Student-Postdoc Advisory Committee

The Student-Postdoc Advisory Committee (SPC) advises the VSS  board and membership about how events, workshops, meeting structure, and activities can best target the needs of trainee members and attendees. The SPC reaches out to trainees to solicit opinions and ideas. Based upon feedback, the Committee organizes special events.

Each year VSS will solicit nominations for new members of the Student-Postdoc Advisory Committee to replace three members who will be rolling off the Committee. Terms end in May of the year shown.

Avi Aizenman (2025)

University of Giessen

Avi Aizenman is an Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellow in Germany, currently working at the University of Giessen. Her research aims to understand the eye and head movements coordinated in the natural world, and in virtual reality. She is broadly interested in understanding how gaze behavior explains our perception of the visual world. Avi is excited to be joining the student-postdoc advisory committee and is looking forward to collaborating with like-minded peers to support and advocate for a dynamic and diverse group of early career researchers.

Claudia Damiano (2024) Board Liaison

KU Leuven

Claudia Damiano is a postdoctoral researcher at KU Leuven in Belgium, working with Johan Wagemans. She completed her PhD in 2019 at the University of Toronto under the supervision of Dirk B. Walther. Broadly, her research investigates how mid-level visual features influence aesthetic preferences and guide visual attention. As a Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellow, her current project investigates the cognitive and emotional benefits of interacting with nature, using virtual reality and eye tracking. As a member of the SPC, Claudia hopes to be an advocate for early career researchers and members of underrepresented groups, and she is committed to making VSS even more open and inclusive than it already is.

Rebecca Hornsey (2024) Chair

York University

After completing her PhD in Psychology at the University of Essex, Rebecca is now a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at York University, in the Centre for Vision Research. Her research interests surround the investigation of visual perception in virtual reality and she is currently researching distance perception within consumer headsets. As part of the committee, and as an early career researcher herself, Rebecca is keen to liaise with other early career researchers and help improve the experience of those in the VSS community. Rebecca is also looking forward to sharing her passion of vision research with a wider network of individuals, and organising exciting, new events.

Akihito Maruya (2025)

State University of New York

Akihito Maruya is a PhD student with Qasim Zaidi at the SUNY Graduate Center for Vision Research in NYC . He studies 3D perception in scenes and pictures, perception of rigid and non-rigid 3D objects, and form distortions perceived by adult and children amblyopes, using psychophysics and computational models. As a member of the VSS-SPC, he would like to make VSS even more inviting to students who have taken a non-traditional path to science and for whom English is not the first language.

Jessica Parker (2025)

University of Tennessee-Knoxville

Jes Parker is a graduate student in the Experimental Psychology doctoral program at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. They primarily investigate visual perception and memory across saccadic eye movements using eye tracking and functional near-infrared spectroscopy. Specifically, they are interested in examining visual stability, the role of different types of information in the establishment of object correspondence, and the interaction between saccades and visual working memory. As a member of the Student-Postdoc Advisory Committee, they want to contribute to the progress towards a more diverse community of researchers that fosters both the growing representation and retention of individuals from historically underrepresented populations.

Stephanie Shields (2024) Record Keeper

University of Texas at Austin

Stephanie Shields is a graduate student pursuing a PhD in Neuroscience at The University of Texas at Austin. She is interested in studying how sensory information is processed in neural circuits to support perception, particularly stereoscopic perception. Her dissertation research focuses on the impact of environment-to-retinae geometry on the encoding and perception of 3D orientation. Stephanie is committed to helping support the needs and success of her fellow early career researchers, and she looks forward to doing so as a member of VSS’s SPC.