Meet the 2023 RSI-WAVE Fellows
This summer we are delighted to welcome a cohort of 10 undergraduate researchers to campus as RSI-WAVE fellows. The Caltech WAVE program was started in 2015 to attract more undergraduates from historically minoritized communities to campus to conduct research while also receiving support and guidance from faculty and current graduate students. The WAVE program was greatly expanded in 2021, thanks to support from research institutes across campus, including the RSI, which sponsored undergraduates doing research across all our research initiative areas.
Sebastian is a rising Junior majoring in Chemical Engineering at Florida State University. He is from Tampa, FL and enjoys playing soccer and going to the gym. His summer project is centered on copper-catalyzed CO2 reduction, and his goal for the summer is to determine how the cation used in the electrochemical set up affects the selectivity of the reaction towards higher-value organic molecules.
Sage Cooley studies mechanical and aerospace engineering as well as creative writing at Duke University. Her WAVE Fellowship project focuses on characterizing thin-shell structural stability as it pertains to the longerons (arc-shaped rods) found in Caltech's Space Solar Power Project. Information on how various geometric parameters and surface imperfections impact buckling behavior for these structures contributes to accurate design safety factors, leading to less material-use and expenses.
Rei Fejzulla is conducting research in the Reisman lab. His summer project centers around unlocking the cyclization of amino alkynes to azetidine scaffolds using transition metal catalysis; this could eventually allow access to the larger structure of diazetidomonapyridone, part of a class of azetidine-containing metabolites produced by the bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa. These metabolites have been shown to affect biofilm formation and pigment production, but scientists have not elucidated the mechanism of action yet for these behaviors.
Asiah Giuntoni is an Environmental Earth Science student at UC Berkeley whose interests are in biogeochemistry and geomorphology. With Dr. Mike Lamb and Dr. Yutian Ke at Caltech, she will be studying sediment characteristics responsible for the transport of organic carbon in fluvial systems. She aims to pursue a PhD following her undergraduate education studying various geomorphic constraints on carbon and nitrogen cycling.
Hermann Klein-Hessling Barrientos
Hermann F. Klein-Hessling Barrientos is a rising junior at the University of Colorado Boulder majoring in Chemical Engineering and minoring in Applied Mathematics & Quantum Engineering. He will be investigating the "Magnetic Field Effects of Oxygen Evolution Reactions in CoPi/CoBi catalysts". His passions outside of research are hiking, cycling and supporting STEM underclassmen by being a peer mentor.
Celia Kong-Johnson is a rising junior studying geochemistry and applied math at Brown University. This summer, she will be conducting biogeochemical research in the Sessions Lab with PhD student Hannah Dion-Kirschner to develop a new method to measure position-specific carbon isotope abundance in cellulose from tree rings. Existing methods for isotopic measurements of tree rings combine signals from environmental changes and tree physiology. This new method of isotope analysis of tree rings will allow us to differentiate between these two signals and ultimately contribute to improved paleoclimate records.
Alexander Ortiz Rivera
Eric Ramos transferred from College of the Sequoias to UCLA to major in Chemistry. He will be working with Dr. Theodor Agapie to study high oxidation state nickel catalysis for aryl-F bond formation. Outside of the lab, Eric enjoys cooking, making espresso, gaming, and playing the drums.