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Leadership Team

Soulaïmane Bentaleb

Soulaïmane is a senior from Morocco majoring in Bioengineering and minoring in Neuroscience. He got the chance to lead a Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) team working on the creation of a mind-based lie detector test as a sophomore and served as the NeuroTechX Competition Team Lead and BCI Teams’ Co-Coordinator as a junior. He is now our President: he is the spokesperson for CruX @ UCLA, leads board and general meetings, and oversees planning for all CruX events. He says you should join CruX if you want to create your own mind-reading technology! Fun fact: he's a player on the UCLA Quidditch team.

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Daniel Hong
Vice President of Organizational Operations
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Hi everyone, my name is Daniel Hong and I am a cognitive science major planning to major in neuroscience! My ultimate plan is to end up in some domain of tech (i'm from the bay sadge): whether that be technical, product-managerial or legal counsel-related is yet to be seen. However, at the current moment I plan on going to law school (or doing PM stuff before) with the background in tech to go into patent law.

As the organizational VP of CruX, I am in charge of all the administrative work that goes on behind the scenes whilst helping lead events and meetings as needed. A little more on Crux: CruX is great. Technical, social, experience-gaining, project-completing. A good balance of social-work balance.

A little more about me: I'm also involved various other tech related clubs but I am also an avid member of LCC, an Asian-American theatre company at here at UCLA. I also love to play and watch soccer on my free time--> speaking of most of my free time is spent watching anime or korean variety shows. Anyways, excited to be one of the leaders of the club and even more excited for the upcoming year!

Darren Vawter
Vice President of Technical Operations
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Hi everyone! My name is Darren Vawter, and I'm a senior here at UCLA majoring in Electrical Engineering with a focus on the areas of signal processing and machine learning. I presently serve as the Vice President of CruX for technical matters.

It's my opinion that brain-computer interfaces are the most likely technology to next revolutionize society on the same level as the internet, transistor, or internal combustion engine, and I hope (and intend) to play a role in that development. CruX presents me and other UCLA students the opportunity to act as a gateway into the world of molding this impending societal change. For that reason, CruX is what most excites me every single day at UCLA.

Outside of CruX, I love going on snowboarding trips with friends, rock climbing (especially bouldering) with friends, traveling abroad (as well as practicing new languages) with friends, and debating the most pedantic of epistemological details with my friends. I also love meeting new people and actively resent exclusivity.

Aryak Rekhi
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Aryak Rekhi is a third-year bioengineering major from San Jose, CA! As Workshop Co-coordinator for this year, he will planning and teaching the skills necessary to succeed in the field of neurotechnology. In his free time, Aryak likes to go on hikes and play video games.

Bill Wu
BCI Team Coordinator
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Bill is a second-year biology major interested in a variety of fields including ecology, engineering, robotics, machine learning, and neuroscience. In his free time, Bill likes hiking, backpacking, and playing badminton. This year, he will be in charge of guiding the BCI teams throughout their BCI projects as well as helping prepare the workshop series. For Bill, CruX is an amazing place to explore the intersecting fields of neuroscience, machine learning, and engineering where people from different backgrounds come together to learn and collaborate. This is the reason that you should join Crux too!

Alissa Tong
Media Manager
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Alissa is a second-year computer science major (but considering switching to mechanical or aerospace!) who is interested in neuroscience and artificial intelligence. She is interested in how understanding the brain can allow for more technological advances that will better serve individuals and has enjoyed furthering this interest through her BCI project. As the media manager, she runs our social media accounts and also oversees our website. Outside of school, she enjoys being outdoors, baking, and doing hands-on activities like building things.

Payton Bechefsky
Internal Affairs
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Payton is a fourth year Bioengineering major who is passionate about the intersection between engineering and neuroscience, which is where CruX comes in! She plans to work in industry to use neurotechnology to help those who suffer from brain disorders and disabilities. As an internal coordinator, she is excited to bring together students who are find themselves interested in neurotechnology and allow for both network connections and personal friendships to form. In addition to her academic interests, she enjoys roller skating, her apartment cat, and exploring new things to do in LA with friends!

Nathaniel Chen
Internal Affairs

Nathan is a third year Physics and Cognitive Science major at UCLA. He is currently looking into research opportunities in both academy and in industry. As an internal coordinator at CruX, he looks forward to bringing the CruX community into the limelight through events and communication. Apart from being a dedicated research-oriented club, CruX is also a great social community to be in!


Dr. William Speier
Faculty Advisor

Dr. William Speier is an Assistant Professor in UCLA's Department of Radiological Sciences. His research includes learning about underlying processes in the function of the human brain and creating interfacing software to facilitate brain-machine interactions.

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