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  • Mandy Bratton

    Mandy Bratton

    Executive Director and Lecturer

    Dr. Mandy Bratton serves as the Executive Director of the UC San Diego Center for Global Sustainable Development. The Center is home to the award-winning Global Ties program and the National Academy of Engineering's (NAE) Global Changemaker Scholars Program. These programs inspire students to collaborate with communities to co-create innovative solutions to urgent problems, such as those represented by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the NAE Grand Challenges. Mandy also serves as a Founding Director of the UC San Diego Changemaker Institute. She is an Ashoka U Change Leader and was instrumental in making UC San Diego an Ashoka U Changemaker Campus – one of only 45 worldwide. She served as the Principal Investigator for SISTERS, a National Science Foundation-funded project to design and study the impact of an after-school STEAM program for 5th and 6th-grade girls facilitated by undergraduate mentors majoring in STEM. Before coming to UC San Diego, Mandy earned a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin and served as a senior faculty member in Psychology and Human Development and Interim Associate Dean at Prescott College for the Liberal Arts, the Environment, and Social Justice. She also earned a Public Leadership Credential from the JFK School of Government at Harvard University. Mandy has sailed around the world three times with the Semester at Sea Global Studies Program and serves as president emeritus of its alumni association and as an ex officio member of its Board of Trustees. She holds an academic appointment as a Continuing Lecturer. Her primary interests as a scholar, teacher, practitioner, and global citizen include sustainable development, gender, leadership, ethics, and advancing social and environmental justice.

  • Barb Donovan

    Barb Donovan

    Student Services Advisor and Program Specialist

    Barb has been with the Global TIES program for over ten years. She works with all academic departments across campus advising how ENG100D and ENG100L work with technical electives for most majors.  She also handles the operational side of the house which includes building the schedule for all classes, enrollment management, managing the lab, handling all reimbursements and team purchases as well as travel. With the addition of the Global Changemaker Scholars Program and the Center for Global Sustainable Development, she will also be managing the social media and website development for these new groups.  GCSP and CGSD seek to inspire students to collaborate with communities to co-create innovative solutions to urgent problems, such as those represented by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the NAE Grand Challenges. 

    Barb, who has a Masters Degree in Education, has worked with UC San Diego for ten years.  Her other roles were within Engineering Student Services as a Student Recruitment Officer and a COSMOS Teacher Fellow. She enjoys cycling, body boarding and yoga and used to own a small ice cream business across from campus named Lil' Dipper.

  • Anh-Thu Ngo

    Anh-Thu Ngo


    Anh-Thu Ngo, Ph.D., is a Lecturer with Global TIES. She became involved with service learning as a college student through Princeton University’s Community-Based Learning Initiative. She studied Anthropology, which has been a natural conduit for direct community-based research and learning. After college, she participated in a six-week, hands-on irrigation project with Engineers Without Borders in rural Arsi Negele in southeastern Ethiopia. She then earned her doctorate at Harvard University in Social Anthropology, where she conducted field research as a Fulbright grantee in Vietnam. While a graduate student, she was a teaching assistant for Dr. Paul Farmer’s popular undergraduate course on Global Health and later developed her own at The College of New Jersey. She has worked with a variety of education nonprofits and has sustained engagement with the public interest sector. Anh-Thu is a transplant to California from the New York metro area.

Project Advisors

Graduate Teaching Assistants

  • Ahmad Shaikh

    Ahmad Shaikh

    #1 Turkey Carver

    Ahmad is a Bioengineering graduate student. He is a mechanical engineer who aims to specialize in cardiovascular biomechanics and medical devices.
    Ahmad believes creating avenues and support systems to create change is the key to a better tomorrow.
    With this goal, he joined Globalties as a TA, working to support those who bring about change.
    In his free time, Ahmad enjoys hikes, soccer and a good challenge. 

  • Trisha Satish

    Trisha Satish

    Trisha Satish is a Bioengineering graduate student focused on cardiovascular engineering at the intersection of health equity and medical resources.  During her undergraduate years, Trisha was in two different Global TIES projects where she further developed a passion for human-centered and empathic design in the non-profit sector. Her goal is to produce affordable, efficient, and scalable bioengineering solutions that can bridge the accessibility gap for underserved populations.  In her free time, Trisha enjoys picnics at the park, making earrings, baking pastries, and traveling.
  • Sumi Kakanar

    Sumi Kakanar

    Sumi Kakanar is a NanoEngineering graduate student focused on bioengineering. She received a Bachelors degree in NanoEngineering from UC San Diego in 2023. During her undergraduate years, Sumi was in the Global TIES program where she further developed an appreciation for sustainable development in design and engineering. She currently does research on colorimetric biosensing for medical applications. In her free time, Sumi enjoys reading, going to the beach and painting.

Undergraduate Teaching Assistants

  • Albert Chang

    Albert Chang

    Albert is a third-year mechanical engineering major with a minor in climate change studies working at the intersection of renewable energy, sustainable development, community engagement, and energy equity. He was always interested in sustainability, but only recently found out about human-centered design at a conference during his freshman year. Since then, Albert has worked with others and listened to their stories to become a more socially conscious engineer. He enjoys hiking, taking naps, watching anime, and breaking things apart in his free time.
  • Daniel John

    Daniel John

    Daniel is a third-year Bioengineering: Biotechnology student minoring in Political Science. He joined Global Ties in the fall quarter of his first year through ENG100D, and also contributed to the Cruz Roja project in the spring. Daniel is involved in the founding of a non-profit and efforts to improve refugee disparities in San Diego, and is currently working on improving medical care in third-world settings. In his free time, Daniel enjoys hiking, playing spikeball, watching sports, and reading.
  • Jenny Tseng

    Jenny Tseng

    Jenny is a third-year double majoring in Cognitive Science (Design & Interaction) and Education Sciences, with a minor in Psychology. She is interested in the intersection of these human-centered design and education. Global TIES K-12 STEAM Education was her first experience in the program, and it drew her in because of the interdisciplinary nature. In her free time, she enjoys rock climbing, dancing, singing, and dabbling in aerial arts.
  • Samira Feili

    Samira Feili

    Samira Feili is a fourth-year Bioengineering: Biotechnology student with a minor in Design from Sixth College. Her interests are in bioengineering and biotechnology research design. After UCSD, Samira plans to continue her education through a graduate program in Bioengineering. Samira hopes to apply her engineering skills that she has developed throughout her coursework to projects that seek to address major humanitarian issues worldwide while being involved in the Center for Global Sustainable Development.