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Robert BloomRobert Bloom, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

I am an incoming PhD in Structural Engineering. I did my undergraduate degree at University of California-San Diego and decided that this was the right fit for me to continue my education. My love of math and desire to make a difference in the world around me is what made me interested in the design and research industry. I hope to apply artificial intelligence in seismic research applications. I hope that this will improve the accuracy of the simulations we are able to perform in order to make safer, more cost effective systems to mitigate earthquake effects. During my time in the program I hope to engage with my mentors and give back through mentorship programs. I'm looking forward to this great learning opportunity, and I'm thankful for the fellowships that have made it possible.  

Kayla ErlerKayla Erler, Structural Engineering

I am an incoming PhD in Structural Engineering. I did my undergraduate degree at University of California-San Diego and decided that this was the right fit for me to continue my education. My love of math and desire to make a difference in the world around me is what made me interested in the design and research industry. I hope to apply artificial intelligence in seismic research applications. I hope that this will improve the accuracy of the simulations we are able to perform in order to make safer, more cost effective systems to mitigate earthquake effects. During my time in the program I hope to engage with my mentors and give back through mentorship programs. I'm looking forward to this great learning opportunity, and I'm thankful for the fellowships that have made it possible.  

Dani Gonzalez

Dani Gonzalez, Bioengineering

Growing up with her large Mexican family in Inglewood, California, she has always had a deep pride for her heritage and community. This pride, in combination with the passion for engineering that she discovered through her local robotics team, gave Dani the desire to pursue engineering to solve biomedical problems and leave an impact on the communities that need it most. This drive led her to MIT where she majored in Mechanical Engineering and minored in Biomedical Engineering.

Every semester of her undergraduate career, Dani participated in undergraduate research projects, many of which were self-led. Research outside of her classes allowed her to expand her knowledge base in exciting ways that weren’t always possible in the classroom setting. Throughout her years there, she was able to use research to pursue a wide array of interests, including: biomaterial development, prosthetic liner analysis, artificial muscle creation, and assistive technology development. Because of her research experience, Dani was invited by one of her professors to travel to India and help teach assistive technology workshops. At UCSD, Dani hopes to continue conducting research and other activities that allow her to serve historically underrepresented communities. She is grateful to have the support of the Sloan community as she pursues these goals and works towards a PhD in Bioengineering. 

Yiran JiaYiran Jia, Mathematics

After graduating from the University of Washington Seattle with a degree in economics, Yiran began working as a data analyst at a healthcare organization. She encountered various complicated real-world statistics problems during her work, which motivated her to start learning about algorithms like segmentation and regression analysis in her free time. Later she decide to enroll part-time in a mathematics program at the University of Washington Bothell, where she had the opportunity to work on medical imaging reconstruction problem, which was motivated by the goal of lowering the exposure of x-ray dosage on cancer patients. In the last summer, she participated an NSF REU at UCLA and had the opportunity to explore generative models in machine learning for the applications in computer graphics. While seeing the robust performance among different algorithms, she started getting to know some underlying challenges and therefore went to UCSD mathematics department to build a deeper theoretical foundation and explore her interest in high dimensional data analysis. As a first-generation student, she is grateful for the support she received from her mentors during her undergraduate study. Meanwhile, she was an English conversation facilitator who worked on advancing equitable access to academic activities for international students. She was also a peer health educator at the Green Dot Program. She is grateful to be supported by Sloan Fellowship, and hopes to become a mentor one day to inspire others in pursuing science.  

Isaac KreitzerIsaac Kreitzer, Structural Engineering

I was born and raised just outside of Cincinnati, Ohio. As a kid, my parents would frequently take me and my siblings to the Cincinnati Museum of Natural History & Science on the weekends. My favorite exhibit was the display of dinosaur fossils and in turn I developed a fascination with earth geology and archeology. This passion was put on the backburner when I entered college where I opted for a degree in civil engineering. I was able to join my childhood passion of geology with my civil engineering degree through the discovery of geotechnical engineering. Geotech is the branch of civil engineering concerned with the engineering behavior of earth materials (such as soil and rocks).  At Ohio State, I participated in two internships at Resource International, a local geotech firm in Columbus, and performed laboratory experiments on silt from the dam failure in Edenville, Michigan to help determine the cause of failure. At UCSD, I am pursuing a PhD in the Structural Engineering Department where I will characterize the thermal-hydro-mechanical properties of bentonite under Dr. John McCartney. In my free time I enjoy travelling (and travel planning), hiking, playing video games, and brewery hopping. 

Clare MorrisClare Morris, Chemistry and Biochemistry

Clare completed her B.S. at UC San Diego in 2019 after transferring from a California community college. During her undergraduate career, she had the exciting opportunity to work in the field of atmospheric chemistry by studying sea spray aerosols, the connection between the ocean and the atmosphere. She became fascinated by bacterial enzymes and biologically derived molecules present in seawater that become airborne through breaking waves and the effects they have on climate. Additionally, Clare had the rewarding experience of participating in science outreach events to encourage people from underrepresented backgrounds to engage in and pursue STEM careers. She knows how hard it can be to pursue science when there aren’t model scientists in a young person's life, and hopes she can model that career pathway for others from similar backgrounds. 

During her PhD program in the Chemistry and Biochemistry department, Clare will use computational methods to simulate the behavior of enzymes and other biological molecules in sea spray aerosols and lipid membranes to gain a better understanding of how their local behavior contributes to their overall impact on climate. In her free time, Clare enjoys cooking and trying new foods, beach days, and music.  

Jayke NguyenJayke Nguyen, Physics

I was introduced to the cosmos at a young age and ever since I can remember I've had a passion for astronomy and astrophysics. I became certain in my career when I was gifted a dobsonian telescope at a young age. I felt my career path crystallize as I peered for hours at night into a small eyepiece under the stars. However, it wasn't until undergrad that I found mentors to help guide my career path in astronomy.

For my undergraduate career, I studied at UC Berkeley, graduating with two degrees in physics and astrophysics. I credit my success to patient graduate students and professors who took the time to foster my passions for astronomy. In particular, after taking a graduate course on exoplanets at Berkeley with a wonderful professor, I was inspired to pursue exoplanet research in my graduate career. After undergrad, I worked at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, where I worked on adaptive optics systems and measuring brown dwarf parallaxes, giving me a solid research foundation in astronomy before applying to graduate school. My pursuits subsequently led me to the UC San Diego Physics PhD program. Here, at UCSD, I plan to perform research in the fields of exoplanet detection/characterization and adaptive optics. Beyond my own goals, I hope to help foster other potential astronomers in their career path as others have fostered mine. 

Jenny NicolasJenny Nicolas, Materials Science and Engineering

As a NYC-native, I sought adventure and chose to attend the University of Edinburgh (Scotland) for an integrated bachelors/masters program. I became interested in renewable energy during my Master’s thesis project on phase change materials within thermal energy storage systems. I enjoyed trying to solve the problem of incongruent melting within these materials, while being motivated by their application as a low-cost and clean alternative to heat drafty buildings.

After graduating I knew I wanted to continue my pursuit of scientific research but first wanted to learn more about the process of deploying renewable technologies and how to overcome challenges which arise during implementation. Working in solar development as a project manager, I grasped the importance of community engagement and satisfying the needs of varied stakeholders. I am excited to bring this wider context back with me to enrich my research output as I focus on solid state batteries within the Laboratory for Energy Storage and Conversion under Professor Shirley Meng.

Anthony OmoleAnthony Omole, Nanoengineering

I transferred to the University of California, Berkeley to complete my bachelor's degree in Chemical Biology from El Camino College. I became involved in research with the Francis Research Group where I worked with biomaterials to form micellar systems. After graduating, I moved to Maryland to continue research at the National Cancer Institute as a Post Baccalaureate Fellow. While I was there, I used activity-based probes and inhibitors to study proteases and their relationship to immunological problems and cancer. Now, I am a graduate student with the Steinmetz Research Group in the NanoEngineering Department at UCSD, where I will be working on cancer immunotherapy using plant nanotechnology. Outside of research, I enjoy reading realist fiction novels and geocaching.

 

Bianca PenaBianca Peña, Bioengineering

I grew up in Sylmar, California surrounded by a supportive family who encouraged my pursuit of higher education despite my parents not having attended college. Seeing my older sister achieve an M.S. in Education to pursue her passion of guiding high school students in low-income, minority communities inspired me. She showed me I could attend an out-of-state university and help the same community through science, teaching, research, and mentorship.

With this incredible support system I was able to achieve my B.S. in Biomedical Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis. My research experience grew in the lab of Dr. Jason Mills where I focused on how autodegradation relates to metaplastic gene expression and cell cycle re-entry in the stomach. Spending two and a half years on this work drove me to realize my passion for research and a career in academia. These experiences led me to UCSD where there is a clear dedication to women’s health and the Latinx community. I hope by pursuing my Ph.D. in Bioengineering I am able to better the women’s reproductive health field through translational work with biomaterials and tissue engineering. I’m extremely grateful to the Sloan Scholar Fellowship for providing me with the means to pursue these goals while being a mentor to others.