LEAPS Alumni

Select year:

 
         
   

Reginald Archer (2007-08)
Graduate

I am a Ph.D. Student in Geography at UCSB. While my family is from Haiti, I was born in New York, NY, but was raised in Miami, FL. Haitian and other Caribbean food is some of my favorite. I enjoy all sports, especially basketball and when I'm not hard at work, I love to travel. Before coming to UCSB, I went to the University of Florida where I got a degree in Surveying and Mapping and a Master’s degree in Civil Engineering. Nowadays, I am interested in natural hazards and disasters, emergency response and recovery. I focus on Geographic Information Science (GIS) and my research will explore the use of satellite images and mapping to monitor disaster recovery in New Orleans, LA after hurricane Katrina

   
           
   

Lindsay Gary (2006-07 & 2007-08)
Graduate

I'm from Del Mar, Ca where I lived until I went to college across the country in Lewiston, Maine. At Bates College I received my BS in Physics, with a concentration in Math. While I was there I spent 3 years working at the physics help desk. Currently I'm in my third year as a Marine Science grad student, where I study the interactions of water and sand boundary layers. When I'm not in lab I love to play sports, especially field hockey. I also surf and snowboard when ever I get the chance.

   
           
   

Anothy Karmis (2007-08)
Graduate

My name is Anthony Karmis. I'm originally from a small town in northern Illinois, and I moved to Santa Barbara about two years ago for graduate school. I love California, mostly for the weather. In my spare time I enjoy playing video games, as well as going ballroom dancing, which is somewhat of an odd mix of hobbies. Lately I've started running again, and I also enjoy the fun outdoorsy things to do in California, such as hiking or going to the beach. In college I studied Physics, and I'm continuing studies in that field here at UCSB. My research is on soft condensed matter physics, which is basically the study of liquids and other gooey stuff.

   
           
   

Kimberly Kline (2007-08)
Graduate

I started out on a farm in central Pennsylvania. As a child, I spent most of my time outdoors. I have always been fascinated by how the natural world works, especially the importance of water to all life and as a destructive force that changes the surface of the Earth. I obtained a BS at Penn State University in Geology and Earth Systems, and got to study geology abroad in Australia for a semester. Now I am at UCSB studying underground petroleum spills and their interaction with aquifers –otherwise known as contaminant hydrogeology. Aside from my many nature related interests, I also enjoy salsa, rock climbing, yoga, meditation and being part of Engineers Without Borders at UCSB.

   
           
   

Thomas Kuo (2006-07 & 2007-08)
Graduate

I was pushed kicking and screaming into the deserts of California and have since lived both up and down the state's coast. When I grows up, I intend to have learned to fly, sail, and drive a stick. I enjoy playing board games such as Puerto Rico and Settlers of Catan. Whenever possible, I carry a camera and try to capture life's most random moments. I have been interested in computers and technology since a young age and, therefore, majored in electrical engineering and computer science at UC Berkeley. After graduating, I came to Santa Barbara. Here, I am a graduate student researching image and video processing and computer vision. This is my second year in LEAPS and I’m happy to be back.

   
           
     

Amir Rahimi (2007-08)
Graduate

My name is Amir Mohaymen Rahimi and I'm 25 years old. I was born in England but I was raised in Iran most of my life. I love sports specially Fencing, which was the reason I came to America. Penn State University gave me scholarship in 2001 to Fence in NCAA and luckily I got involved with the new passion on mine my research in computer Engineering. My research is in computer human interfaces. In order for a computer to be able to interact with human it first needs to see the person. Given an image/video I implement different algorithm to find people and their faces and finally recognizing the faces.

   
           
         
   

Maria del Mar Alvarez-Rohena (2006-07)
Graduate
My name is Maria del Mar Alvarez-Rohena. I was raised in Puerto Rico, and recently I moved to California to study a Doctorate in Computer Science. I enjoy camping, going to the beach, rock concerts, biking, cooking, gardening, watching movies, playing my bass guitar, and traveling (by plane, car, boat and teleportation too if it existed). I graduated top of my class at the University of Puerto Rico in Bayamon, where I received a Bachelor of Computer Science. Since 2000 I have done several summer research internships at UC Berkeley, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and IBM Research Center (in New York and California). My research interests is in Power-Aware Embedded Systems. Mainly I want to make sure the battery of your PDA, cellphone, GameBoy, GPS device or any other embedded system does not die when you most need it.

   
           
   

Luke Bawazer (2006-07)
Graduate
My name is Luke Bawazer. I grew up in a small town in southern Ohio and went to college in Ohio before moving to California for graduate school. The beaches here impress me greatly, and I get the sense that that feeling doesn’t go away even after you’ve been here a while. I always like learning new things, and I think that appreciating the world around us is really what science is all about. I love playing soccer and I also like toying around with my surf board and my guitar. My degrees (B.S. and M.S.) are in Materials Science and Engineering from the Ohio State University, and right now I’m working towards a PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at UCSB. My research is done in Professor Dan Morse’s laboratory, where I study the ways that hard materials, like bones and sea shells, are made by biological organisms.

 

   
           
 

 

 

Joey Durham (2006-07)
Graduate
I was born and raised in California, but my family did a lot of traveling. I've been to 23 countries, the Galapagos islands, and the Amazon rainforest. Here in Santa Barbara, I do a lot of road biking, cooking, and ultimate frisbee. I also write my own computer games! Before coming to UCSB, I went to Carleton College in Minnesota and majored in Physics. I'm now in the Controls, Dynamical Systems, and Robotics program in Mechanical Engineering and beginning my work on bifurcation control.

 

   
           
   

Lindsay Gary (2006-07)
Graduate
I'm from Del Mar, Ca where I lived until I went to college across the country in Lewiston, Maine. At Bates College I received my BS in Physics, with a concentration in Math. While I was there I spent 3 years working at the physics help desk. Currently I'm in my third year as a Marine Science grad student, where I study the interactions of water and sand boundary layers. When I'm not in lab I love to play sports, especially field hockey. I also surf and snowboard when ever I get the chance.

 

   
           
   

Thomas Kuo (2006-07)
Graduate
Call me Thomas Kuo. I was born in the desert town of Ridgecrest, California, and mostly raised there after a few years in Georgia. I like to play board games, and I spend much of my time listening to podcasts and surfing the internet. I got a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the University of California, Berkeley. I'm pursuing a Ph.D. at UCSB concentrating on computer vision and image processing.

 

   
           
   

Patrick O'Neill (2006-07)
Graduate
I grew up in Ventura, CA and played soccer and tennis for Ventura High School. I earned my BS in physics from UCSB in the College of Creative Studies. I am currently doing my graduate research at the interface of optics and biophysics at UCSB. I love to surf and play intermural soccer.

 

 

   
           
   

Mike Quinn (2006-07)
Graduate
I was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri. I attended the University of Missouri - Rolla, where I earned Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Electrical Engineering. After leaving UMR, I worked for General Motors in Detroit, Michigan. At GM, I worked in both the design and manufacturing divisions of GM's truck division. I am beginning my fifth year as a Ph.D. student in UCSB's department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. My research involves video processing and analysis in large networks of cameras. One of my projects can be viewed near the rear door of UCSB's Davidson
Library. In my free time, I like to bike (I own 3 bikes), surf, and sometimes host a radio show on KCSB. My career in engineering began when I was in junior high where, with the help of some excellent teachers, I developed a liking for mathematics, physics, and electronics.

 


   
         
   

Tamara Avetisyan (2005-06)
Undergraduate

 

 

   
           
   

Josh Bader (2005-06)
Graduate
Josh Bader is originally from Omaha, Nebraska and received his B.S. in biological sciences and geography from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in May 2002. Presently, he is in his third year of work towards a PhD. in geography at UCSB. Josh's research involves modeling the distribution of West Nile virus from surveillance data. Science became an integral part of Josh's academic life after participating in an after school science club in junior high. Outside of graduate student life, Josh is an avid college football fan and enjoys traveling whenever, and wherever, he can.

 

   
           
 

 

 

Sam Havens (2005-06)
Undergraduate
Sam Havens has lived in sunny Southern California his whole life. He was born in Santa Monica, raised in the greater Los Angeles area, and will graduate this June with a B.S. in Creative Studies with a Physics emphasis from the College of Creative Studies at UCSB. He tutored the physical sciences in high school and enjoyed the experience so much that he plans on teaching it in the future, and is getting a healthy dose of it now with the LEAPS program! In his spare time he enjoys playing guitar and singing for his band, spending time with family and friends, and basketball and baseball (participating and watching.)

 

 

   
     
   
   

Liz Keller (2005-06)
Graduate
Liz Keller is a 5th year Ph.D. student at UCSB. She grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and received her B.A. in physics and philosophy from Dartmouth College in 2001. As an undergraduate, Liz decided to pursue physics because she was intrigued by the apparent paradoxes built into quantum mechanics and modern theory. Her current research focuses on topics in theoretical quantum chaos. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, camping, snowboarding, and running. She is also a DJ at the campus radio station, KCSB.

 

   
           
   

Mark Novak (2005-06)
Graduate
Mark is originally from Geauga County, Ohio. He attended Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland for BS and MS degrees in Materials Science and Engineering. After a brief stint as a computer programmer, he moved to Santa Barbara in 2002 to pursue a PhD in Materials, focusing on high-temperature ceramics for aerospace and gas turbine applications. Mark is a bike commuter and enthusiast, an occasional runner, and an expert waffle chef. He has been known to make some of the best cookies, sandwiches, and pasta salads in Santa Barbara County. His interest in science stems from a sense of curiosity and a desire to understand more about the world.

 

   
     
   
   

Bridget Owens (2005-06)
Graduate
Bridget Owens was born and raised on Long Island, New York. She received her B.S. in Chemistry from Purdue University in May 2003. Currently, Bridget is pursuing a PhD in Chemistry with an emphasis in Inorganic and Photochemistry at UCSB. Bridget originally became interested in science at a young age by persistently asking questions and realizing over the years that science had the answers. Bridget is excited to return to the LEAPS program for a second year, and to share her enthusiasm about science by working in the classroom with 8th grade students. She hopes that bringing her curiosity about science into the classroom will make the subject less intimidating and more interesting for such young students. Outside of school, Bridget loves to travel, spend time on the beach, and play tennis.

 

   
     
   
   

Mogan Page (2005-06)
Graduate
Morgan Page is from the small town of Oskaloosa, Iowa. She received her B.A. in physics and mathematics at Grinnell College before coming to UCSB to pursue a doctorate in physics. She currently studies earthquake rupture dynamics. In her spare time, Morgan enjoys card games and tango dancing.

 

   
           
   

Mike Quinn (2005-06)
Graduate
Mike Quinn was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri. He earned both his bachelor's and master's degrees in Electrical Engineering at the University of Missouri - Rolla. He then worked on both the design and manufacturing departments of General Motors' Truck Division in Detroit, Michigan. Mr. Quinn is beginning his fourth year in the Ph.D. program in UCSB's Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. His research involves image and video processing for surveillance and virtual reality applications. In his free time, Mr. Quinn races with the UCSB cycling team, hosts a weekly radio show on KCSB, and occasionally attempts to surf. His career in engineering began in junior high where, with the help of some excellent teachers, he developed a liking for mathematics, physics, and electronics.

 

   
     
   
   

Freddie Sanchez (2005-06)
Undergraduate
Freddie Sanchez grew up in Los Angeles, CA and currently in his third year as a Mechanical Engineer at UCSB. As he was growing up he enjoyed looking at his older brother sketch and draw buildings; his older brother was studying to be an architect. He found it interesting to see how a simple sketch was to be formed into a real building. His passion for engineering arose from looking at his brother form wonderful sketches yet his motivation to pursue engineering as a career was established when he took physics in High School. During class one of the assignments was to build a bridge made from toothpicks and the purpose of it was to compete with his classmates to see which model would hold the most weight before it collapsed. The extensive planning and team work motivated Freddie and now he is looking forward to one day design a bridge of his own connecting cities together. As he works to finish his engineering degree he sets time aside to help students understand how important science and math really are. He has tutored middle and high school students making it his biggest hobby. He is still a child at heart because he likes to collect toy cars dreaming that one day he might own a real version of one of them and cross those bridges that were designed and planned by him.

 

   
     
   
   

Jerry Thomas (2005-06)
Graduate
Jerry Thomas grew up in a city called Clovis in California's central valley. A few great high school teachers helped him to develop a love for science and steered him towards engineering disciplines, and that is where he has been ever since. In 2003 he completed his B.S. in chemical engineering at Stanford University, and currently studies chemical engineering at UCSB as a third year Ph.D. candidate. His research is focused on engineering peptides with tumor targeting specificity for the development of targeted cancer nanotherapies. Outside of the lab he enjoys most outdoor activities such as cycling, hiking, camping, tennis, basketball, ultimate frisbee, and working with the Boy Scouts' Troop 6.

 

   
           
 

 

 

Stephanie Wilkinson (2005-06)
Graduate
Ms. Wilkinson was born and raised in Columbia City, Indiana. She received her honors B.S. in chemistry from Ball State University in 2003. Ms. Wilkinson is currently in her third year at UCSB pursuing her Ph.D. in biochemistry with hopes of teaching in the future. Her current research involves biomolecular materials, DNA binding proteins, and tRNA synthetases. Ms. Wilkinson became interested in science when a mentor took notice in her and inspired her to study the subject. In her free time, Ms. Wilkinson enjoys playing with her dog, reading, running, socializing, and shopping.

 

   
       
   

Lauren Aubin (2004-05)
Graduate
Lauren Aubin was born and raised in the very small state of Rhode Island. She received her B.S. in chemistry from the University of Rhode Island, and is currently a Ph.D. student in chemistry at UCSB, where she likes to study atoms with her microscope. Lauren enjoys playing soccer and tennis, and going hiking and camping. She also likes to play the piano and go dancing with her friends. Most of all, Lauren loves to teach science!!

 

 

   
   

Paul Banicevic (2004-05)
Graduate
I have been a resident of California for the past sixteen years, and have been living in Santa Barbara for the past five years. I enjoy numerous outdoor activities, including surfing, snowboarding, and SCUBA diving. I earned my Bachelors of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering at UCSB in 2003, where I specialized in MicroElectroMechanical Systems (MEMS). MEMS is a relatively new field in engineering, which enables researchers to make machines operating on the microscale. A micron is a millionth of a meter, with the diameter of a human hair, for example, being on the order of 100 microns. Building machines this size has many advantages, such as being highly efficient, light, cheap, sensitive, and portable.
As a second year graduate student at UCSB in the Mechanical Engineering Department, I am conducting research in the area of BioMEMS, which integrates these tiny machines with Biology. Research in this field will help aid in the detection and cure of many diseases such as cancer and AIDS. After the completion of my M.S. and Ph.D. at UCSB, I hope to work in industry where I can use the knowledge I have gained to help further our Nation's space program in the detection of extraterrestrial life. After a few years of industry experience, you will find me frequenting the moon and Mars as an astronaut.
I believe science and engineering are important fields in our society today. With the knowledge gained from studying these fields one can help find cures for diseases, design spaceships to explore our Solar System, create renewable energy sources to power our cars, and advance current propulsion systems for our airplanes to help people better keep in touch. Bringing LEAPS fellows into the classrooms helps to reduce the student to teacher ratio and gives the students the excitement of working with real life scientists and engineers. This will allow the students to more effectively learn the concepts needed to participate in these exciting fields that will enable them to make these discoveries.

 

   
 

 

 

Adam Brill (2004-05 and 2003-04)
Graduate

 

 

   
   

Arturo Dominguez (2004-05)
Undergraduate
I was born in Pt. Hueneme, CA, shortly after I moved to Mexico where I attended elementary school (up to 3rd grade). My family then moved back to Oxnard, CA where I've lived since until I came to UCSB. After studying for two years at Ventura Community College, I transferred to UCSB at the start of the 2003-2004 school year. I am currently working on my Biochemistry Bachelors in Science. With this degree I would like to go on to Pharmacy School in California to pursue a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm. D.) degree and work either in retail pharmacy or go on to work doing research for a pharmaceutical company. Struggling through my science classes, I know how hard it is for students to pursue the science fields. Therefore, I see LEAPS as a great opportunity to be a positive role model and to motivate students to succeed in their education.

 

   
     
   
   

Marcos Garcia (2004-05)
Undergraduate

 

   
     
   
   

Mike Grundmann (2004-05)
Graduate
Michael Grundmann was born in California but was raised in Central Massachusetts. He earned his B.S. in Applied and Engineering Physics from Cornell University before moving to UCSB to pursue his PhD in electrical engineering. He researches the crystal growth and design for solid state light emitting devices. Outside of work, Michael enjoys mountain biking, road biking, hiking and food.

 

   
     
   
   

Heather Hertema (2004-05)
Graduate
Heather is a third-year graduate student in the Chemistry Department at UCSB, performing research in bioorganic chemistry. She moved here from MI, where she graduated from Alma College with a B.S. in biochemistry. Heather is very lucky to have had a lot of positive exposure to science at an early age, with a father in science and growing up in a town with a large chemical company. Because many children do not grow up with the same advantage, Heather shares her experience and excitement for chemistry by performing chemistry demonstrations for students of all ages along the central coast, and annually at her elementary school in MI. She hopes that by doing so, students will be less intimidated by science, find it more exciting, and possibly pursue it themselves as a career. She is hoping to do the same for the students she works with in the LEAPS program.
In her free time Heather likes to run, bike and hang out with her friends. She has completed several marathons and has ridden her bike with her father across Iowa, Washington, and Northern CA. The next state she is hoping to ride across is Vermont, because it will give her a perfect opportunity to indulge in her favorite food, Ben and Jerry's ice cream!

 

   
     
   
   

Jens-Uwe Kuhn (2004-05)
Graduate
I am a fourth-year PhD student in the Chemistry Department at UCSB, where I pursue research in the area of bioinorganic photochemistry. I came to UCSB after receiving an undergraduate degree in chemistry and a M.S. in environmental chemistry. I am also very excited to have the opportunity of being part of LEAPS, which we hope will bring even more scientific curiosity and enthusiasm into a fun classroom environment.

 

   
     
   
   

Grace Lee (2004-05)
Undergraduate
Grace Lee is a 4th year undergraduate in Electrical Engineering at UCSB. She lived in Sun-Moon-Lake (http://www.traveltaiwan.com/e/g3.htm ) in Taiwan for the first 10 years of her life before moving to San Jose, California. LEAPS is an exciting opportunity that allows her to bring more enthusiasm into the science classrooms. She is currently doing undergraduate research on characterization of MOCVD grown light-emitting-diode devices. Outside of academia, Grace enjoys swimming, scuba diving, sailing, working on various art projects and having good conversations. She also loves traveling with her family, including her dog, Kimmie!

 

   
     
   
   

Emily Meyer (2004-05 and 2003-04)
Graduate
I received my undergrad degrees in mathematics and physics from MIT and am currently a third year graduate student in the physics department at UCSB. I've always loved math and science, and I hope that my involvement with the LEAPS program will allow me to pass along some of that enthusiasm to the students I work with. Through interaction with myself and the other fellows, these students have an opportunity to see the diversity that exists within the world of science and to see that there can be a place for them in that world if they choose to pursue it.

 

   
     
   
 

 

 

Bridget Owens (2004-05)
Graduate
Bridget Owens received her B.S. in Chemistry from Purdue University in May 2003. She is currently pursuing a PhD in chemistry with her research focus on inorganic and photochemistry. Outside of school, Bridget loves to travel. She also enjoys movies, the beach, and shopping.

 

   
     
   
   

Morgan Page (2004-05)
Graduate
Morgan Page is from the small town of Oskaloosa, Iowa. She received her B.A. in physics and mathematics at Grinnell College before coming to UCSB to pursue a doctorate in physics. She currently studies earthquake rupture dynamics. In her spare time, Morgan enjoys card games and tango dancing.

 

   
     
   
   

Joe Summers (2004-05 and 2003-04)
Graduate
I'm a 4th year PhD student at UCSB where I do research on photonic circuits
with the Optical Communications and Photonics Networks Group. I was born and raised in central Missouri, and I went to college at Northwestern University where I majored in electrical engineering (B.S. 2000). Just like everyone else who's involved in this program, I'm really excited to be a part of LEAPS! It's fun to relate science and technology to people of all ages, and I hope
to bring the joy of the classroom back into the lab.

   
     
   
   

Jing Xu (2004-05)
Graduate
I am a forth year PhD candidate at UCSB in experimental condensed matter physics. I received my BS degree with honors in physics from Caltech, where I conducted researches in observational cosmology, and high energy physics. My research path stemmed from an outreach program at Berkeley High School, sponsored by NASA and NSF. I am happy to be part of LEAPS, and love it that I can start contributing to the outreach system.


 

Mikey Ando (2003-04 and 2002-03)
Undergraduate
I've just returned from an REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates) program in Wyoming where I worked with Professor Chip Kobulnicky on exploring a previously unseen gas cloud in our galactic plane with the help of WIRO (Wyoming Infrared Observatory), their 2.3 meter telescope located on Jelm Mountain, and the Spitzer Space Telescope. There I learned a lot of the necessary skills to take, correct, and analyze raw data from telescopes, and now, as I finish up my last year of studies for a degree in physics from UCSB, I will continue the analysis with Professor Crystal Martin as my adviser and apply to graduate schools in astronomy. As much as I need the extra time to finish everything I need to do my final year I know that I'll miss LEAPS, and I hope I'll be able to come back and visit if they ever need anyone to talk about astronomy.
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Brandon Barnes (2003-04)
Graduate
After receiving my Masters degree in Electrical & Computer Engineering at UCSB, I have taken a position as a software engineer with Mentor Graphics Corporation at their Silicon Valley Headquarters. Mentor Graphics is a technology leader in electronic design automation (EDA), providing software and hardware design solutions that enable companies to develop better electronic products faster and more cost-effectively. The company offers innovative products and solutions that help engineers overcome the design challenges they face in the increasingly complex worlds of board and chip design. I am looking forward to this new and exciting career and am looking forward to exercising the many skills I gained from being a LEAPs fellow.
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David Follman (2003-04)
Graduate
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Sarah Estrada (2003-04)
Graduate
In 2003-04, I was a LEAPS teaching fellow in my final year of grad school at UCSB. I obtained my Ph.D. in Materials Science & Engineering, after working with Professor Evelyn Hu in fabricating, characterizing, and optimizing the n-AlGaAs/p-GaAs/n-GaN double heterojunction bipolar transistor, the first transistor to be formed via the novel wafer fusion technique. In the summer of 2004, I'll begin a two-year Presidential Management Fellowship, working for the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center as a Program Management Analyst. Working in science and technology policy, I'll analyze scientific research in order to directly assist policy-makers with key decisions. I'm excited that my work will contribute to the government's and society's awareness, valuation, and application of science in protecting and improving our quality of life and the environment. By encouraging and training me to teach conceptual physics at Santa Barbara High School, LEAPS gave me the invaluable opportunity to cultivate and practice the skills I'll soon need to communicate scientific concepts to non-Ph.D.s and non-engineers. By mentoring students at the pre-college level, I was happy to introduce them to the importance, the fun, and the accessibility of the field of science. My hope is that students enjoy learning science and perhaps eventually choose to become scientists themselves. Most of all, I'd love for students to appreciate science for its marvel, its ubiquitousness, and its immense potential for good.
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Joseph Gomez (2003-04)
Undergraduate
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Lisa Manning (2003-04)
Graduate
I taught Ms. Garza's eigth graders and ran an after school science club at Santa Barbara Junior High School during my tenure as a LEAPS fellow. We worked on in-class science projects which was an amazing amount of work but had truly amazing results -- the general science students presented Power Point presentations on their own science projects! In science club we did lots of hands-on learning involving things like goop and rockets.

After participating in LEAPS my first year as a graduate student in the physics department at UCSB, I applied for and received an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. I am currently studying complex systems, using concepts from control theory, statistical physics, and probability theory to understand why very large, catastrophic events happen more often than "normally" expected in complex systems like power grids or the internet. I hope to complete a pH.D thesis and become a professor and researcher in physics. I plan on helping out again this year with science projects at the middle school, as well as participating in other outreach programs like Physics Circus. The LEAPS program helped me focus on communication and community at a time when most other first year graduate students became hermetic. I think the experience will prove invaluable in my academic career.
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Margaret Richards (2003-04 and 2002-03)
Graduate
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Sylvia Salinas (2003-04)
Graduate
While in the LEAPS program, I worked with Marilyn Garza during the summer in the Summer Science class, which was a class of incoming junior high school students. During the school year I worked with Melissa Woods in her high school Physics class. At the same time I was working on a Master degree in Business Economics at UCSB after having acquired a Bachelor degree in Electrical Engineering. Upon completion of my Master's program I began employment with NAVAIR. NAVAIR is a military government company that provides the NAVY with their needed equipment. I was hired under the Acquisitions Intern Program, which is a two and half year full-time program where I am able to rotate through different groups within the Logistics, Engineering, and Financial Management divisions, to name a few, within NAVAIR. When the program is finished, I will be placed in one of the rotations as my permanent position. In this program I will have the opportunity to explore different career paths and have the chance to travel. My LEAPS experience has been meaningful and unforgettable. I miss the students, fellows, staff, and teachers. I learned so much from the program and know that future fellows will also learn and utilize the teaching resources provided by LEAPS.
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Stephen Wecksler (2003-04 and 2002-03)
Graduate
After working for two years in the LEAPS program, I decided to focus on research so that I could finish my degree in the next year or so. I’m in my fourth year of graduate school, and currently working in the Ford group earning my Ph.D. in Chemistry at UCSB. My research is focused on the synthesis and characterization of metal nitrosyl compounds that can be photochemically activated for pharmaceutical purposes. After I finish my degree, I will probably try and get straight into industry or take a post-doc in biochemistry to enter into the biotechnology or envionmental chemistry fields.
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Kok Cheng (2002-03)
Undergraduate
I am currently a graduate student in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Stanford University. I will be graduating with my MS degree in June, 2004, and then hopefully transition into the PhD program the following year. My field of interests include the structural design, manufacturing, and analysis of smart structures and structural health monitoring with an emphasis in aircraft aerodynamics and design. I recieved my BS in Mechanical Engineering at UCSB in 2003, the same year that LEAPS first launched. The LEAPS fellowship broadened my views about science education and the impact it has with students and teachers. I gained valuable oral communication skills necessary for the success of science educators as well as graduate students through presenting scientific concepts in classroom lectures and in one-on-one student-teacher sessions. LEAPS was a very enjoyable and unforgetable experience.
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Julie Correa (2002-03)
Graduate
I am now a postdoctoral researcher in Germany at the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität in Münster and I am funded by the NSF as an International Postdoctoral Researcher. I am in Germany, rather than somewhere warmer like Italy, because my husband needs to finish his PhD work in Geophysics here. Germany is a far cry from Santa Barbara and I have finally experienced all the seasons I heard about but never experienced growing up on the West Coast. Weather aside, my current research is different from my PhD research. I now study the magnetic properties of the surface and bulk of thin magnetic films. Work here is very interesting, the equipment is state-of-the-art and my work group, headed by Prof. Markus Donath, is quite nice. Everyone at the university speaks English, so adjusting was not hard, but I have tried hard to learn German so I could exist outside the lab, too. The most obvious effect LEAPS has had on my current pursuits is that I believe that my experience with LEAPS really helped me get a postdoc fellowship from the NSF. Aside from that though, the LEAPS program helped me get better at working in groups, which has been an advantage here. While at UCSB I worked primarily alone in my own laboratory and here I work with several other researchers on the same machine and group working skills are a must. I haven't done anything more in the vein of classroom experience like in LEAPS because my German isn't too good, I can't yet communicate very well with younger German students. I won't get into the huge cultural differences between the U.S. and Germany, but I think that a program that works to raise the general scientific knowledge of students, make them aware of potential careers in science and demystify the wizard-scientist image like LEAPS does would be helpful here as well. I hope all the current LEAPS fellows are enjoying their year and will someday find an exciting and glamorous international scientific job like mine!
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Chris McKenney (2002-03)
Graduate
I participated in the LEAPs during the 2002-2003 school year, my first year as a graduate student in the physics department at UCSB. I am now doing research on detectors for use in experimental cosmology with Phil Lubin's group. After doing LEAPs, I have become involved in other mentoring programs, working with several undergraduates throughout the year. During the summer of 2004 I am working with high school students through the CNSI Apprentice Researcher program.
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Logan McLeod (2002-03)
Graduate
After finishing my year in the LEAPS program and receiving my master's degree in Business Economics from UCSB I had the opportunity to attend graduate school at the Georgia Institute of Technology. I started here last fall (2003) on a PhD track in Mechanical Engineering. My research involves the design, fabrication, and characterization of a micro-scale hydrogen reactor/purifier to provide on-demand hydrogen for portable fuel cells. The basic idea is to utilize a stable liquid fuel (such as methanol) to provide the fuel cell with hydrogen rather than transporting and storing large amounts of gaseous hydrogen. In addition to academics, Georgia Tech has provided ample opportunity for me to get involved in various outreach programs. As vice-chair of the Georgia Tech chapter of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) I have assisted in organizing several events allowing Tech students to interact with local high schools and get involved with science projects and various design competitions. My year spent in the LEAPS program at UCSB has not only enlightened me to the importance of such outreach but provided me with invaluable tools for its effective implementation.
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Chuck Schelle (2002-03)
Graduate
LEAPS was a great opportunity. During my time, I had the chance to work with Melissa Woods at SBHS along with Logan McCleod and Kok Cheng from UCSB. I actually enjoyed it so much that I've decided to become a HS physics teacher. I look forward to teaching a project-based curriculum and essentially 'performing science' for an audience that is required to be in attendance. Currently, I'm taking steps to become a teacher at Western Washington University, in Bellingham WA. I expect to complete my certification by June of 2005 and subsequently teach in the Washington public schools.
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    Shera Wu (2002-03)
Undergraduate
I am working on the Global Hawk Program at Northrop Grumman located in San Diego. I am in the Avionics group; where I work on the harnessing and wiring schematics on Pro-E. The only class that I took in school applicable to work was Pro-E, which I had for one quarter. It was my favorite class and the reason that I stayed in mechanical engineering. Working is okay, but school was definitely more fun. I'm thinking of going back to get my master's as soon as I feel settled in the working environment.
I enjoyed working with the after school kids in the Lego Mindstorms class because these were kids who came on their own time and with their own motivation to learn. They showed up with lots of energy and were always excited to get started. I was more like a buddy to them instead of a teacher, and the legos were more interactive than being in the classroom working on labs. I didn't enjoy labs as much because there were more kids and I preferred focusing on smaller groups.
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