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Caltech Graduate Student Ambassadors

Are you interested in having in-depth discussions with graduate students about their experiences at Caltech or would you like to find out about the many resources available to Caltech graduate students? If so, we can connect you with a Graduate Student Ambassador. Our ambassadors are current Caltech graduate students who come from a variety of differents options, but all share the common interest of supporting an inclusive and welcoming environment at the Institute. If you would like to find out more about the program or would like to request a meeting with an ambassador, please contact Helen Duong at or 626-395-1578.

2016-2017 Graduate Student Ambassadors











Michael Anaya

Hometown: Hesperia, California

Undergraduate School: UC Riverside

Option: Biology

Advisor: Dr. Kai Zinn
Research Interests: Immunology, Molecular Biology, Drosophila  neurobiology


Dawna Bagherian

Hometown: Northbrook, Illinois

Undergraduate School: MIT

Option: Bioengineering
Advisor: Dr. Markus Meister

Research Interests:I am interested in developing deep learning techniques for system identification in neural circuits.



Cam Buzard

Hometown: Winchester, Massachusetts

Undergraduate School: Barnard College

Option: Chemistry
: Dr. Geoff Blake
Research Interests: I am interested in using high resolution spectroscopy to learn information about the physical properties of hot Jupiters, and ultimately, Earth-like exoplanets.



Alice Chang

Hometown: Tampa, Florida

Undergraduate School: Columbia University

Option: Chemistry
Advisor: Dr. Robert Grubbs
Research Interests: Polymer chemistry and polymer physics


Hannalore Gerling-Dunsmore

Hometown: Boring Maryland

Undergraduate School: University of Maryland

Option: Physics

Advisor: Dr. Philip Hopkins
Research Interests: I study super massive black holes, and in particular, the first super massive black holes in the universe. My current focus is on how they form, but I am also interested in how they co-evolve with galaxies, as well as how they launch radiation jets.


Ivanna Escala

Hometown: Jackson, New Jersey

Undergraduate School: UC San Diego

Option: Astrophysics
Advisor: Dr. Evan Kirby

Research Interests:I am interested in galactic chemical evolution, nucleosynthesis, and star formation. I use cosmological simulations of galaxy formation and evolution to draw comparisons to observations of Local Group dwarf galaxies. I also use world-class telescopes to make measurements of the chemical composition of stars in these nearby galaxies.


Adenike Giwa

Hometown: Lagos, Nigeria

Undergraduate School: University of Ibadan

Option: Materials Science
Advisor: Dr. Julia Greer
Research Interests: Nano-mechanics of high performance materials (especially metals and alloys) at extreme conditions


Stephanie Kong

Hometown: Shenyang, China

Undergraduate School: Harvey Mudd College

Option: Chemical Engineering
Advisor: Dr. John Seinfeld
Research Interests: Properties of atmospheric aerosol particles


Henry Ngo

Hometown: Richmond, BC, Canada

Undergraduate School: University of British Columbia

Option: Planetary Science
Advisor: Dr. Heather Knutson
Research Interests: I investigate the formation and migration history of gas giant planets around other stars in our Galaxy (exoplanets). I use telescopes to look at these "exoplanet" systems and find evidence of other objects, such as companion stars or planets, that might have influenced the histories of the exoplanets.



Brigitte Rooney

Hometown: O’Fallon, Illinois, Boulder, Colorado and Gerhardsbrunn, Germany

Undergraduate School: University of Colorado

Option: Environmental Science and Engineering
Advisor: Dr. John Seinfeld
Research Interests: Air pollution, atmospheric aerosol formation, air quality modeling, and aerosol measurement instrumentation.



Sarah Sam

Hometown: Ashburn, Virginia

Undergraduate School: Virginia Tech

Option: Neurobiology
Research Interests: I am interested in studying the function and structure of neural circuits.


Stephanie Threatt

Hometown: Charlotte, North Carolina

Undergraduate School: Harvard College

Option: Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics
Advisor: Dr. Jackie Barton
Research Interests:I am interested generally in the development of targeted therapeutics. I'm currently working to synthesize metal complexes able to specifically induce death in cancerous cells by targeting DNA mismatches, a biomarker unique to several malignant cell types. 



Rhondale Tso

Hometown: Flagstaff, Arizona

Undergraduate School: Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

Option: Physics
Advisor: Dr. Yanbei Chen
Research Interests: Gravitational Waves, Theory & Tests of Relativity


Alice Wong

Hometown: Bay Area

Undergraduate School: Swarthmore College

Option: Chemistry
Advisor: Dr. Sarah Reisman
Research Interests: Organic synthesis