Team:GES NCSU Raleigh NC/Team


North Carolina State University Genetic Engineering & Society Center iGEM Team

We are working with Antony Evans of the Glowing Plant Project to explore what it means to act responsibly with respect to genetic engineering. Specifically, we propose an iterative concept mapping framework to assess the values that people associate with responsibly releasing genetically engineered plants beyond the laboratory.

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Team GES NCSU Raleigh NC

Jennifer Baltzegar

Jen is an IGERT fellow and a Ph.D. student in Genetics, with a minor in Genetic Engineering and Society.


Project Focus: She has helped to write sections for different principles as well as developed the wiki and populated the Environmental Health portion of the concept map.

Academic Focus: Jen is broadly interested in studying the differences between populations and species via mechanisms of evolution and impacts of population change, and she is particularly interested in studying the impacts of genetic engineering in agricultural pest species.

Downtime Focus: She enjoys running, camping, playing with her dog, and renovating her house.

Johanna Elsensohn

Johanna is an IGERT fellow and a Ph.D. student in Entomology, with a minor in Genetic Engineering and Society.

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Project focus: A bit of everything. She helped write sections for several of the core principles. She also helped design the concept map and helped put the poster together.

Academic focus: Johanna studies the ecology and behavior of agricultural pests in order to develop control solutions within an Integrated Pest Management framework. Genetic pest management has the potential to be an effective tool in IPM. However, the appropriateness of the new technology needs to address social and cultural concerns in addition to overcoming technological barriers. She joined the iGEM team because she's interested in studying the social, ethical, and legal issues that surround the release of new technology.

Downtime focus: When not chained to the computer or in the field, Johanna can be found either in the mountains exploring new places with her dog, out on the water kayaking, or in the kitchen concocting something delicious!

Sheron King

Sheron is an IGERT fellow and a Ph.D. student in Public Administration, with a minor in Genetic Engineering and Society.


Project focus: She has assisted with identifying and developing a few of the core principles; assisted putting the poster together as well as ensuring team wiki pages have been completed.

Academic focus: Sheron studies public administration with emphasis on the cross sections of science and technology, nonprofit/nongovernmental organizations, and public opinion/ engagement as well as a desire to be an academic and a practitioner highlighting her interests in theory to practice initiatives.

Downtime Focus: Sheron considers herself a movie buff, and enjoys local festivals as well as traveling.

Tina Ndoh

Tina is Ph.D. student in Public Administration, and a research staffer for the Genetic Engineering and Society Center at NCSU.


Project Focus: She has focused primarily on the legal and compliance components that impact biotechnology. She drafted language on the regulatory landscape and created the decision matrix components related to regulatory compliance.

Academic Focus: Tina is interested in the governance of emerging technologies and the inclusion of environmental justice populations in the early assessment of governance needs. In addition to her work as a doctoral student, Tina also works as an environmental engineer developing rules for EPA's Office of Air and Radiation.

Downtime Focus: She loves reading, cooking, dance-style classes and hanging out with her family.

Emily Nwakpuda

Emily is a Ph.D student in the Department of Public Policy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is also an alumnus of the NCSU Master of Public Administration (MPA) program.


Project Focus: She has assisted with identifying and developing core principles in the areas of ethics, social equity, and business innovation. Emily has been actively involved in the creative direction and organizing of the team’s IGEM video.

Academic Focus: Emily’s public policy concentration is science and innovation policy. She is broadly interested in studying the outcomes of the partnerships between government, universities, and entrepreneurs. She currently serves as the project manager for a National Science Foundation grant that investigates the changing sources of academic funding and the impacts on scientific outcomes and the careers of researchers.

Downtime Focus: Aerobics, dancing, eating new foods (which, she says, tends to counteract her fitness efforts), and traveling near and far.

Barry Peddycord III

Barry is a Ph.D. student in Computer Science at NCSU and a Research Assistant in the Center for Educational Informatics at NC State.

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Project Focus: Barry's role in this project has been focused on developing a prototype for the Value Mapping tool and providing technical support for the team in editing the iGEM wiki.

Academic Focus: Barry is a Ph.D. student in Computer Science studying Computer Science Education and Educational Data Mining. His research is based around the creation of automated tutoring systems that use artificial intelligence to accurately assess students' skills and respond appropriately based on the student's level of learning.

Downtime Focus: Barry is an active student and community leader, serving on the executive committees of organizations such as the Triangle Linux Users Group, the Eastern NC Section of the IEEE, and the NC State University Graduate Student Association. He spends much of his time outside of class on community outreach and professional service.

Elizabeth Pitts

Elizabeth is an IGERT fellow and a Ph.D. student in Communication, with a minor in Genetic Engineering and Society.

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Project focus: As team captain, Elizabeth kept track of deadlines, logistics and project management. She also served as lead author on the project's theoretical framework and contributed to the concept map.

Academic focus: Elizabeth's research on the governance of emerging technologies stems from a long-term interest in the accessibility of knowledge. Before enrolling at NC State, she served as a writer and speechwriter at the White House, the US Department of Education, and the Pew Charitable Trusts, and as an adjunct professor at University of Maryland University College. She holds bachelor's and master's degrees in English from Georgetown University.

Downtime focus: Yoga, traveling, and the beach.

Jayce Sudweeks

Jayce is an IGERT fellow and a Ph.D. student in Public Administration, with a minor in Genetic Engineering and Society.


Project focus: Due to his previous computer systems analyst experience Jayce helped identify and adapt various computer programs to present the team’s ideas and tools.

Academic focus: Jayce is interested in whether genetic engineering technology can be utilized to help resolve food security issues. In particular, he is investigating the roles that nonprofit and/or NGO organizations and public research institutions play in the application or prohibition of this technology in regards to food.

Downtime focus: Outside of classes and research Jayce likes to read, walk and spend time with his family.

Sophia Webster

Sophia is an IGERT fellow and a Ph.D. student in Entomology, with a minor in Genetic Engineering and Society.

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Academic Focus: Sophia works with the dengue mosquito Aedes aegypti to create gene drive systems for mosquito population suppression and replacement. By creating transgenic mosquitoes Sophia hopes to create a system in which an anti pathogen can be driven through a population to replace a population of mosquitoes that can transmit disease with one that can no longer vector disease.

Downtime Focus: Sophia likes running competitively, playing the piano non-competitively, and spending as much time outdoors as possible (but not around mosquitoes).

Rene Xavier Valdez

Rene is an IGERT fellow and a Ph.D. student in Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology, with a minor in Genetic Engineering and Society.

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Academic Focus: Rene is studying how stakeholders perceive, communicate about, and interact with invasive species and invasive species management. This includes novel management strategies such as genetic pest management.


David Berube


Project focus: My role is to attend meetings, offer constructive criticism, and help organize the team logistically.

Academic focus: Professor in Science communication at NCSU, I run PCOST (Public Communication of Science and Technology) where I work with faculty and students in different areas of communication: currently we have two projects: one on synthetic biology and the public and a second on climate change communication visualization (see I am funded to work with the LAS (Laboratory of Analytic Sciences) to help develop analytic tools and toolboxes to improve analytics in foreign affairs. I am working on a user experience lab project at NCSU as well. I am a GES fellow and am working on two projects: one on the DIY Community and another examining the iGEM community and the jamboree as a communication event.

Downtime focus: I read a lot, write in fiction (have an agent) as well as non-fiction and academese, and serve as a risk communication advisor to the US FDA and the American Heart Association.

Jennifer Kuzma


Dr. Jennifer Kuzma joined North Carolina State University in August 2013 as the Chancellor’s Faculty Excellence Program to co- direct the Genetic Engineering and Society Center. She is the Goodnight-Glaxo Wellcome Distinguished Professor in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences and Professor in the School of Public and International Affairs. She will also teach and advise students in the NSF-IGERT funded Ph.D. minor program on Genetic Engineering and Society: The Case of Genetic Pest Management. Her research focuses on governance systems for emerging technologies, particularly genetic engineering for environmental, agricultural, health and industrial applications. Currently, emerging technologies are moving at a rapid pace, but often societal responses lag behind. Understanding the social-ecological-technological systems and the underlying dynamics can help to guide decisions-makers and the public towards better governance models. With these goals in mind, she explores the values, organizations, and outcomes associated with existing oversight systems in order to inform future policy-making. Her work draws on developing methods for integrating multiple disciplines in a policy sciences approach. It is also translational, striving to engage and serve stakeholders and citizens who come from a variety of perspectives and expertise areas. As such, she and colleague Professor Fred Gould (CALS) will co-direct a new center on Genetic Engineering and Society to help support bi-directional learning and communication among academe and public and private organizations.

Kuzma was a faculty member in the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota (UMN) for 10 years in the Science, Technology and Environmental Policy area. At UMN, she was the recipient of several NSF and other grants in areas related to Science and Technology (S&T) Policy, including a current NSF grant which is the first to investigate the prevalence and experiences of women in science and technology policy leadership positions. She is viewed as a leader in the S&T Policy academic community and was elected by her peers to chair the Gordon Conference on S&T Policy in 2014. She has published over 90 academic articles, book chapters and policy reports in emerging technologies and governance. She has helped to establish and worked closely with several interdisciplinary initiatives at UMN, including the Initiative on Governance of Emerging Technological Systems, the Institute on the Environment, and the NSF-IGERT on Risk Analysis for Introduced Species and Genotypes. She has held and currently holds several board and advisory positions, including Chair of the Society for Risk Analysis section on Risk Policy and Law, Minnesota Governor’s Bioscience Advisory Committee, the Executive Committee of the Society for the Study of Nanoscience and Emerging Technologies (S-NET), the European Commission Expert Group for 2011 Science in Society Work Programme, the Expert Group for the EU’s ‘SYNTH-ETHICS’ project, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Blood Products Advisory Committee, and the UN WHO-FAO Joint Expert Group for the Applications of Nanotechnologies to the Food and Agriculture Sectors. Prior to entering academe, she served as program and study director for several U.S. National Academy of Sciences reports related to biotechnology governance and bioterrorism and as an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Risk Policy Fellow at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.


Antony Evans


Antony has an MBA with Distinction from INSEAD, an MA in Maths from the University of Cambridge and is a graduate of Singularity University’s GSP program. He is both a Louis Frank and Oppidan scholar and worked for six years as a management consultant and project manager at Oliver Wyman and Bain & Company. Prior to this project he co-founded the world’s first pure mobile microfinance bank in the Philippines and launched a mobile app in partnership with Harvard Medical School.

Antony is the Chief Executive Officer. His job is to free up the research team so they can concentrate on product development, which means leading marketing, sales, fundraising, external communications, regulation and HR.

Andrew Maynard

NSF International Chair of Environmental Health Sciences. Chair, University of Michigan Environmental Health Sciences Department. Director, University of Michigan Risk Science Center.


Academic Focus: Andrew Maynard directs the University of Michigan Risk Science Center, chairs the Department of Environmental Health Sciences in the U-M School of Public Health, and is the NSF International Chair of Environmental Health Sciences (the National Sanitation Foundation, not the National Science Foundation). When not up to his eyeballs in academic administration, his work focuses on the responsible development and use of emerging technologies – most notably nanotechnology and synthetic biology. He is currently vice-chair of the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Nanotechnology, and has worked with a number of organizations on understanding the risks and benefits of technology innovation, including the National Academies of Science and the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. Andrew previously served as co-chair of the multi-agency Nanotechnology Environmental and Health Implications working group, and between 2005 – 2010 was science advisor to the Woodrow Wilson Center project on Emerging Nanotechnologies. Much of Andrew’s current work is focused on effective evidence-based risk communication, and he is leading a number of efforts through the University of Michigan Risk Science Center to connect expert knowledge with non-expert audiences. He writes broadly on science, risk and communication on his blog – 2020 Science – and is responsible for the innovative Risk Bites channel on YouTube; something he is publicly embarrassed about but privately rather pleased with.

Downtime Focus: When not administering, researching, pontificating and communicating, Andrew tries to hide away with a good book and good music – preferably played on an exquisitely fine audio system. He’s also been known to fly a kite, but only when no-one’s looking.