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Who We Are


  • 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 adaptive challenges, such as those represented by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the NAE Grand Challenges. Mandy also serves as a 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. 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. She holds an academic appointment as a Continuing Lecturer and her primary interests as a scholar, teacher, practitioner, and global citizen include sustainable development, gender equality, leadership, ethics, and creating positive social and environmental change.

Current Scholars

  • Albert Chang

    Albert Chang

    Albert is a Mechanical Engineering major interested in the intersection of renewable energy, sustainable development, and social equity. He applied for the Grand Challenge Scholars Program to learn how human-centered design is applied to lasting and impactful projects while working alongside like-minded individuals. SDGs 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy), 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities), and 13 (Climate Action) interest him because they are the pillars for sustainable and equitable population growth—meeting the energy demands of today while developing the framework for the future. In five years, Albert sees himself either pursuing a graduate degree or working on developing resource-efficient renewable energy solutions. As a Grand Challenge Scholar, he hopes to integrate the collaborative experience, social responsibility, and new perspectives as the foundation for all future projects. The skills developed through the program are vital in widening his worldview as he strives to become a socially conscious engineer.
  • Teodora Moisa

    Teodora Moisa

    Teddy Moisa is a third-year Human Biology and Business Psychology major from Irvine, CA. As a Grand Challenge Scholar, she hopes to address challenge 13: climate action. While in high school, Teddy had the opportunity to draft a bill proposal on an environmental issue relevant to her congressional district and present it to her congressional representative. She didn’t have the opportunity to further study environmental policy until college. After taking the Ethics of Climate Change class in her first year at UCSD, Teddy was motivated to expand upon her earlier research into agricultural, or farm policy, and work on drafting legislation. Following this class, she felt the need to make her ideas a reality, and she thinks her time as a Grand Challenge Scholar will help her accomplish just that. In the future, Teddy hopes to pursue a graduate degree in environmental policy and to eventually become a policymaker herself.
  • Laura Charria

    Laura Charria

    Laura studies Cognitive Science and is excited to apply design thinking in different areas, one of them being healthcare. She is interested in advocating and being an ambassador for health equity around the world. She advocates for mental wellness and is passionate about looking for ways to improve the physician/patient relationship. Inspired by the turn of events happening around the world right now, she plans on inspiring others to take action to advocate for issues that matter to them the most.
  • 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.

Alumni Scholars

  • Trisha Satish

    Trisha Satish

    Trisha Satish is in her senior year of Bioengineering with a minor in Entrepreneurship and Innovation.  She joined the Grand Challenge Scholars Program as a way to ensure her academic journey culminated in a hyper-focused and goal-oriented accomplishment that creates a positive impact.  Trisha is passionate about addressing Reduced Inequalities and Good Health and Well-being as these two goals go hand in hand and can be achieved through bioengineering.  She hopes to use her academic career and work as a Grand Challenge Scholar to create a nonprofit that bridges the gap in medical resources and accessibility between developed and developing communities.
  • Dora Ogbonna

    Dora Ogbonna

    Dora Ogbonna is a fourth-year Chemical Engineering student with a minor in Chemistry from Warren College. She was motivated to apply for the Grand Challenge Scholars Program because she was interested in learning how to apply her skills as an engineer to projects which aim to solve global humanitarian problems. The Sustainable Development Goals and Grand Challenges that she is interested in addressing are SDG 4- Quality Education and NAE GC 5 - Engineer Better Medicines. The topics of these challenges relate to the areas in which she wants to pursue in her career.  In the future, Dora wants to carry out research in the use of biomaterials as therapeutics or vaccines. She also aspires to teach others, as she feels that access to education is paramount.
  • Alexis Garcia

    Alexis Garcia

    Alexis was motivated to apply for the Grand Challenge Scholar Program because of its purpose of directing students to create and analyze solutions for the sustainable development goals that were created to combat major problems in the world. She believes that the program will be a great place to create connections with the school faculty and fellow students. She specifically chose the clean water and sanitation goal because she believes it will become a major problem in the future if we do not find solutions beforehand. Therefore, clean water must be a priority and its treatment when disposing of it must also be addressed. In the future, she wants to combat this problem by working in a water treatment facility with the purpose of acquiring sufficient knowledge of how the facility works. Then she would like to create water treatment facilities on a cheaper level, so that communities that do not possess much money are able to find ways to treat the polluted water and reuse it. As a student that is pursuing a chemical engineering degree, the Grand Challenge Scholar Program will facilitate her path by allowing her to create connections with people belonging to water treatment facilities that are around the San Diego city and maybe one day be able to work there.