Current Graduate Students

New Graduate Students


Current graduate student Adrian Castro

Adrian Teodoro Castro. I am from Downey, and I was born in Bellflower. My undergraduate degree was in Environmental Science and Resource Management: Emphasis on Environmental Science and in Chemistry: Biochemistry option. I got both degrees and California State University, Channel Islands. I am interested in learning atmospheric chemistry as a graduate student here. Specifically, I am doing research on brown carbon Dr. Hudson’s lab. After my graduate degree, I would like to pursue a career in either in air quality or in water quality. In my spare time, I like to watch a lot of TV shows and go to concerts.


Current graduate student Aerin Bridgers

My name is Aerin Bridgers, and I am from Augusta, GA. I received my bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Augusta University in 2019 and worked in the military for a few years afterward. I am currently a first-year Master’s student in chemistry in Dr. Petit’s lab focusing on atmospheric photochemistry. I hope to receive my PhD in physical chemistry in the future and use it to become a professor or do environmental consulting. My hobbies are rollerskating, going to the beach with my dog, and reading. 


Current graduate student Andrew

Hello, I'm Andrew Whang.  As an undergraduate at UC Irvine, I pursued a major in Chemistry and a minor in Religious Studies, and also researched programmed cell death (apoptosis) in mouse neurons.  After graduating, I studied at UC Davis for a bit.  I've also worked in test preparation, preparing students for entrance exams to graduate programs.  As a graduate student, I’m interested in chemistry education, and I hope to teach at a community college after graduating.  Outside of school, most of my time is spent with my wife and 7-year-old daughter. 


Current graduate student Christopher Dunn

My name is Christopher Dunn. I joined Cal State Fullerton in the fall of 2022 after having graduated from the University of La Verne the spring prior. I majored in Chemistry and decided to pursue an analytical chemistry MS. I was welcomed to the Haan lab  where I now work on projects in electrochemistry generally in relation to catalyzing reactions. When I am not at the lab or doing course work, I enjoy mountain biking. 



Current graduate student Christopher Nunez

Hello! My name is Christopher Nunez and I was born and raised in La Puente, California. I graduated with my B.S in Biochemistry from here at CSUF. I am interested in learning recombinant DNA techniques and other assays such as EMSAs that are commonly used in a biochemical lab. I am currently not sure what I would like to do in the future, however I am thinking of pursuing a PhD in Chemistry/Biochemistry possibly! In my spare time, I brew espresso with my own machine and for fun would be to dance bachata and mambo at socials! 


Current graduate student Cristian Perez

Hi, my name is Cristian Perez, and I am a first-year graduate student. I received my bachelor’s degree in Pharmaceutical Chemistry from the University of California, Davis in 2020.  I joined Dr. Madeline Rasche's Research Lab group, and I am currently working on projects related to Biochemistry with an emphasis on Copper Metabolism. As a graduate student I am looking forward to learning and discovering new ideas and methodologies that will enable me to advance my career even further. Having experience working in industry prior to graduate school, I plan on entering the workforce once again after I graduate. Some of my hobbies include hiking, playing guitar, and traveling when possible.


Current graduate student Damian Ventura

Hello! My name is Damian Ventura. I obtained my B.S. Biochemistry degree from CSUF in 2022, and immediately joined the graduate program to pursue my MS Chemistry degree. My ultimate goal is to obtain my PhD. My vision for my future is to research and join the pharmaceutical industry. During my free time, I love to go to the gym, museums, the beach, hiking, night clubs/bars, eat, play videogames, and so much more!




Current graduate student Dennis Nguyen

Hi, my name is Dennis Nguyen, and I was born and raised in Anaheim, CA and still currently reside there. I got my bachelor of science degree in chemistry from California State University, Fullerton in 2021. I am currently interested in learning new analytical techniques and instruments, all while learning how it’s like to work in a research lab. My plans for the future is to work in the industry either as an analytical scientist, R&D scientist, or a QC scientist. Something that I like to do in my spare time is playing video games and an interesting fact about me is that I actually played on the collegiate league of legends team, and we placed 5th out of the 70 teams in the west conference. 




Current graduate student Kristen McManus

Hello, my name is Kirsten McManus and I am born and raised in Southern California. More specifically, I was born in Torrance, CA. I received my undergraduate degree from the University of California, Irvine. I earned my B.S. in Chemistry with a specialization in Chemical Biology. As a graduate student I hope to learn more about what it means to work in industry as a chemist, how to refine and evolve my skillset, and also how to properly utilze my professional connections. Upon graduating, I hope to pursue one of two career options: pharmacy industry or becoming a cosmetic chemist. Both paths have sparked my interest and would help me to fufill my professional aspirations. In my free time, I like to do anything that keeps me active: whether it be: strength and conditioning, running, biking, yoga, etc. I also enjoy reading a good book and watching movies on Netflix.


Current graduate student Lael Cardinal


Hi, my name is Lael Cardinal and I am a first-year graduate student! I’m from La Mirada, CA and I received my bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Biola University in 2021. I’m part of Dr. Sachel Villafane-Garcia’s Research Lab group and will be working on a project related to analytical chemistry education. When not in school, I enjoy cooking, baking, eating, thrifting, and playing tennis!



Current graduate student Lorenzo Vega

Hello! My name is Lorenzo Vega, and I am a first-year graduate student. I received my bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from California State University, Fullerton in 2019. I have returned and joined Dr. John Haan’s research lab, and I am currently working on projects associated with electrochemistry. I hope during my grad studies I learn and strengthen my analytical chemistry knowledge that will help my future career as a scientist. Some things that I enjoy include watching movies, hanging out with friends and loved ones, cars, and food.


Current graduate student Oliver Solares

Hello! I am Oliver Solares and I am a first year graduate student. I received my B.S. in chemistry from CSUF in Spring of 2022. As a graduate student, I’m most interested in learning more about computational chemistry and other related fields! I plan on getting a PhD locally in socal or Europe after receiving my M.S. In my free time I enjoy concerts, activism, going on road trips, and reading philosophy!



Current graduate student Xiaohui Weng

Hi, my name is Xiaohui Weng. I graduated from Fordham University in 2019 with a bachelor's in chemistry. After graduation, I worked as a QC chemist at a pharmaceutical company before I decided to return to school as I developed an interest in medicinal chemistry. Currently, I work in Dr. Pecic's lab on the FAAH/sEH dual inhibitor and the lipidomics project. I hope to contribute to developing novel therapeutics for existing diseases in the future. In my free time, I enjoy traveling, crocheting, and trying new food with friends.

2021 Graduate Students


Current graduate student Andres

Hi, my name is Andres!   I received a B.S. Biochemistry from CSU Long Beach and I am currently studying Polypyrimidine Tract Binding Proteins under Dr. Keppetipola's lab. I am very excited about this topic and look forward to its future research. Some of the topics that spark my interest are the biochemistry of life, quantum mechanics, graphene, genome editing, philosophy, God, and mathematics.
Among many things I enjoy biking, swimming, chess, writing, some videogames and reading.


Current graduate student Cannon


Hello! my name is Cannon Savage and I am a first-year graduate student here at CSUF. I received my bachelor's degree in biochemistry from CSUF last Spring. I am interested in biochemistry and I recently joined the Linder laboratory. My current project involves studying the effects of estrogen on the levels of copper binding proteins in the blood.



Current graduate student Danielle



Hi, my name is Danielle Rocco and I am a first-year graduate student.  I received my bachelor's degree in chemistry from the University of California, Irvine in 2020. The area of research I am interested in is analytical chemistry and atmospheric chemistry. I am working in Dr. Curtis’s lab studying aerosol particles, specifically wildfire emissions and metal emissions from highways and fireworks.  



current graduate student Jose


Hi, my name is José Luis Guardado Sandoval and I am a first-year graduate student. I received my bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from California State University, Fullerton in 2016.  I joined Dr. Andrew Petit’s Research Lab group and I am currently working on projects related to photochemistry. Some of my hobbies include hiking, playing video games, and traveling when possible.


current graduate student Lauren


My name is Lauren Hernandez and I am a second-year graduate student in Dr. Haan’s research lab, working on the fuel cell team. I study electrochemistry and the oxidation of small organic molecules capable of producing renewable energy for materials. My hobbies include taking adventures to new places, eating different types of foods, and staying active!


current graduate student Ryan


My name is Ryan Hicken and I am a second-year Organic Chemistry graduate student working in Dr. Salzameda’s lab. I am currently working on the synthesis of inhibitors for the treatment of Chagas disease, which currently effects an estimated 7 million people worldwide. Additionally, I do work with flow reactor systems for this chemistry. I graduated with a B.S. in Biochemistry from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and currently am a Chemist in the Polymer Lab at the Behr Paint Company.


current graduate student Mellody



Hi everyone! My name is Montana Mellody and I am a first-year graduate student. I graduated from Vanguard University in 2017 with my bachelor's in biochemistry. I recently joined Dr. Keppetipola's Research Lab group and I am beyond thrilled to be joining this program!



current graduate student Esther



Hello, my name is Esther Morales, and I am a first-year Grad student here at CSUF majoring in Analytical Chemistry. I graduated from CSUB in 2019 with a B.S in Chemistry ACS Certified.  A couple hobbies of mine are binge watching Netflix and movies, hiking, playing my guitar and hanging out with friends. 


Current graduate student Kevan


My name is Kevan Nguyen, I am a second-year graduate student. I am an alumnus of California State University, Fullerton with a MS in Biochemistry. I returned to complete my master’s degree in Biochemistry and am currently working in Dr. Linder’s research lab. Our lab is currently studying copper metabolism within Mammalia.


Current graduate student Paul



My name is Paul Thang Ngoc Nguyen, and I am a first-year graduate student at CSU Fullerton.  I got my bachelor's degree in chemistry from Chapman University in 2019, and am pursuing a master's degree in Analytical Chemistry. In my free times, I love to go hiking and board gaming with family.




Current graduate student, Steven


Hello, my name is Steven Pham and I am a first-year chemistry graduate student at CSUF. I graduated from UC Riverside in 2019 with a degree in biochemistry and was involved in analytical chemistry research in Dr. Quan Cheng's group. My experiences in undergraduate research were the best learning opportunities I had during my undergraduate career. These research experiences sparked my passion for chemistry and led me to pursuing a graduate degree. I am interested in analytical chemistry, specifically research involving nanoparticles. My goal is to harness the multitude of potential uses of various nanoparticles in applications involving medicine or agriculture. I'm excited to be a part of the excellent chemistry program here at CSUF!


Current graduate student, Tamara


Hello, my name is Tamara and I am a second year graduate student. I received my bachelor’s degree in Chemistry at California Lutheran University in 2018. Currently pursuing my master’s degree in Chemistry, concentrating in Organic Chemistry.  I am in Dr. Kelvin Billingsley’s Research Lab and my project is about designing metabolic imaging probes for Hyperpolarized 13C Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (13CMRSI). 


Current graduate student, Jessica


My name is Jessica Duron and I am a first-year graduate student in Dr. Kelvin Billingsley's research lab. My background is in physics and chemistry, but I enjoy studying in the field of organic chemistry. When I'm not busy dealing with science, I enjoy playing with my friend's guinea pigs and making adorable costumes for them. 



Current graduate student Tung



Hello, my name is Tung Nguyen, and I am a first-year graduate student. I graduated from Cal State Long Beach with a Biochemistry bachelor's degree and teaching credential. I am interested in Chemistry Education research and hope to continue my career as a high school teacher after graduation.


Current garduate student Kimberly



Hello, my name is Kimberly Waters and I am a second-year graduate student. I attended University of the Sciences in Philadelphia for my BS in chemistry with a minor in mathematics. Last year, I joined Dr. Haan’s lab where I am studying the efficiency of potential biofuels and the products formed after these fuels oxidize.


Current graduate student, Stephanie


Hello, I’m Stephanie Wilt, I am a second-year grad student doing research with Dr. Pecic. I transferred from a junior college to CSUF where I obtained my bachelor’s while doing research with Dr. Rasche in 2019. I came to CSUF for grad school so that I could get experience in medicinal chemistry, I am currently synthesizing, biologically evaluating, and performing molecular modeling studies on small molecules that can be used to treat pulmonary fibrosis.


Current graduate student, Aaron


Hello, my name is Aaron Lim and this is my 2nd year in program (I attended CSUF for undergrad as well!).  I am working towards a M.S. degree with an emphasis in biochemistry.  I work in Dr. Ortega's lab where we study the mechanisms of viral assembly and replication.  My research is geared towards crystallography, which is a useful tool to analyze protein structure on an atomic level.  These techniques can help bridge the understanding of viral proteins and how they assemble into viral-like-particles. 


Current graduate student, Sarah


Hi!  My name is Iverson Li and I got my B.S. in Chemistry from CSUF in 2020.  I am currently working in Dr. Fry-Petit’s research lab synthesizing and analyzing the crystal structure of potential non-cooperative octahedral tilted perovskites.  I hope to work in industry or pursue a PhD and will explore my options.  In my spare time I like to swim, jog and play video games.  



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Hi, my name is James Park and I am in CSUF to study chemistry education research. The research is on improving student learning outcomes in STEM, particularly in first year chemistry students. I am interested in teaching college chemistry after receiving my Master’s. 


Graduate Student Jeannes Angelia

My name is Jeannes Angelia. I was born in Jakarta, Indonesia. In 2009, my parents and I moved to the United States. I obtained B.S. in Chemistry as my undergraduate degree from University of California Los Angeles in 2015. I am currently not working in a lab since I just joined the graduate program. I am interested in learning about drug design and synthesis. I would like to work in the pharmaceutical industry as a lead research scientist. I hope to be involved in the discovery of new drugs that can treat incurable diseases. In my free time, I enjoy discovering new restaurants, singing, traveling, and cooking/baking.

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Hello!  My name is Kody Acosta and I was born and raised in Fullerton.  I got my B.S. in Chemistry from UCI in 2018.  After I graduated, I worked in an analytical testing laboratory for three years and now I am returning to focus on school and I would perhaps like to pursue teaching.  Currently, I am working with Dr. Fry-Petit doing solid-state chemistry with a focus in spectroscopy.  One of my hobbies is music.  I played bass guitar in a punk band that played in the OC and LA area for about six years and loved to attend local shows.

Graduate Student Geovanny Gallardo

My name is Geovanny Gallardo and I am from Norwalk, California.  I got my B.S. in Chemistry from CSUF and during that time learned to do computational chemistry work, specifically on surface catalysts with Dr. Michael Groves.  I got a lot of exposure to python and mat lab coding style to help me in my research.  Currently I am working with Dr. Andrew Petit because I am interested in photo induced chemical reactions.  My career goal is to find a job that allows me to continue doing computational methods to resolve and understand problems.  My spare time and my money go towards fixing up my BMW!  In pursuing this hobby, I have met new people who help me out with getting my car projects completed.

Image Placeholder of Tuffy Titan for Graduate student Henry Nguyen

Hello, my name is Henry Nguyen and I grew up in the city of Orange and now currently reside in Garden Grove.  I graduated with a B.S. in Biochemistry from CSUF in 2021.  I currently work with Dr. Gonzalez focusing on chemical education.  My goal is to earn a Ph.D. and teach at a community college or university.  Since the pandemic, it has been harder to spend time with my friends, so we’ll play a game or watch a show or movie instead.  

Graduate Student Jenille Cruz

Hi, my name is Jenille Cruz. I am a first-year graduate student, and I’m from Chino Hills, CA. I
earned my bachelor’s degree in chemistry at CSUF in December 2020. I’m currently working in
Dr. Groves’ research lab, and I do research with the Army Research Laboratory. I plan on
furthering my education by pursuing a PhD in materials science or to have a career as a
research chemist that specializes in R&D for government agencies like the Department of
Defense. I enjoy hanging out with friends, I like to watch anime, and I love food.

Graduate Student Zach Lyon

My name is Zach Lyon. I am from Los Angeles and received my BS in Biochemistry from USC in 2018. I am interested in working in Dr. Billingsley's lab on organic synthesis, particularly on the synthesis of analogues of indolactam V. After this program I would like to continue on to do research in a PhD program. Some of my hobbies include analogue photography and cooking.

Graduate Student Kaylynn Schmus

My name is Kaylynn Deanna Schmus and I am from Yorba Linda, CA.  I went to California Baptist University and got my undergraduate degree in Chemistry Advance Studies in 2020.  I am currently interested in working with Dr. Hudson or Dr. Curtis.  My career goal is to be an analytical chemist working on an LC system.  My hobbies include crochet/knitting, reading fiction and learning Japanese.  

Graduate Student Michael Gonzalez

Hello, my name is Michael Gonzalez and I am from Pico Rivera.  I went to CSUF and got my B.S. in Biochemistry in 2020.  I work in the lab of Dr. Stevan Pecic due to my interests in medicinal chemistry.  I would like to work in industry as a medicinal chemist one day.  In my spare time I like to exercise, watch anime and attend indie/alternative rock concerts.