Monday, October 5, 2020 – 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm PST

Follow-Up Workshop: Getting into Graduate School, Part 2

The focus for this workshop is to provide an overview for preparing your application material and the opportunity for discussion about any current drafts you have. We encourage you to prepare a draft of your personal statement or CV and share it for comments. Everyone participating understands that these are working copies, not a final version. You’ll need to have a copy of the document ready on your computer to share with your small group.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020 – 1:00 pm to 5:30 pm PST

FUTURE 2020 was our third cohort and our first virtual conference. This year’s conference provided an introduction to life as a Caltech graduate student. Programming included short science talks and “day in a life” discussions from current students, panels with current students and faculty covering topics ranging from challenges, research topics, building community, the application process, and more.

Getting in to Graduate School, Part 2

Follow-up Workshop on October 5 from 1:00 to 2:30 PST

The focus for this workshop is to provide an overview for preparing your application material and the opportunity for discussion about any current drafts you have. We encourage you to prepare a draft of your personal statement or CV and share it for comments. Everyone participating understands that these are working copies, not a final version. You’ll need to have a copy of the document ready on your computer to share with your small group.


Welcome from Shreya Anand, FUTURE co-chair

1:00 to 1:30        Presentation by Lilien Voong from Caltech’s Hixon Writing Center

Here are links to the documents included in the presentation

1:30 to 2:30       We’ll move into breakout rooms. These are small groups, about 6 participants with two Caltech volunteers per group. Participants will be able to share draft versions of their application materials with current Caltech graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, and members of the Hixson Writing Center for discussion and feedback.

2020 Agenda

Video Content



2020 Attendees

Below you will find the names, contact info, and undergraduate institutions of the 2019 FUTURE cohort.

Name Undergrad Institution Email Year
Jea Adams Amherst College jadam1670348881s21@a1670348881mhers1670348881t.edu1670348881 Senior
Erica Albrigo Northeastern Illinois University Senior
Mouza Almualla American University of Sharjah mouza1670348881almua1670348881llaa@1670348881gmail1670348881.com1670348881 Senior
Isha Anantpurkar Cornell University Senior
Galit Anikeeva
Karina Barboza University of California, Los Angeles barbo1670348881zakar1670348881ina@u1670348881cla.e1670348881du1670348881 Senior
Gauri Batra Cornell University Junior
Daphne Blumin University of Michigan daphn1670348881eb@um1670348881ich.e1670348881du1670348881 Senior
Bella Brann Virginia Tech Junior
Chessy Chen University of California, Santa Barbara siyua1670348881nchen1670348881@ucsb1670348881.edu1670348881 Junior
Junyi Cheng University of California, Santa Barbara junyi1670348881_chen1670348881g@ucs1670348881b.edu1670348881 Junior
Sabrina Cheng Massachusetts Institute of Technology cheng1670348881sy@mi1670348881t.edu1670348881
Jessica Chisholm University of Pittsburgh JEC2416703488810@pit1670348881t.edu1670348881 Junior
Sofia Covarrubias California State University, Los Angeles scova1670348881rru@c1670348881altec1670348881h.edu1670348881 Junior
Sarah Edwards University of California, Davis
Nicole Firestone The Pennsylvania State University nicol1670348881emfir1670348881eston1670348881e3@gm1670348881ail.c1670348881om1670348881 Senior
Jocelyn Fischer University of California, Riverside Senior
Ericka Florio Kenyon College
Yadira Gaibor Missouri State University Senior
Annie Gao University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign boreg1670348881ao2@i1670348881llino1670348881is.ed1670348881u1670348881 Senior
Yifan Geng University of Southern California yifan1670348881gen@u1670348881sc.ed1670348881u1670348881 Senior
Isabella Giovanneli Virginia Tech izelg1670348881io@vt1670348881.edu1670348881 Senior
Nayab Gohar Government College University, Lahore nayab1670348881.goha1670348881r9@gm1670348881ail.c1670348881om1670348881 Senior
Kate Gold Bryn Mawr College krgol1670348881d@bry1670348881nmawr1670348881.edu1670348881 Senior
Zoë Haggard Pomona College zaha21670348881017@m1670348881ymail1670348881.pomo1670348881na.ed1670348881u1670348881 Senior
Page Harrison University of Pittsburgh page.1670348881harri1670348881son.o1670348881@gmai1670348881l.com1670348881 Senior
Zubia Hasan Johns Hopkins University zhasa1670348881n5@jh1670348881u.edu1670348881 Senior
Ryann Hee California State University, Sacramento ryann1670348881hee@c1670348881sus.e1670348881du1670348881 Senior
Erika Hoffman University of California, Los Angeles rkhof1670348881fman016703488816@gma1670348881il.co1670348881m1670348881 Senior
Katie Hughes University of Chicago Senior
Rheem Ilaiwi University of Texas at Dallas ilaiw1670348881irh@g1670348881mail.1670348881com1670348881 Junior
Nissia Indradjaja University of California, Los Angeles Junior
Kaila Jenkins University of Michigan kaila1670348881gjenk1670348881ins@g1670348881mail.1670348881com1670348881 Post-bacc
Lyric Jones Ohio University lj2661670348881018@o1670348881hio.e1670348881du1670348881 Junior
Sinclaire Jones Princeton University sejon1670348881es@pr1670348881incet1670348881on.ed1670348881u1670348881 Junior
Zoe Juneau University of California, Los Angeles zoeju1670348881neau@1670348881yahoo1670348881.com1670348881 Senior
Yonna Kim University of California, Berkeley Senior
Rey Lambert University of California, Riverside
Jiaruo Li Cornell University jl25916703488816@cor1670348881nell.1670348881edu1670348881 Senior
Sophie Li Caltech shli@1670348881calte1670348881ch.ed1670348881u1670348881 Junior
Hongyin Liu University of California, Santa Barbara hongy1670348881in@uc1670348881sb.ed1670348881u1670348881 Junior
Yifan Liu University of Washington
Victoria Lloyd Harvey Mudd College Junior
Yana Lozina University of Washington Senior
Anasuya Lyons University of California, Berkeley ana.l1670348881yons@1670348881berke1670348881ley.e1670348881du1670348881 Junior
Amanda Malnati Smith College amaln1670348881ati@s1670348881mith.1670348881edu1670348881 Junior
Riddhi Manna Indian Institute of Science, Education and Research, Pune riddh1670348881i.man1670348881na@st1670348881udent1670348881s.iis1670348881erpun1670348881e.ac.1670348881in1670348881 Junior
Brina Martinez University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Senior
Phoebe McClincy Pennsylvania State University phoeb1670348881emccl1670348881incy@1670348881gmail1670348881.com1670348881 Senior
Eden McEwen University of California, Berkeley Senior
Hana Mir Virginia Tech hanam1670348881@vt.e1670348881du1670348881 Senior
Anjali Nambrath Massachusetts Institute of Technology nambr1670348881ath@m1670348881it.ed1670348881u1670348881 Senior
Meredith Neyer University of California, Santa Barbara mered1670348881ithne1670348881yer@u1670348881csb.e1670348881du1670348881 Senior
Kimberly Paragas (Ho) Wesleyan University kpara1670348881gas@w1670348881esley1670348881an.ed1670348881u1670348881 Senior
Anna Pedersen University of California, Santa Barbara annap1670348881eders1670348881en@uc1670348881sb.ed1670348881u1670348881 Junior
Sagada Penano Stanford University sagad1670348881ap@st1670348881anfor1670348881d.edu1670348881 Junior
Polina Petrov Carnegie Mellon University polin1670348881ap@an1670348881drew.1670348881cmu.e1670348881du1670348881 Senior
Sarah Polizzotto University of California, Santa Barbara sarah1670348881poliz1670348881zotto1670348881@ucsb1670348881.edu1670348881 Senior
Gayathrini Premawardhana Cornell University gtp281670348881@corn1670348881ell.e1670348881du1670348881 Senior
Nishat Fahmida Protyasha Massachusetts Institute of Technology Junior
Stuti Raizada University of California, Berkeley stuti1670348881raiza1670348881da@be1670348881rkele1670348881y.edu1670348881 Senior
Priyadarshini Rajkumar Texas Tech University priya1670348881darsh1670348881ini.r1670348881ajkum1670348881ar@tt1670348881u.edu1670348881 Senior
Rachel Ratvasky The Pennsylvania State University Senior
Emma Rice Ohio University
Jennifer Sanchez California State University, Fullerton jenni1670348881ferhe1670348881len@c1670348881su.fu1670348881llert1670348881on.ed1670348881u1670348881
Shejuti Shahriar University of Southern California shejs1670348881hahri1670348881ar@gm1670348881ail.c1670348881om1670348881 Senior
Sowkhya Shanbhog Indian Institute of Science Education and Research – Pune
Reehan Siraj William & Mary resir1670348881aj@em1670348881ail.w1670348881m.edu1670348881 Junior
Anna Soper Harvey Mudd College asope1670348881r@hmc1670348881.edu1670348881 Junior
Chloe Taylor Harvey Mudd College cstay1670348881lor@g1670348881.hmc.1670348881edu1670348881 Junior
Susana Torres-Londono University of California, Berkeley susan1670348881atorr1670348881es20216703488811@ber1670348881keley1670348881.edu1670348881
Anne Trainer Smith College atrai1670348881ner@s1670348881mith.1670348881edu1670348881 Junior
Clare Urbanski Marquette University clare1670348881.urba1670348881nski@1670348881marqu1670348881ette.1670348881edu1670348881 Senior
Sarah Webster University of California, Santa Barbara sarah1670348881webst1670348881er@uc1670348881sb.ed1670348881u1670348881 Junior
Lauren Willett Pennsylvania State University lhw50167034888150@ps1670348881u.edu1670348881 Junior
Erin Wilson Spelman College ewils1670348881o18@s1670348881pelma1670348881n.edu1670348881 Junior
Shufan Xia Haverford College sxia11670348881@have1670348881rford1670348881.edu1670348881 Senior
Keqin Yan University of California, Los Angeles kyan2167034888133@g.1670348881ucla.1670348881edu1670348881 Junior
Ruining Zhang University of California, Santa Barbara ruini1670348881ng_zh1670348881ang@u1670348881csb.e1670348881du1670348881 Junior
Brenda Zhou University of Southern California brend1670348881azh@u1670348881sc.ed1670348881u1670348881 Senior
Elizabeth Zhou University of Southern California zhoue1670348881@usc.1670348881edu1670348881 Senior

Picture a Scientist

Special Viewing Opportunity for FUTURE Participants

Picture A Scientist Poster

The Heising-Simons Foundation is excited to share the newly released independent film, Picture a Scientist, about gender and racial bias and sexual harassment, told through the stories of female scientists. HSF was the principal funder (with Sloan Foundation also contributing, among others). We believe the film can help advance the conversation about diversity in science, and would love for Caltech to benefit from it.

The direct link to the trailer is here: https://vimeo.com/405966332

The review by Science magazine: https://blogs.sciencemag.org/books/2020/06/12/picture-a-scientist/

The review by Variety: https://variety.com/2020/film/reviews/picture-a-scientist-review-1234634363/


Fiona Harrison is the Harold A. Rosen Professor of Physics and Chair of the Division of Physics, Mathematics and Astronomy. Her research is in observational and experimental high energy astrophysics.   She is the Principal Investigator for the NASA’s NuSTAR Explorer Mission, and also uses X-ray telescopes like Chandra, XMM, and Suzaku, as well as ground based optical telescopes such as those at the Palomar and Keck Observatories to understand black holes, neutron stars, and supernova remnants. In her labs at Caltech they are developing state of the art high energy X-ray detectors and instrumentation for future space missions.

Shreya Anand is a 3rd year graduate student in Physics working with Mansi Kasliwal. As a GROWTH SURF alumni and a current member of the GROWTH collaboration, she participates in realtime searches for kilonovae and studies collapsar supernovae in optical and near-IR bands.  Shreya hopes to help promote equity, diversity, and inclusion on the Caltech campus through her roles as the FUTURE co-chair this year, 2020 vice president of WiPMA, and representative on the PMA Graduate Student Advisory Board.

Dave Hsieh is a Professor of Physics. The focus of his lab is to search for novel quantum electronic phases of matter in solids and to understand and control their properties. To study these question, they are currently developing a variety of laser-based techniques including nonlinear optical spectroscopy and microscopy, angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy and time-resolved optical spectroscopy. Dave co-founded the FUTURE program and has co-chaired the program since its inception.

CHRISTINA KNAPPStudent/Postdoc Science Talks and Discussion

Christina Knapp is the DuBridge Postdoctoral Scholar in Theoretical Physics.  Her research in condensed matter physics studies topological phases of matter and their potential application to quantum computing.  She works on a combination of projects with close connection to experiment as well as more mathematically motivated directions.

CHRISTINA WANGStudent/Postdoc Science Talks and Discussion

Christina Wang is a 3rd year graduate student in experimental high energy physics, working with Maria Spiropulu’s group on the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experiment. Her work focuses on the search for long-lived particles and the development of a new precision timing detector (MTD) that will be partially assembled at Caltech and installed in CMS in 2024 to prepare for the challenging conditions of the High-Luminosity LHC.

NITIKA YADLAPALLIStudent/Postdoc Science Talks and Discussion

Nitika Yadlapalli is a 3rd year graduate student in astronomy, working in Vikram Ravi’s group. Her current project is commissioning a new telescope called SPRITE at the Owens Valley Radio Observatory. When she’s not working on radio telescopes or analyzing data, she is acting as the 2020 President of the Women in PMA (WiPMA), volunteering with Caltech astronomy outreach, or decompressing with a good hike or rock climbing session.

MANSI KASLIWALStudent/Postdoc Science Talks and Discussion

Mansi Kasliwal is an Assistant Professor of Astronomy. The Kasliwal research group discovers and characterizes cosmic fireworks i.e. brilliant flashes of light that tell us about the lifecycle of stars and where elements are synthesized. Their primary discovery engines are two robotic, wide-field infrared and optical cameras at Palomar Observatory. They collaborate with astronomers worldwide to panchromatically characterize the discoveries across the electromagnetic spectrum. They enthusiastically pursue a multi-messenger quest to identify electromagnetic counterparts to gravitational wave events.

XIE CHENStudent/Postdoc Science Talks and Discussion

Xie Chen is a Professor of Theoretical Physics. She is a condensed matter theorist at the California Institute of Technology. She is interested in studying quantum mechanical systems with a large number of degrees of freedom and how the constituent degrees of freedom cooperate with each other to realize amazing emergent phenomena. Her group studies topics from novel phases and phase transitions in quantum condensed matter systems to quantum information applications.

ERIN-KATE ESCOBARPanel 1: Life as a graduate student

Erin-Kate Escobar is Assistant Director of the Caltech Center for Inclusion & Diversity. They provide leadership, outreach, policy, and programming support for campus-wide diversity initiatives. Erin-Kate is responsible for a range of programs at Caltech including the Women’s Engagement Board, Women Mentoring Women, LGBTQ+ support, safe zone training, and facilitating workshops and training on topics of diversity, inclusion and unconscious bias.

CORA WENTPanel 1: Life as a graduate student

Cora Went is a 5th year graduate student in Physics working in Harry Atwater’s group. In her research, she aims to develop ultrathin solar cells that use 2D transition metal dichalcogenides as efficient sunlight absorbers. Outside of research, she helped to start Women in Physics, Math, and Astronomy (WiPMA), co-chaired the inaugural FUTURE of Physics conference, and cares a lot about increasing equity, diversity and inclusion at Caltech along all axes.

OLIVIA HARPER WILKINSPanel 1: Life as a graduate student

Olivia Harper Wilkins is an astrochemist and 5th year graduate student in chemistry working in Geoff Blake’s group in Geology and Planetary Science (GPS). She primarily uses radio telescopes to tune into the invisible universe and figure out how chemistry evolves alongside massive star formation. Olivia is also passionate about science communication and effective teaching pedagogy, and she is writing and illustrating a book about astrochemistry.

MONIQUE THOMASPanel 1: Life as a graduate student
DIMITRI MAWETPanel 2: Getting into graduate school, Pt. 1

Dimitri Mawet is Professor of Astronomy at Caltech, and Senior Research Scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). Benefiting from a hybrid profile of astronomer-instrumentalist at the frontier of and between science and technologies, he develops, deploys, and scientifically exploits new advanced techniques to perform remote sensing of other worlds with the largest ground-based and space-based optical and infrared telescopes in the world. His group at Caltech and JPL focuses on high contrast imaging and spectroscopy of whole extra-solar planetary systems.

NICK HUTZLERPanel 2: Getting into graduate school, Pt. 1

Nick Hutzler is an Assistant Professor of Physics. His group performs precision measurements in atomic/molecular/optical systems to search for new fundamental particles and forces, such as those that are required to explain the imbalance between matter and anti-matter in the universe. This approach allows them to study high energy physics in a low energy, table-top setting.

HANNAH MANETSCHPanel 2: Getting into graduate school, Pt. 1

Hannah Manetsch is beginning her first year as a graduate student in Applied Physics at Caltech. During her undergraduate years at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), she worked on experimental and computational projects studying ultracold atoms and molecules, and her research interests remain in this area. She was also president of the Society for Women in Physics at UIUC this past year. Hannah participated in FUTURE 2019.

ARIAN JADBABAIEPanel 2: Getting into graduate school, Pt. 1

Arian Jadbabaie is a 4th year graduate student in experimental physics, working in Nick Hutzler’s group. His work uses atomic/molecular/optical physics techniques to probe questions relevant to high energy physics, like the origins of the matter/anti-matter imbalance. He is building an experiment that uses lasers to cool, control, and precisely measure a cold beam of polar molecules, aiming to find signatures of new particles and forces. When not tinkering in lab, and not in a pandemic, Arian enjoys sharing the mind-blowing nature of the universe with local students at science nights and other outreach events. He is also an avid cook and makes a mean stew

MIA DE LOS REYESPanel 2: Getting into graduate school, Pt. 1

Mia de los Reyes is an NSF Graduate Research Fellow in her 4th year in astronomy. She works with Evan Kirby to study the chemical evolution of nearby low-mass galaxies. Before starting her PhD, she was a Churchill Scholar at Cambridge University’s Institute of Astronomy, and worked with Rob Kennicutt to investigate star formation laws that describe how stars form on galaxy-wide scales. Mia was the FUTURE co-chair in 2019 and is active in Astronomy outreach and WiPMA. When not doing research, she enjoys rock climbing, doing aerial silks, and eating baked goods.

Nam Ung is the PMA Director of Student Programs. Nam is a resource for students and liaison among students, faculty, and administration. They work closely with the Division Chair, graduate and undergraduate option representatives, and Executive Officers in PMA to support the graduate and undergraduate programs within the division. Nam coordinates the student affairs functions within the PMA division, including student support, academic tracking, advising, graduate admissions, recruitment, student work assignments, and student engagement. Nam completed an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from CSU Long Beach, where they also currently teach a class in the graduate higher education counseling program. Prior to joining Caltech in 2019, Nam was the Director of the Office of Student Services and Enrollment Management for the Herb Alpert School of Music at UCLA.

CYNDI ATHERTONDiscussion and Closing Remarks

Cyndi Atherton (https://www.hsfoundation.org/person/cyndi-atherton/) is the director of the Science program at the Heising-Simons Foundation. Prior to joining the Foundation in 2013, Cyndi was a science program director at the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, where she oversaw portfolios that included astronomy, condensed matter physics, seismology, and other physical sciences, as well as large scale commitments to Caltech and the Thirty Meter Telescope. She earned her Ph.D. in atmospheric science from the University of California, Davis, and has a master’s degree in chemical engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a bachelor’s degree from Caltech in engineering and applied science. She conducted research in atmospheric chemistry and physics at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory prior to joining the Moore Foundation. In 2013 she joined Heising-Simons, based in Los Altos, California. The Foundation works with its many partners to advance sustainable solutions in climate and clean energy, enable groundbreaking research in science, enhance the education of our youngest learners, and support human rights for all people.

CLAUDIA AVITIADiscussion and Closing Remarks

Claudia Avitia is a program associate for the Science program at the Heising-Simons Foundation. Prior to joining the Foundation in 2017, Claudia provided technical and project coordination support at Esri, an international supplier of geographic information system (GIS) software, web GIS and geodatabase management applications. She also previously worked in human resources and finance. Claudia received her bachelor’s degree in international business from Pepperdine University.