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Chineze-Christopher-Headshot.jpg Chineze Christopher, Mathematics

My name is Chineze Christopher. I was born and raised in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and completed my undergraduates studies in Business and Economics at Addis Ababa University. My interest in studying human behavior quantitatively brought me to the United States, in particular, to Purdue University. During my tenure as an Economics PhD student, I fell in love with the formality and of rigor that Mathematics lent to economic thought. Overtime, I found my interests shifting toward theoretical mathematics. For the past two and half years, I have dedicated my time to exclusively build my mathematical foundation and today, I am proud to say that I am a first year PhD student in Mathematics at UCSD!


Ritchie Hernandez, Chemistry and BiochemistryRitchie-Hernandez.png

I grew up in North County San Diego and proceeded to do my undergraduate work at UCSD in chemistry after transferring from Cuyamaca Community College. Community college was a fabulous learning experience for me, and that an NSF - REU was the pivotal factor for me to choose UCSD and want to continue with chemistry and specifically research.

My current research project is in organometallics with the Figueroa group. The group generally employs unique and complicated molecular cages to achieve and isolate reactivities once thought impossible. These reactivities include, but are not limited to, small molecule activation, catalysis and fundamental discovery. I am hoping to apply these unique systems to the goal of nitrogen fixation and material development.



 Jervaughn Hunter, Bioengineering

I first became fascinated with health and science when my father used to tutor my younger sister and I on the banks of the Mississippi River in my small hometown - Port Gibson, Mississippi. Growing up in this small town, I knew opportunities would be limited so I was emboldened to seek out ways to further my education. Because of the investment and support that my family, friends, and community members provided to me during my childhood and the growing need for healthcare and educational reform I noticed in my community, I decided to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Engineering at The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). As an undergrad, I got involved with many organizations such as the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc., TRIO Academic Services (TAS), and Blazer Male Excellency Network (BMEN) to help further give back to the community through mentorship, health awareness workshops, and many other initiatives.



 Rebecca Kandell, Bioengineering

Growing up in a small city located in the California Desert, I knew that educational opportunities were key to achieving my goals in life. I was motivated to excel in college because of my supportive family, Hispanic heritage, and strong work ethic. As an undergraduate, I attended California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo where I studied biomedical engineering.  I earned my BS and MS degrees while working as a Laboratory Assistant researching the effects of ultraviolet (UV) radiation on human skin cells, keratinocytes. At UC San Diego, my research project is part of Professor Ester Kwon’s laboratory. As a PhD student, I design and deliver nanoparticle therapies to the brain in order to improve treatment options for disorders like Traumatic Brain Injury. Outside of lab, I am active with Jacobs Undergraduate Mentorship Program (JUMP) and Bioengineering Graduate Society (BEGS). I extremely grateful for the community, financial, and mentorship support of the Sloan Foundation for helping make my dream of higher education a reality.


Adrian-Salguero-Headshot.jpgAdrian Salguero, Electrical & Computer Engineering

Adrian Salguero grew up in South Gate, a city a few miles southeast of Downtown Los Angeles. He was not sure what he wanted to study in college until he took an introduction computer science course during his junior year of high school. During this class he became fascinated with the field due to its many applications and how different it was from the traditional subjects one studies in grade school. This experience motivated him to pursue a major in computer science at UC Santa Cruz. Now, he is currently pursuing a PhD at UC San Diego with an emphasis in bioinformatics. One research project he is currently working on is assisting in developing a tool that can remove viral contaminants from reference genomic reads from different types of living organisms. 


lamb_erik_headshot.jpgErik Lamb, Physics

While growing up in nearby Palm Springs, California, my father would always perform his own automobile and home maintenance. Watching my dad take apart everything from our car to our television to the kitchen sink began a fascination in learning how everyday appliances work and how to improve them. This interest developed into a far reaching desire to learn how everything works on a fundamental level. I pursued this desire at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), where I earned a Bachelor of Science in Physics with a minor in Mathematics. My primary focus at UCLA was condensed matter physics, a field concerned with atomic scale interactions and emergent properties of materials. Currently, I am pursuing a PhD in Physics at the University of California, San Diego with a focus in condensed matter physics. I am working for Professor Oleg Shpyrko who uses high energy, coherent x-rays produced at facilities such as the Advanced Photon Source (APS) at Argonne National Laboratory and the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory to study the molecular and atomic scale dynamics of materials. As I learn more and advance in my PhD, I hope to study materials potentially useful for novel methods of computing, memory storage, and energy storage.


Eva-Loesser-Headshot.jpgEva Loesser, Mathematics

A native San Diegan, Eva attended Brown University for her undergraduate education, where she graduated with a degree in mathematics. While at Brown, she was a teaching assistant for real analysis and multivariable calculus. She also volunteered teaching sex education at a local middle school. She is now pursuing a PhD in mathematics and is curious about probability, analysis, and dynamical systems. Prior to coming to UCSD, Eva did undergraduate research in decentralized stochastic control of robotic swarm density. Eva enjoys spending time outside, especially in the ocean, and is an avid reader. She enjoys spending time with her fiancé, Vaki Nikitopoulos, and her cat, Poly, cooking, hiking, and watching One Piece.


Evangelos-Niki-Headshot.JPGEvangelos "Vaki" Nikitopolous, Mathematics

Evangelos "Vaki" Nikitopoulos is a Greek-American PhD student in the Mathematics Department who grew up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.For his undergraduate education, Vaki attended Brown University, where he graduated with Bachelors of Science in both Mathematics and Chemistry. While in college, he was also involved in a variety of activities, ranging from refugee tutoring and strength/conditioning coaching for a middle school wrestling team to co-leading the Math DUG (Departmental Undergraduate Group) and coordinating the STEM portion of Brown's accepted student event.

In the year between graduating from college and starting his PhD, Vaki lived, studied, and researched in Budapest, Hungary, on a Fulbright Scholarship. His research focused on geometric analysis, an area of mathematics at the intersection of differential geometry and partial differential equations (the study of differential equations involving functions of more than one variable). Throughout all of his academic experiences, Vaki has been enthusiastic about teaching. In college, he was a teaching assistant for four courses: and during his Fulbright year, he served as a tutor/teaching assistant for the Budapest Semesters in Mathematics (BSM) course in advanced real analysis. Vaki continues to be a teaching assistant for various courses during his PhD. Outside of his academic activities, Vaki enjoys hiking/camping; powerlifting; cooking; and hanging out with his fiancée, Eva Loeser, and his cat, Poly.


Sergio-Suarez-Headshot.jpgSergio Suarez,  Structural Engineering

Sergio Suarez is the first-born of three siblings. Sergio and his family lived in Garden Grove, California for most of his life where he completed his elementary and intermediate education. After graduating from Westminster High School, he attended California State University, Long Beach (CSULB), where he obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering in the Spring of 2015. Shortly after graduating he was hired as a Junior Engineer at Landmark Structures, Inc. and began graduate school at CSULB in the Fall of 2015. He stayed with Landmark Structures, Inc. for a year, honing his skills in the design of residential structures, and then departed to a structural engineering firm named Critical Structures, Inc. in the city of Lomita, California.

There, he had the opportunity to broaden his knowledge in design for a wider range of structural projects. When Sergio received his acceptance letter into the Structural Engineering Ph.D. program at the University of California, San Diego for Fall 2018, he was faced with the bittersweet decision of having to leave the company in order to finalize his thesis project and complete his Master of Science in Civil Engineering in time to commence his doctoral studies. Sergio has passed the Professional Practice in Engineering exam as well as the Seismic and Surveying state exams required for licensure in California; he is how a licensed Civil Engineer in California and aims to practice independently as his school schedule permits.