skip to main content
Home  /  People Spotlights

People Spotlights

All Spotlights

Tomas Wexler
  • Undergraduate Student, Mechanical and Civil Engineering

Tomás Wexler

Hi! I’m a fourth-year undergraduate majoring in Mechanical Engineering with an interest in heat transfer devices, particularly two-phase devices such as heat pipes. Currently, I’m interning at JPL, focusing on the applications of additive manufacturing on thermal management systems, where my main project involves the integration of heat pipes into an additively manufactured electric propulsion thruster. In past summers, I’ve worked with Professors Jane Bae and Beverley McKeon on models for wall-bounded turbulent flows that aim to uncover the underlying physics of coherent structures in those flows. I’ve also had the opportunity to TA ME12A and B, the introductory undergraduate Mechanics classes with Professor Michael Mello. Outside of academics, I’m the president of Dabney House, one of the eight undergraduate houses on campus, which has been an extremely supportive and fun space throughout my time here. In my free time, I enjoy baking desserts, playing board games or other tabletop games, and watching bad movies with my friends.

Anna Gorgogianni
  • Postdoc, Mechanical and Civil Engineering

Anna Gorgogianni

I am a postdoctoral scholar in Mechanical and Civil Engineering, working with Professor José Andrade. My current research focuses on data-driven multiscale modeling of the failure behavior of granular media. Interacting with the Caltech community during these last two years has been a continuous source of inspiration to me. Prior to joining Caltech, I was a doctoral student at the University of Minnesota, working on continuum finite element modeling of quasibrittle fracture, in both deterministic and stochastic settings. My interest in mechanics and fracture phenomena was largely developed due to my father being a physicist. Coming from Greece, I enjoy the California climate, even though it can make me feel nostalgic at times. In my free time, I enjoy going to concerts, socializing, and exploring big cities.

Abraham Belayneh
  • Undergraduate Student, Computing and Mathematical Sciences

Abraham Belayneh

Hey! I am a rising third-year undergraduate student majoring in computer science. I have a strong interest in cloud infrastructure and server-side development. For the past two summers, I have been working with NVIDIA on their GPU technology, leading the development of cloud software to improve resource utilization for engineers within a wide span of engineering teams. As for areas of interest outside of academia, I take great pleasure in photography, creating illusive one-shots for my business and bringing visions to fruition. Additionally, I am a part of an undergraduate band known as ÆTHER where I play the bass guitar.

Michael Vanier
  • Teaching Professor, Computing and Mathematical Sciences

Michael Vanier (PhD '01)

Before joining Caltech as an instructor in 2001, I was a graduate student in Computation and Neural Systems (CNS). I'm a self-taught programmer, which has been an advantage for me because programming still feels more like a hobby than a job. My interests include functional programming languages (like OCaml and Haskell), proof assistants, and the implementation of programming languages. I love teaching Caltech students because they are so quick and interested in everything. I enjoy skydiving, music, board/video games, and learning Japanese. My wife, Denise, used to be a standup comedian, and now teaches political science at Pierce College. We bonded over our shared love of comedy. My advice to students is this: find what you love and do that. Students are rightfully worried about getting a good job after graduation, but it’s more important to leave Caltech having a clear idea of what your passion is.

Douglas Hofmann
  • Visiting Associate, Applied Physics and Materials Science

Doug Hofmann

I am a Senior Research Scientist and Technologist at NASA JPL, where I have worked since finishing my PhD in materials science and engineering at Caltech. I started at Caltech in 2004 as a graduate student after completing my BS and MS degrees in mechanical engineering at UC San Diego. My research passion has always been metallurgy, with a focus on manufacturing. After my PhD, I briefly worked in industry before founding JPL’s Metallurgy Facility in 2010, a lab designed to study new materials and manufacturing technologies for extreme environment spacecraft. In 2012, I was fortunate enough to be awarded the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers from President Obama for my work in this area. I have been teaching continuously at Caltech since 2010, including graduate level Structure and Bonding in Solids and undergraduate level Mechanical Behavior of Materials Laboratory Course. My wife, Carrie, and I met as graduate students at Caltech and now we have four kids together.

Taeyoon Jeon
  • Senior Research Scientist, Applied Physics and Materials Science

Taeyoon Jeon

Hi, I'm a Senior Research Scientist in the Applied Physics department. I have been with Caltech for 7 years, and I initially joined as a postdoctoral scholar. During my time here, I have focused on making a portable mid-infrared spectrometer and spectral imaging device. This research has led me to start a company. Additionally, I'm interested in nanofabrication and building a vacuum system from scratch. Currently, I'm working on building a next generational deposition system in Linde Hall. When I'm not pursuing these works, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends.