Service Award Biographies - 2014
The full list of the 2014 honorees is also available.
Jennifer Daniels started at JPL in June 1969, joining Caltech after graduating from Pasadena City College. She has worked in various financial areas, spending the last 35 years with Facilities. In 2003, she was assigned to the Central Utility Plant, where she assists with the administrative needs and the preparation of the utility bills for campus. Jennifer is a pleasure to work with and always ready to help. She enjoys spending her off time with her family and friends, as well as sewing and crafting.
JoAnn Boyd began her Caltech career in bioinformation systems and computer science in Jorgensen Lab in 1976, followed by a sojourn north for school and a quick change of mind that resulted in a return to Caltech to work in Kellogg Radiation Lab. She has had subsequent assignments in the Institute's Theoretical AstroPhysics Including Relativity (TAPIR) and High Energy Physics groups. Venturing out of PMA, JoAnn moved to Applied Mathematics, where she provided administrative support to Professor Herb Keller's Center for Research on Parallel Computation. When her next position in Architectural and Engineering Services was phased out due to reorganization, JoAnn was pleased to return to TAPIR as administrative assistant to Kip Thorne; she now handles all of TAPIR's administrative needs. In addition to designing and creating silver jewelry, JoAnn makes pottery and quilts and has dabbled a bit in stained glass. She also enjoys riding her motorcycles locally and long distance when the opportunity arises, as well as traveling abroad and to Hawaii.
Kar Cheung began working at Caltech in 1978 as a computer operator in Booth Computing Center. In 1987, he began working as a computer/printer hardware technician. Over the course of Kar's career, the information technology group has changed names many times, and he has enjoyed working for the Computing Center, the Campus Computing Organization, Information Technology Services, and Information Management Systems and Services.
Bruce Cuney spent his high school years in Encinitas, California, where he enjoyed surfing and playing guitar in local bands. Bruce served with the U.S. Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and Air Medal. In 1978, he joined the Palomar Observatory staff as a relief night assistant, a split-shift job comprising two nights and three days of work per week. During his night shifts, Bruce drove the 200-inch Hale Telescope around the sky for astronomers; during his day shifts he serviced the telescope, also taking on painting and carpentry duties. After a year, Bruce began working full time as the observatory senior painter and carpenter. His skills as a craftsperson continued to grow, which made him the ideal choice for physical plant group supervisor in 2008. Off duty, Bruce enjoys taking cruises with his wife, Dana, and spending time with his three daughters and four grandchildren. In addition, Bruce has donated his skills to many causes on Palomar Mountain and around San Diego County. Bruce and Dana plan to retire to Arizona later this year, where they will continue to enjoy traveling, playing music, and seeing the sites on his dual sport motorcycle.
Maria De La Torre immigrated to the United States from Zacatecas, Mexico, in 1973. She began working at Caltech in 1979 as the custodian for Dabney House. Maria advanced through the ranks, and in 1996 she was promoted to lead custodian, a position that was instrumental to the opening of Avery House. Since then, she has supervised the daily cleaning operations of Avery as well as of off-campus student housing. Maria takes a lot of pride on her job, and she is very devoted to helping Caltech's students. During her spare time, she takes classes and enjoys spending time with her family, especially her husband of 35 years and her four children
Marcia Hudson is a Pasadena native, and in 1977, when she was looking for a job, she zeroed in on Caltech as an obvious choice for employment. She lucked into a temporary secretarial position with Professor Brad Sturtevant in aeronautics, transitioning to full time work after six months. Marcia was with EAS until 1996, when she accepted a position in GPS, where she has remained ever since. During her years at Caltech, she has established many collegial relationships as well as enduring friendships with an amazing collection of people, including Ken Farley, Jean Grinols, Hans Liepmann, Marlys Murray, and Ed Stolper. Marcia is married to just about the best man ever, Norbert, and has two extraordinary children, Shiona and David, all of whom make her life outside of Caltech wonderfully complete.
Loma Karklins never guessed that her association with Caltech would prove so enduring when she was hired as the transcriber for the Archives and Special Collections' Oral History Project. Over the years, she has had the good fortune to work under Judy Goodstein and Shelley Erwin, who have given her opportunities to build skills and knowledge as well as trusted her with increased responsibility. Loma's duties include processing manuscript collections; maintaining the reading room; aiding campus students, faculty, staff, and administration with research requests; and providing Caltech's Development and Institute Relations office, as well as many outside authors, publishers, and filmmakers, with photos, footage, and other historical materials that document Caltech's legacy. Outside of work, Loma is passionate about traveling, attending the theater, gardening in her backyard, having amazing dinners with good friends, and spending quality time with her husband, Matiss, and their children, Liene and Varis.
Howard McCallon came to JPL in 1978 for the Infrared Astronomical Satellite after a decade of working on the manned space program, including Apollo and Skylab. Howard was hired to develop algorithms for refining telescope-pointing knowledge, and he has been doing astrometry ever since. He joined the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC) in 1985, working on the Spitzer, 2MASS, and, most recently, WISE projects. Although his degrees are in aerospace engineering, Howard has had been an avid hobbyist of astronomy all his adult life, and his participation in cutting-edge astronomy projects at Caltech has been a dream come true. He's been able to walk halls trod by the likes of Russell Porter, George Hale, and Fritz Zwicky, go on observing runs to Palomar Mountain, photograph comet Halley from Mauna Kea, and spend time inside the tube assembly of the 48-inch Schmidt camera on Palomar Mountain while a new plate holder was being installed. Howard once had a choice between taking an expenses-paid trip to Paris or traveling to Mount Hopkins to operate the 2MASS telescope during its commissioning. You guessed it; he picked Mount Hopkins. When he thinks about his job, the phrase "kid in a candy store" comes to mind, and he has been privileged to work with some truly exceptional people over the last 35 years.
Jorge Sosa has seen a lot of changes since he began working at the Athenaeum in November 1978. He started as a dishwasher and, through hard work and dedication, advanced to the position of second cook. Working for several different chefs over the years, Jorge has learned a lot and loves what he does. His favorite part of his job has been working alongside the other Athenaeum staff members, with whom he has built great friendships. Jorge is a happy person and a jokester, but also humble—he appreciates life and all the opportunities that have come his way. He and his wife of 30 years have four children and two grandchildren. Jorge enjoys spending time with his grandsons, ages three and five, and watching them play sports, as well as gardening and working on his house.
Francisco Soto came to the United States from Zacatecas, Mexico, in 1976, settling in Pasadena. He began working at Caltech in 1978 as a custodian, and has become very familiar with the campus during his tenure, regarding Caltech as his second home. Francisco is married and has three children and two grandchildren. When not at work, he likes to spend time with his family and travel.
Michelle Vine began her Caltech career in the public events office before moving to the Kellogg Radiation Laboratory. For 15 years she was the administrative assistant for the Basic Applied Physics group of Professors Thomas Tombrello and Axel Scherer, where she developed many close ties with students and postdoctoral scholars. For the past 15 years, she has served as assistant to the chair of the Division of Physics, Mathematics and Astronomy.
Mike Vondrus began working at JPL as a machinist in 1979. After 17 years, Mike transferred to the Caltech campus, working in High Energy Physics (HEP). After nearly two years in HEP, he joined the Keck Laboratories, where he has been the resident machinist ever since. Mike has provided first-class service to his customers throughout his career. He has supported Caltech research in many areas, including materials science, bioengineering, environmental engineering, and physics, and he has been involved with projects ranging from Space Shuttle landing gear, SIR-B, SIR-C, and Aerogel, to fruit-fly research in Professor Michael Dickinson's lab, to metallic-glass research in Professor William Johnson's lab. Mike has a great sense of humor and is always willing to go above and beyond the call of duty. In his free time, he enjoys baking, gardening, microbrewing, hiking, camping, and cycling, and has logged over 88,000 miles riding to and from work on his bicycle. In addition, as president of the Pasadena Beseda chapter, he keeps his Czech traditions alive in Southern California.
Charles Aguilar grew up in Mexico and came to the United States in 1962, joining the U.S. Army to serve in Vietnam. After his military service, Charlie worked for J.C. Penney as a merchandiser while earning his bachelor's degree. He first joined Caltech's property-management group as a maintenance mechanic. He currently works in Housing, where he is responsible for preparing furnished properties. Fluent in Spanish and English from a young age, Charlie has continued his education by studying Chinese, Korean, and Japanese. He loves spending time with his four granddaughters, and he also enjoys raising dachshunds.
Maria Lomeli Cossio was born in Zacatecas, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States in 1973. She began working for Caltech's Housing Office in 1983 as a housekeeper. In 2005, she transferred to Buildings and Grounds, serving as a section gardener. In 2010, she transferred back to Custodial Services to work in off-campus housing, where she keeps students happy and their areas clean. Her favorite hobbies are reading and travel. She is married to Jose Benitez and has four adult children, all of whom grew up enjoying the campus grounds. A volunteer for a number of church programs, Maria devotes her spare time to helping her community. She hopes to continue working at Caltech until her retirement.
Lindsey Hedges came to the United States from England with her family in 1982 and became a U.S. citizen in 2008. She began working at Caltech in 1983 as a senior research technician with Gerald Wasserburg, preparing meteorites and lunar materials for isotopic study. In 1997 she transferred to Ken Farley's research lab as a senior research assistant, where she has become the world's expert in the selection and handling of minute mineral crystals for helium geochronological investigation. Lindsey is renowned for her extraordinary patience with this demanding task and has developed many highly specialized techniques for sample transfer and preparation for analysis.
Harry Irby graduated from Blair High School in Pasadena in 1981. Two years after graduation, Harry began working at Caltech as a campus gardener, and since then has progressed to crew leader. He is responsible for overseeing the lawn-mowing operations and ensuring that the campus grass is always manicured. Harry, who is married with three children, serves as a deacon at his church and a part-time high school football referee throughout the San Gabriel Valley. In his spare time, he enjoys attending drag-racing events and working on cars.
Leona Kershaw enjoys traveling, hiking, backpacking, and camping. She and her husband have already visited Alaska, Australia, and New Zealand as well as many national parks in the United States, and are currently planning a trip to Antarctica, the Falklands, and South Georgia. Other places they plan to visit include the Galápagos Islands, Machu Picchu, and Yosemite National Park; they have already visited Zion, Bryce Canyon, Arches, Crater Lake, and Yellowstone. Leona and her husband volunteer at the RailGiants Train Museum at the L.A. County Fairgrounds in Pomona. Leona's husband serves as director of the USC Provost's NMR Spectroscopy Center in the department of chemistry at the University of Southern California. Their daughter recently earned her master's degree in social work, and their son received his bachelor's degree in computer science, both from USC. Leona has one granddaughter and one grandson.
Patrick Lam first joined Caltech in the computer operations group of Administrative Computing Services in 1984, working on an IBM 360 mainframe and handling punch cards by the thousands. Month-end processing back then meant 12 cases of cards that had to be properly punched, collated, and sorted. He started out on the swing shift, which allowed him to pursue a second career during the day as a realtor as well as spend time with his young children. The swing shift transitioned to a day shift and a promotion to operations analyst, and in 2003 Patrick was hired by Information Security, where he creates and maintains user responsibilities for all of Caltech's complex administrative systems and provides valuable knowledge as to their many internal dependencies. Patrick speaks Mandarin and Cantonese as well as English and loves to travel. Reliable reports say he is a fantastic cook. He lives in Arcadia with his wife, Linda, and has three grown children and four beautiful grandchildren (so far!).
Paul Mackel attended Los Angeles Trade Technical College, where he received a certificate in electrical construction and maintenance. He was hired as an electrician at Caltech in October 1979, but just two years later, Paul left the Institute to pursue a career as an electrician on oil-drilling rigs in Qatar. By August 1983, Paul realized the error of his ways and returned to Caltech as an electrician. In 1989, at a wedding at Dabney Gardens, he met the woman whom he eventually married on November 2, 1991—the very same day as Caltech's Centennial. Paul currently works as a fire alarm technician, striving to keep the campus safe.
Sally Newman came to Caltech in September 1983 as a postdoctoral scholar researching stable isotopic techniques in the study of volcanic rocks with Sam Epstein. Over the years, the focus of her work has changed from natural volcanic rocks to experiments on synthetic glasses to the study of carbon dioxide in air in the Los Angeles Basin, and she has had the opportunity to work with several scholars, including Yuk Yung and Caltech's provost and interim president Edward Stolper. Sally enjoys learning new methods of studying the environment, both in the laboratory and through the analysis of data. She is thankful that Caltech people are always enthusiastic and encouraging, and she appreciates that her career as a research scientist has allowed her the flexibility to raise three children with her husband.
Elvin Nixon began his career at Caltech in 1984 working in the engineering and estimating group in Physical Plant. In the early 1990s Elvin organized the design and drafting group and introduced the department's first AutoCAD stations. In addition to his design and supervision duties, he has managed various construction projects across campus. Elvin currently is an architectural designer in the Facilities design and construction group, where he is involved in the design of campus laboratories, classrooms, offices, and more. At home he enjoys spending time with his wife and daughter, as well as working on his midcentury ranch-style home and his vintage car.
Susan Ou is the director of the Caltech Monoclonal Antibody Facility, a position she has held for the past 27 years. Her family includes two Caltech graduates, and she is incredibly proud to belong to the community.
Tony Parker, a recipient of the Thomas W. Schmitt Annual Staff Prize, began his career at Caltech during the summer of 1981. He is currently a senior project manager in the Facilities design and construction group. Tony has worked with all six divisions to coordinate laboratory renovation projects, including the Warren and Katharine Schlinger Laboratory for Chemistry and Chemical Engineering. He is now focused on the Franklin Thomas Laboratory of Engineering renovation project for the Division of Engineering and Applied Science. A dedicated family man, Tony shares his love for skiing, fishing, and hiking with his wife, two teenage children, and two dogs.
Dalton Perry has spent most of his career serving the Caltech community. He particularly enjoys meeting people from all over the world and learning about science as he conducts inspections for Institute Housing. Dalton spends as much time as he can with his daughter, a recent honors graduate of Scripps College in Claremont, who is currently studying entertainment design at Art Center College of Design. He plays harmonica with the Crown City Trio and takes advantage of any opportunity to go sailing. As a poet, Dalton is involved in Caltech's Red Door Poetry Club, Tanka Poets, and the Southern California Haiku Study Group. He hopes to work at Caltech another 30 years to help pay off his daughter's student loans and to buy a small sloop and sail off into the sunset.
Juan Sanchez was born in León, Guanajuato, Mexico, and has lived in California for 39 years. He began his career at Caltech in Grounds Services, in Physical Plant, when he was 18 years old. Currently he is a lead supervisor, overseeing eight groups of gardeners. Juan's love for the field has grown through communication and teamwork. He is grateful for his coworkers and thankful for the opportunities Caltech has provided him. He and his wife have been married for 19 years, and together have three children. Juan loves to spend time with his family, and is a fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Raul Turcios was born in Santa Ana, El Salvador in April 1965 and moved to Pasadena in 1975 with his family. After graduating from Blair High School in 1983, he started working at Caltech as part of a city program, and was hired full time in May 1984 to perform hazmat delivery duties. He became an equipment operator in 1986, then a certified heavy-equipment operator in 1988, operating the 25-ton crane. Raul was promoted to lead person in 1993 and currently serves as a transportation supervisor, overseeing Caltech's chauffeuring services, transportation and motor pool, and shipping and receiving. He lives with his wife, Cindy, and their daughter, Heather, in Azusa. Raul enjoys watching Heather play club soccer for F.C. Golden State and varsity soccer for Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy.
Gaylene Ursua began working at Caltech in 1984 in a temporary position in financial gifts, endowments, and investments. In 1990, she became an administrative assistant to the director of the Office of Sponsored Research, and she currently serves as a senior contract and grant officer. Gaylene enjoys working with her OSR "family" and especially values the relationships she has built over the years with the campus offices, divisions, and professors. Her interests outside of work include spending time with her family, working with her sister for an animal rescue organization, and providing support for women with breast cancer.
Sherri Weed began working in the acquisitions department at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in 1984. In 1998, she transferred to Caltech for a temporary position with the Administrative Process Engineering project. Once the project was completed in 1999, she moved to Procurement Services as a functional/systems liaison, assisting both internal and external customers on campus with financial systems. Sherry continues to work closely with all areas of Procurement Services to assist with Oracle, TechMart, and ImageNow, serving as the primary contact for any encumbrance help issues and supervising the Procurement Services Hotline.
Ren-Yuan Zhu earned his PhD in high-energy physics from MIT in 1983. He came to Caltech in 1984 as research faculty in high-energy physics and became a member of the professional staff in 1996. Over the last three decades, Ren-Yuan has been involved in the successful development of scintillating crystals for precision crystal electromagnetic calorimeters, such as the L3 BGO, BaBar CsI(Tl), and CMS PWO. He has received several awards from the U.S. Department of Energy for his work. In 2009, Zhu established a program for crystal development, whose goal is to develop novel detector concepts based upon crystal scintillators for future high-energy physics experiments. Ren-Yuan serves as a member of the review panel for detector research and development programs at five DOE National Laboratories, the international advisory committee for calorimeter conferences, and the international science committee for inorganic scintillator conferences.
Bruce Baker spent his childhood along the California coast, growing up in Long Beach and later moving to Lomita, where in 1988 he joined Palomar Observatory as a mechanic. He had a diverse career before coming to Caltech, working with complex electronic equipment and in large industrial facilities such as oil refineries. His experience in refineries made him an expert in large industrial safety procedures, which he has used to help Caltech maintain a safe working environment while significantly contributing to the high-octane starlight for which Palomar is known. His background and contributions also made Bruce the ideal candidate for mechanical maintenance supervisor in 2008. Among his many duties, Bruce is involved in the specialized art of recoating the astronomical optics at Palomar. He has also continued his academic studies, receiving two associates degrees and a bachelor's in business administration while maintaining a full-time job and helping to raise a family. Away from the office, Bruce is a devoted family man. He and his wife, Roseann, spend as much time as possible with their children and grandchildren. Over the years, Bruce has enjoyed surfing, diving, and sailboat racing.
Sharon Brunett came to the Institute in 1989 as a computing analyst for the Caltech Concurrent Supercomputing Facilities (CCSF), which later became the Center for Advanced Computing Research (CACR). She is currently a senior computational scientist and manager of the operations group. During the early 1990s, CCSF managed and supported the massively parallel Intel Paragon and its prototype, the Touchstone Delta. Using and administering these systems brought early insights into high-performance communications, input/output, lightweight software stacks, and methods to effectively employ parallelism at a variety of levels. The expertise Sharon gained in managing these pioneering systems was reinvested in Caltech's involvement with NSF's Partnerships for Advanced Computational Infrastructure and TeraGrid. Both of these research efforts contributed to a better understanding of integrating distributed computing, data, and communication resources. Since 2008, Sharon has been involved with the computational science team at Caltech's Center for the Predictive Modeling and Simulation of High-Energy Density Dynamic Response of Materials. As CACR operations manager, Sharon serves as a liaison between CACR and research groups across campus, including projects in astronomy, biology, and materials science. Operations management highlights include the 2013 CACR Data Center renovation, which provided the Institute a cost-efficient and effective facility for valuable computing, storage, and networking infrastructure.
Martin De La Cruz, a captain at the Athenaeum, says the equipment has improved a lot since he started working there as a busboy. The distinguished people he frequently interacts with on the job impress him with their humility. When not at work, Martin surfs the net to learn about news, new cars, cities, travel, how mega structures are built, and funny stuff. On the weekends, he likes to have barbecues and watch soccer with his coworkers. Back when the Athenaeum had a successful soccer team, he was its goalkeeper. Martin also enjoys walking and playing with his newly adopted dog, Moses.
Charlotte (Shelley) Erwin came to Caltech as an assistant archivist under Judith Goodstein in 1988. The Caltech Archives were then located in the basement of Millikan Library; in 1990, they moved to their current space in the Beckman Institute. The Caltech Archives contain many collections, including the personal papers of faculty, Institute records, rare books, photographs, artifacts, and audio, video, and digital files. They are accessible to campus users as well as to approved visitors. Every day, Shelley answers lots of questions about the Institute, such as "When did Caltech adopt the color orange?" (answer: possibly as early as 1903) and "How can I get a video of the Feynman Lectures on Physics?" (answer: you can't, the lectures were not filmed). She encourages everyone who is interested in Caltech's history to visit and bring questions to the archive.
Cynthia Estrada grew up as the daughter of a U.S. Air Force veteran, and her family was always moving around the country. As a result, she longed to settle somewhere. After graduating from the University of California, Berkeley, she hoped Pasadena would be her permanent home. In February 1989, Cynthia applied for a part-time position as a department aide in the Caltech library because her daughter needed braces. Her work-study job in Berkeley's library helped get her hired. Later, looking for full-time work, she took an administrative assistant position in the Donor Relations area of Development and Institute Relations. In August 2000, Cynthia transitioned to another area of Development, becoming the administrative assistant to the director of the Alumni Fund. During her past 14 years with the Alumni Fund, there have been eight directors, but only one Cynthia! Cynthia calls Caltech her "home away from home," and she loves to take care of those she works with. She has taken first-aid/CPR/AED training and is also a floor warden for her building. Since 2008, Cynthia has been a member of the Tournament of Roses. In addition, she is an avid runner, golfer, and bowler, but most of all, she loves spending time with her family.
Donna Fox joined Caltech in 1989 as an administrative assistant in physics. A year later, as Professors Carver Mead, John Hopfield, and David Van Essen were beginning the exciting new interdisciplinary program Computation and Neural Systems (CNS), she accepted Dr. Mead's offer to join the group as his assistant, tasked with automating the program's administrative functions with the latest commercially available computer software packages and programming languages, including UNIX and TeX. Using TeX, Donna transcribed all of Dr. Mead's first-year CNS lectures, capturing historically significant information in this emerging field. Over the years, as Dr. Mead's research focus has evolved, Donna has seamlessly aligned her skill set to meet the group's needs. She holds a bachelor's degree in business and management with an emphasis in marketing from the University of Redlands, and is a member of the university's Whitehead Leadership Society, an organization that honors students who demonstrate academic excellence and leadership. Donna is also the proud mother of three children, each of whom attended the Caltech Children's Center prior to starting kindergarten. Her eldest son recently graduated with a bachelor's degree in forensic biology, and her younger son and daughter are expected to earn their bachelor's degrees in one and three years, respectively. In her spare time, Donna is creating a vegan e-cookbook and nutritional blog. She sometimes caters vegan meals for friends, and she is planning to develop a software application pertaining to vegan and vegetarian lifestyles.
Joaquin Gutierrez was born in Zacatecas, Mexico, and came to the United States when he was 17. He worked at several restaurants, including the famous Tick Tock Restaurant in Hollywood, while also attending school to learn English. In June 1988, he was hired part time in biology as an animal caretaker. Joaquin gained experience caring for a variety of animals and obtained his American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) certification in 1995. In 1999, in recognition of his hard work, dedication, and expertise, the Southern California branch of AALAS named him Technician of the Year. Joaquin remains an extremely valuable member of the Office of Laboratory Animal Resources staff. He enjoys helping PIs with their work and is pleased to contribute to the research efforts. Joaquin has been married for 26 years to his wife, Silvia, and is the proud father of Jessica, 25, Alejandra, 21, and Anthony, 13. In his spare time, Joaquin enjoys playing sports with his son and visiting new beaches on family vacations.
Janis Haskell feels privileged to have worked with so many wonderful faculty members during her tenure in Geological and Planetary Sciences. She has had the opportunity to participate in each of their projects not only as an assistant, but also as part of the team. Her favorite assignment has been the Genesis solar-wind mission, for which she was able to attend the space launch. The friends she has made at Caltech have meant the world to her, supporting her through good and bad times, and she hopes she's managed to do the same for them.
Santiago Laparra came to Caltech in October 1988, working for the first five years at the Athenaeum. In April 1993, he accepted a position in the Braun Laboratories, where he works today, supporting faculty in their research efforts. Santiago is very conscientious and dedicated to his work, making scientific media by employing calculations and selected techniques and using specialized equipment. Santiago is married and has two sons. In his free time he enjoys playing, coaching, and watching soccer.
Larry Martinez was born and raised in Pasadena. A graduate of Pasadena High, Larry started his Caltech career in January 1989 in the Safety Office as a radiation technician. Over the years, Larry has always been ready to accept challenging assignments, seizing opportunities to build his expertise in campus safety, including attending fire protection classes. Through hard work and a strong drive to excel, he has become a valuable member of the safety team. Currently, Larry serves as a safety engineer with liaison responsibility for Physics, Math & Astronomy, Student Affairs, and LIGO. In his spare time, he enjoys being in the great outdoors pursuing his favorite pastime, fresh and saltwater fishing. Larry has also found a way to combine his passion for fishing with community work by volunteering with the Inner City Kids Fishing Foundation.
Lycett Martinez joined Caltech in June 1989 as a senior payroll assistant. In 1999, she was a member of the implementation team for Human Resources' Administrative Process Engineering project; her extensive experience and knowledge of Caltech business processes ensured that the payroll module of the project was successfully implemented. Afterward, she was promoted to payroll supervisor, overseeing Caltech's daily payroll processes. In October 2004, Lycett transferred to what is now the IMSS Institute Business Systems group, supporting human resources/payroll systems. She is particularly good with details and tremendously proficient in troubleshooting and testing systems. Lycett and her husband, Alex, are the very proud parents of three daughters: Amanda, who is attending California State University, Long Beach; Alexis, who graduated from University of California, Irvine, with a degree in biology; and Ariel, who is attending California State University, Fullerton.
Fred Raab came to Caltech as an assistant professor of physics, teaching the required two-year physics sequence to a generation of Caltech students majoring in fields other than physics. He participated in forming the unified Caltech-MIT effort that became the LIGO Lab, coauthored the LIGO construction proposal, and minted three PhDs in experimental gravitational physics whose work became part of the first generation of LIGO's detectors. In 1996, Fred commuted to the Hanford, Washington, to oversee the construction of LIGO; he moved with his wife and two sons to Richland, Washington, in the summer of 1997. A committed educator, Fred helped to establish a program at LIGO Hanford Observatory that serves more than 10,000 participants each year. LIGO's K–12 programs bring a few thousand kids to the observatory each year; more than 40 percent of those students are from minorities underrepresented in and underserved by the sciences. Fred recognizes that society made a large investment in his education, which he tries to pay back by volunteering in the community. He is president of the Richland Public Facilities District, which built the Hanford Reach Interpretive Center, an educational institution that will serve as the gateway to the Hanford Reach National Monument, the Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail, and the proposed Manhattan Project National Park. The center's grand opening will be Fourth of July weekend. When not working or volunteering, Fred enjoys the outdoors, especially cross-country skiing, hiking, and kayaking.
Maureen Renta has served as the administrative assistant to Professor Jacqueline K. Barton and her research group for 25 years. In 2009, when Dr. Barton became chair of the Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Maureen followed her to that office in the role of assistant to the chair, while continuing her position as research assistant, for three and a half years. In 2013 she elected to return to her former position and left the office of the chair due to health concerns. Maureen now works 25 hours a week and continues to take pride in being a valued member of the Barton Group. She looks forward to her full retirement in a few years, when she can finally take the time to polish her golf game and give her husband of 40 years a run for his money!
Tim Rao came to Caltech as a control specialist for the Central Utility Plant in 1988. Since then he has helped install three cogeneration units, twice replaced the campus chillers, retrofitted low NOx burners on the old campus boilers and then replaced all three boilers, modernized the Central Utility Plant's control and instrumentation system, and established the campus building management system. Tim is currently the lead control specialist, a member of the International Society for Automation, and a certified control systems technician. He has been married to his wife, Susan, since 1985, and they have three sons and one grandson.
Connie Rodriguez began her Caltech career in aeronautics in GALCIT on September 6, 1988, where she worked as administrative assistant to Professors Brad Sturtevant and Anthony Leonard. Four years later she worked for a short while supporting the SURF program, after which she began her position in applied physics in November 1992, working with Professors William Bridges, Noel Corngold, and Roy Gould. During her years in applied physics, she also worked with Professors David Rutledge and Stephen Quake (now at Stanford), as well as with lecturer Michael Shumate. Currently, Connie provides support to Professors Amnon Yariv and Paul Bellan and to Professors Emeriti Noel Corngold and Roy Gould. Prior to joining Caltech, Connie worked in many fields, including the entertainment industry, where at one time she was the personal executive secretary to Danny Kaye and his wife, Sylvia Fine Kaye. Music has always been her first interest and, through the years at Caltech, Connie has found time to perform with the Caltech Women's Glee Club and the Joe May Dance Band. Colleagues of Connie have had the pleasure of hearing her sing "Las Mañanitas" for their birthday. Connie is a great-grand-aunt to three nephews, grand-aunt to two nieces and one nephew, and aunt to four nieces and two nephews.
Ricardo Schroth started with Caltech on October 3, 1988, as a service mechanic; in 1990, he accepted the position of utility mechanic, advancing to utility plant operator in 1992. He is enthusiastic about his work and he loves to cook. He and his wife, Zeny, have been married for almost 42 years; they have five children and three granddaughters. Ricardo is a very quiet person except when it comes to talking about his kids—he considers them his biggest accomplishment in life, and he is proud that they are now all professionals in different fields. Ricardo is looking forward to traveling and babysitting his grandchildren when he retires.
Luana Stevens started working at Caltech in April 1989. What started out as a temporary, six-week assignment in Human Resources turned into a rewarding career spanning 25 years. The six-week position in HR's personnel records department became six months, and Luana soon turned it into a permanent position in Physical Plant as a senior department clerk. She currently works in Facilities' finance department as a financial analyst, a position she has held for nearly 10 years. Luana has made great friends on campus, working with the mechanics and project managers on jobs large and small; her coworkers have made her workdays better and more fun. When not at work, Luana treasures the time she's able to spend with her family, especially her mother, as well as her nephew and nieces around the country. She is also president of her church's usher board, serves on numerous church committees, and volunteers with the Family Promise program, which helps homeless families stay together while they rebuild and get back on their feet. A little-known fact about Luana is that she is a licensed cosmetologist and still styles hair part-time.
Davy Stone joined Caltech as a temporary employee, and since then he has worked in several departments on campus. He started in Transportation Services as the fill-in chauffeur, and then worked in the Carpenter Shop and in Shipping and Receiving. Eventually, due to his hard work, he was offered a permanent position at Caltech as the main chauffeur. Today Davy's primary duties are chauffeuring and assisting Transportation Services and Shipping and Receiving. Davy feels very fortunate that during his years at Caltech he has had the opportunity to meet many interesting and distinguished professors. His most memorable moments were meeting Walter Cronkite and Stephen Hawking. Davy was born in Los Angeles and attended Belmont High School, where he was very involved in sports. He was the quarterback for Belmont's football team, and his skills and dedication led them to the city championship. At Caltech, he had the opportunity to play for the Caltech Beavers football team as their quarterback, and really enjoyed the experience. Davy is very proud of his family: his wife, Susie; daughters, Stacy and Angelica; son, Davy, Jr.; and beautiful grandchildren, Kyden and Kayson. He enjoys going on family vacations and coaching his children's sporting activities.
Carole Worra came to work at Caltech in 1989 as an accounts payable representative. She very quickly demonstrated competence, professionalism, and a meticulous attention to detail and moved on to what is now the Division of Biology and Biological Engineering in 1992. While her role has changed over time, Carole handles travel for BBE as well as accounting in the form of tracking purchase orders, payments, and all the necessary activities required by auditors and the federal government. In addition, she is an invaluable source of information for the division: "When in doubt, ask Carole" has been the mantra for many years. She is also a stellar mentor and exceptional officemate. Whether she steps in to help with task unrelated to her job description or offers to listen to a colleague in need, Carole is committed to getting the job done while making it more enjoyable. Her independence and sense of humor is much appreciated in BBE. Carole was born in Michigan and is the youngest of her siblings. She has three children and three grandsons, Nicholas, Michael, and Christopher. She enjoys birds and can sometimes be found on weekly bird walk with Caltech's birding community.
Guy DeRose came to Caltech in 1994 to manage the senior undergraduate physics labs, having completed a visiting-scientist postdoctoral fellowship at the Air Force Research Laboratory. He was invited to attend Frosh Camp on Catalina as a dean's helper, and that helped him understand and embrace the Caltech culture. With his background in condensed-matter physics and an admiration for Richard Feynman since grad school, Guy found that working at Caltech was a natural fit. In 2000, the research bug bit again, so he became the laboratory coordinator for Professor Axel Scherer's group in electrical engineering, managing the applied physics teaching labs along with the nanofabrication group. Guy's management of the electron-beam lithography clean room for Caltech's Laboratory for Large-Scale Integration of Nanostructures greatly expanded the interdisciplinary nature of his work on campus. He became involved in the development of a new, shared research facility on campus, now known as the Kavli Nanoscience Institute (KNI). When KNI opened in 2008, he became the associate director of technical operations. When not trying to unravel the mysteries of nanoscience, Guy enjoys camping, canoeing, visiting Disneyland, and traveling with his family.
Ali Kiani was born in Iran and immigrated to the United States after high school, and he has lived in California for the past 40 years. He attended California State University, Los Angeles, during the late 1970s, where he studied industrial technology. Ali fell in love with the creative environment of the machine shop, and began working in a small tool and die operation in Alhambra, later moving on to Haas Automation, builder of CNC machining equipment, in a large CNC shop. A few years later, he joined TRW Automotive as a toolmaker, and then moved to Pack West, a leading manufacturer of automatic packaging equipment located in the San Gabriel Valley. With more than 15 years of experience, he joined Caltech's aeronautics machine shop in May 1994. Over the past 20 years, he has helped students, staff, and faculty with the machining and production of instruments and lab equipment necessary for their experiments. These years have been the most rewarding experience of his career, as he has had the opportunity to participate in cutting-edge experiments in science and technology. Ali feels as excited to work at Caltech as he was on his first day here, and is honored to contribute to the efforts of the best current and future scientists in the country. He has been married for 32 years to his wife, Amy, and they have two beautiful daughters, both undergraduates (biology and biochemistry majors). When not thinking about machinery and the shop, Ali watches soccer games and referees when he has the chance.
Doris Shimabukuro is one of the most energetic, dedicated, and enthusiastic members of IMSS and the Caltech community. Doris grew up in the small Japanese prefecture of Okinawa and is a proud Pomona College Sagehen. Prior to joining Caltech, she managed large social service programs, serving meals to the elderly. Discovering a fraudulent divergence of funds in one of her programs, she became fascinated with financial management and spent the next 10 years in public accounting before joining Caltech in 1993 as assistant director of finance. In 1996, Doris transitioned to an information systems role within ATC (now IMSS), joining the Administrative Process Engineering project to implement Oracle. Doris was recruited as a finance expert, and she ultimately was appointed finance team leader for the project. Since 2000, she has managed various teams within IMSS. She is now the assistant director of the financial systems team, which supports Caltech's financial administrative systems. After moving into that role, she earned an MS degree in information systems from Claremont Graduate University and became a certified Project Management Professional. Doris works tirelessly to promote an open and collaborative working environment for her team. Outside of her IMSS duties, Doris serves on the board of directors of the Caltech Management Association, and has also been involved with the Toastmasters. She has a great love of music, from classical opera to modern musicals, and has been a generous patron of the Los Angeles Opera Company for many years. Doris also loves owls and thinks they are a real hoot. She enjoys traveling and has been to Alaska, Canada, and Europe. As much as Doris is devoted to her Caltech responsibilities, she is even more devoted to her family. We are grateful to have had the benefit of her knowledge, wisdom, energy, dedication, and enthusiasm for the past 20 years.
John Van Deusen came to Caltech from the Southern California aerospace industry, where he was a journeyman machinist while working on his engineering degree. He later became supervisor of a computer numerical control (CNC) programming department, CNC being a developing field in the area's aerospace industry. John joined Caltech as the supervisor of the mechanical engineering machine shop. At that time, the shop was mainly fabricating research devices and helping students in two classes of the mechanical engineering curriculum. John recognized the need to give the students and others in the Caltech community instruction on how to use the shop more effectively. He developed a shop safety class and got more involved in the instruction of mechanical engineering classes. John earned his BS in vocational education and has applied this knowledge to his instruction. He is a lecturer in mechanical and civil engineering and the instructor for ME 13/130, Introduction to Mechanical Prototyping; ME 14, Design and Fabrication; and ME 72, Engineering Design Laboratory, the latter of which is the design competition that is the high point in the curricula of mechanical engineering majors. John helped transform the mechanical engineering shop from a machining shop with lathes, mills, and one CNC machine to the Jim Hall Design and Prototyping Laboratory, with a 3D printer, laser cutter, water jet, and updated lathe and milling machines. The Jim Hall Lab is open to the entire Caltech community.