The WAVE Council is a group of senior graduate students, postdocs, and research staff who serve as non-research mentors to WAVE Fellows over the summer.
The 2023 WAVE Council members are:
Hiwot Anteneh - Postdoctoral Scholar Research Associate in Chemistry
Hiwot was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and moved to the US at the age of 10. She grew up in Shoreline, Washington and earned a B.A. in Biochemistry from University of Washington, Seattle. Her interest in gene regulation began in introductory biochemistry courses where she learned about the central dogma of molecular biology. As a graduate student she studied mammalian DNA methylation in Dr. Jikui Song's lab at University of California, Riverside. Hiwot enjoys curiosity-driven research and aims to be a role model and mentor to first-generation students in the natural sciences! Click here to contact Hiwot.
Jordan Benjamin - Graduate Student in Environmental Science and Engineering
I'm a 5th year PhD student from Atlanta, GA working on building climate models and answering a variety of questions around climate change. Click here to contact Jordan.
David Cagan - Graduate Student in Chemistry
David was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. He attended Pasadena City College and received his AA in Natural Sciences and AS-T in Mathematics. He completed his Bachelor of Science degree at Cal State Los Angeles, where he worked with Prof. Matthias Selke on the kinetics and reactivity of singlet molecular oxygen. In the Hadt Lab, David works on understanding the mechanisms of Ni-mediated photocatalyzed cross-coupling catalysis. His research is supported by the NASEM Ford Foundation Fellowship and the NSF GRFP. In his free time, David enjoys cooking, making visual art (both science illustration and portraiture), and listening to audio books. He is also an advocate for increasing diversity in science and is the President of Caltech's Diversity in Chemistry Initiative. He was a Caltech Wave Fellow 2018. Click here to contact David.
Lee Roger Chevres Fernandez - Graduate Student in Physics
Lee Roger Chevres Fernandez is a graduate student of The Division of Physics, Mathematics and Astronomy (PMA) at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). He is currently working towards a Ph.D. in Physics. Before going to Caltech, Lee Roger earned a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Physics from the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez Campus. He also holds a BS in Pure Mathematics. As part of his undergraduate journey, Lee Roger took part in multiple research opportunities both in the UPR system and in other universities and institutions outside of Puerto Rico, spanning several areas of physics, mathematics and engineering. His research interests encompass topics in formal theoretical and mathematical physics. Outside of academia, Lee Roger enjoys listening to music, exercising, and exploring Pasadena and the greater Los Angeles county area. Click here to contact Lee Roger.
Kim-Marie Dam - Postdoctoral Scholar Research Associate in Biology and Biological Engineering
Hi, I'm Kim! After the incredible experience as an Amgen Scholar at Caltech in 2016, I returned to complete my Ph.D. in the laboratory of Professor Pamela Bjorkman, expanding my understanding of antibody interactions with viral proteins at a structural level. Now, as a postdoctoral fellow in Magnus Hoffmann's lab, I am applying my knowledge and expertise to engineer antibody-based therapeutics and contribute to developing vaccines for viruses like Influenza and SARS-CoV-2. When I'm not conducting experiments in the lab, you can find me enjoying the delightful company of my adorable cats, sweating through a pilates class, indulging in beach reading, and daydreaming about my next exciting travel destination. Click here to contact Kim-Marie.
Victor Garcia-Ruiz - Graduate Student in Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics
Saludos! I'm Victor, a Biochemistry & Molecular Biophysics (BMB) graduate student. Born in Mexico and raised in Southern California, where I completed my B.S. in biochemistry at UC Riverside after transferring from Community College. Click here to contact Victor.
Angel Hernandez-Mejias - Graduate Student in Chemistry
Ãngel was born and raised in Caguas, Puerto Rico. He earned a B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras, where he worked in Prof. Eduardo Caroâ€™s research group focusing on the synthesis of marine natural products. The summer of 2021, Ãngel joined the Hartwig lab as an Amgen Scholar where he studied the borylation of alkyl Câ€"H bonds. He moved to Pasadena and joined the Reisman lab in 2022 to pursue his passion for synthetic chemistry. Outside of the lab, he enjoys watching sports, eating mofongo, listening to music, and going to the beach. Click here to contact Angel.
Azmain Hossain - Graduate Student in Applied Physics
Hello! My name is Azmain and I'm a rising G3 in applied physics in the Minnich Lab. My research involves developing novel nanofabrication techniques for next-generation quantum devices in non-linear photonics and quantum computation. I'm a first-generation immigrant and first-generation college student. I went to community college in LA and did my B.S. in physics at UCLA. I've been involved in mentoring and tutoring roles throughout my academic journey, and I hope to be a valuable resource for you all. I like to cook, play badminton, and watch anime in my free time. Don't hesitate to reach out! Click here to contact Azmain.
Arianne Hunter - Postdoctoral Scholar Fellowship Trainee in Chemistry
Arianne Hunter, Ph.D. is a 2014 graduate of Dartmouth College where she received her B.A. as a double major in Chemistry and Anthropology. After completing her degree, she returned to her home state and completed her Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry in 2019 at The University of Oklahoma where her research was focused on developing cost-effective synthetic methods to rapidly construct biologically relevant molecules with high levels of three-dimensionality. After completing her doctorate, Dr. Hunter moved to Atlanta, GA to work as a Forensic Chemist for the Defense Forensic Science Center to fulfill her service agreement for the SMART Department of Defense Scholarship she received during her Ph.D. studies. In this position, she lived in Kuwait conducting forensic analysis on evidence retrieved by US soldiers and our allies from violent extremist organizations. Currently, Dr. Hunter is a National Science Foundation MPS-Ascend Post-Doctoral Fellowship and Caltech Presidential Post-Doctoral studying organic chemistry at the interface of electrochemistry and data chemistry in hopes of making the synthesis of complex molecules more environmentally friendly. Click here to contact Arianne.
José Lasalde-Ramírez - Graduate Student in Medical Engineering
José A. Lasalde-Ramírez is a PhD student in the Andrew and Peggy Cherng Department of Medical Engineering at Caltech. As a Mechanical Engineering undergraduate at the University of Puerto Rico, he participated in summer research programs at Cornell University, Caltech (WAVE Fellows), Johns Hopkins University and University of Pennsylvania. José's current research involves the fabrication of wearable chemical sensors for diagnostics and management. Whenever he is not obsessing over Puerto Rican food, he is watching/playing sports and listening to Bad Bunny tunes. Click here to contact José.
Daniel Mukasa - Graduate Student in Materials Science
Hi all! My name is Daniel Mukasa, a rising fourth year in materials science doing medical engineering research. I was raised in Riverside, California and went to study physics in Oberlin, Ohio before coming to Caltech. Looking forward to meeting you! Click here to contact Daniel.
Noor Naji- Graduate Student in Chemistry
My name is Noor Naji, and I'm a physical chemistry G1 in Lu Wei's lab. I work on expanding microscopy tools for bio-imaging. I'm an LA native, and went to Cal Poly Pomona before coming to Caltech! I'm excited to get to know my students, and am looking forward to help any way I can! Click here to contact Noor.
Micah Nishimoto - Graduate Student in Aerospace
Hey everyone! My name is Micah Nishimoto (he/him), and I just finished my first year as a Caltech PhD student studying aeronautics. I'm originally from Hawaii - I was born on the island of Maui and moved to Oahu when I was 11. I went to USC for undergrad, where I studied aerospace engineering and developed a love for fluid mechanics. I'm also a WAVE alumnus! I was a part of WAVE's 2021 class, and did research on turbulent flows. It was a transformative experience that balanced research/lab experience with making lifelong friends and connections, and it eventually transitioned into my current research in turbulence simulation. Outside of research, I love playing trumpet, watching basketball (go Lakers!) and performing mentoring and outreach. Please let me know if you have any questions during your experience at Caltech, and I hope to meet all of you soon! Click here to contact Micah.
Evan Nunez - Graduate Student in Astrophysics
Whatup whatup! My name is Evan Haze Nuñez and I am a rising fourth year grad student (PhD candidate) in Astronomy/Astrophysics. I am half Black (African-American) and half Mexican, grew up in Southern California, love spending time with my family and friends, am an avid music listener (hip-hop/rap, indie alternative, instrumentals, and jazz), and generally like to keep a chill and relaxing vibe around me. My research focuses on how the matter inside and outside of galaxies evolves in the very distant (high redshift) universe (w/ Chuck Steidel and Evan Kirby). Excited to see you all this summer! Click here to contact Evan.
Jacob Parres-Gold - Graduate Student in Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics
My name is Jacob and I'm a first-year graduate student in the biochemistry and molecular biophysics option (BMB). I'm a local to LA, and graduated from Cal State LA - outside of the lab, I like trying new restaurants, doing parkour, and snowboarding! Looking forward to seeing everyone over the summer. Click here to contact Jacob.
Melissa Ramirez - Postdoctoral Scholar Fellowship Trainee in Chemistry
Melissa Ramirez was born in Los Angeles, CA as part of a Mexican-American family and is a first-generation Latina in chemistry. She obtained her B.A. in chemistry at the University of Pennsylvania in 2016. Thereafter, Melissa attended UCLA where she was trained as a computational and synthetic organic chemist in the laboratories of Professors Ken Houk and Neil Garg and obtained her Ph.D. in organic chemistry in 2021. Currently, she is an NSF Ascend and Caltech Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow in the group of Professor Brian Stoltz. After completion of her postdoc, she plans to start her own research group and train the next generation of diverse scientists. Click here to contact Melissa.
Isaryhia Rodriguez - Graduate Student in Biology
Hi All, My name is Isaryhia, but you can call me Isa! I am a rising third year PhD student in the biology option working on Developmental & Molecular Biology in Dr. Angela Stathopolous lab. I am a proud first-generation to College & Grad school Latinx woman with a passion for mentorship and research and Iâ€™m happy to share about all of my experiences and personal journey in science. I earned my B.S. in Microbiology and Immunology at UC Irvine in 2021 with a research focus on Genomics. I had the privilege of supporting summer students last year and I am very excited to be back! Pursuing a career in science is no cake walk but a huge part of success is building community so I'm happy to help you start doing that this summer!
Click here to contact Isa.
Rodney Tollerson - Postdoctoral Scholar Fellowship Trainee in Geobiology
I am a postdoc in Victoria Orphan's lab studying microbial interactions at the bottom of the ocean that are important for understanding the production of greenhouse gasses. I am interested in how microbes change their gene expression in response to their environment. I received my BS from University of Arizona and PhD from Ohio State in Microbiology. Click here to contact Rodney.
Valeria Villa - Graduate Student in Geophysics
I am Valeria Villa, a second-year graduate student in geophysics. I transferred from a community college to UCLA for my undergraduate studies. I am grateful for the two WAVE fellowships I did, which have provided me with valuable experiences. Click here to contact Valeria.
Nick Watkins - Graduate Student in Chemistry
My name is Nick Watkins and I am a fifth year graduate student in Jonas Peters' group in CCE. I work in the heterogeneous catalysis side of the group, performing research on electrochemical CO2 reduction. I am from San Diego and went to UC Berkeley for my undergrad, where I studied chemistry. Click here to contact Nick.