Search Search

Biographies - 2018

50 Years

Pat Anderson was born in Belzoni, Mississippi, and moved to Southern California just before her senior year in high school to live with her aunt and uncle. A graduate of Monrovia-Duarte High School, Pat received an Associate of Arts degree from Pasadena City College and took special courses at Citrus College. Before coming to Caltech, she was administrative assistant to the rehabilitation officer for the Community Redevelopment Agency in Pasadena. She was hired as a receptionist for the Arthur Amos Noyes Laboratory of Chemical Physics shortly before it was dedicated in 1968 and held the position of "floater" for the Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering (CCE) for five years, working with the entire faculty before settling into her present position as senior administrative assistant to three faculty members. Pat has spent her entire Caltech career in CCE, where she has administered seminars for more than 35 years. Her wealth of knowledge about the division and the Institute, along with her bright personality, make Pat an invaluable resource. Her attention to detail is apparent in her work, appearance, and hobbies: she has a keen sense of color and pattern; she is an accomplished jewelry and greeting card designer, an avid scrapbooker; and she loves interior design, fashion, landscaping, and conceiving of new culinary dishes. Pat met her husband, David, at Citrus College. They enjoy their two adult children and three grandchildren. Their oldest granddaughter, Alana, graduated from Spelman College and is working on her master's degree; their oldest grandson, Preston, is finishing his last year of college; and their youngest grandchild, Sarah, is finishing fourth grade. The best part of working at Caltech has been the many memories of faculty, students, postdocs, and friends who have enriched her life along the way and made it a great place to work.

Bob Logan arrived at Caltech in the fall of 1964 as a freshman. This was when you had to get up early in the morning to see the mountains before they disappeared into the rush-hour smog. After graduating in June 1968, Bob went directly to work at the Booth Computing Center, where he had spent many, sometimes enjoyable, hours as an undergrad waiting for output from Caltech's IBM 7094 computer. Bob has seen many changes at Caltech over the decades: grass and parking lots turned into buildings; old (and not so old) buildings being transformed and acquiring hyphenated names; and, of course, a complete revolution in computing. A fitness band has more computing power now than all the systems in the Booth machine room in 1968. The name of the group Bob has worked for has changed over the years—BCC, CCO, ITS, and now IMSS. Besides his day job, Bob is also a member of Caltech's Crisis Management Council, helping to make Caltech more resilient. For fun, he can be found hiking in the local mountains every weekend, participating in various alumni activities, and serving as a judge for the ACM Southern California Regional Programing Contest. Bob is not yet retired because he has always found interesting work to do and wonderful people to work with.

40 Years

Forty years ago, Loma Karklins had no idea that she would have such a long association with Caltech and a career that would evolve over the decades into becoming the Institute's archivist. Originally hired by Caltech's first university archivist, Judy Goodstein, as the transcriber for the Oral History Project, Loma found ever more opportunities to grow and advance her knowledge and skills under Judy as well as her successor, Shelley Erwin, leading to a very interesting and rewarding career in the Caltech Archives. Loma's duties have been, and continue to be, varied. Among them: processing manuscript collections, maintaining the Reading Room and working with visiting researchers; assisting campus students, faculty, and administration with varied research requests as well as helping authors, publishers, documentary filmmakers, and museums access photos, film footage, and historic materials that further promote the proud legacy of Caltech on a worldwide stage. Outside of work, Loma's passions include traveling, going to the theater, gardening, gourmet dinners with good friends, and spending quality time with her husband, Matiss, and their two children, Liene and Varis. "Overall," Loma says, "both professionally and personally, I feel very fortunate."

30 Years

As an amateur astronomer, John Cromer dreamed about working for Caltech's Palomar Observatory. John relocated to Pasadena to work for a local engineering consulting firm as a chemist and later as a laboratory automation specialist. He found his way to Caltech and Palomar in 1987 when he saw a classified ad in Sky & Telescope magazine for a programming position. He was soon hired to develop instrumentation software for the Palomar and W. M. Keck observatories. Over the past 30 years, John and his colleagues have developed control software for more than a dozen instruments for both observatories as well as the keyword-based command language for Keck instruments and the telescopes' drive and control systems—an interface that makes it easy for grad students and postdocs to automate their observations. In the last two decades, instrumentation for the observatories has gotten larger, faster, more complex, and more expensive, yet the software created by John and this small group is still in regular use and remains flexible and relevant. Whether addressing a tricky software issue or frayed nerves during instrument commissioning, John brings a calm and sensible approach bolstered by his decades of experience and delivered with a dash of Southern charm. After his retirement, John will be working under new management—his wife—cleaning out their Altadena garage.

Joaquin Gutierrez was born in Zacatecas, Mexico, and came to the United States at the young age of 17. He started working at several restaurants in L.A., including the famous Tick Tock restaurant in Hollywood, while also attending school to learn English. In June 1988, he was 
hired part time in the Division of Biology as an animal caretaker. Joaquin gained experience with a variety of animals and obtained his American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) certification in 1995. Due to his hard work, expertise, and dedication, he was nominated for and won the Technician of the Year award in 1999 given by the Southern California branch of the AALAS, and he is an extremely valuable member of Caltech's Office of Laboratory Animal Resources staff. Joaquin has been married for 30 years to his wife, Silvia, and is a proud father of three children: Jessica, 29; Alejandra, 25; and Anthony, 17. Joaquin likes to help his principal investigators with their work and is pleased to contribute to the research efforts. In his spare time, Joaquin enjoys playing sports with his son and discovering new beaches on vacation.

Ruth Sustaita joined the Caltech family in January 1988 as a temporary employee. By March 1988, the excellence with which she performed her job gained her a permanent position in Physical Plant. Ruth's smile and warmth caught the attention of Caltech faculty who encouraged her to continue to grow and to use the skills she attained in college in her home country of El Salvador. She did just that. In April 1989, she joined the staff at Millikan Library. As a true believer that no job is more important than another, throughout her 30 years with the Caltech Library, Ruth has worn many hats. Most notably, she has worked in Interlibrary Loan, Circulation, Humanities, Archives, Cataloguing, United States and California documents, and with Caltech Authors CODA. Ruth has made a number of friends, both staff and faculty, who have made Caltech a true second home. A bonus for Ruth has been working with her daughter, Carolina Oseguera, for the better part of 25 years. A true loyalist, Ruth has been proud as well as fortunate to be part of the Caltech family. Her family—three daughters, two sons, four grandchildren, and a loving husband—are in turn very proud of her. Ruth has shown her family—chosen and biological—through example, that growth is never possible without a few obstacles, but the end result is always 100 percent worth it.

25 Years

Shawn Ewald was born and raised in Chicago, where she saw Pasadena on TV every New Year's Day. Wanting to study the stars from a very early age, Shawn became aware of Caltech in grammar school through reading a story about Palomar Observatory. After graduating from Illinois and the New Mexico School of Mining and Technology, Shawn worked in Baltimore on the Hubble Telescope for 10 years. That telescope's primary camera was designed at Caltech. Shawn participated in the camera's ground testing at JPL and moved to Caltech shortly after launch. Since then, she has worked for Professors Westphal, Scoville, Ingersoll, and others on a variety of spacecraft missions to Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Enceladus, and occasionally to the stars, co-authoring 30 papers along the way. Shawn cannot express sufficient gratitude to the faculty for providing support in her assistance of their research and, of course, to her fellow Caltech staff members.

As manager of patents and compliance administration in Caltech's Office of Technology Transfer and Corporate Partnerships (OTTCP), Becky Hernandez is responsible for ensuring Caltech's compliance with regulations under the Bayh-Dole Act, which pertain to the management of inventions and patents arising from federally funded research at Caltech and JPL. Beyond Caltech, Becky has taken an active role with the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM), including helping to organize and also speak during AUTM's "TOOLS," "Essentials," and "Compliance" courses for technology transfer professionals from across the nation. Becky was also instrumental in designing and continuing to maintain and improve OTTCP's internal database for the management of inventions, patents and patent applications, licenses, and other agreements, which is integral to the smooth functioning of the office. She supervises OTTCP personnel responsible for compliance support, provisional patent filing, docketing of patent prosecution activity, hosting events, and general administrative support. Prior to joining OTTCP, Becky worked for Caltech's Office of the General Counsel administrative team, and, before that, spent many years as a paralegal.

Marta Gonzalez Martinez de Murphy was born in Pinal del Río, Cuba, and immigrated to the United States in 1962. Her family moved from Florida to California during her senior year of high school, causing her to lose her scholarship to the University of Florida. She later earned a BA in English from CSULA, where she also worked for 10 years. In 1993, after the birth of her second child, Marta started working at Caltech. She has worked for various faculty in CCE and BBE, contributing 20 years to Pamela Bjorkman's lab. Marta has enjoyed her work life, but her true passion has always been her familia and her art.

Island girl—with open arms you did embrace that great divide. Then ached for those who stayed behind—and missed their soft brown eyes. Family you were taught—is precious beyond life. Through angry tears you studied hard—to make them all so proud. Sadly, and without regard—your dreams were torn apart. "La familia must stay together—you can go to college later."

Cuba Florida California—my soul in arduous motion. Always yearning, always hoping—for what should have been. What happens when a dream's deferred—it redirects and gets to work … at 100 wpm and endless filing, with two spaces after periods and lots of mimeographs, always on time and in your business prim.

Be hopeful Island girl—with pen in hand you work by day and study into slumber.  You understand that dreams can never fade—when kept within you safely. Through struggles and in hardship you regained that lost pride—your arms now full with such abundant grace—breathe in your truth then exhale into life! 

Leslie (Crockett) Rico is the administrative coordinator for the Center for Teaching, Learning, & Outreach (CTLO) and for the Hixon Writing Center (HWC). Leslie supports CTLO in its multifaceted educational efforts with students, faculty, and educational outreach. For the HWC, she assists the director, writing specialists, and peer tutors in their efforts to promote excellence in writing and communication with students, faculty, and members of the Caltech community. She assists in creating a welcoming environment for both in their shared suite in the Center for Student Services. Leslie began her tenure at Caltech working as a clerk in Millikan Library. She continued working in various positions while attending college and earning her bachelor's degree from the University of La Verne. Over the past 25 years, Leslie has had the unique opportunity to work in six Institute divisions/departments: the Caltech Libraries, GPS, Development, EAS, most recently HSS, and one of the Provost's academic programs. She and her husband, Danny, have one daughter, Jeweliana, who attends school nearby. She and her daughter carpool together in the morning, and her husband telecommutes for the Office of Inspector General. "I enjoy that I can spend lunch with them often," says Leslie. Her mom and most of the siblings in her close-knit family—Leslie was born ninth of 11—are also local to Southern California. When Leslie is asked how she likes working at Caltech, she never hesitates to express what makes it one of a kind and prestigious: "It is the breakthrough science taking place here. However, for me, what is most meaningful are the people I've met and have made lasting friendships with over the years. Some I've literally grown up with. These types of blessings can't be measured in years, recognitions, or awards. They are simply priceless, and for that I'm most thankful."

David Shupe began his career at Caltech as a postdoctoral scholar in the infrared astronomy group of Tom Soifer and Gerry Neugebauer, building instrumentation and conducting observations at Palomar Observatory. Since 1995, he has worked as a staff scientist at IPAC on several infrared space telescopes and most recently on time-domain astronomy projects, including the Zwicky Transient Facility. David is active in the open-source software community and in the Caltech Toastmasters club.

20 Years

Chris Catherasoo is the technical specialist with Caltech Export Compliance in the Office of Research Administration, where he is responsible for the export compliance technical reviews of sponsored research proposals, JPL interdivisional authorizations, I-129 nonimmigrant visa applications, and international shipments. Prior to this position, Chris held various high-performance computing and software development managerial positions at JPL (OCIO, TES, and Cassini), TRW Technar (automotive crash sensors), and Ametek Computer Research (hypercubes). He holds a PhD and MS from Caltech, and a BA from Cambridge University. His interests include gardening (he has 12 different kinds of fruit trees), traveling to historical and scenic places, biblical prophecy, and classical music.

Mabel Chik worked at UCLA for nearly 10 years prior to coming to Caltech in 1998. At the Institute, she has worked in four out of the six divisions (PMA, CCE, BBE, and currently in EAS) as a grant manager and also as a manager of project accounting (formerly known as federal accounting). Mabel is originally from Hong Kong and attended school in Hong Kong and England before moving to the United States 37 years ago. She has been married to her husband, Ben, for 24 years. They have a son, Aidan, who will be attending Stanford University in the fall of 2018. In her spare time, Mabel enjoys paper crafting, traveling, and baking.

Adam Cochran is an associate general counsel at Caltech who specializes in intellectual property law. He is a patent attorney who provides legal support in patent, copyright, trademark, licensing, and related matters for various divisions and administrative departments at both the campus and JPL. Prior to joining Caltech, he was general counsel at Vestar, Inc. (now merged with Gilead Sciences), and he was previously a partner in the Los Angeles patent firm of Nilsson, Robbins and an associate in the Olson, Trexler patent firm in Chicago. Adam graduated with a bachelor's degree in chemistry and business administration from Hanover College, a master's degree from Purdue University, and a JD from Loyola University of Chicago. On the anniversary of his 20 years at Caltech, he adds, "When I reflect on my time at Caltech, I am most proud of having organized and maintained—at the suggestion of Kip Thorne—a group that has produced and distributed new digital versions of the Feynman Lectures on Physics (FLP)—including text and multimedia e-books, and a free-to-read online edition that makes the 1960s Lectures of Richard Feynman available worldwide to anyone with an internet connection. There have been 3.6 million readers since the online edition was published in 2013, and the time spent actively reading the online FLP has recently averaged 3.45 person-years per month. Along the way, I have had Caltech's dedication to excellence, integrity, honesty, and responsibility to inspire me."

After graduating from Humboldt State University with bachelor's degrees in physics and applied mathematics, Corey Gray joined Caltech and took a position as an operations specialist at the newly constructed LIGO Hanford Observatory in south-central Washington state way back in March 1998. Gray was a part of the team that helped build and operate the Initial LIGO detector. Gray also was part of the team that built the Advanced LIGO detector. Advanced LIGO went online in September 2015, and shortly afterwards made scientific history by making the first direct detection of gravitational waves from merging black holes—nearly 100 years after Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity. Shortly after that announcement, Gray got an image of the first detection tattooed on his arm! Gray says, "It has been exciting to work with the LIGO team for 17 years and then also share in the experience of the detections!"

Alexander Hui started working at Caltech in 1998 as senior computer analyst in the system group IPAC. Prior to Caltech, he worked as a staff research associate for cardiovascular heart failure research at the UCLA School of Medicine and a programmer analyst at UCLA Medical Center on National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, and Department of Defense projects. He enjoys stargazing and observing the Milky Way in total darkness by the Colorado River with astronomical groups. Besides the lifetime of excitement supporting the Spitzer Science Center's launch of NASA's last great observatory, the Spitzer Space Telescope, and getting to know so many intelligent hard-working scientists at the NASA Exoplanet Science Institute, coming to Caltech means cutting 2.5 hours off of his commute each day so he can spend more time at work (usually until 7 p.m.). He also participated in the working group for Caltech's diversity and mission statement. Converting dbase databases to modern relational DBMS, a Y2K project, an active directory as well as DNS, IMAP, LDAP, RedHat Linux were some of the pilot projects he contributed to the group. He is currently working as a system administrator specialist and handles all 10 IPAC conference rooms' audio-visual equipment and manages 65 Wi-Fi network smart devices. Since NT4 and Mac OSX 10.6, he prepares standards for both hardware and operating system images, each a unique operating environment in IPAC. During his leisure time, Alex serves as a church council member, committee vice chair, discipleship leader, and as a member of the choir for a local church with a 1,800-member congregation. He also volunteers his time as a consultant to start the first Chinese Christian broadcast TV station 6.2. Additionally, he was the producer for the first America-original Chinese Christian audio CD album in the '90s. During the Christmas holidays, he volunteers his time as a technical director, ordering and renting $200,000 worth of audio-visual equipment for the annual five-day Chinese Mission Convention at convention centers across the nation, with 3,500 attendees each year. He loves working with lots of great individuals at IPAC and respects and enjoys many lifelong relationships with people he's met at Caltech. There is only one Caltech.

Stephen Kaye designs, builds, tests, and deploys electronics for a multitude of astronomical applications. He began his time at Caltech working on a sounding rocket to investigate ultraviolet light in the interstellar medium, and recently he finished work on the Zwicky Transient Facility, which scans the night sky in the optical. Along the way, he launched some more rockets, delivered instruments to telescopes, had a brief foray into gamma ray detectors, launched a balloon, and worked with and befriended numerous graduate students, other engineers, and technicians—all of whom have been a pleasure to work with. He continues to learn every day and feels fortunate that his career has landed him in a place that values learning. He is also fortunate to have a lovely wife, Lauren, and two spirited daughters, Violet and Holly.

Lorena Sandoval was born in San Salvador, El Salvador. She came to the USA when she was 22 years old and has lived here for 26 years. Sandoval arrived at Caltech in June 1998 and immediately began making an impact, moving from animal support staff to animal technician. She received the Technician of the Year award in 2000 from the Palms to Pines branch of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science. She then became certified as an assistant laboratory animal technician in 2005. She currently works in Caltech's Office of Laboratory Animal Resources. Sandoval has been happily married to José Sandoval for 25 years, and she is the proud mom of two sons—José Jr., 23 and Christopher, 18. Sandoval says, "I come to work with a smile on my face every day because I love working for Caltech. I don't imagine myself doing something different than taking care of research animals."

Erin B. Lindsay: One Oracle implementation and two subsequent upgrades. Three versions of a data warehouse. Several job titles, a query language learned, and some custom applications designed. Bosses that get me and allow me to be curious. Workmates who laugh at my lame jokes over cubicle walls, support me when times are rough, and celebrate with me when we get things done. Customers who are understandably frustrated at times but then thankful when we figure it out together. I'm kinda lucky. Twenty years. A father and a mother-in-law no longer with us. Two daughters born (one graduated high school this year). Two houses, three Subarus, four dogs, and four cats—only one dog remains (and she's the best good dog). Countless meals shared with friends and family. Bears, coyotes, foxes, bobcats, and deer pausing for moments in our backyard. A wedding with the one that I love—the childhood dream realized after lots of hard work for marriage equality. I'm kinda lucky. Twenty years of good work. Twenty years of a good life. Yeah … I'm kinda lucky. 

Ruth Sharp began her career at Caltech in December 1998. Having held various positions at the Institute, Ruth has served as Caltech's bursar since August 2010. Ruth has also been an active committee member of several education-related nonprofit organizations. These include the Children's Center at Caltech, the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO), and, most recently, the Pacific West Student Financial Services Association (PacWest SFS), a California Benefit Corporation where she serves as president. Ruth completed her education after arriving at Caltech. Caltech's employee Tuition Reimbursement Plan provided the needed funds for Ruth to complete a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of La Verne and an MBA from the University of Redlands. When not working, Ruth and her husband enjoy traveling, sailing, and visiting their children in Texas.

Diane Williams is a Southern California girl—born and raised! She started her career at Caltech in 1998 as a temp for the ITS department (now IMSS). After a couple of years, she became a regular employee and transferred to Human Resources. Since then, she has been a part of the Technology Learning Center and the Staff Education and Career Development. Currently, she is is a customer service specialist. Williams says that during her 20 years at Caltech, she has been blessed with wonderful management and amazing co-workers. That is what made the 20 years fly by. Personal trivia: She is one of seven children. She's No. 6 with No. 7 being her twin brother. She has two children, Sheri and Justin, and two granddaughters—Emily and Kaitlyn. She is a mother-in-law to Ryan, has 25 nieces and nephews and their spouses, 35 great nieces and nephews, and 13 great-great nieces and nephews. She enjoys spending time with family and friends, and enjoys all forms of travel.

Karel Zumbrunnen began working at Caltech in June 1998 as a temporary staff member for a two-week assignment. Later that year, she was hired by the federal financial accounting manager. Over the 20 years that Karel has spent at Caltech, she has had the pleasure of working with all six campus divisions as an accountant in the department now known as Post Award Administration (PAA). During Karel's time at Caltech she completed her AA and AS degrees at Pasadena City College, her Bachelor of Science in business and management, and then her MBA in finance in 2007 through the University of Redlands. In 2010, Karel was promoted to lead accountant in PAA and has enjoyed working with many other staff members throughout the campus divisions and offices. As a California native and lifelong local resident, Karel has enjoyed many things about working at Caltech, including her four-mile commute.