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Intern Spotlight: Bela, Sean, and Gabi

May 10 2019

Introducing three more of our wonderful Interns here at CESTA: Bela, Sean, and Gabi!


Isabela David Rodrigues is a freshman planning to major in Electrical Engineering.  At CESTA, Bela is working with Leonardo Barleta on “Empire in the Backlands: Mapping Territorial Expansion in the Portuguese Empire.” Bela grew up in Brazil, and her background in Portuguese strongly influenced her decision to work on the Early Modern Mobilities project.

Bela is currently developing a program to simulate the mobility of Brazilians around the region of São Paulo during the 17th century. Her work seeks to better understand the primary factors that influenced territorial occupation and the eventual discovery of gold in the state of Minas Gerais. Bela is looking forward to learning the research methods, tools, and techniques involved in research in the intersection of STEM and the humanities.

In addition to coding, Bela is interested in robotics and international relations. In her free time, you can find her anywhere from playing basketball to taking an extra shift at the Lathrop Tech Desk, or from watching reality shows with her dorm peers to taking pictures of the Stanford campus.


Sean is a freshman from Los Angeles thinking about majoring in History, Political Science, or International Relations. Sean is working on the Early Modern Mobilities project under Dr. Katie McDonough, where he examines the sociopolitical context of infrastructure development in 18th century Brittany. His primary tasks involve mapping road networks by analyzing historical maps and compiling historic data on Breton geographical references.

Sean joined CESTA out of his interest in humanities research and his desire to learn more about how the humanities and technology can intersect. Through working at CESTA, he has found a greater appreciation for map visualization, historical archival records, data-driven research, and French history. Outside of CESTA, Sean is involved in The Stanford Daily and Stanford in Government. He is an avid foodie, transportation nerd, and travel enthusiast.


Gabriel is a junior majoring in Earth Systems from Madison, Wisconsin. Gabi’s interests lie in American Indian natural resource use and how colonization affects the environment. Currently, he is working on a project to map prairie loss on the Yurok Indian Reservation.

As a Ponca student who hopes to assist his community in utilizing natural resources wisely and restoring damaged ecosystems, he is excited to help the Yurok tribal community using ArcGIS. With anthropology PhD candidate Tony Marks-Block, Gabi seeks to demonstrate how United State’s fire suppression policies have led to losses in ecological diversity in northern California. Gabi’s jobs include geo-referencing aerial photographs of northern California and quantifying the amount of prairie that has been lost in the past century.

Outside of his work at CESTA, Gabi enjoys conducting research in American Indian communities. Through doing so, he is able to learn new strategies in both legal and technical fields and strengthen tribal institutions. He is also heavily involved in the American Indian community. On campus, you can find him co-chairing the Stanford American Indian Organization and serving as a social justice coordinator at the Native American Cultural Center.


From the writer’s desk
I’m Arianna Togelang, a freshman majoring in Management Science & Engineering. As the Communications Intern here at CESTA, I chalk up lists, interview researchers, and investigate new ways to make CESTA an even more vibrant space. I’m incredibly excited to be here and engage with all the different projects, people, and technologies at play in the Center!