiads three times across the world.
This summer he will research as an ASEF Junior Fellow with prof. dr. Andrej Prša at Villanova University in Philadelphia, USA. There he will improve in numerical modeling of stellar structure, stellar pulsations and the development of binary systems. He will gain a wealth of experience and insight into contemporary research in astrophysics.
In his spare time he is an active member of two astronomical clubs where he and his colleagues promote interest in astronomy through lectures and observations. Otherwise, on beautiful days he goes to the mountains to admire the beauty on Earth and on beautiful nights to the observatory to admire the beauty of the Universe.
Luka Školč is an undergraduate student of Physics at the Faculty of mathematics and physics, University of Ljubljana. He finished his first year with an average grade of 10,0 (100%). During the summer of 2019, he studied how a nuclear reactor responds to periodic variations of reactivity. The research was done under the mentorship of dr. Luka Snoj at the department of reactor physics at Jožef Stefan Institute. Luka is still at the beginning of his research career and wants to broaden his horizons in physics as much as possible before specialization. As thermodynamics and statistical physics are some of his favorite subjects, he will be joining Andrej Kosmrlj’s group at Princeton University, USA, this summer, where he will explore phase separation in multicomponent systems.
Luka’s favorite ways to rejuvenate are enjoying nature and doing sports, mainly cycling and hiking. He also loves bike touring and his favorite trips up till now were the Netherlands and West coast of Ireland. He concluded ten years of piano classes at music school. He enjoys reading prose, writing short stories, sculpting, and making Halloween masks.
I hold a Bachelor’s degree in biotechnology and a Master’s degree in information technologies. Currently, I am a 2nd year PhD student in information technologies under the mentorship of Prof. Nada Lavrač. My interests lie at the intersection between complex networks, biology and machine learning – especially learning from large and heterogeneous data sources. I like to build, but also use intelligent systems to solve otherwise intractable problems. In my spare time I enjoy climbing and hiking.
Tine is a master’s student of accounting and auditing at the School of Economics and Business, Ljubljana University, where he also graduated from the same field. Throughout his studies, he’s trying to intertwine his selected field of accounting with informatics and business process automation. At the moment, he works as a developer of ERP systems and carries out seminars on the topics of statistics and informatics at the faculty. He’s going to spend the summer with prof. Sergeja Slapničar at the University of Queensland where he’s going to research the topic of cybersecurity risk management.
In his spare time, he prefers to invest his time in the development of his beer brewery name StarReach, what’s left, he likes to spend on a volleyball field or with a tennis racquet in hand. During the summer he tries to attend all the festivals, for which he always claims there are too few.
Nejc Urankar is a Researcher at the Faculty of Law, University of Ljubljana, where he is also pursuing his PhD in Legal Studies. With his main field of research being the sociology of law, Nejc studies law in its societal context, focusing on the place of law in social, political and cultural life. His previous work has also centered around questions of discrimination, social inclusion and human rights. Along these lines, he is currently exploring the law as an instrument of social change and investigating whether some of the contemporary challenges faced by the global community could and should be tackled through the means of law.
Nejc will spend this fall at the Michigan State University collaborating with Prof. Ana Bračič. He is grateful to ASEF for awarding him with this opportunity and excited to explore some of the unique aspects of the research process in distinct scientific environment that he would be later able to incorporate into his own scientific research. Apart from hoping to lay solid foundations for his academic career, he is also looking forward to an enriching and eye-opening experience discovering the local culture while living in an entirely new environment.
Van Midden Vesna Marija
Vesna is a young doctor and a first-year Ph.D. student of Neuroscience at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Ljubljana. She is currently working as an intern at the University clinical center Ljubljana and after that, she will start working as a young researcher at the Neurology clinic in Ljubljana. She has always treasured science and research and applied for the ASEF Junior Fellowship program at the neurology department of prof. Krainc as part of her doctorate in the hope of learning new approaches toward diagnosing and treating movement disorder patients and also learning how to conduct clinical trials. During her studies she was a very active member of the Slovenian neuroscience association – she helped to organize various lectures and events on the topic of brain health and she is a strong believer in the growing importance of science communication. She was the co-leader of the organizational group for the Brain awareness week in 2019, when the event received honorary patronage from the President of Slovenia. One of her major interests is the role of the gut microbiome in the development of Parkinson’s disease. Her Ph.D. will be devoted to investigating the role of vagal nerve stimulation as a novel treatment approach in Parkinson's disease patients. Additionally, she greatly enjoys traveling and since she has a small dog, she spends a lot of time outdoors. Her passions are also crafting and drawing, but if the sun is shining she will most likely spend her free time hiking in the mountains.
Nina Zupančič is a young doctor close to finishing her internship in General hospital Novo mesto. She graduated at the Medical Faculty in Ljubljana. While studying, she participated in many research and professional exchange programs in Europe and other continents to get an even better insight into a foreign health system. Her fields of interest have been gynaecology, neurology, paediatrics, paediatric and heart surgery. One of the most valuable experiences that she has had was studying at Humboldt university in Berlin for six months and joining the Erasmus exchange. In 4th grade of studying she was awarded with Prešeren recognition for a research work in field of neonatology, titled Hepatic portal venous gas in newborn: etiology and meaning. In a little while a decision about her speciality will have been done. Before that she is keen on becoming acquainted with scientific research work and get fundamental experience, that she will be able to use later in her clinical research. She can not hide excitement about this summer collaboration with dr. Michael Pavličev at Vienna university.
To fulfill her free time she paints and reads about arts. Vivid imagination and Roald Dahl are two things she looks up to. Traveling and meeting new cultures is her constant occupation. She also is a fan of sports and leads trainings of general exercise for healthy spine.
I was born in Gorizia, Italy. From 2010-2015 I studied at the science oriented high school “znanstveni licej Simon Gregorčič from which I graduated with 94/100. I began studying physics at the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics in Ljubljana in 2015 and received my bachelor's degree in summer of 2018. I also received the Dean’s Award for Academic Achievement in the third study year. Currently, I am a first-year Master’s degree student of Mathematical Physics at the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics in Ljubljana.
In my spare time I like to learn about dynamical systems and various perturbation methods used to solve non-integrable systems. I studied Russian and Croatian privately for a few years.
Mariša is a 3rd-year Natural Sciences student in the Molecular Cell Biology and Synthetic Organic Chemistry stream at University College London. During her undergraduate education, she explored her interests in synthetic and cell biology by taking part in two iGEM projects and undertaking a summer internship focusing on the anticancer effects of the amniotic membrane. Her 3rd-year literature project focused on applications of cellular computation for cancer theranostics in mammalian cells.
This summer, Mariša will join the research group of Prof Jernej Ule at The Francis Crick Institute, where she will be working on the development of new methods for analysis of the network of protein-RNA interactions to elucidate the dynamics of subnuclear structures.
Coming from Kamnik, a small town just under the Alps, her favourite free time activities include spending time in nature, particularly hiking and snowboarding. When away from home, she likes to spend time travelling and exploring art.
Klemen Drnovšek is a Ph.D. student at the Faculty of Law, University of Maribor. He completed his undergraduate studies with an average grade of 9.77. He was the recipient of the Rector’s award for study achievements and the recipient of the GRAWE Excellence Award, awarded by the Faculty of Law to the best student in the generation. He completed his undergraduate studies with honors on the topic of Exemption from Contractual Liability for Damages. His full-time employment is at the Faculty of Law, University of Maribor, where he works as a research and teaching assistant for the scientific fields of contractual law, labor law and law of obligations. At the Faculty of Law, he participates in various projects, among which are projects related to environmental law and environmental protection issues.
Besides his university and project work Klemen actively participates in different organizations. He is a manager of the wind orchestra and the vice-president of the Law Society Maribor. As part of the ASEF fellowship program, Klemen will be visiting prof. Nives Dolšak at the University of Washington, Seattle.
Marko Drobnjak is a junior researcher at the Institute of Criminology at the Faculty of Law Ljubljana and Ph.D. student at the Faculty of Law Ljubljana. His primary research interests include language and law (legal language, legal discourse) automatic authorship identification (through aspects of forensic linguistics – forensic phonetics and phonology, forensic stylistics, etc.), media and criminology, but he is also focusing on psychological mechanisms in criminal justice and penology. Thankfully to ASEF, this year he will collaborate with prof. Gašper Beguš at the University of Washington, where he will examine how dialectological and phonetical-phonological features affect judicial proceedings and, ultimately, the length of penal sanctions. Marko is a big fan of new methodological approaches, such as natural language processing. Before beginning his Ph.D. studies he was a passionate gamer.
Lara Dular is a first-year PhD student at the University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Electrical Engineering. She is a young researcher at the Laboratory of Imaging Technologies, where she is developing image processing and image analysis techniques in the field of medical imaging. Before joining the laboratory, she obtained her master’s degree in Financial Mathematics at the University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Mathematics and Physics.
Currently, she is developing machine learning models for the analysis of brain MRI scans in order to study structural brain changes of patients with neurodegenerative diseases. During the summer she will be working with prof. Sanja Fidler at the University of Toronto, where she will expand her knowledge of deep learning and apply the ideas to medical data. In her free time, she enjoys running, hiking and exploring nature, as well as discovering the hidden gems of lively cities.
Benjamin graduated in Computer Science at the Faculty of Computer and Information Science and is now enrolled in the second year of the master's programme of Cognitive Science. He currently works at Jožef Štefan Institute where he participates in AI development for purposes of an art exhibition at Kapelica Gallery. Professionally, his most current interest is meta-cognitive control of learning and the application of human learning strategies in the field of artificial intelligence. The area is closely connected to automatic machine learning, which is one of the things prof. Dawn Song is working at UC Berkeley, where Benjamin will be staying this year.
Apart from his interests in cognitive science and machine learning, Benjamin is also interested in computer game development. He also likes to play music with his band mates and do sports to clear his head.
Anžej is a fifth-year medical student at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Ljubljana. He is interested in both pre-clinical sciences and clinical medicine, with aspirations of working in translational research. This is why visiting dr. Matija B. Peterlin at the University of California, San Francisco, will be an invaluable experience for his professional and personal growth.
In the course of the fellowship, Anžej is hoping to continue his work on micro RNAs and microvesicles and their biomarker potential for reservoirs of latent infection with HIV-1 in the human body. For his research work, he was awarded with a Faculty Prešeren award in 2017 and Krka Award in 2018. Anžej spends a fair amount of his spare time as a managing editor of a quarterly medical journal Medicinski razgledi, run entirely by medical students. Apart from his daily obligations, he makes sure to find time for himself, his friends and family, enjoying hiking and exploring the roads less travelled, as well as reading, with a particular interest in history.
I’m an undergraduate student of Chemical technology at the Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Technology in Ljubljana. Currently, I’m working at Jožef Štefan institute on developing nanoparticles used for targeted drug delivery system.
I also previously worked on a similar project with nanoparticles in a research institute in Milano and in the past year, I worked as a volunteer in a school and hospital laboratory in The Gambia (Africa). One of my biggest passions is to combine working and learning with traveling. So in that aspect, this experience will be perfect for me. The ASEF fellowship offered me an amazing opportunity to work with Dr. Dimitri Krainc at the Northwestern University where I will be able to learn all about neurodegenerative diseases. I’m sure this opportunity will bring me a lot of academic growth and will help me shape my future research career. In my free time I enjoy reading, learning about new things and spending quality time with my friends and family.
Lara Jerman is a second-year master's student in mathematics and computer science at the University of Ljubljana. She obtained her degree in biochemistry at the same university and is primarily interested in interdisciplinary research at the intersection of biology and computation. She previously completed a summer research internship at the European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI), where she worked on timing secondary chromosomal copy gains in tumors based on mutational data. This summer, she will be undertaking a project focusing on artificial intelligence with prof. Mateja Jamnik at the University of Cambridge, UK. Outside of her studies, Lara is involved in creating problems for the national logic competition as well as training students through workshops. A former contestant herself, she takes part in the selection and preparation of the International Linguistics Olympiad team. She also writes experiment questions for Male Sive Celice, a children's TV quiz. She volunteers as a scout, working with youth and taking on various leadership roles. In her spare time, she enjoys books, running, theatre, and traveling.
Domen Kanduti is a young dentist currently working as a dental intern and a first-year Ph.D. student at Medical Faculty at the University of Ljubljana. The possibility to participate in ASEF fellowship program would give him an opportunity for exceptional additional education and research work in collaboration with Assoc. Prof. Janina Golob Deeb DMD, Ph.D. and her team at Virginia Commonwealth University. During his undergraduate studies at Medical Faculty in Ljubljana, he dedicated some of his time to research. He was a co-author of a few scientific publications in the field of public health and cooperated in a research project in prosthodontics. He was very active in faculty and European student associations and a leader of student preventive project. He attended different workshops and international congresses. All these experiences opened his mind to different aspects of dentistry, international opportunities and made him even more motivated for the chosen profession.
Despite all the work and thoughts about Dentistry he enjoys being in nature and does outdoor sports like hiking, skiing in winter, running and road cycling. It is probably the reason he developed a passion for landscape photography as well. His biggest passion and hobby is painting. Even though some people think that science and art don’t always go hand by hand, he thinks dentistry is a perfect combination of both and he looks forward to expressing himself.
Primož Kocbek is a research assistant at the University of Maribor, Faculty of Health Sciences and a PhD student of biostatistics at the University of Ljubljana. His research interest includes statistical modeling and machine learning techniques with applications in healthcare. Currently his focus is machine learning models with temporal relations in Electronic Health Records and their interpretability, which is also part of his PhD thesis. He also participated in multiple national and international research projects associated with machine learning in healthcare.
This summer he will visit Prof. Jure Leskovec at Stanford University and is honored to be given this opportunity to expand his knowledge. In his free time, he enjoys reading a good book or watching a good movie and likes to travel and learn about foreign cultures.
I am a physics student from Maribor, Slovenia. I finished my Bachelor's degree of Physics at the University of Maribor and am currently enrolled in the Master of Science in Physics programme at the University of Ljubljana. For the past two years I have been at Nuclear Reactor Center of Institut Jožef Stefan, where I was setting up an experiment on hydrodynamics (exploring critical heat flux and two phase flow behaviour of coolant R-134a under various conditions). I have also been working in a different IJS department for two months, where I worked on plasma production (examining synthesis of NH3 from H2 and N2 plasma in a low-pressure chamber on different metal surfaces).
My true interest lies in Astrophysics, which I had the chance to study on an Erasmus exchange at the University of Zagreb. I have always been interested in the nature of stars and galaxies. As such, my main goal in applying to ASEF is to be able to learn numerical programming, data mining, and to participate in astrophysical research, which will be possible under the supervision of prof. Andrej Prša at Villanova.
In my free time I have teamed up with a friend of mine to create a portable beverage cooler, but due to thermodynamics being in a slight disagreement with our project, it didn’t work out. We have also used the technology on two subsequent “successful” projects. Apart from that, I am also a lead (read: only) guitar player in a superb funky pop party band, a chile (plant and sauce!) enthusiast and happy craft beverages endorser.
Juš is a graduate student of Mathematics at the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics, University of Ljubljana. He is currently working on his master’s thesis which is focused on persistent homology and its applications. His favourite areas of study are topology and algebra, but he is not strictly limited to them. The past semester he spent in Bonn as an Erasmus exchange student. During the summer he will have an opportunity to visit prof. Jernej Barbič at the University of Southern California, where he will learn about the topological aspects of computer graphics, namely modelling self-intersecting solids and surfaces.
In his free time Juš mostly enjoys outdoor activities such as running, skiing or hiking, especially if there is a nice view from the top. On the other hand, he occasionally fancies a good movie or binge-watching a TV series. Every once in a while, he also likes to play the piano just so he doesn't completely forget how to.
Taja Ložar is an undergraduate student at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Ljubljana. Her interests include oncology and cancer biology, modelling of biological systems, cancer prevention and epidemiology, paliative care, and gynaecology. For the past two years she has been working as a student team member at the National cervical cancer screening program ZORA. She is involved in several research projects at the Institute of Oncology Ljubljana, the most recent being circulating tumor cell isolation and its implementation into clinical practice.
Taja will spend her summer working with professor Robert Jeraj at The University of Wisconsin-Madison, focusing on cancer research and clinical trial design. She is excited to explore new ways of optimizing cancer therapy to improve patients' quality of life and learn about the mathematical concepts that could aid in achieving this goal.
Urška Matjašec is finishing a master's in Computer Science and Mathematics at the University of Ljubljana. She is passionate about big data and all the opportunities that artificial intelligence is offering. She seeks challenges through different interdisciplinary projects and tries to find logic in every little thing. She likes to spend her free time in nature, running or hiking. She also likes traveling and exploring new cultures, but most of all she loves reading.
This summer, Urška will be working with prof. Mateja Jamnik and her research team at the University of Cambridge, UK. She is grateful to ASEF for this opportunity.
Jakob is a MSc student of Physics at University of Maribor, where he also completed his BSc. He is currently working on his master thesis in collaboration with the Institute of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, where he is researching functional connectivity of pancreatic Beta cells. His research interest are mostly complex networks, machine learning and biophysics. During his studies he worked on various projects dealing with machine learning, semantic analysis, signal processing and socio-physics.
This summer he will be researching at Stanford University with professor Jure Leskovec and his research group, where he will gain valuable experiences while working on ongoing research projects.
In his free time he is avid scout leader, he enjoys hiking and cycling in nature and hanging out with friends.
Jakob je magistrski študent fizike na Univerzi v Mariboru, kjer je tudi zaključil prvo stopnjo študija. Trenutno zaključuje magistrsko nalogo v sodelovanju z Inštitutom za fiziologijo na Medicinski fakulteti, kjer raziskuje funkcionalno povezanost pankreasnih celic beta. Raziskovalno ga zanimajo predvsem kompleksne mreže, strojno učenje in biofizika. V času študija je sodeloval pri različnih projektih v povezavi s strojnim učenjem, semantično analizo besedila, analizo signalov in sociofiziko.
To poletje bo raziskoval na univerzi v Stanfordu pri profesorju Juretu Leskovcu in njegovi raziskovalni skupini, kjer bo sodeloval pri trenutnih projektih in pridobival pomembne raziskovalne izkušnje.
V prostem času je zavzet skavtski voditelj, rad pa tudi hodi in kolesari v naravi in se druži s prijatelji.
Oblak Pia Marija
Pia Marija Oblak is a final-year Microbiology student at the Biotechnical Faculty at the University of Ljubljana and plans to continue studying Microbiology at the graduate level. She is passionate about Molecular biology and processes that occur on a microscale in general.
This summer, Pia will be joining Prof. Jernej Murn lab at the University of California, Riverside. She will be expanding her knowledge and working in the field of RNA biology, the main research topic of prof. Murn's lab. Pia is very grateful to ASEF for this wonderful opportunity and excited about new experiences.
In her free time, Pia likes to travel and discover new places around the world. She enjoys playing the organ, a piano and a violin. Besides music, she also likes jogging, dancing and hiking.
Jana Obšteter is currently working at the Agricultural Institute of Slovenia and doing a PhD at the Biotechnical Faculty, University of Ljubljana. She obtained her BSc in Biotechnology from the University of Ljubljana and her MSc in Quantitative Genetics and Genome Analysis from the University of Edinburgh. While her previous work focused on human genetics, her current research interests are in the application of quantitative genetics technologies to animal breeding. In her PhD thesis, she is exploring how to efficiently use genomic information to maximise the genetic gain for minimum investment in cattle breeding. This is of particular importance for small countries, such as Slovenia and many other countries in the developing world, where investment in genomic data is severely limited, but genetic improvement is badly needed to feed the ever-increasing number of people with dwindling resources.
Jana is going to work with prof. Gregor Gorjanc at the University of Edinburgh. She is excited to upgrade her PhD research while working with world-leading researchers for animal research. When not working, Jana enjoys singing and spending time outdoors – either running, hiking or simply discovering nature.
Andraž Oštrek is a second-cycle chemistry student at the Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Technology (FCCT), University of Ljubljana. He participated at the International Chemistry Olympiad when he was in high school. During his studies, he did practical training in the field of fluoro-chemistry (dr. Matic Lozinšek, Jožef Stefan Institute), completed a Bachelor's degree in organic chemistry (doc. dr. Krištof Kranjc, FCCT) and participated in research work in the field of potentially bioactive heterocyclic compounds (prof. dr. Jurij Svete, FCCT). Currently, he is spending a semester on a study exchange in Germany at Freie Universität Berlin. After that, he will have an opportunity to visit the University of Illinois and work in Prof. David Šarlah's research group, which is focused on the synthesis of structurally complex and biologically active natural products. When Andraž is not occupied with cheMistery, he enjoys other riddles of any kind, including books and poems, and cannot escape them even with recreational running.
Andraž Oštrek je magistrski študent kemije na Fakulteti za kemijo in kemijsko tehnologijo (FKKT) Univerze v Ljubljani. Kot dijak se je udeležil Mednarodne kemijske olimpijade (IChO). Med študijem je opravil praktično usposabljanje na področju fluoro-kemije (dr. Matic Lozinšek, Inštitut Jožef Stefan), zaključil diplomsko delo na področju organske kemije (doc. dr. Krištof Kranjc, FKKT) in sodeloval pri raziskovalnem delu na področju potencialnih bioaktivnih heterocikličnih spojin (prof. dr. Jurij Svete, FKKT). Trenutno je na študijski izmenjavi v Nemčiji na univerzi Freie Universität Berlin. Po koncu študijske izmenjave bo imel priložnost obiskati univerzo University of Illinois in sodelovati v raziskovalni skupini prof. Davida Šarlaha, ki se ukvarja s sintezo strukturno kompleksnih in biološko aktivnih naravnih produktov. Ko se Andraž ne ukvarja s skrivnostmi kemije, uživa v ostalih ugankah vseh vrst, kar vključuje tudi knjige in poezijo, in jim ne more ubežati niti z rekreativnim tekom.
Damjan Panić received a degree in Control Systems at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, University of Ljubljana. He is now a postgraduate student of Robotics at the same faculty. He is particularly interested in the field of Human-Robot interaction. During his studies, he was involved in a few projects in this field of science.
Since June 2016 he has been working as a student at the Slovenian Institute of Quality and Metrology (SIQ). He is a member of EMC laboratory, where he performs measurements and tests according to the EMC directive. He also develops programmes and applications to optimise measurements.
Damjan will work with professor Domen Novak at University of Wyoming, where he will work to improve his knowledge on Human-Robot interaction area.
Uroš Prešern is a third-year undergraduate Biochemistry student at the Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Technology, University of Ljubljana. His current research is focused on the structural characterization of the complex between EGFR and EpCAM, which are two transmembrane proteins overexpressed in carcinoma. He is very grateful to ASEF for the opportunity to spend his summer with Professor Andrej Šali at UC San Francisco, where he will learn to generate structural models of proteins and protein complexes using software developed by Prof. Šali’s lab. He believes the experience will help him with his further research and will provide him with new and important knowledge on computational biology. Besides research, he is passionate about photography, cooking and traveling and enjoys spending time outdoors, jogging, hiking or just admiring nature. However, after a long day, some chocolate or chips and a good TV show are his favorite way to relax.
Uroš Prešern je študent zadnjega letnika univerzitetnega dodiplomskega študija biokemije na Fakulteti za kemijo in kemijsko inženirstvo, Univerza v Ljubljani. Trenutno se raziskovalno ukvarja s preučevanjem interakcije med transmembranskima proteinoma EGFR in EpCAM, ki sta pretirano izražena v karcinomih. Zelo je hvaležen fundaciji ASEF, ki mu bo omogočila, da bo poletje preživel pri prof. Andreju Šaliju na Univerzi Kalifornije, San Francisco, kjer bo pridobil znanje o generiranju strukturnih modelov proteinov in proteinskih kompleksov z uporabo programske opreme, ki so jo razvili v laboratoriju prof. Šalija. Uroš verjame, da bo ta izkušnja ogromno pripomogla pri njegovih nadaljnjih raziskavah, hkrati pa bo pridobil novo in pomembno zanje na področju strukturne biokemije. Poleg študija in raziskovalnega dela Uroš posveča svoj čas fotografiranju, kuhanju in potovanjem. Prosti čas rad preživi na svežem zraku, kjer teče, pohajkuje ali preprosto uživa v naravi. Čeprav pa drži, da se mu po napornem dnevu najbolj prileže ogled kakšne dobre serije, ob kateri si privošči čips ali čokolado.
Lenart Škrjanc is a 6th-year student of dental medicine at the Medical Faculty in Ljubljana. For as long as he remembers he has been enthusiastic about the function of the human body, natural sciences as well as handwork, technical work, aesthetics, working with people and everyday challenges brought by the profession of a dentist.
He is currently enrolled in a study project at the Department of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopaedics researching gingival overgrowth in patients with fixed applicances. So far he attended various international congresses, workshops and in 2018 a clinical clerkship at the Haddassah Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel.
As part of the ASEF fellowship program, Lenart will be visiting prof. Janina Golob Deeb and her research team at the Virginia Commonwealth University, focusing on expanding knowledge in the field of Peridontology.
Abroad, he would like to become acquainted with potential different clinical techniques and methods in the dental profession. In addition, he is interested in different types of dental care, organizational structures and the specifics of the individual approach to patients.
Aljaž Suhadolnik is a graduate student of Management on School of Economics and Business (Faculty of Economics), at the University of Ljubljana. He received his Bachelor's degree in Business and Economics with specialization in Entrepereneurship. In order to gain additional knowledge, he did course work in Logistics, Finance, Strategy and Business Communication.
Aljaž possesses extensive international experiences from multiple academic systems around the world. During his undergraduate studies he spent three semesters abroad as an exchange student. He was enrolled in Hochschule Worms, Germany as a student of Management. At Hong Kong Polytechnic University, China, he was enrolled in the Faculty of Business, Logistics and Maritime Studies. At Sapienza Università di Roma, Italy, he attended Facoltà di Economia, department of Mangement. Furthermore, as a prominent student he received scholarship from Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD) to attend Universität Bremen, Germany, where he improved his knowledge of German language.
He is currently an exchange student on Yonsei University, Seoul, South Korea in Graduate School of Business, Global MBA program. Recently he was chosen to represent his University and Faculty for one semester at the University of Wollongong, Sydney Business School, Australia. In case he isn't finished with his studies, he will attend his last confirmed international semester at Tongji University, School of Economics and Management, Shanghai, China.
Aljaž has multiple experiences working in related business operations. He has two years of work experience as CEO of a small family owned company.
As an authentic and proud Slovene, Aljaž loves to mountaineer and ski in the Slovenian Alps whenever he is at home. He adores Slovenian cuisine and truly believes that it is the best in the world. Aljaž is a green energy enthusiast with some practical experiences of the topic related to mechanical engineering. Whenever he finds additional free time, he tries to deepen his knowledge of European, Slovenian and his ancestor’s history, which is his second passion besides business and economics.
Aljaž will spend the ASEF summer, writing his master thesis with Prof. dr. Matevž Raškovič at the Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand.
Anja Tušar is currently finishing an MSc in Biotechnology at the University of Ljubljana after completing a BSc in Microbiology. Her laboratory work for her master's thesis was done under the supervision of prof. dr. Roman Jerala at the National Institute of Chemistry, where she acquired knowledge and experience in the field of recombinant protein production. Anja obtained previous experience in the area of synthetic biology at the Max-Planck Institute in Marburg and at the Technical University of Denmark in Copenhagen. She is looking forward to spending the summer at the laboratory of prof. dr. Boštjan Kobe at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, where she will expand her knowledge about protein structure and work on function studies of proteins involved in Toll-like receptor signaling. Besides doing research Anja is grateful for the opportunity to travel to Australia and explore the culture by meeting the locals.
Urša Uršič is a physics student at the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics at the University of Ljubljana. She obtained her bachelor's degree in 2018/19 and decided to take a year off from her studies to participate in research exchange. She completed a six-month internship in Luxembourg working with liquid crystals. Prof. Boštjan Kobe at the University of Queensland will be hosting her for another ten-week internship in June where she will be working on protein functions. In October Urša Uršič will begin her master's studies in biophysics at the University of Ljubljana.
Urša Uršič je sveže diplomirana študentka fizike na Fakulteti za matematiko in fiziko na Univerzi v Ljubljani. V letošnjem študijskem letu je vpisana v absolventako leto, kar ji omogoča opravljanje dlje trajajočih raziskovalnih izmenjav. Šest mesečno prakso na temo tekočih kristalov je opravljala v Lukemburgu, junija pa odhaja v Avstralijo na univerzo v Queenslandu k prof. Boštjanu Kobetu na deset tedensko raziskovanje funkcionalnosti proteinov. Oktobra bo z magisterijem na področju biofizike nadaljevala svojo izobraževalno pot.
Sabina Veršič is a PhD student of Economic and Business Sciences at the Faculty of Economics and Business, University of Maribor, working in the field of Strategic Management and Company Policy. Her primary research interest is Strategic Management, in particular the impact of perceived changes in the multidimensional ecosystem of the company's (external) environment on the company's business focus and performance. She received her MSc in Project and Strategic Management and BSc degree in Management from the Faculty of Economics and Business, University of Maribor.
This summer, Sabina will be visiting Dr. Tina Saksida at the University of Prince Edward Island and Dr. Nuša Fain at the Queen’s University, where she will measuring the impact of digitalization on business strategy, employee perceptions and skills. Aside from research, she likes traveling and exploring new cultures as well as spending time with her dog, friends and family.
Sabina Veršič je doktorska študentka ekonomskih in poslovnih ved na Ekonomsko-poslovni fakulteti, Univerze v Mariboru, raziskuje področje strateškega managementa in politike podjetja. Njeno glavno raziskovalno področje je področje strateškega managementa, natančneje raziskuje vpliv zaznanih sprememb večdimenzionalnega ekosistema (zunanjega) okolja podjetja na strateško poslovno osredotočenost in uspešnost podjetja. Magistrirala je iz področja projektnega in strateškega managementa in diplomirala iz področja management na Ekonomsko-poslovni fakulteti Univerze v Mariboru.
To poletje bo Sabina obiskala dr. Tino Saksina na University of Prince Edward Island in dr. Nušo Fain na Queen’s University, kjer bo merila vpliv digitalizacije na poslovne strategije, zaposlene in njihove spretnosti. Drugače pa Sabina rada potuje in raziskuje nove kulture kakor tudi preživlja čas s psom, prijatelji in družino.
Lucija Dežan is currently finishing her second year at the University of Maribor, Faculty of Arts. She graduated in Sociology and English Language and Literature. During her undergraduate and postgraduate studies, Lucija participated in several research teams dealing with the attitudes of youth, informal practices and tactical maneuvering in Balkan societies, and bicycle culture among local students. As her MSc thesis focuses on informal practices that help youth towards their first employment, she will spend the fall with prof. Ana Bračič, an expert in community engagement, to cooperate with her at the University of Oklahoma. The ASEF Fellowship offered her an opportunity to help with exit poll interviews during an election in the fall in Oklahoma City. Lucija is grateful to be given this opportunity and she believes that the ASEF Fellowship will allow her to broaden her research and will represent an important step on her career path. Lucija is also very passionate about equal opportunities and outside her academic pursuits; she likes to travel, she is a mentor of workshops where children combine robotics and LEGO bricks and loves board games.
Lara is a second-year medical student at the RWTH Aachen University. She is passionate about molecular medicine and will work with prof. Križaj at the University of Utah on corneal pain and mechanosensing from a molecular and physiological perspective. This is her first major research project, so she is especially grateful for this opportunity. In her spare time, she likes to play the piano, dance and wander around. She has a weak spot for living room concerts and cakes.
Barbara is a PhD student of Mathematics at the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics, University of Ljubljana, working in the field of evolutionary game theory applied to evolving graphs. After her research visit to ETH Zürich, where she focused on modelling the propagation of news, she is very excited about the opportunity to visit Prof. Jure Leskovec at Stanford University. Aside from research, she enjoys the challenge of learning foreign languages, exploring new places on her bike, and spending time with friends and family.
Petra Janež recently finished a PhD in Economics. During her PhD study, she made research visits to the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago and McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin. She received her MSc and BSc degree in Economics from the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. In her PhD dissertation, she examined the impact of the real estate tax policy on migration at the local and regional level in Slovenia with empirical modeling. She continues her research on how to attract new companies, capital and people to the country and on the other hand how to keep them. She is currently extending her knowledge at the Slovenian Institute of Auditors. She will visit Prof. Urška Velikonja to cooperate with her at the Georgetown University, Washington DC and she is honored to be given this opportunity. In her free time, she enjoys sports like skiing, playing tennis, biking, hiking and other activities.
Erik Janežič graduated in Biochemistry from Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Technology in Ljubljana. He has always been fascinated by the human brain and the mechanisms that govern our intelligence. This is reflected in his bachelor thesis, where he explored the subcellular localization of newly discovered organelles, lipid droplets, in rat astrocytes. During his studies, his interests expanded from biology to more abstract theoretical views of intelligence, and for his future career path, he decided to combine his interests in biology with computer science by enrolling in the Computer Science MSc program at the Faculty of Computer and Information Science in Ljubljana. He is now finishing his first year of his master's degree studies, focusing mainly on artificial intelligence and machine learning. He is fascinated by the theory of hierarchical temporal memory and plans to focus his research and master thesis in that direction.
This summer he will have the opportunity to work with prof. Sanja Fidler at the University of Toronto, where he will expand his knowledge in the domains of computer vision and natural language processing.
Coming from a small town under the Alps, he naturally likes mountaineering and skiing. During the summer he seeks an occasional scuba dive somewhere along the Croatian coast. When the time is scarce he relaxes by going out for a run and playing basketball or PC games with friends.
Peter Kmecl is an undergraduate student in Electrical Engineering at the University of Ljubljana. His particular interests are robotics, automation, and embedded systems. After developing simpler device-building and programming tasks as a hobby, he has been working at the Faculty's Laboratory for Metrology and Quality as a student, collaborating in a number of projects, most notably in the construction of optical magnetometers for the Jožef Stefan Institute.
Peter will spend this summer working with professor Domen Novak at The University of Wyoming, learning about working methods in an advanced research environment and getting to know cutting-edge technology in rehabilitation robotics. Peter is an avid sailor and skier. In addition, he likes to cook and – obviously – build and program various electronic devices in his free time.
Petra Kukanja is a first-year postgraduate student at Uppsala University. After completing her BSc degree in Biotechnology from the University of Ljubljana, she was introduced to the fundamental metazoan transcriptional mechanisms under the Barborič Laboratory at the University of Helsinki. There, she was given an opportunity to participate in a project investigating the importance of RNA polymerase II promoter-proximal pause release in transcriptional response to genotoxic stress. She is currently enrolled in the MSc Program in Medical Research with a focus on molecular medicine. Her research interests are open to exploring possible diagnostic, prognostic, and treatment options through comprehending and manipulating various disease-causing mechanisms. Petra will be spending the summer in prof. Matija Peterlin's laboratory at UCSF. She is excited to deepen her knowledge in the field of gene regulation and learn more about HIV gene expression and latency. In her free time, Petra volunteers at the Scout Association of Slovenia. Devoted to the music she also completed her violin studies at the Conservatory of Music and Ballet Ljubljana. Finally, she can not complain about switching cold Nordic winters for endless Californian summers.
Luka Lapajne is a second-year Ph.D. student at the University of Ljubljana, Medical faculty. He is a medical doctor who is currently working as a young researcher at the Eye hospital in Ljubljana. He wants to specialize in ophthalmology and become an eye surgeon. His current research is focused on corneal diseases. In collaboration with Jožef Stefan Institute, he is hoping to discover new functional and morphological aspects of those diseases and contribute to a better understanding of the pathologies and ultimately new treatment options. He is also a part of an interdisciplinary team that is introducing new stem cell-based therapy at the Eye hospital in Ljubljana. During his stay in the USA, he will be working with prof. David Križaj, who is a world-renowned researcher in the field of ophthalmology. Grateful to have been given this opportunity he is eager to make the most of it and is confident that this visit will bring him significant academic growth that could shape his future research career. In his free time, Luka likes different sports. He is passionate about skiing and cannot imagine a winter without a week in a proper alpine ski resort.
Blaž Leban is a second-year postgraduate Physics student at the University of Ljubljana, Faculty of mathematics and physics. This summer, he will be joining prof. Andrej Prša’s research group at the Villanova University in Philadelphia, which is mainly focused on computational astrophysics. He decided to study physics in high school when popular scientific books about the universe and cosmology totally amazed him but was later redirected to particle physics. He is currently working on his master's thesis about neutrino physics and the seesaw mechanism. Since he is not tied to a particular field for the future, he would like to deepen his knowledge of the behavior of star systems and try to build realistic computer models of them. In his free time, he tries to spend as much time as possible close to the space in nature, where he likes to run, hike, play football, volleyball and participate in other sports. He is also a rally fan and is enthusiastic about ultimate frisbee. He is a tidy and well-organized person. He is very grateful to ASEF for this fellowship.
Matevž Marinčič is a second-cycle physics student at the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics, University of Ljubljana. His main research interest is soft matter physics, particularly active matter, photonic crystals, and metamaterials. He worked on a research project on cholesteric liquid crystal microlasers. He also likes to share his enthusiasm for physics with others by tutoring, collaborating on science competitions and other projects. Currently, he works on active nematics, which is the main topic for his master's thesis.
This summer, Matevž will be visiting prof. Andrej Košmrlj at the Princeton University, where he will work on periodic elastic materials. Based on their geometry, these materials transmit or reflect specific vibrational modes, making them useful as acoustic metamaterials.
Besides being a researcher, Matevž has been an active member of his local scouting society since he was 10. This coincides with his love for nature and the outdoors - he likes hiking, trekking, mountaineering, rock climbing, skiing, or just having a picnic. He also combines these activities with his passion for traveling and exploring new cultures.
Nina Mrzelj is a MSc student of Computer Science and Mathematics at the University of Ljubljana and is currently doing an Erasmus exchange at the University of Technology in Vienna.
What Nina likes most in her field of studies, is its interdisciplinarity and the endless possibilities of application of gained knowledge. She is interested in solving real-life problems, using mathematics and algorithms. Her research interests include machine learning, data science and network analysis. In the past, she worked on different projects: predicting the future trends of advertisement campaigns, classifying bacterial DNA sequences into taxonomic ranks, using data to improve user experience…
This summer, Nina will collaborate with prof. Jure Leskovec at Stanford University. ASEF fellowship will allow her to work with world top scientists, while also experiencing new culture. In her free time, Nina loves to travel and spend time outdoors - hiking, climbing or just trying some new activities. She believes that life begins at the end of one's comfort zone and that is why she is always looking for challenges and adventures, both in her professional and personal life.
Kristjan Nemac is a young researcher at the Science and Research Centre Koper and a Ph.D. student at the University of Primorska. He graduated and received his master's degree in the Sociology of Culture at the University of Ljubljana. In his Ph.D. thesis, he is studying the effects of globalization on local communities, with the focus on the port’s involvement in global competition and the local environment. He is going to spend this summer working with prof. Nives Dolšak at the University of Washington, Seattle. This visit will give him the opportunity to analyze and compare two different cultural and political realities and the responses of the ports of Koper and Seattle to the globalization processes.
He actively participated in different organizations within which he critically analyzed modern society and sought solutions for social change. Working with the research group in the field of environmental policy will give him a better comprehension of sustainable development strategies that advocate the integrated social development of local communities.
Rok Razpotnik is a Ph.D. student of Biomedicine at the Institute of Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ljubljana. His research focuses on investigating the role of non-coding RNAs, especially circular RNAs, in hepatocellular carcinoma. He completed his BSc and MSc program in Biochemistry at the Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Technology, University of Ljubljana, where he also received recognition for scholarly achievements and the Prešeren award of the Faculty for his master`s thesis. By attending Erasmus+ program at the University of Ghent, Belgium, and other courses and academic projects, he further improved his knowledge. Rok is looking forward to spending his summer at the laboratory of prof. dr. Jernej Murn at the University of California, Riverside, where he will acquire new knowledge and experience in the field of RNA biology. He believes this experience will elevate his further research work and bring it to a new level. Rok is very passionate about traveling, discovering new cultures and loves to spend his free time outdoors, cycling, hiking, and jogging. However, after a long day, he enjoys nothing more than having drinks and a good laugh with his friends or watching a great alternative movie. He is honored and very grateful to ASEF for this opportunity.
Ana Reberc completed her BSc in Psychology at the Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana. At the moment she is doing a double master's degree in Sociology of Culture and Psychology. She is a teaching assistant at the department of social psychology and a student librarian at the psychological library. Her scholarly research focuses on the epistemology of psychology, critical psychology and cognitive sociology. She is also interested in primatology and African studies. Besides her studies, she is an active journalist, author of a psychological radio show Psihoteka and a co-author of a feminist radio show Sector F on Radio Student. In her eclectic library there are many books by her role model Angela Y. Davis and favourite authors Amos Tutuola and Vladimir Bartol. She has a student job at the Slovenian Cinematheque and is a TV series enthusiast. In the summer of 2018, she will be researching transitional justice with professor Peter Verovšek at the University of Sheffield.
Jakob is a second-year undergraduate physics student at the University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Mathematics and Physics. In high school, he received Bronze Medals at the International Olympiad in Astronomy and Astrophysics and International Olympiad in Physics. He is especially keen to learn as much as possible about nonlinear dynamics, cosmology and topology. His current research is focused on heat transfer in one dimensional lattices. He will spend his summer with Professor Seljak in UC Berkeley where he will work on numerical simulations in cosmology. When he is not thinking about abstract spaces or reading fantasy, he commits to his other passions, alpinism, rock climbing, skiing, football and any other sport.
Marko is an undergraduate student of Computer Science and Mathematics at the University of Ljubljana. His research interests are algorithms, data structures and deep learning. This summer he will be working with prof. Dawn Song at the University of California, Berkeley.
In his free time, Marko is working in the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at Jožef Stefan Institute. In the past, Marko was part of the PKP project Solar Power Forecasting, participated the European Study Group with Industry, won a Deanís Commendation for Academic Excellence and received many awards from programming contests. Besides all this Marko finds enough time for other activities, he plays soccer, reads a lot, likes to go kayaking and loves to play the trumpet.
Aleks Smolkovič is originally from Lendava, Slovenia. He has earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in physics at the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics at the University of Ljubljana. During his studies, he developed an immense interest in the field of High Energy Physics. He complemented the knowledge gained at the faculty by taking summer internships at the Department of Theoretical Physics, Jožef Stefan Institute, and by attending specialized schools and conferences both in Slovenia and abroad.
He recently joined the Department of Theoretical Physics as a PhD student. He is researching various phenomenological consequences of physics beyond the Standard Model, connected to the decays of B mesons and interactions between the top quark and the Higgs boson. With the support of ASEF, for which he is very grateful, he is going to visit professor Jure Zupan at the University of Cincinnati.
Besides doing research Aleks also enjoys being a teaching assistant at the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics. When not at the office he likes to spend his time with friends and family, especially enjoying good movies at the cinema, traveling and exploring new places.
Anja works as a teaching assistant at the Department for Prosthetic Dentistry, at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Ljubljana. In the course of her studies, she has participated in a research project in periodontology that earned her the Prešeren award of the Faculty of Medicine for research achievement and attended various international congresses and workshops. After obtaining her dental degree and completing her internship, she gained practical experience working as a general dentist for a year and a half.
As part of the ASEF fellowship program, Anja will be visiting prof. Janina Golob Deeb at the Virginia Commonwealth University, with the intention of expanding her knowledge. She is eager to take up the challenge through this research opportunity and hopes to make a positive contribution to prof. Golob Deeb’s team. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, travelling to sunny destinations and reading spy novels.
Jan Zavodnik is a graduate student at the Faculty for Mechanical Engineering, at the University of Ljubljana. In the past, he worked on a project of modeling and predicting the response of thermally activated artificial muscles made from metamaterials. He developed a model describing the shrinking response of coiled twisted nylon beam, enabling a thorough understanding of the process. He received a “Prešeren” award for outstanding young researchers for his bachelor’s degree work.
He will spend this summer at Princeton collaborating with Professor Andrej Košmrlj working on a project on lung development from the mechanics standpoint. He will be trying to develop a model, which would help to better understand, how the lungs and other organs develop in a human or animal body. Besides his university and project work, Jan enjoys data science, flying model planes, hiking and swimming. He likes to spend his free time outside in nature and take romantic walks with his girlfriend.
Lojze Žust is an undergraduate student of Computer and Information Science at the University of Ljubljana. He is passionate about machine learning and computer vision and is currently finishing his thesis on image analysis using deep learning.
Lojze has worked on multiple AI research projects at the university as well as in the R&D department of the healthcare company Marand. He is excited about expanding his knowledge to other intriguing areas of artificial intelligence. This summer, he is looking forward to visiting prof. Jure Leskovec and joining his research group at Stanford University.
In his free time, Lojze loves climbing, spending time outdoors, playing his favorite songs on the guitar and hanging out with his friends.
Gorazd is a lawyer working in insurance. After obtaining an LL.M degree in European Law from the University of Lund (Sweden) and the bar exam, he primarily specialized in insurance law. As a strong believer in alternative dispute resolution, he later obtained a certificate that enabled him to work as a mediator and further deepened his knowledge by taking part in courses on mediation at home and abroad (University of New Mexico, Central European University). That all resulted in building up a Free Legal Aid Clinic especially dedicated to offering free legal advice and conducting mediation services to the ones in need. He feels extremely pleased and honored to see that due to the passion and work Free Legal Aid Clinic has grown into one of the most recognizable organizations of its kind in the country.
Gorazd is currently pursuing a PhD at the University of Ljubljana and working on his doctoral thesis on the impact of insurance liability on tort law. Next to his legal major he is also enrolled in the last year of Master in Business Studies, where his research focuses on the exploration of ethics in corporate governance both from a business and legal perspectives. He believes that Harvard experience will have a tremendous impact on his research topic and is very delighted to be given this opportunity. In his free time, Gorazd likes traveling and exploring new cultures and is passionate about sports such as skiing, playing tennis and biking.
Teja Golobič is a first-year PhD student at the University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Law. On the basis of her previous academic achievements, her PhD tuition has been funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport of the Republic of Slovenia. She graduated in law and obtained her master's degree in law, both cum laude, at the University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Law. During her undergraduate studies, she participated in many international summer schools, law students’ competitions and research projects. During her visit to Utrecht University, Faculty of Law, Economics and Governance, she upgraded her knowledge of corporate law. Her current scientific article, which discusses the regulation of water supply, was published in the leading administrative law journal in Slovenia, Javna uprava. As her current PhD research focuses on administrative law, European Union law, competition law, public-private partnerships and concession contracts, she will visit Prof. John T Plecnik, an expert in taxation and public policy, to cooperate with him at the CSU. Teja is also very passionate about gender equality, equal opportunities, and, outside her academic pursuits, poetry and dance.
Žiga Gosar is a Second cycle physics student at the Faculty of mathematics and physics, University of Ljubljana. His past work experience includes simulation of hot water heaters, evolutionary algorithms, cold atoms, optical fibers (in particular splicing of optical fibers), tutoring, and popularization of science.
During the summer he will be working with Prof. Andrej Košmrlj at the Princeton University on the topic of soft 2D periodic materials (acoustic metamaterials). These materials are able to reversibly switch between two different configurations with different properties, for example, the different transmission of vibrations and sound. In his free time, he likes to travel (he is especially excited about Southeast Asia), write code, and play with Raspberry Pi, Arduino, and other electronics. He is also training to become an alpinist.
Kaj Jež is a first-year postgraduate student at the University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Economics, where he also received his graduate degree in International Business. He will be spending this summer with prof. Nives Dolšak at the University of Washington in Seattle where he will be comparing taxation and concession policies and regulation pertaining to water sources in Slovenia, Washington State and California, focusing primarily on the relative size and structure of taxes on the use of water sources, the duration of concessions and the monitoring process relating to said regulations. His research interests are the effects of taxation and regulation on the economic performance of businesses and long-term country economic growth.
Kaj also serves as the director of Slovenia’s Institute Libertas, a free-market think tank previously engaged in the public discourse relating to water policies and other civil society issues. His particular spare time interests include film, theatre and reading.
Jaka Kukavica is a final year LL.B. student at the University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Law. His research interests are broadly based in constitutional and human rights aspects of various public law issues. In the past, he has researched procedural obligations and (European) consensus as an interpretative method under the European Convention on Human Rights. He is going to work with Prof. Urška Velikonja at Georgetown University, researching the procedural rights of victims in securities compliance enforcement procedures and other similar procedures from a constitutional and comparative perspective. In his spare time, Jaka is an avid (yet average) rock climber, a sad landlocked surfer, and is overcompensating for a lack of waves in his everyday life by training to run the 2018 Pyongyang Marathon.
Urška Lampret is a PhD student and a young researcher at the University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Theology. Her PhD thesis is focused on ideatic diverge and conflict between Christianity and Communism in the period of revolution in Slovenia. In her research, she is focusing on the actions, activities, and policies the Church implemented and followed in order to defend human rights during the time of WWII and the Communist revolution in Slovenia, including the question about the legitimacy of same. She is a member of Societas Ethica and a research group at the Faculty of Theology. ASEF Fellowship offered her an opportunity to work with prof. Peter Verovšek at the University of Sheffield (UK), whose extensive knowledge of the topic of politics and collective memory would have a substantial relevance and impact for her research. Urška is very grateful to be given this opportunity and she believes that the ASEF Fellowship will allow her to broaden and deepen her research and will represent an important step on her career path.
But first of all, Urška is a mother of three (Nika – 5 years old, Jakob – 3 years old and Filip – 2 years old). Her free time is full of laughing, crying, playing, singing, dancing, screaming, tickling, … Among academic and family activities Urška is passionate about ski jumping (she was among the first female ski jumpers in Slovenia), dancing, climbing, country music and football (Liverpool FC's fan), thanks to her husband. To coordinate all those aspects of her life she needs to be very well organized and motivated, which also results in her scientific work, which usually ends very late at night.
Marija is a final, sixth-year student of Dentistry at the Faculty of Medicine in Ljubljana. As she gained deeper knowledge about different fields in dentistry, she became especially interested in periodontology and prosthodontics. Currently, she's involved in research on public knowledge about Endodontics, but she is looking forward to taking a chance to work in periodontics with Dr. Janina Golob Deeb at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. Throughout her studies, she volunteered in a student project, focused on preventive dentistry. She was also active in medical and dental students magazines. She attended different workshops and international congresses, which broaden her view on dentistry and improved her clinical work.
Her profession is the exact opposite of one of her favorite hobbies - baking. She jokes that she is doing it because somebody has to provide customers for dentists. She also loves to dance, enjoys different kinds of art and loves creative handwork, which is one of the reasons she chose dentistry in the first place. She is honored and grateful to ASEF for this opportunity.
Tilen Marc is a PhD student at the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics, University of Ljubljana. He works in the area of graph theory and is also interested in topics such as machine learning and network analysis. I will have the opportunity to visit Prof. Jure Leskovec at Stanford University. In his free time, Tilen loves to climb and do other sports and spends as much time outdoors.
Aleš Omerzel is a second-year MSc student in Computer Science and Mathematics at the University of Ljubljana. At the University of California, Berkeley, Aleš will cooperate with prof. Dawn Song on cutting edge technologies in artificial intelligence and particularly in deep learning.
As a high school student, Aleš won four golden awards at the National Math Olympiads and a bronze medal at the Benelux Mathematical Olympiad. In 2011, he enrolled in the BSc interdisciplinary program Computer Science and Mathematics at the University of Ljubljana, where he won Dean’s Commendation for Academic Excellence each year. In 2014, he continued to MSc in Computer Science and Mathematics and during the master's degree, he gained many international experiences. He completed R&D Internship focused on corporate software systems at Bloomberg L.P. in London. He spent two semesters at ETH Zürich as an exchange student and student assistant. His research in Switzerland covered privacy, data sharing and performance optimization in Internet of Things which contributed to the publication Engineering Democratization in Internet of Things Data Analytics.
Besides activities related to studying and scientific research, Aleš enjoys in various recreative sports in the evenings which helps him staying positive, empowered and fit. He also likes playing guitar, traveling and exploring new things.
Ajda Rojc is a student at the Faculty of Chemistry and chemical technology at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. She finished her BSc program in Biochemistry and continued with a MSc program at the same department. In the last year of study, Ajda moved to Sweden where she attended a semester at Uppsala University. This year, Ajda will spend the summer in San Francisco where she will work in prof. Matija Peterlin's laboratory at UCSF. Ajda’s favorite topic in biochemistry is immunology which is also the main research topic of her Master’s thesis. She is excited about working at UCSF as this experience will expand her knowledge and expose her to new opportunities in biochemistry. She is grateful to ASEF for enabling her to pursue this opportunity.
Ajda has been an avid climber for 16 years and after school she works at a local climbing gym where she teaches and coaches children of all ages. She is also a snowboarding instructor, she loves to cook, bake, hike, cycle and travel around, so California is a perfect place for Ajda to be!
Luka Starčevič is a mechanical engineering student at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Maribor. For the past 2 years, he has been working on the numerical calculations of cellular and auxetic materials under the supervision of prof. Zoran Ren, the Head of Laboratory for Advanced Computational Engineering and Experimenting. In these 2 years, Luka has gathered a lot of experience and knowledge in the field of numerical simulations of cellular and auxetic materials, which are materials with special mechanical features. In the past few months, Luka has been collaborating with Nejc Novak, a junior scientist currently in Kumamoto, Japan, working on experiments to validate Luka’s research work in the field of numerical simulations. Due to Luka’s impactful research his mentor, prof. Ren, recommended him to visit prof. Košmrlj at the Princeton University, where Luka could gather great experience in the field of auxetic materials and so further work with Mr. Novak on this research-related topics. Luka is very excited to learn from Prof. Košmrlj and deepen his theoretical knowledge of auxetic materials. Luka believes that with solid theoretical knowledge he will be able to deliver even more impactful research results in his field. Gathered experiences and knowledge that Luka is hoping to gain as an ASEF Fellow will be a great benefit for Luka’s future research, especially when he starts with his PhD program next year.
Robert recently finished a PhD in Biochemistry at Jožef Stefan Institute in Ljubljana, Slovenia. He decided to continue with his research on proteolytic enzymes and their function in health and disease at Jožef Štefan Institute. Robert is highly involved in several aspects of biochemistry like molecular and cellular biology combined with mass spectrometry-based proteomics. In his work, he covers different aspects of protease research ranging from the production of recombinant proteases, their characterization, and determination of their cleavage specificity to uncovering their physiological and pathological roles.
This summer Robert will be visiting prof. Andrej Šali at the University of California, San Francisco where he would like to deepen his knowledge, expand his research network and of course get new and exciting data about molecular mechanisms of autophagy. More precisely, Robert would like to obtain experimental data on structural features of autophagy signaling complexes and combine them with bioinformatic modelling approaches available at prof. Šali’s lab.
Besides being a dedicated and highly motivated researcher Robert tries to spend every free minute with his family, goes for a bike ride, to the mountains or simply spends calm moments gardening.
Angelika Vižintin completed her BSc in Biotechnology at Biotechnical Faculty, University of Ljubljana, and received the recognition of Biotechnical Faculty for undergraduate students with the best scholarly achievements. At the moment she is a MSc student of Biochemistry at the Faculty for Chemistry and Chemical Technology, University of Ljubljana. Her research interests are broad and she has joined several academic projects during her studies.
Currently, she is focusing on toxin-antitoxin systems in cyanobacteria, microorganisms that obtain their energy through photosynthesis. Angelika is looking forward to join Dr. Mihaela Pavličev at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center through the ASEF Fellowship program. She will be involved in a research project with the aim to better understand the regulation of gene expression in human placental cells. In her free time, she is communicating scientific topics with the audience of Radio Študent (one of Europe's oldest and strongest independent and non-commercial radio stations), attending cultural events, tasting craft beers or simply relaxing in nature with friends.
Patrik is an undergraduate student of Computer Science and Mathematics at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. Patrik also works at the AILAB (Artificial Intelligence laboratory at Jožef Stefan Institute) in the field of natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning.
He is interested in research projects which also bring practical results. In primary and secondary school Patrik was an active competitor in various computer programming competitions and won first places in all national programming competitions, so he can confidently say that he has a broad knowledge of algorithms and data structures. Patrik also has experience with traditional natural language processing and machine learning techniques. Currently, he is interested in deep learning advances and techniques applicable to this field. Patrik will be visiting prof. Jure Leskovec at Stanford University this summer.
Patrik is a pretty passionate skiing teacher in winter but in the summer time, windsurfing and swimming are his favorite.
Aljaž Gaber is a PhD student of biochemistry at the University of Ljubljana where he also works as an assistant, supervising young to-be biochemists during their lab courses. During his undergraduate study at the same university, Aljaž was also an active student representative. He spent his summer of 2015 with prof. Andrej Sali at UCSF, applying their state of the art computational structural biology algorithms to tackle the self-assembly of a tumor marker Aljaž is researching as a part of his PhD. The idea behind this is to better understand how our organisms work on a molecular scale, which would enable us to better understand diseases and develop novel treatment strategies.
As a graduate student, Aljaž's life at this point mostly revolves around becoming a perspective young scientist, which means there is not too much time for pursuing other interests. Still, he will never say no to an invitation for a drink to catch up or to have an interesting discussion.
Andraž graduated from Computer Science and then joined London based start up Cytora as one of the first 5 engineering hires. He spent the summer of 2015 visiting prof. Jure Leskovec at Stanford University. The summer research project was about finding duplicates and anomalies in a huge collection of news articles. In his free time he likes to do various different sports (skiing, climbing, kite surfing, etc), explore street food markets and visit different countries.
Filip Kozarski finished his BSc in maths and physics in Ljubljana and is currently pursuing a MSc degree in Theoretical and mathematical physics in Munich. He visited Prof Uros Seljak at the department of Cosmology, Berkeley, in the late summer of 2015. Filip's hobbies and things not being paid for include playing soccer in the team of Slovenians in Munich, and thinking or joking about life, physics and all other everyday stuff in between. All with the help of Kindle and YouTube. Filips is a human of habits. In the picture (right) together with Volt (left), the best dog ever.
Peter Us finished his BSc of Computer and Information Science at the University of Ljubljana and is currently pursuing a MSc degree in Computer and Information Science at the same university. In the summer of 2015, Peter visited the laboratory of prof. Dawn Song, at the University of Berkeley. There, Peter was working on projects from the field of cutting-edge web technologies. In the summer of 2016, Peter started working as a data science intern at Evolven - an IT Operations analytics company.
In his free time, Peter likes to learn more about various fields of computer science such as machine learning, functional programming and new web development technologies. When he is not preoccupied with the things already mentioned, he could be playing basketball, watching series or exploring the world around him.
Veronika Cencen is a 22-year-old graduate student in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Ottawa, set to work with prof. Kosmrlj of Princeton University through the ASEF Fellowship program. She completed her BSc in Biotechnology at the University of Ljubljana in 2014. Her research interests are interdisciplinary; her current projects are focused on the development and use of microfluidics in nanotechnology and biophysics, in the hope of developing novel methods for diagnostics and treatment of diseases for which current approaches are inadequate and poorly accessible.
As a member of a diplomatic family, she has lived in several countries and speaks six languages (English, Slovene, French, Chinese, Russian and Lithuanian). When she is not teaching or researching in the lab (or attending a conference or society meeting), she enjoys training and competing in rhythmic gymnastics as an international athlete recognized Olympic Committee of Slovenia, volunteering for the science outreach group Let's Talk Science and Aboriginal Mentorship Program (where her high level of commitment, enthusiasm, and innovative approach helped raise $22,500 to help the spread of the program to remote indigenous communities), writing for local and University magazines and newspapers, dancing, running, playing piano, and raising her pet poodle and hamster.
Aleksandar Dimitriev is a MSc student in Computer Science at the University of Ljubljana, where he also obtained his BSc. He has always had a passion for math, and his research interests cover the broad area of applied machine learning, focusing on the application of Bayesian methods to real-world data, such as computer vision, bioinformatics, and social network analysis. He is very excited about the opportunity to work with Professor Jure Leskovec at Stanford University. In his free time, he likes to compose and play the violin.
Vid Kocijan is currently finishing 2nd year of undergraduate study of computer science and mathematics at the University of Ljubljana. This summer, he will work with prof. Jure Leskovec at Stanford University. Vid's research interests are algorithms, data structures and discrete mathematics. He's trying to keep his list of interests wide, and will probably choose a more specific field of interest in few years. In his free time Vid likes climbing and mountain hiking. He also spends time voluntary teaching and has been preparing few members of the Slovenia IOI team this year.
Neven Polajnar is a second-year PhD student in Political Science at the University of Ljubljana. He received his first BSc degree in Economics at the Faculty of Economics and his second BSc degree in Defense Studies at the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Ljubljana, where he also accomplished his master studies in Political Theories. At the University of Harvard, Neven will cooperate with prof. dr Peter J. Verovsek and is strongly convinced that this experience will bring important aspects and elements to the final findings and conclusions of his PhD thesis, which is focused on the recognition of authoritarian elements in modern representative democracies and their different dimensions. Neven is also researching issues of different antagonisms inside political and social models, social and political structures, issues of politicization and depoliticization, political culture and collective identities, democratization issues and their limits, etc. Except for political theories, his research is focused on geostrategic issues, political economy, defense and security issues, diplomacy and international relations, state and political institutions, etc.
In geo-strategical sense, Neven's special focus is on the region of the Balkans, South-Eastern Europe and the Russian Federation, by analyzing and researching social and political transition, as well as the issue of democratic transformation of above mentioned ex-socialist regions.
Besides activities related to scientific researches, Neven is a martial arts instructor and competitor, which demands a lot of focus, hard work, discipline and devotion, skills that are very helpful in all spheres of life, including the academic ones.
Jože Rožanec is a software engineer pursuing his MSc degree in Data Mining and Knowledge Discovery at the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina. This summer, he will visit prof. Dawn Song at UC Berkeley. Jože received his BSc degree in software engineering at Universidad Austral in 2011. He worked for several companies, starting as a pre-sales intern at Microstrategy and then switching to software engineering roles. His last jobs were as a member of the R&D team at Navent, a leading South American company for real estate and job portals, where he developed recommender systems. Nowadays, he is a part of the core data team at Mercadolibre, the leading Latin American e-commerce company. His research interests are in time series analysis, deep learning and recommender systems. In his spare time, Jože enjoys reading, going to concerts as well as contributing to open source projects.
Jan Rozman is presently a third-year undergraduate physics student at the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics of the University of Ljubljana. This summer, he will be working with Professor Andrej Kosmrlj at Princeton University. Jan's studies have been focused mostly on theoretical and mathematical physics. His primary research interest is biophysics, in particular, the mechanics of cellular movement during embryonic development. His previous research work was on the mechanics of buckled epithelium and was conducted at the Jozef Stefan Institute at the Department of Theoretical Physics. In his free time, Jan likes hiking and reading.
Matej comes from Sostanj, northern Slovenia. At first, he was planning to become a programmer and went to Computer Engineering high school in Velenje, then continued as a Computer Science student at the University of Ljubljana; after one year of Computer Science, he switched to Physics and finished his bachelor's degree last June. Now, Matej is a master's student in theoretical physics at the University of Munich, Germany.
Matej's research interests revolve around particle physics and exploring the fundamental properties of nature, mainly by combining theoretical calculations with experimental data. He was an intern at CMS, one of the two leading experiments at CERN (Switzerland) last summer, and researched W bosons. This year, he is looking forward to a new challenge with Professor Uros Seljak at UC Berkeley and experience a top US university. In his free time, Matej plays the accordion - "frajtonarca".
Kaja Travnik is going to work with professor Peter Verovsek at Harvard University. She studied Law as an undergraduate at the European Faculty of Law. She continued her studies and became a Master of Law at the European Faculty of Law. Kaja was always interested in European Law, the function of the European Union and Human Rights. She upgraded her studies with Jean Monnet Certificate, which gave her deeper understanding of how the European Union functions, its history and knowledge about the most important cases from the European Court of Justice and the European Court of Human Rights. Kaja was a part of many summer schools and conferences abroad. She worked for European Commission in Brussels and for International Law Firm in Italy, where she strengthened her theoretical knowledge in practice. With her visit, she would like to intensify her current knowledge and bring a contribution to the academic sphere. Kaja is very excited to work with professor Verovsek, who has so much knowledge and experience in political theory and European Union.
One of Kaja's biggest life wishes was to be a part of Harvard University and she is so grateful to the ASEF fellowship committee, which gave her this opportunity. For Kaja, that means to be a part of the historic institution, which has an important contribution to the whole world.
Matej studied chemistry at the University of Ljubljana, Faculty for Chemistry and Chemical Technology and finished his studies in 2009. Afterwards he did his PhD in prof. Boris Turk's lab at Jozef Stefan Institute and defended his PhD in 2014. Currently, Matej is working as a research assistant, his main research field is proteomics which he often combines with classical biochemistry. During his PhD he has gained advanced technical knowledge in the field of high-resolution mass spectrometry-based proteomics and was leading the development of new proteomic approaches for chemical labeling of protease generated N-termini, that enabled the identification of protease substrates and corresponding cleavage sites. Matej was also working on the development and validation of SMART fluorescent probes for cysteine proteases that they were developing in the LIVIMODE (FP7) project. This summer Matej will have the great opportunity to expand his knowledge and work with prof. Sali at UCSF, where he will concentrate especially on bioinformatic approaches to explore and process large proteomic datasets to provide more integrative insights into different molecular players in health and disease.
Matej Cepin (the Santa Clara awardee) has already completed his project in May 2014. This is what he wrote. "The aim of my study visit was to deepen my knowledge about Social Entrepreneurship and Business Incubators and to be able to transfer some of successful practices back to Slovenia in the future. The core activity was the Global Social Benefit Institute (GSBI) Conference. (Matej was later offered a mentorship at the Center for Science, Technology and Society at Santa Clara and become a research fellow there.) Other events included 1-to-1 meetings, participation in smaller events and visiting institutions, including a fundraising dinner at SCU, presentation of innovations in Frugal Lab (SCU) and meeting the Slovenian Bay Area Community. The journey was a meaningful learning experience in the fields of social entrepreneurship, social impact measurement, fundraising nonprofits and social enterprises, marketing in social entrepreneurship, social media, managing coworking spaces and incubators of social enterprises. I saw several business models in action, expanded my social network and got an empowering experience of mentorship from Fr. Peter Rožič SJ."
Get to know more about Matej's impressions from Silicon Valley in this YouTube video.
Niko Colnerič is coming from Mestinje, in the East of Slovenia. From an early age, he liked mathematics and physics and after finishing high school in Celje, he obtained his BSc in Computer Science in Ljubljana. Currently, Niko is a first-year PhD student at the Faculty of Computer and Information Science where his main focus is on data mining challenges and high-dimensional data analysis. In his free time, he loves cycling and paragliding.
Marinka Žitnik is a PhD student in computer science at the University of Ljubljana. She received her BSc in computer science and mathematics from the University of Ljubljana in 2012. Her research interests are at the intersection of artificial intelligence and computational biology. She focuses on ways of fusing many heterogeneous data sources. Her research is driven by current challenges in bioinformatics, systems and molecular biology. Through integrative computational analysis, she aims to identify the most promising candidate genes that biologists can investigate further experimentally. In her free time, Marinka also edits XRDS Crossroads, the ACM magazine for students, and is active in the Google Anita Borg community.
Adrián Ruiz Mianovich
Adrián Ruiz Mianovich is an Argentinian biochemist who graduated from the National University of Tucumán in 2021. He worked at Angel C. Padilla Hospital in San Miguel de Tucumán from 2016 to 2021, where he did internship in the areas of bacteriology, hematology, and human reproduction. Currently, he is working at his own private laboratory in his hometown Las Breñas, Chaco with his father, also a biochemist. Since childhood, he participated with the Civil Association of the Slovenian community from Las Breñas, Chaco during the Provincial Immigrant Festival, celebrated every year in November, where Slovenian descendants perform dances, parades, prepare typical meals, and even won first place in countries’ exhibition competition in 2011 representing Slovenia.
He had the opportunity to travel back to Slovenia with his grandmother in 2017 to meet their family in Črnomelj and has kept in touch with them since then. He is infinitely grateful to ASEF for the Fellowship selection and thinks this opportunity to build ties with Slovenian people will be invaluable.
Aldana Silvero was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and is lucky enough to have learned the Slovenian language with her grandmother who unfortunately had to leave her native country after the Second World War. She studied kinesiology at the National University of La Matanza and graduated in 2019, then worked in a hospital for 3 years as an intern. During those years she had the experience of working in areas such as traumatology, intensive care, and pediatrics. She looks forward to learning new experiences, continuing to build her self-confidence, gaining hands-on experience surrounded by new environments, and reaffirming her passion for kinesiology.
She feels that Slovenia is the ideal place. She dreams of knowing her roots, strengthening her language, exploring the country’s beauty, and learning more about the culture. She is very grateful to ASEF for this opportunity and knows that it will be a great experience to grow personally and professionally.
Alexander Hoài Nam Penca
Alexander is a young professional from Canberra, Australia working in the field of events, tourism, and cultural management. He began his academic life studying music performance, graduating from Griffith University with a Bachelor of Music majoring in Piano. After graduating, Alexander turned his efforts to the operational side of the industry and worked for several years in the administration and management of performing arts events in Brisbane, Australia.
Since that time, Alexander has developed an affinity for this line of work and wishes to continue developing his career in this area with a focus on tourism. He is excited to visit Slovenia to undertake a mentorship with professionals in this field, and with the help of ASEF, gain access to amazing professional development opportunities and invaluable experience, as well as extend his professional ties to Slovenia and Europe at large. Alexander has entrepreneurial aspirations and hopes to one day manage a business, venue, or enterprise of his own.
In his spare time, Alexander enjoys hiking, skiing, exploring national parks, and traveling the world. He is an avid language learner and loves forming connections with people from all walks of life and every corner of the globe
Alexandra Vombergar is a second-year undergraduate student at the Ohio State University, where she is pursuing a double major in health and rehabilitation sciences and public health, with the ultimate goal of becoming a physician assistant. Alexandra is deeply passionate about health equity and has worked extensively with underprivileged, at-risk, and migrant youth to bridge educational gaps within her community.
As an ASEF Junior Fellow, Alexandra hopes to work in the field of public health, exploring relationships between socioeconomic status, educational disparities, and health outcomes. Specifically, she is interested in understanding how Slovenia’s success in reducing income inequality has contributed to its low levels of educational disparities, and how this model could be applied in the United States. She will conduct her research visit at the University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health, under the mentorship of red. prof. dr. Lijana Zaletel Kragelj, dr.med. and doc. dr. Andreja Kukec, dipl. san. inž.
All four of Alexandra’s grandparents are from Slovenia, and she is extremely grateful for the opportunity to conduct research while connecting with a culture that has deeply influenced her identity. In her free time, Alexandra can be found exploring the country’s beautiful landscape, reconnecting with family, and learning more about her Slovenian heritage.
Amalia Blood is a third-year undergraduate student at Barnard College of Columbia University, where she is majoring in Economics (Political Economy Track) with a minor in Political Science.
Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, Amalia’s love for Slovenia and Slovenian culture began young and was fostered through her experiences in Slovenian language school at St. Vitus Parish, summers at Slovenska Pristava, and interactions with Slovenian culture through her grandmother, Milena Stropnik. She’s looking forward to exploring her heritage this summer by reconnecting with family, traveling to Slovenia, and learning the Slovenian language. She intends to use her research this summer for her senior thesis and looks forward to presenting to the Columbia University community about Slovenia.
After graduating from Columbia, Amalia hopes to work in investment banking, and has accepted a summer 2024 internship at KeyBanc Capital Markets in their Utilities, Power, and Renewable Energy Group as an analyst. Amalia will conduct her research visit under the mentorship of Dr. Gorazd Meško, Head of the Institute of Criminal Justice and Security at the University of Maribor, Faculty of Criminal Justice and Security.
Andrés Klemen studied Image and Sound Design at the University of Buenos Aires and graduated in 2021. He has been working as a multimedia designer for the past 5 years in diverse educational institutions such as universities and schools. His audiovisual training combined with his passion for design has led him to merge both worlds in order to create engaging content for digital and traditional media.
Lately, he got involved with theater, attending various related courses in prestigious institutions such as Teatro San Martín and Centro Cultural Rojas, and working as the director's assistant in an independent play that premiered last year in Buenos Aires city center. His personal interests range from art history to new technologies, going through all artistic and humanistic disciplines, because he believes everything can be a source of inspiration and creativity. In his spare time, he enjoys taking photographs of his daily life, going to the theater, and watching interesting films and references to use in his work.
With this incredible opportunity given by ASEF, he expects to work with great professionals that can show him the Slovenian theater world and immerse himself in what it has to offer. Having performed and helped in several plays in his local Slovenian community, this visit is a reunion with that stage of his life, this time in the country of his grandparents.
Ariel Olivari Opeka
Ariel Olivari Opeka is an industrial engineer and has a master´s degree in Business Administration. He currently works in the area of Research, Development, and Innovation for the Argentinian National Railway Company.
His grandparents were Slovenian and he grew up in a family that kept their culture, values, and traditions alive and shared a deep love for Slovenia. He has never met anyone who loved their home country as much as his grandparents did, and as a child, he was fascinated by the stories they told him about their homeland. Therefore, he has always dreamt about those faraway lands across the sea where the most wonderful stories took place.
During his visit to Slovenia, he will work at the University of Ljubljana, School of Economics and Business under the mentorship of dr. Mateja Drnovšek and dr. Alenka Slavec Gomezel. He plans to focus his investigation on the innovation and social entrepreneurship fields. The goal of his research will be to demonstrate the growing importance that innovation has in organizations, especially in turbulent times.
In his free time, Ariel likes doing sports. He enjoys playing soccer, walking, or running outdoors. He is very excited and sincerely grateful to ASEF for this wonderful opportunity and is confident that this fellowship will contribute greatly to his academic and professional development. Besides, being able to meet young people of Slovenian descent from all over the world this research visit represents a unique chance for networking and personal growth.
Daniel Leber is an Argentinian visual artist and art historian. He did his degree in Visual Arts at the University of Buenos Aires. He also is a teacher in secondary and higher education in the field of art. He was part of the renowned Artists Program at Torcuato Di Tella University in 2012. Daniel was also the recipient of the Oxenford Foundation grant in 2019 and the Argentine National Foundation of Arts in 2013 and 2020. In 2021 he won the Itau Bank Prize with his work “Un Ángel del Tiempo”. Daniel studied in depth the work of Joaquin Torres Garcia, Federico Manuel Peralta Ramos, and Liliana Maresca, significant Latin American artists of the 20th century. His recent exhibitions are “Idea Fija” at Calvaresi Contemporáneo (September, 2022), “Leberinto” at Isla Flotante (Buenos Aires, 2021), and “Pedo Místico” at PM Galería (Buenos Aires, 2020).
In his work, he builds images articulating the pictorial and graphic fields taking the nature of symbols as an axis. He pursues his own worldview starting from the guidelines of South American modern artists related to spiritual and political merges, establishing dialogues with his own Slovenian heritage. As an ASEF Junior Fellow, Daniel will continue his research on Slovenian decorated beehive panels under the mentorship of Dr. Barbara Ivančič Kutin from the Institute of Slovenian Ethnology SRC SASA.
Matías D. Zakelj
Matias D. Zakelj recently graduated from the University of Toronto with a degree in molecular biology and biotechnology. While he was attending university, Matias formed part of different projects inside the biological field, working with hummingbirds and bacteria alike. He aims to one day establish his own laboratory in order to study and better comprehend genetic disorders and protein misfolding. Matias believes that the opportunity that was given to him by the ASEF Fellowship will allow him to gain relevant experience in the industry outside academia, and will expand his knowledge in the scientific field.
Moreover, he is excited to do all of this while being able to visit Slovenia. This will help him better understand his heritage, culture, and learn the language that was passed on from his grandparents. Once finished, Matias wants to help other students with similar backgrounds connect with ASEF and help them grow professionally. In his free time, Matias enjoys listening to music, watching sports, and going to the gym. He also enjoys learning new things and meeting new people with different cultural backgrounds.
Matías Alejandro Juhant is a Ph.D. student of biology at the University of Tucumán, Argentina, and his academic research aims to understand how nature works and how the different elements of ecosystems interact to keep a system in balance using birds of prey (hawks, eagles, and falcons) as a model species. He completed his Bachelor’s in biology at the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, University of Maribor, Slovenia, and his Master’s degree at Wageningen University & Research, the Netherlands.
His academic aspiration is to become a raptor biologist with a global perspective, and this fellowship opportunity will help him to pursue this professional goal. He will visit Dr. Davorin Tome at the National Institute of Biology and have the opportunity to conduct research on how anthropogenic activities affect the physical conditions of birds of prey which will be part of a chapter of his doctoral thesis.
His family always did its best to maintain a strong bond with their roots, as both sides of his family are Slovenian, so this fellowship is an excellent opportunity to keep improving his Slovenian and learn more about the Slovenian culture. In his spare time, he enjoys working in the garden, outdoor activities, and running.
Mije Von Merta-Sustarich
Inspired by the death of her mother, grandmother, and aunt all from cancer, Mije Von Merta-Sustarich attended the University of California, Berkeley. Mije would go on to graduate with a Bachelor's in Molecular and Cellular Biology and Biochemistry with the hopes her education would help her combat the disease. She has high hopes for a long and promising career in an ever-growing field of medical research and development.
She will begin her next steps by going abroad to Slovenia, where she will be working under Dr. Barbara Breznik at the National Institute of Genetic Toxicology and Cancer. Mije is a proud third-generation Slovenian-American, serving as Secretary to the Slovene National Benefit Society Lodge 304 of San Francisco. Additionally, Mije has been engaging in Muay Thai for over 13 years and is a certified personal trainer with accreditation from the Ministry of Education of Thailand for her accomplishments in the sport of Muay Thai.
Zarja Miovic recently received her Bachelor of Science degree from Rutgers University, School of Environmental and Biological Sciences in New Jersey, during which she also completed her senior research project at a Virology Laboratory, in the Plant Biology Department. She is determined to continue her academic career by attending graduate school in microbial biology, with a particular interest in environmental and plant virology, and is applying to selected programs that have excellence in those areas and will lead her to a productive and competitive doctoral degree.
In the meantime, Zarja hopes to gain further research and laboratory experience through her research fellowship at the National Institute of Biology under the mentorship of Dr. Ion Gutierrez Aguirre where she will work with an excellent team comprising members from various fields related to plant biology, virology, bacteriology, biochemistry, and biotechnology. This will allow Zarja to study microbial interactions with other organisms and their environment using a multidisciplinary approach and provide her with the learning opportunities she needs to grow and excel as a microbiologist and a member of the scientific community.
She was born in Slovenia and looks forward to reconnecting with Slovenia and her people, rich culture, and the beautifully preserved nature of the valleys and lakes in the Slovenian Alps, the picturesque Adriatic coast, and the colorful wine country around Maribor and Ptuj. During her free time, Zarja plan to reconnect with her family in Maribor, as well as enjoy various outdoor activities including biking, hiking, and swimming.
Carolina Casquil graduated as an architect from the University of Buenos Aires. She has carried out different urban interventions in Argentina and Brazil to refocus people's views on the city, its architecture, and heritage. She has also studied how the different configurations of space, in its multiple dimensions, such as houses, streets, neighborhoods, and the cities, affect the quality of life of people. From a very young age, the Slovenian culture from her maternal grandparents has been lovingly instilled into her. She is infinitely grateful to ASEF for the opportunity they gave her, and in her research work, she will invite both the Slovenians and those people who do not know such a beautiful country to rediscover all the architectural, cultural, and social heritage that Slovenia has.
Figueroa Maria Micaela
Maria is a professional musical theater performer. She grew up in Bariloche, a little town surrounded by mountains in the south of Argentina. She always cared about the environment and enjoyed learning different languages, trekking, reading and writing. Her passion for art began as a little girl because she was part of the Slovenian community where this was always present. Growing up surrounded by the Argentinian, Slovenian and German culture gave her different tools and perspectives and motivated her to always be open minded and curious. She moved to Buenos Aires to start a professional artistic career were she had the chance to study in depth everything related to it: many theater and singing techniques, music theory, dramaturgy, musical theater history, many dance styles (jazz, ballet, tap, contemporary), etc. After receiving her degree, she was able to apply her studies in musical theater plays, shows and artistic events. She also shares her knowledge with young minds as a drama teacher, choreographer, vocal coach and director of many Concerts. She strongly believes that art is one of the pillars of society. It inspires, heals and reflects society’s troubles and realities. Her visit to Slovenia as part of the ASEF community is a unique and fruitful experience to see how musical theater and artistic disciplines are taught and applied in a different context. Also to grow personally and to make long lasting professional connections in the artistic field. She´s also very excited about enjoying the beautiful places and history that Slovenia has to offer. After all, Slovenia always felt like a second home, and it cultivated her passion for art. “Art is part of the human nature. It plays an important role, bigger than we think. It changes lives. It can even change the course of history.”
Lucía Medina was born in Comodoro Rivadavia, Patagonia Argentina. She graduated from La Plata National University with a B.A in Social Communication. In the past recent years, she has been working in the field of social media, public policies and advocacy. In 2020 she finished her specialization in political and government communication in Tres de Febrero National University. About her personal links with Slovenia, her maternal grandfather was born in Štrekljevec, Semič, and emigrated to Patagonia where he met her grandmother borned in Croatia. The family grew around both cultures. In 2019 she visited Slovenia for the first time to meet part of the Križan´s family and his granpather´s hometown. Lucia is extremely grateful for this opportunity provided by ASEF, through which she will grow from a professional and personal perspective. During the program she wishes to improve her Slovenian language, learn more about local history and culture, visit relatives and strength her relationship with her Slovenian heritage. Outside of her academic and professional pursuits, she enjoys cyclotouring and trekking, she is really excited to explore the natural beauties and landscapes of the country.
Joseph Mezner just graduated from Boise State University in Boise, Idaho, United States with a degree in Finance. During his studies, he has worked and interned in a variety of industries, such as manufacturing, entertainment, insurance, and real estate. Joseph would like to further his finance career in the real estate and energy industries. Ever since his first visit to Slovenia in 2018, he fell in love with the country and has been wanting to go back to learn more about his heritage, the country, and the language. The ASEF program will be a fantastic opportunity to connect with other young Slovenians and to build upon his studies. Joseph has lived throughout the United States, including the states of Colorado, Washington, New Mexico, Idaho, and New York, which has inspired a passion for traveling and exploring new places. Moreover, he also loves spending time outdoors, hiking, and photography.
Nemanič Gabriel Julian
Gabriel Julian Nemanič is currently attending an internship in his last year of Medicine at the National University of Cuyo. His interest in this profession, in being able to help people through medicine, began at the age of 16 when he was hospitalized for myopericarditis, which resolved without sequelae. He was born in 1996 in Mendoza, Argentina. Since childhood he grew up in the Slovenian club of Mendoza, where he studied and solidified his knowledge of that beautiful country from which one day his paternal grandparents had to leave. He participated in many events held in the club and a language improvement course in 2015 in Slovenia. He has had the experience of doing voluntary work at the San Nicolas church, with people in vulnerable situations, in wich they attend in social, nutricional, spiritual and health aspects, which without a doubt are the ones that can help in the improvement of life quality of a patient, since health includes many aspects. He has also had the opportunity of being part of a bioethical group and in which he organized a workshop on human life awareness.In his free time he does physical activity such as running, cycling and crossfit. He is interesting in the doctor-patient relationship in Slovenia and wants to be able to learn new medical techniques and create lasting relationships with health professionals. Since he was young he dreamed of being able to carry out an experience of his studies in Slovenia since they are his roots and he was born in another country but with customs, speech and values making him feel in Slovenia, for which he is very happy and grateful for the opportunity offered by ASEF.
Porcelo Zakelj Ana
Ana, better known as Anči, is an advanced student of the Bachelor of Arts at the National University of Tucumán, Argentina. She has been working as a Teaching Assistant of 2nd Category in the subject Spanish Language II (Lengua Española II) since 2018 and is currently completing an exchange scholarship at the University of Cologne, Germany. Throughout her studies she was interested in linguistics, an area from which she approached the study of the Slovene community settled in her province, Tucumán. From 2019 to 2021 she participated as a teacher for beginners at the Slovenian language school Janez Evangelist Krek. Being able to participate in the ASEF programme Visit Slovenia will give her the opportunity to update and deepen her knowledge of the land of her grandparents, both linguistically and culturally. She will also be able to establish new links with other fellows and professionals, which will surely contribute to her professional and personal development. In this way she will be able to pass on what she has learnt to other members of the Slovene community in Tucumán, and thus contribute to the maintenance of Slovene culture and language in Argentina. In her free time Anči enjoys reading and going to the gym, going for walks, and meeting friends and family. She also enjoys learning new things and meeting people from other places and cultures.
Reina Jacob Mayka María
Jacob Mayka María Reina is a dance teacher, in her career she has learned different styles and genres. Currently, she is learning Argentina’s folklore. Mayka finds in dance a different kind on language, through which she can express emotions, words, values, and a lot more... That is why she has been teaching dance to children, young people, and adults for approximately 15 years, something she enjoys and is passionate about. Dancing is what she loves most, but Mayka also likes reading, drinking coffee and talking with people, as well as meeting with her family and friends. In relation to her link with Slovenia, Mayka is of Slovenian descent on her mother's side. She knows that her great-great-grandfather arrived in Argentina in the year 1882. She currently works actively in the Slovenian foundation “slovenski duh” where activities are carried out to spread Slovenian culture, values, and identity. She thanks ASEF for providing this unique experience, as she believes she will find opportunities to learn the Slovenian folklore and culture, acquire knowledge and values, and grow personally and professionally. She is very anxious and a little bit scared because it will be the very first time she travels by plane and leaves her country, but she really expect to enjoy and take advantage of this experience.
Anna Shepard is a second-year undergraduate student at the University of Cincinnati, where she is majoring in Medical Sciences and minoring in Integrative Health. Her professional interests reside in healthcare and clinical research as she is currently working towards her post-graduate plans of medical school and graduate school in order to become a physician-scientist. During her visit, she aims to develop an international perspective, in which she can approach problems and her own research in the future with a world view. Anna is extremely grateful for the opportunity to visit Slovenia not only to participate in research at an early stage in her academic and research career, but also to deepen her knowledge and appreciation for Slovenia.
Anna already has a deep fondness of Slovenian culture (and food) from her Slovenian grandparents, attending Slovenian events in Cleveland, Ohio, and her 10 years as an elementary and middle school student attending a Saturday morning Slovenian language school. She is excited to be immersed in the culture, learn more of the Slovene language, explore the country’s natural beauty, and visit her family in Slovenia all while pursuing her interests in medicine, science, and research.
Antonia Starc graduated early from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo in March 2022 with a Bachelor of Arts in political science and minors in entrepreneurship and law. She is most interested in global politics and international relations, with the aspiration of working in law or government. In her free time, you may find Antonia relaxing at the beach, playing volleyball, hiking, enjoying music, exploring new places, trying different foods, and spending time with her friends. Antonia is thrilled to return to Slovenia to further connect with her culture and family while researching her field of interest. After her 10 week ASEF Fellowship, Antonia will return to California, joining Deloitte as a Government and Public Services Analyst in Sacramento.
Taylor Tutkaluke will be finished her bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology from the Faculty of Kinesiology and Recreation Management at the University of Manitoba in May 2022. With a background as a competitive Ringette athlete, Taylor is now a personal trainer and group fitness instructor that is passionate about using physical activity as preventative healthcare. Taylor has worked as a research assistant on projects that include Indigenous athletes in sport, how self-compassion affects one’s diagnosis of pre-diabetes, and self-compassion and physical activity. She hopes to explore topics such as physical literacy, active transportation, and physical activity adherence in Slovenija throughout her stay in Ljubljana.
Nola Valerian is in her third year at The Ohio State University, where she is pursuing a major in visual communications design with a minor in media production and analysis. Within her studies, she explores the application of digital tools, including advanced computing technology, to visualize and present translations of complex data and ideas. Nola currently works as a design assistant for an information technology organization that specializes in intrastate networking. She additionally works as a video production assistant through her college’s athletics program. Outside of her academics and work, Nola enjoys attending concerts, hiking, and spending time with friends and family. Slovenian culture has always been an important part of Nola’s life as her grandparents were born and raised there before coming to America. She’s looking forward to connecting with her family in Slovenia since her last visit was three years ago and hopes to take advantage of Slovenia’s beautiful outdoors.
Živa Perko moved to Belgium with her parents when she was just two years old. She is now a high school senior in her last year. She is studying at a science oriented high school, where her main subjects are chemistry, biology and physics. Heilig Graf School, the high school she is studying at, in Turnhout is known for its excellent laboratories, where students test theory in practice and carry out various experiments. As a member of the ASEF community, she will be in Slovenia from September 2022 until the end of December 2022 and will study at the Gimnazija Bežigrad. Together with the students from Ljubljana, she will be preparing for the matura exam, not only in chemistry and biology, but also in the Slovenian language. She hopes that she will be able to improve her Slovenian while socializing with her peers. Živa loves music and this year she finished the music academy and graduated from classical singing. She is a two-time Belgian sailing champion in the Cadet category (2020 and 2021). She represented Belgium in the Cadet at four world championships. She hopes that she will have the opportunity to sail in the Gulf of Piran with her new Slovenian friends. Živa loves nature and planet Earth and is therefore an environmental activist, a participant in the "Fridays for climate" movement. At the competition of the European program dedicated to the climate crisis Erasmus++, Živa was chosen as the representative of Belgium 2021, where, together with the other representatives, she participated in a one-year project dedicated to the consequences of the climate crisis. She expects that she will also talk about the climate crisis and urgent actions in Slovenia. Živa would like to thank the ASEF community for this exceptional opportunity. She believes that during this period she will not only get to know Slovenia, her Slovenian peers, and Slovenian culture, but will also learn a lot about herself.
Arraigada Pablo David
Pablo David Arraigada was born in 1985 in Entre Rios. He has always lived in Ezpeleta, a small city in Buenos Aires. He has a degree in literature. Pablo has just started his Ph.D. about Partisan literature as a literary genre in the territory of the former Yugoslavia. He is a member of the Dovstoievski’s Association in Argentina and helps with the organization of events and conferences in his country.
Pablo works as a consulting professor at the Slavic Literatures’ Department at the Buenos Aires University. He has been in charge of different seminars about ex-Yugo culture and literature. He was invited to give talks at different Universities, both in Argentina (Córdoba University) and in Europe (Zadar University and Ljubljana University). Nowadays, he is part of the UBACyT research project about utopias and dystopias in Slavic Literature. For this research project, he is translating different authors who developed the sci-fi and the utopia in the Balkans to Spanish, for example, Simon Jenko’s ‘Mikromega’. He also plans on translating Radoje Domanović and Dragutin Ilić from the Serbian language. On the other hand, Pablo also researches avant-garde movements in the Balkans, the Bosnian war and the figure of exile and speech, and aspects about the LGBTQ+ movements in ex-Yugo countries. He has previously translated Slovenian poets Brane Mozetič and Uroš Prah.
He is very interconnected to the literary world, both as a professor and as a publisher and bookseller. He was in charge of different activities related to books’ sales. In addition, he is a translator from Slovenian, Serbian and Croatian, and he has translated authors like Srečko Kosovel, Josip Murn, Dragotin Kette, Matej Bor, Desanka Maksimović, Radoje Domanović, Ivan Goran Kovačić and Vladimir Nazor, among others.
During his stance in Slovenia for the ASEF Junior Fellowship, Pablo is really excited about the idea of being able to work and research with his mentor Slovene poet and art historian Miklavž Komelj on the Slovenian partisans. It will be an amazing opportunity to understand and translate poems into Spanish from authors who had fought in the Second World War and to analyze the point of view in their productions.
Beyond his professional perspective, Pablo also enjoys literature as a hobby, and is a poet. He has published three poetry books until today, and he was in 2019 Smederevo’s poet autumn Festival, where they published a bilingual Serbian-Spanish anthology of his poems as well, Beleške. His poems were translated to Slovenian and Bulgarian too.
Dylan Gimpelj is a second-year law student at the University of Montreal. After completing a Bachelor of Art’s in Economics at McGill University, he worked in the finance industry for two years before returning to his studies. He is grateful for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity ASEF has provided which gives a chance to apply his current skillset in a professional legal environment, as well as gain new knowledge essential to his career growth. With Canada being a federal multicultural state and Slovenia being a member of the European Union, Dylan is excited to explore Slovenia’s legal tradition and thus appreciate the insightful parallels and distinctions that can be made with Canada’s legal context.
Having visited Slovenia only briefly a few summers ago, Dylan is eager to further establish a personal connection to Slovenia and his Slovenian family that will be made possible during the extended stay of the fellowship. He hopes to use his personal time while there to build strong, lasting relationships and thoroughly enjoy the cultural and natural heritage Slovenia possesses. In his free time, Dylan mainly enjoys spending time with friends in the outdoors, whether playing sports, hiking, or camping in many of Canada’s beautiful national and provincial parks.
Ren Gregorčič is an artist and researcher in the field of sculpture and spatial practice currently based in Canberra, Australia. He holds a Bachelor of Fine Art (Sculpture and Spatial Practice) and a Masters of Cultural Materials Conservation from the University of Melbourne. In February 2020 he commenced a Ph.D. candidature in the School of Art and Design at the Australian National University in the Department of Sculpture and Spatial Practice. Ren’s connection to Slovenia is through his father and paternal family, who migrated to Melbourne, Australia, in the 1950s.
Ren’s art practice investigates how the principles of global modernity (i.e. Cartesian spatial arrangements, economic rationalism, cultural homogenisation) are expressed in architecture, infrastructure, urban planning and nature-management and the impacts of these expressions on individuals and collectives. In addition to his practice, Ren has worked in a diverse range of arts and cultural institutions within Australia. Previous roles have included Curator of Exhibitions and Outreach at Warrnambool Art Gallery, Researcher and Project Manager at The University of Melbourne, Project Manager at the Australian Museums and Galleries Association Victoria, and Relocation Project Officer at Museums Victoria. He is also currently Gallery Manager at the Canberra artist-run initiative, Australian National Capital Artists.
During his time in Slovenia, Ren aims to focus on investigating, documenting and producing critical research and artworks that examine the impact of the dominance of concrete as an ordering system and environmental mediator within the Slovenian context.
Milena Javeršek moved to Indonesia for seven months after successfully graduating from high school in 2019. There she lived and worked in a center where women are supported in their education and professions. During this volunteer service with the UEM, she became intensely involved with structural racism, climate change, and women's rights and has since actively campaigned against global injustices.
She is very grateful for the ASEF Fellowship. She is extremely excited to get to know her grandparents' country of origin, culture, and language.
Milena is very appreciative of this opportunity to grow both personally and professionally and to be able to use the insight and experience gained in her future career. Next year, she will study law at the University of Cologne, specializing in international human rights and peacebuilding.
Suppose she is not spending her free time with her family and friends, reading books in her garden, or playing volleyball. In that case, she is actively involved in youth and children's work in her local church community. She is currently attending a Slovenian language course with her father, sister, cousin, and aunt. She is more than happy to consolidate and deepen her acquired language skills in Slovenia.
Sonja Košir is in her fourth year at the University of Cincinnati studying biomedical engineering. She has had four semesters of engineering internships and especially enjoyed her work in early phase research and development of medical devices used in cardiac and thoracic surgery. She has a great interest in developing medical technologies to promote the health and wellness of her community. Outside of classes, Sonja is also very involved with the Catholic center, the club running team, her engineering sorority, and volunteering at the community food pantry.
Sonja is very excited to spend time with her family in Slovenija while continuing to pursue her interests in medical research with her mentors, prof. dr. Damijan Miklavičič and Angelika Vižintin, and exploring the beautiful country of her grandparents. She is excited to go hiking, learn more of the Slovene language, and be immersed in the culture.
Stefania Leber graduated from the Universidad del Salvador – Asociación Odontológica Argentina with a degree in dental medicine in 2017. She was fascinated by orofacial pain and temporomandibular disorders since she was a student. She is now an assistant professor at Universidad del Salvador, Universidad Maimonides, and Universidad de Buenos Aires, where she enjoys teaching.
She is excited to form strong professional relationships with other ASEF fellows all over the world, especially in Slovenia. Through doing so, she hopes to advance professionally and personally and investigate the effect of Slovenian culture on her field of research. In her spare time, she enjoys riding her bike and cyclotouring when the weather permits, allowing her to connect with the natural world surrounding her. She is also passionate about cooking, for that reason, she has dabbled in Slovenian cuisine under the tutelage of both of her Slovenian grandmothers.
She also participated in the organization of several socio-cultural activities in her community as a member of Slovenski Dom San Martin and is a former president of the Slovenian girls' organization. As a result, exploring her Slovenian identity would be an exciting experience, which is why Štefi is extremely grateful for the incredible opportunity provided by ASEF.
Jillian Morrison is a third-year graduating senior at DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois and she will be graduating with a BA in Political Science with an international politics concentration and minors in French and Museum Studies. Prior to ASEF, Jillian has spent extensive time learning about the various political systems around the world and relevant modern political theorists. In March 2021, she presented her research project on increasing the ethical mineral mining practices in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo at the Pi Sigma Alpha National Student Research Conference. In addition to her political science courses, she has taken a special interest in oral history and museum studies leading her to intern at the Chicago History Museum in the Studs Terkel Oral History Center.
She is thrilled to have the opportunity to live and work in Slovenia this summer and looks forward to deepening her understanding of Slovenian political systems through oral history. She is also looking forward to solidifying relationships within the international Slovenian community. Outside of her academic and professional pursuits, Jillian enjoys rock climbing, fiber arts, and enjoying time with friends. She is certainly looking forward to taking advantage of Slovenia’s wonderful outdoor culture this summer and she cannot wait to begin this amazing adventure.
Micaela Resnik is an Actuary who graduated from the University of Buenos Aires (UBA). Throughout her studies, she has analyzed different types of risks, their measurement, and management, along with the tools used to mitigate them. She has studied different insurance available on the market like property, life, financial, reinsurance, and the various configurations of retirement plan funds, pensions, and health coverage. In her final thesis, she developed a credit scoring model for a retirement loan portfolio.
Since she was a child, she has been raised in Slovenian culture. She speaks the language fluently and enjoys the different traditions her grandparents and parents taught her. Among the many activities she is part of in the Slovenian community, she enjoys dancing in Folklorna skupina Maribor.
She is very grateful to ASEF for the incredible and unique opportunity given to her, where she will be able to learn, appreciate and compare the behavior of the European market with the Argentinian. Furthermore, this will allow her to develop her working skills and discover her abilities collaborating in an interdisciplinary group. She is very honored that she can professionally and personally develop in the country where her grandparents were born, the land where she feels like home.
Daniela Selan was born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She is currently finishing her degree in Anthropology with an orientation in Archaeology at La Plata University (UNLP). Daniela is particularly interested in Bioarchaeology – the study of human remains from archaeological sites. At the moment, she is working on the analysis of osteological collections from the Upper Paraná River Delta (Entre Ríos province) in the La Plata Museum. All four of her grandparents were born in Slovenia and migrated to Argentina, so both cultures are fundamental in her life. Part of her interest in studying cultural diversity – in the present as well as in the past – derives from her personal history. As part of her ASEF Fellowship, Daniela will be working with dr. Anton Velušček at the Institute of Archaeology ZRC SAZU. She looks forward to generating intellectual bonds with Slovenian experts and learning how they approach archaeological and cultural heritage. Beyond her interest in growing professionally, Daniela seeks to take advantage of her visit by exploring the many historical and natural landmarks in the country, meeting relatives and friends, and strengthening her relationship with her Slovenian heritage.
Staresinic Claire Nicole
Claire Staresinic is a fourth-year undergraduate student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she is pursuing a double major in psychology and German with a minor in biology. She will be taking the next step towards becoming a psychiatrist by applying to medical school in May. Claire is passionate about increasing access to mental health care as well as treating and destigmatizing mental illness. She hopes to build on her previous experience in outpatient behavioral health by conducting medical research or working in psychiatric inpatient treatment. Claire’s paternal great-grandparents hail from Slovenia, and she is eager to discover more about her Slovenian roots and build relationships in a country that already feels like home. She also hopes to foster conversations between leaders in mental health research in both Slovenia and the United States to help expand resources in both nations. In her free time, Claire loves to draw and paint, play the oboe, visit the local farmers’ market, and indulge in just a little bit of reality TV.
Agustin Stellatelli is a lawyer who graduated from the Catholic University of Argentina. He is currently writing his postgraduate thesis on labor law that he intends to deliver at the end of 2021 to continue with his master’s degree. His studies and his professional actions as a lawyer are marked by a special sensibility towards social problems. Agustin loves his country and firmly believes that Argentina needs to learn from international experiences. His visit to Slovenia will give him the opportunity to get to know closer the culture and the judiciary, and the political system. He is keen on labor law and human scourges in general, politics, and history, which he tries to approach with a proper humanistic vision. Agustin is passionate about rowing, cycling, and other sports, and he likes to challenge himself. He considers sports as a means of sharing with others. Agustin is sure that his visit to Slovenia will have a considerable impact not only on him but also on his family and community. His wife is Slovenian, and therefore, his interest in the culture, history and all aspects of the country grew naturally. He is looking forward to fruitful cooperation with his mentor while studying the Slovenian language and discovering all the beauties Slovenia offers.
Urbančič Jana Maria
Jana Maria Urbancic is currently enrolled as a last-year international trade student at the University of La Matanza in Buenos Aires. Since she was a little girl, she was always interested in economics and business, so she decided to study international trade.
Born in Buenos Aires in a family with deep-rooted Slovenian heritage, she was always very passionate and dedicated to her culture, her ideals, her interests, and hobbies. During her childhood and adolescence, she spent almost every afternoon in the Slovenian club of San Justo. There she learned and perfected the Slovenian language, trained and competed with her volleyball team, danced Slovenian folklore, and attended Holy mass in the Slovenian language every Sunday morning.
Jana considers herself a young woman full of energy searching for new experiences and adventures that contribute to her development. She has continually prioritized her personal and professional growth, always seeking to cultivate new skills and to learn daily from the situations that arise. Therefore, she decided to apply for the ASEF fellowship because she considers it a wonderful opportunity to experience her grandparents' homeland. She will also have the chance to learn how international trade works in the context of the Slovenian economy. Jana visited Slovenia on two previous occasions, but she believes that this time will be unique since she will experience her homeland from a completely different perspective.
This year, she will be visiting Slovenia as a part of the ASEF community. Her supervisor and mentor will be dr. Denis Mancevič, CEO at Herman & partners. There she will develop her professional and interpersonal skills oriented to international trade, learning more about Slovenian trade practices every day.
Grbec Dalma Lorena
Dalma Lorena Grbec is a Public Accountant, graduated from the Argentinian University of Business (UADE). She is next to finish an MBA in Business Management at the University of Cema in Buenos Aires. Dalma is specialized in SMEs companies, and her final research concerns innovation management applied on mature SMEs, particularly in emerging economies.
She is very grateful and excited for the opportunity ASEF has provided. The impact of this experience will give her personal growth as a professional by being open to interact and explore how education and research develop in Ljubljana. Furthermore, helping her improve the Slovenian language. This will be her second time visiting Slovenia, and she is expecting to be in her favorite season, autumn.
In her free time, she loves doing outdoor activities, participating in music events, tasting, and learning all about teas and infusions. Her entrepreneurial soul let her have her own brand, which she called “Ljubim tea”.
Grohar Mariana Cecilia
Mariana Cecilia Grohar is a Ph.D. student in Botany. Born and raised in Buenos Aires in a Slovenian family, she is now looking to continue her professional development in Slovenia. After ten years of research experience in plant taxonomy and morphology, she is particularly interested in the description and management of endangered or invasive plant species, as well as the communication of scientific knowledge to the general public. She will be working with Dr. Jernej Jogan at the University of Ljubljana, where she expects to develop a new insight into the Slovenian flora and research techniques used in its study and management. She is passionate about Slovenian culture natural beauties, so she is really excited to live and work in Slovenia!
Nadia Magister was born in Bariloche, a beautiful Argentinian town at the bottom of the Andes Cordillera, surrounded by mountains, the Nahuel Huapi Lake, and nature all around. Her four grandparents were born in Slovenia, and because of WW2, they had to leave their homes. They arrived in the big city of Buenos Aires, but it was said that in Patagonia there is a place similar to Slovenia. And so, the ones who were alpinists and mountain lovers moved there. They were searching for a little piece of their so missed home, in a new country. And there they found it, in Bariloche, where they built their new home, passing on the huge love for their country, the culture, traditions, language to their children and grandchildren.
Each person has a passion. And it is said that once we find it, we cannot silence it. Nadia’s passion is music, singing. Even though she has a degree in Fashion Design in the Buenos Aires University, and works with the design too; she followed her passion and studied solo singing at “Conservatorio Superior de Música Manuel de Falla” in Buenos Aires, and two years ago she started the Ancient Music Graduate Course at the same institution. She comes from a family where music surrounded her since she was born, with a mum who is a musician, and a dad who is always in contact with music; they transmitted to her five brothers and her the love for music. This is part of who she is, and where does the motivation of going to Slovenia to go on with her singing career, comes from.
She is extremely grateful for the ASEF Fellowship opportunity, where she is going to be mentored by soprano Theresa Plut. Nadia knows that having the possibility of working and sharing with musicians from another country will challenge her to a new level, where she will grow from a professional perspective and a personal one as well.
Puntín Julieta Natalí
Julieta Natalí Puntín is a teacher of English graduated in 2018 from UADER (Universidad Autónoma de Entre Rios) Argentina. As an educator of a second and foreign language, she works at primary, secondary schools and also at a private institute of English learning. Julieta finds teaching a life-learning practice that cannot be but understood also as a day-to-day challenge. Apart from teaching, Julieta has been involved in sport; specifically, she has participated in volleyball, beach volleyball, and snow volleyball competitions in Argentina and in other countries as well. She enjoys nature, travelling, sports, and sharing some “mates” while making friends.
As regards her connection to Slovenia, Julieta is a fourth-generation Slovenian descendant in Argentina after her great grandfather’s arrival in the 1880s. She has been participating in different activities held by the “Triglav” Association of Slovenian descendants in Entre Rios, and she has always dreamt of visiting this distant country, and appreciating in person its history, culture, language and essence.
She is grateful to ASEF for opening this door to a unique learning adventure. It is her firm belief that she will be encountering a myriad of opportunities and acquiring first-hand knowledge, values and experiences at a personal and professional level. Her visit will take place in Ljubljana at Erudio High School, where she will be able to exchange and share experiences, and most importantly, to gain knowledge from qualified and highly trained educators in all aspects of teaching and learning. Indeed, this Fellowship Program means improvement and growth, which will definitely mark her life for good.
Scasserra José Ignacio
José Ignacio Scasserra graduated from Buenos Aires University in February of 2017 with his BA in Philosophy. He worked in multiple pedagogical programs, with children and teenagers from vulnerable neighborhoods in Buenos Aires. He is currently finishing his master's degree thesis in Interdisciplinary subjectivity studies and starting his Ph.D. in Philosophy. His investigations go on ethics, education, gender violence, and the construction of subjectivity in our current time. Names like Michel Foucault, Immanuel Kant, or even Saint Augustine can be seen on his papers.
José is looking forward to doing his experience in Ljubljana not only for his research and professional links but also because of his ties with his Slovenian heritage. His grandfather, Dusan Lenscak, was a philosophy teacher at Ljubljana University until 1938 when he escaped to Argentina with his wife, Ludmila Kalim, who studied pedagogy at the same university. Jose's family knows loads of stories from that time, but little they know about their grandparent's life at university. By walking the same corridors, his grandparents walked almost a century before, and by researching a bit on the university archives, he expects to get to know a bit more about his grandparent's professional life in Ljubljana.
José loves writing and reading literature, studying languages, and working out. He is currently working on his first novel in a literary workshop while studying French at Buenos Aires University. He usually rests his head working out, training on the swimming pool, or running along park trails.
Sebernich Mariela Belén
Mariela Belén Sebernich is an architect and teaches drawing and painting. She’s a Slovenian descendent from her father’s side. Her great grandparents Juan Sebernich and Maria Podversic arrived in Argentina in the first immigration of 1880 with their children, among them, her great grandfather Angel Sebernich. Currently, she finds herself working as an administrator in a private company and as an architect in her study. She’s beginning research surveying the households, which remain intact, built by the first Slovenian immigrants in the countryside of Cerrito, Entre Rios, and detecting the construction materials and typology of these houses to find similarities to the primitive ones in Slovenia. She teaches drawing and painting at the Retirees and Pensioners Association of the National University of the Littoral (UNL), where she was also an intern professor at the beginning of her academic education.
She is a part of the Triglav Slovenian Association of Entre Rios, where she invests her time spreading the Slovenian culture throughout the providence. She graduated in architecture at the UNL with her final thesis on sustainable architecture, oriented on energy saving, a subject she wishes to keep learning throughout her professional practice. In 2017, she organized a trip to Slovenia and some other European countries. From that moment, she knew she would want to come back and learn more about the history of her ancestors and also about Slovenian architecture. In her free time, she enjoys long walks, reading novels, watching movies, and taking make-up courses. This year, she enrolled in the Visual Arts professorship.
Soledad Barrionuevo María
María Soledad Barrionuevo is about to get her degree in History at the University of Buenos Aires (UBA), where she is also an Undergraduate Teaching Assistant in the chairs of Sociology and History of Spain. Soledad has participated in research projects in History and has written articles and papers about Primož Trubar and Janez Vajkard Valvasor for academic journals and lectures. Besides doing research, she is also interested in teaching. In recent years, she has delivered classes open to the community (students and non-students) in the same university, where she taught one course about Trubar’s Reformation.
Soledad will be working under the mentorship of Ddr. Igor Grdina, a member of the Institute of Cultural History ZRC SAZU in Ljubljana. She is looking forward to continuing her research about Slovene Early Modern Cultural History − she is currently writing her BA thesis about Valvasor −, and getting in contact with experts in this field. This experience will also help her to develop Slovene studies in Argentina.
Since she believes that languages are an important aspect of research, she has knowledge of Latin and has learnt other modern languages, such as Slovenian, German, Croatian, and English. She is currently working as an English teacher.
David Turk is a third-year undergraduate student at Saint Louis University, on the pre-medical studies track. He will be interviewing this fall for early acceptance into Saint Louis University School of Medicine. David performs research at Saint Louis University, where he is working on developing a novel Hemoglobin C detection "tube drop” method for use in Haiti and other countries with limited access to electricity and laboratory resources. He has also worked at an outpatient surgery center for over 700 hours, observing countless surgeries and sharpening his patient care skills. He hopes to utilize these experiences to perform medical research this summer. David also looks forward to establishing important connections in Slovenia that he will maintain throughout his professional career and experiencing the differences between Slovenia's and the United States’s healthcare systems. Though a Slovenian citizen, he has not stayed in Slovenia for more than three weeks at a time. He is grateful for the opportunity to live in Slovenia for an extended period of time and further experience the natural beauty of the country. In his free time, David enjoys running outdoors, reading non-fiction books, attempting to play his father’s button box accordions, and dancing polkas with Folklorna Skupina Kres, a Slovenian folklore dance group in his hometown of Cleveland, Ohio.
Urbančič Natasha Ianina
Natasha Ianina Urbančič is a 28 years old teacher with a certificate in early childhood education from the “Instituto Superior Docente Santo Domingo de Ramos Mejía”, Buenos Aires, Argentina. She defines herself as a proactive, enthusiastic, sociable and collaborative, always committed to her work and trying to innovate with new strategies about different educational theories. Her grandparents from father’s side were born in Slovenia. From her mother’s side, her grandfather was born in Pennsylvania, United States of America, and her grandmother was born in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but they both moved to Slovenia during their childhood. Natasha’s whole family grew around the Slovenian culture. Throughout the generations, they worked to preserve the traditions and language of that beautiful country. From a very young age, she attended the Slovenian Club of the City of San Justo, Buenos Aires, and participated in many events that the Club held.
She also assisted at the France Balantič Slovenian primary school and at Slovenian High School Marko Bajuk, where she solidified her knowledge of the Slovenian language. Professional growth is one of her priorities; she considers that participating in the Fellowship will provide her tools and knowledge to be the best teacher she can be. She is very excited about learning from the Slovenian educational system and spending time in the homeland of her grandparents. Next December, Natasha will be attending the Dr. France Prešeren Kindergarten, located in Ljubljana. She is going to meet the Principal Maja Kunaver and work on the Fellowship details, which includes gaining knowledge about different learning disorders. She is incredibly grateful for this Fellowship experience!
Ana Vombergar is a fourth-year undergraduate student at the George Washington University, where is she pursuing a double major in international affairs and Arabic studies. Ana has spent extensive time developing her Arabic language and cross-cultural communication skills in Morocco, Oman, and Jordan, and is eager to continue expanding her knowledge of the world with the ASEF summer fellowship. All four of Ana’s grandparents were born and raised in Slovenia and she is beyond grateful for the opportunity to live and learn in a country that is so deeply rooted in her identity. This summer, she will be working alongside Dr. Mojca Ilc Klun at the Faculty of Arts and believes that this experience will strengthen her love of international affairs by facilitating a more comprehensive understanding of European migration. In addition to the academic and professional components of the fellowship, Ana is excited to delve deeper into day-to-day Slovenian life and establish a stronger connection with her Slovenian heritage. On the weekends, you can find her spending time with friends and family, studying Arabic, and enjoying the outdoors.
Dylan Ellis is an undergraduate Chemical Engineering student at the Barrett Honors College at Arizona State University. He has always loved problem solving and been fascinated by biology and hopes to utilize his studies to combat issues in health and sustainability. This summer, he is thrilled to be able to continue this pursuit of engineering at the interface of living systems through ASEF's Fellowship. In addition to developing professionally, he is extremely grateful and excited for the opportunity to immerse himself in his Slovenian heritage, and to be able to share all he learns upon returning from the fellowship. Dylan's hobbies include reading, sports, music, hiking, and spending time with family and friends.
Thomas Fitzsimmons is a visual communicator with a passion for multimedia. Thomas will be interning at Studio Siposh doing video production and working alongside filmmakers and aerial cinematographers. Thomas has studied communication and graphic design and plans to attain a master's degree in Theology in the future at the Pontifical Atheneum of Sant Anselmo in Rome. Thomas hopes to learn valuable skills that will set him apart in the cinematography world, he is excited for the opportunity to create multimedia content in one of the most beautiful countries in the world and plans to maintain a long-lasting relationship with ASEF long after he leaves. Thomas is excited since this is his second time visiting Slovenia. His first time was in 2016 during a visit he had while living in Europe for a study abroad semester in Italy. Thomas had the chance to visit family in Slovenia and met his Slovenian cousins and had the chance to walk the same streets in Ljubljana as his Grandmother and Grandfather did before they immigrated to the United States. Thomas is often found running, he has run two marathons in the states, and plans to do his third somewhere in the EU, Thomas also loves and drone videography, photography, editing video, and calling his 82-year-old grandmother and teaching her tips and tricks on how to use her iPhone.
Gačnik Annika Rose
Annika Gačnik is a Master’s candidate in Food Studies, an interdisciplinary field of food policy, business, and culture, at New York University. A native Californian, Annika has worked extensively in food production and distribution, including in urban agriculture, fisheries research, winemaking, and the grocery industry. She received her B.S. in Molecular Environmental Biology from the University of California, Berkeley. When not studying food, she enjoys spending time in the ocean and the garden. As an ASEF Fellow, Annika will research under Dr. Tanja Kamin at the University of Ljubljana. Supported by this fellowship, Annika aspires to effect social change in food systems in order to elevate human rights and enhance sustainability. Annika is fortunate to have previously visited Slovenia, where she reconnected with her paternal relatives and traveled with her family, including her sister Michaela - a 2018 ASEF fellow. Annika is extraordinarily grateful for this opportunity to deepen her understanding of her heritage and form new, meaningful connections with her colleagues and peers.
Alexandra Klesin graduated from Mount Saint Mary College in December of 2018 with her BA in Psychology and a minor in Philosophy. She is currently the Project Development Coordinator for a new Undergraduate Teaching Assistant Program at The Mount. Along the way, Alexandra has found that her passions lie in helping adolescents who struggle with mental illness succeed both in their everyday lives and academically. After the ASEF fellowship, she desires to continue her education and pursue a PhD in Clinical Psychology. This summer, Alexandra will assist Prof.Dr. Valentina Hlebec on an international research and innovation project called “Me-We” at The University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Social Sciences. “Me-We” stands as an abbreviation for psychosocial support for promoting mental health and well-being amongst young carers in Europe (me-we.eu). Young carers are adolescents who become the primary caretakers for a parent or sibling with a mental/developmental disorder.
Alexandra sees this fellowship as an incredible opportunity to not only strengthen her research skills but to strengthen her ties to her Slovenian heritage, too. She is grateful to visit her grandparents’ home and walk through the streets of Ljubljana, immersing herself in all that Slovenia has to offer. In her downtime, Alexandra loves to write, especially poetry. She hopes to fill her journal this summer with riveting stories she can share with friends and family. When she is not writing, she is probably reading. Alexandra also enjoys working out, yoga, and playing volleyball. Typically, you can find her sitting somewhere scenic, eating a cupcake.
Rachel Krevh graduates from Xavier University in May, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry. She will be attending Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine in the fall, to begin to pursue her career as a physician. Rachel has done prior research at Xavier University about the oxidative mechanism of Copper Amine Oxidases, and at the University of Cincinnati’s National Science Foundation research program, where she studied the anti-fouling properties of carbon nanotube-fiber electrodes. Rachel is excited about this fellowship opportunity in Slovenia because it will help her learn about more medically-related topics before she starts medical school and becomes a physician. Rachel’s career interests as a physician are dermatology, oncology, and primary care. In addition to the medical research this summer, Rachel is interested in exploring the different regions of Slovenia, spending summer evenings by the river in Ljubljana, meeting other fellows and citizens in the area, and continuing to learn the Slovenian language. Previously, Rachel has been to Slovenia three times: with her Slovenian language school in 2007, to visit relatives in 2014, and to participate in a two-week Slovenian language program at the University of Ljubljana in 2015. It has been four years since she has last been to Slovenia, and she is excited to see her relatives and the beautiful country again. She is also excited to hopefully have a full conversation in Slovenian by the end of the summer. In addition to learning about science and medicine, Rachel also enjoys going on frequent walks around her town, hiking and going on bike rides, meeting new people, and trying new foods. A fun fact about her is that she has a small tattoo of Triglav, and she starred in a music video in Greece.
Bobby Lunka is a first-year pediatric dentistry resident at Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of Dentistry where he is also pursuing his master’s degree. He obtained his B.A. in biology at the University of Virginia, where he also completed a general practice residency after completing dental school at VCU. Later, Bobby went on to complete oral and maxillofacial surgery internships at Jacobi Medical Center/Beth Israel Hospital and WVU School of Dentistry. His passion involves improving his skills and knowledge in caring for children with special healthcare needs. The research Bobby is currently working on involves the use of virtual reality glasses to improve dental experiences for children with autism. Born to a Slovenian father, Bobby frequently visits the family farm and enjoys spending time with his relatives and exploring the country. He proudly identifies as a true Slovenian since he recently summited Mount Triglav. He is excited to explore the health, educational and research organizations at the University of Ljubljana. A fellowship through ASEF would allow him to learn, appreciate and compare how Slovenia’s higher education institutions conduct research and clinical work, specifically how Slovenian health professionals care for children and special needs patients. In his spare time, Bobby enjoys kitesurfing, winemaking, playing guitar and riding his motorcycle. He is very grateful for the opportunity ASEF has provided him and he will continue promoting all that Slovenia has to offer to his colleagues back home!
Tatiana Marusic is a general physician, graduated from the Buenos Aires University, and currently a fourth-year pediatric resident at “Ricardo Gutierrez Children’s hospital”. She was born and raised in Argentina, but all her grandparents were born in Slovenia and they taught her their values and culture. The critical global refugee situation and low access to health assistance are one of Tatiana’s greatest concerns. Consequently, she is going to work with Primoz Jamšek at Slovenian Filantrophy, a humanitarian organization. She will join a program that offers better accessibility of health services for people in a vulnerable position, working directly with the refugees and provide them medical care. She is convinced that this experience will challenge her to a new level where she will grow from a professional perspective and from a personal one as well. In her free time, she enjoys outdoor activities, like hiking and scuba diving. She considers herself a nature lover, she cant wait to visiting the beautiful Slovenian landscapes!
Thomas is PhD student in Comparative Literature at Stanford University. Born and raised in South Carolina, he holds an MBA in International Business and has worked in Japan, Germany, Latin America, and the US. At Stanford, he researches how works of literature and film have anticipated economic and social crisis during the 20th century. He is studying Slovene in order to more deeply understand the case of the former Yugoslavia. An advocate for foreign language learning, he has studied various languages and fluently speaks Spanish, Portuguese, French, German, Japanese, and Serbo-Croatian.
Tina Rozman is currently entering her third year at the University of Cincinnati. She is studying nursing and is also a cadet in the Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC). She is at the top of her ROTC class and has been on the academic Dean’s List each semester of college. Tina is a member of the National Society of Pershing Rifles, the Student Nurse Association, and multiple volunteer organizations. Last summer, the Army provided her the opportunity to study Russian at the University of Pittsburgh and this summer she will go to Airborne School. Tina will be completing a fellowship at DEOS Trnovo, a nursing home, with her mentor Biljana Vojvodič. She looks forward to being in a nursing home since she gained plenty of experience with her elderly grandparents. She is immensely interested in functional medicine, an alternate form of medicine that seeks to improve health, especially chronic illness, through holistic and root cause treatment. Tina’s grandparents, both maternal and paternal, were from Slovenia and her Slovenian heritage has molded her entire life. She speaks Slovenian fluently, is a member of the dance group Folklorna Skupina Kres, and sincerely values the influence of Slovenian culture in her background and the legacy her grandparents crafted for her. She is excited to see where her family was born and experience the well-known Slovenian love and generosity that the country is famous for, including sights such as Lake Bled, the castles, and mountains. She is also thrilled about the discoveries she will make as she studies with her mentor. Some of her hobbies include volunteering, playing piano and violin, and she hopes that she may be able to put her great interest in bees to use in Slovenia. A fun fact about Tina is that her brother performed with his vocal group “Mi Smo Mi” several years ago in Slovenia.
Sean Voelk is a fourth-year undergraduate student in the Leavey School of Business at Santa Clara University, where he is majoring in Finance. Sean was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. His great grandfather was born in Slovenia and he is extremely grateful for this opportunity to learn more about Slovenia and participate in this program. Sean’s extracurriculars mostly involve music. He hosts KSCU’s music and talk show Slightly Social, broadcasting in the Bay Area and other places in California. He is also a writer for the KSCU blog, mainly covering topics related to hip-hop and hip-hop culture. On the weekends you can often find Sean hiking or otherwise enjoying the outdoors.
Matthew Fitzsimmons is a freelance trumpeter and educator from the Washington D.C area. Earning his Bachelor’s in Music at the Catholic University of America, Matthew is currently getting his Masters in Trumpet Performance at the University of North Texas. Matthew has performed in the U.S. National Trumpet Competition, for members of the United States Congress and for Pope Francis with the Washington Symphonic Brass. This fall, he will continue his graduate studies with members of the Dallas Symphony at Southern Methodist University.
Committed to giving back to his community and heritage with music, Matthew is a member of KSKJ and SUA, two Slovenian-American organizations. Developing an interest in creating a sustainable future for classical music, he interned at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington DC. He is passionate about building a sustainable and rewarding future for performing artists through his experiences as a trumpeter, administrator, and educator and hopes to one day inspire and serve his community in a professional Symphony Orchestra or service band.
Michaela Gačnik is an undergraduate student at Boston College studying Marketing in The Carroll School of Management and minoring in Studio Art. Michaela is born and raised in California, but her father’s family descends from Slovenia. She is so excited to return to Ljubljana and to continue exploring her cultural roots. Michaela is proud of her heritage and wants to utilize her knowledge, passion and skills to share Slovenia with others.
This summer, Michaela will be working with both ASEF and TRUD Travel Agency. At ASEF, Michaela will create marketing content to further promote the organization and its unique fellowship. In addition, she will be working with the promotional team at TRUD to help market their Slovenian tours to incoming travelers. At Boston College, Michaela is a Resident Assistant for a community of 40 freshman residents and captain of the Bollywood fusion dance team. Michaela is also passionate about oil painting, the ocean and traveling. She is incredibly grateful for this fellowship experience!
Hernán Di Marco Martín
Martín Hernán Di Marco is a PhD candidate in Social Sciences from Buenos Aires University (UBA, Argentina). He completed his degree in Sociology at UBA and he currently has teaching positions in the Faculty of Social Sciences, Law and Health Department (UNLaM). His research interests include violence and violent deaths, public health, socio-cultural epidemiology, life stories and data triangulation. His PhD project is focused on the analysis of social and institutional trajectories of men who have committed homicides in the outskirts of Buenos Aires Capital City.
As part of the ASEF Fellowship Program, Martín will be visiting Dr. Tit Albreht, from the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ). During his stay, he will get to know the Public Health System of Slovenia, study the link between different forms of violence and health in this country and, at the same time, learn how these forms of violence are tackled in public policies. In his free time, he looks forward to getting to know Slovenia —his grandmother’s land—, trying as much food as possible and learning as many recipes as he can.
Lucesole Sinkec Alenka
Alenka is a third year undergraduate student of Civil-Hydraulic Engineering at the National University of La Plata, Faculty of Engineering. Her family descends from Slovenia and she is very grateful for the opportunity to learn and participate in this amazing program in the land of her grandparents.
During her academic stay in Slovenia, Alenka will be collaborating with Prof.Dr.Ing. Jože Korelc at the University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Civil and Geodetic Engineering, on a research project regarding building constructions and physics. Particularly, she will be working in the field of stability of steel structures, numerical modelling and renewable energy in buildings. Besides her engineering studies, Alenka also enjoys practicing the art of filmmaking and takes several classes at the National University of the Arts, Faculty of Audiovisual Arts, in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Sebastian Peterlin will be working with Marko Grobelnik at the AiLab of Jozef Stefan Institute. Sebastian graduated from Stanford University with a B.S. and M.S. in Engineering - Atmosphere/Energy in 2012. He later went on to complete a Full-Stack Development Course at App Academy and an MBA at IE Business School (in Madrid, Spain).
Sebastian is interested in programming, A.I., math, and statistics. He expects to advance his knowledge and potentially pursue a PhD at JSI. He is excited to visit Slovenia because of its natural beauty and its simple way of life. His dad is from Slovenia and he has visited Slovenia many times. Sebastian's hobbies are rowing, guitar, and triathlons. He is also 2 meters tall!
Maria Shepard is a second-year undergraduate student at The Ohio State University, where she is majoring in Pharmaceutical Sciences. Maria’s professional interests focus around healthcare and pharmaceuticals, because she aspires to attend medical or graduate school after her undergraduate studies. This summer, she will be interning with Vita Godec at Lenis Farmacevtika in Ljubljana as part of the AmCham program European Experience in The Green Heart of Europe. This company specializes in sourcing unlicensed pharmaceuticals, and Maria is eager to learn about a unique perspective of the pharmaceutical industry. Maria is Slovenian and she is very grateful for this opportunity to connect with her heritage.
Cecilia Urbancic is a graphic designer at UADE, Argentina University of the Company, in Buenos Aires. She collaborated in the edition of an e-book, studying the different possibilities that design can offer to visual communication. She also worked at LA NACION, an Argentinean newspaper and learned about editorial communication. Nowadays, she develops graphics for events and content for websites. Cecilia will be spending this summer at Zemanta, an internet marketing company, in order to gain experience and focus on her professional development. She is interested in experiencing visual languages and understanding how its functionality varies and depends on the social environment it is surrounded by.
She would also like to emphasize the impact a visual communicator has. By generating creative actions through visual communication, society can be transformed. Communicators find unique opportunities to generate creative actions which can transform society and allow people to see the world from a different perspective.
Lacey Viano will be attending the University of Ljubljana, studying food science and nutrition with Dr. Tanja Pajk. Her undergrad at Eastern Illinois University consisted of nutrition of dietetics, food science, medical nutrition therapy, and many community nutrition projects. While in Slovenia, Lacey aspires to grow as an individual in her education, experience the culture of Slovenia, and take in all the amazing aspects of the country first hand. She is most excited to reconnect with some of her distant family and learn about her grandparents through them. Her whole life she has dreamed of visiting the land that her ancestors lived and now this dream has become unbelievably real for her. In her spare time, she loves to bake and cook for her friends with the recipes she has learned from her Slovenian grandmother. When she is not at home in the kitchen, she is outside hiking, swimming, or boating. Lacey believes she is blessed beyond measure to be given this opportunity and is very excited to visit Slovenia!