Student-Postdoc Advisory Committee

The Student-Postdoc Advisory Committee (SPC) works with the members of the VSS Board of Directors to make VSS responsive to the needs of our trainee members and early career researchers. The SPC organizes special events and workshops for trainees in vision science during the annual VSS meeting. These include discussions on career transitions, inclusivity & accessibility, and new scientific directions. The SPC also consults with the board and with other vision community partners (FoVea, Visibility, SPARK) to provide trainees’ perspectives and optimize the society and the conference for trainee members.

Interested in joining SPC?

Each year, VSS solicits nominations for new members of the Student-Postdoc Advisory Committee to replace those rotating off.  VSS seeks a diverse set of graduate and postdoctoral scholars to represent young investigators at a variety of career stages, who study a variety of topics, who bring diverse perspectives, and who reside in different regions of the globe. Service on the SPC (2-year term) provides an excellent opportunity to have a positive impact on the vision science community, to develop professional skills such as team building and project management, and to develop a track record of academic service. Watch for announcements from VSS in mid-February about how to apply.

Current SPC members are indicated below. Terms end in May of the year shown.

Avi Aizenman (2025)

University of Giessen

Avi Aizenman is postdoctoral researcher at Giessen University in Germany, working with Professor Karl Gegenfurtner. 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

University of Toronto

Claudia Damiano is a Research Associate (senior postdoctoral researcher) at the University of Toronto, working with Dirk Bernhardt-Walther. She previously completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Leuven, Belgium, working with Johan Wagemans. Broadly, her research investigates how mid-level visual features influence aesthetic preferences and guide visual attention. 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

Rebecca Hornsey (2024) Chair

University of Stirling

After completing her PhD in Psychology at the University of Essex, Rebecca is now a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Stirling. Her research interests surround the investigation of visual perception in virtual environments and she is currently researching multi-sensory cure integration within augmented reality 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

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.

Jes Parker

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.

Incoming SPC Members (2025-2026)

Amy Bucklaew (2026)

University of Rochester

Amy Bucklaew is a PhD student at the University of Rochester working with Dr. Jude Mitchell. Her research aims to investigate the neural mechanisms of visual attention and saccadic eye movements using eye tracking, electrophysiology, and optogenetic techniques. Her dissertation research focuses on how extra-retinal signals modulate tunning and response properties of neurons in area MT/MTC. Amy is committed to listening to different perspectives across the VSS community and building support for the needs of fellow early career researchers. 

Victoria Jacoby

Victoria Jacoby (2026)

University of California, Los Angeles

Victoria Jacoby is a PhD candidate working with Dr. Phil Kellman at the University of California, Los Angeles. Following the completion of her degree, she will pursue a postdoctoral research fellowship at Brigham and Women’s Hospital with Dr. Jeremy Wolfe. Her research has focused on optimizing perceptual learning in real-world categorization tasks and she is particularly interested in investigating the roles of perceptual learning and visual attention in medical image perception. As a member of the SPC, Victoria is committed to promoting accessibility and inclusivity in the VSS community and is looking forward to working with her fellow committee members to support the needs of early career researchers.

Christian Sinnott

Christian Sinnott (2026)

Smith-Kettlewell Eye Institute

Christian Sinnott is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute working with Dr. Natela Shanidze. Broadly, Christian is interested in the multisensory processes underlying accurate self-motion perception in everyday life for neurotypical and clinical populations. He is interested in how quantitative characteristics of sensory information change during action, and how perception is challenged in sensorily impoverished environments (e.g., darkness, underwater, microgravity). Christian hopes to advocate for students and other early career researchers’ needs as a member of the SPC.