Meet our Team:

CISC Committee 2021


Ameya Khati

Outgoing president

" A journey well shared is a journey well enjoyed" CISC is a place to share and enjoy our journey together at a new place.


Karla Banjac

President (from November 2021)

Originally from Croatia, Pasadena is my forth home where I moved in 2021. I have recently finished my Ph.D. studies in Physics. Feel free to contact me for anything related to CISC.



Shiyi Kong

CISC Talks

I was born in Suzhou, a city famous for traditional Chinese gardens. I received my BA in Financial Management and MA in Social Work. Join in different activities of CISC and meet with people around the world benefits me a lot, and also motivates me to contribute to CISC as well, including organizing a campus-wide CISC talk series. I love literature, piano and baking when I have spare time.



Maroua Dridi

Nice meeting you all! 

I moved to Pasadena a few years ago to accompany my husband in his Phd journey in Caltech all the way from Tunis,Tunisia. Living in Socal has been quite an adventure so far. Los Angeles is very special to me : the people you get to meet  from all diverse walks of life,the food, the culture, the entertainment, the nature, not to mention the sunny weather almost all year round which pleases me since I’m a mediterranean girl ! I’m a pharmacist and I’m volunteering for CISC as a treasurer !


CISC Media Editor / Everyday Science for kids

Dalia De Ita

I was born in Veracruz, Mexico. I am accompanying her husband who works in a brain-machine interface project at Caltech, and currently I am looking to continue my career in Science. I obtained MSc in Neurobiology and PhD in Biomedical Sciences by the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM). I love Science and like to make new friends.

Contact info:


Happy Hour & CISC blog

Aude Callens

Originally from Belgium, I arrived in Pasadena in 2016 and I have been taking part in the CISC's activities ever since. The Happy hour group is one of my favorite events, as it allows me to relax after a long day of work, having conversations with people from all over the world. I also enjoy hiking in the San Gabriel mountains as well as traveling in California and beyond.


Kiyomi Otsu

Recreation Group

I'm from Japan. We have been living in Pasadena for 4 years now. I used to be a software test engineer in the Game Industry in Japan. I love to watch Japanese animes and play games when I have free time. I also love to walk around Pasadena and look for nice cafes. As a family we enjoy camping very much. 


Mary Jasinska

Hiking Group Leader

I moved to Pasadena at the end of 2017 when my husband got a job at JPL. I was a high school Physics teacher back in London, England and now I also do the same out here. Moving to California allowed me to discover a love of the outdoors, especially hiking.

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Xi Lei

Book Cracker Club

I am a big foodie and happy snapper. My favorite quotation is: "Let life be beautiful like summer flowers And Death like autumn leaves" by Tagore. If you want to join our Bookclub, please do not hesitate to contact me.

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Nidhi Bansal

Cooking Group

Yoga and Meditation Group

I am 2 years old in Pasadena. I am originally from India and lawyer by profession. I love hiking and exploring new cuisines. I am a dedicated recycler and enjoy making recycling art. Reading, cycling and  yoga are my favourite past times.


Anushree Sengupta

Gardening group
(formerly co-coordinator for cooking group too *)

I am Anushree (Anu), currently the coordinator for the gardening group. I am a molecular biologist by training. I love a lot of activities including hiking, bicycling, reading, cooking and trying out new (pescetarian) dishes, science outreach, traveling, and gardening (obviously!). I have always enjoyed meeting (pre-Covid) many wonderful people at CISC, and I have had some of the nicest cultural exchanges and conversations with several members who became my friends.