Ava Karanjia is a current PhD student and NSF Graduate Research Fellow in Chemical Engineering at the University of Washington, where her research focuses on building transcriptional programs in bacteria. Ava is working on expanding CRISPRa technologies to improve methods of transcriptional signal conversion and transduction. She is also pursuing data science and astrobiology graduate certificates. Ava has undergraduate degrees in chemical engineering and microbiology from Arizona State University, where she worked on quorum sensing regulatory systems and other transcriptional activators. She has also worked at NASA Ames Research Center, where she screened and engineered non-traditional yeast candidates for in-situ microbial space technologies. Ava is a big proponent of science communication and has been actively involved in DEI outreach efforts at the University of Washington and EBRC.