Current Graduate Students

NEW Graduate Students



Graduate Student John Baker

Hello! I’m John Baker. I grew up in the Napa Valley and then moved to Santa Barbara where I completed my undergraduate degree in Chemistry at Westmont College. I am researching the chemical modification of RNA binding proteins under Dr. Keppetipola and I am interested in learning about how the human body is a chemical masterpiece. I hope that this program will propel me into an MD program where I can eventually pursue clinical research. In my spare time I enjoy, a long run, a good cup of coffee, and surfing.



Graduate Student Patrick Carnie

My name is Patrick Carnie and I’m from Coeur D’Alene Idaho, but I have lived in Ladera Ranch, CA for many years.  After high school, I joined the U S. Army as a combat medical specialist and served on active and combat duty for two years.  Upon completion of my military service, I enrolled in North Idaho College and later transferred to University of Idaho where I received my bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering. This is my second semester at CSUF as a graduate student in Dr. Salzameda’s research lab where we are learning to make pharmaceutical analogs.  My goal is to graduate with sufficient laboratory and academic skills to teach all levels of chemistry at the community college level. When I’m not in school, I like to go boating, paddleboarding, fishing or other ocean related activities, training/playing with our border collie Dexter, or working at our business with my wife.



Graduate Student Alyana Carrell

Hello my name is Alyana Carrell and I am a first-year graduate student. I was born and raised in San Jose, California and received my bachelor’s degree in biochemistry here at CSUF in Spring 2023. My mentor here is Dr. Michael Groves, I am interested in continuing my research studying the electronic and structural properties of ultra-wide band gap semiconductors like diamond. After receiving my graduate degree, I hope to apply to a PhD program and continue my education. When I am not at school I enjoy traveling to new places, and trying new foods.



Graduate Student Tyler Defline

My name is Tyler Deflin and I am born and raised in Orange County. I obtained my bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from CSUF in 2014 and started taking coursework to apply for a chemistry master’s program in 2019. As a grad student, I want to learn as much as I can from the different fields of chemistry. I didn’t take the same coursework as chemistry undergraduates but I’m eager to learn! I’m currently working in the Curtis Research Group. After graduating, I would like to have a job in a lab. Doesn’t matter which company or anything like that, I just love being in a lab. I love to play beer-league softball, video games, and golf. A fun fact is that I just recently got married and my wife and I are expecting a son in February 2024! Also, I’m 6’10”!


Graduate Student Leah Duong

Hi, my name is Leah Duong. I was born and raised in Vietnam. I got my B.S. in Chemistry from CSU Fullerton in 2022. Currently, I am working with Dr. Pecic focusing on medicinal chemistry. As a graduate, I hope to learn more techniques used in an organic lab and be involved in developing therapeutics for existing and neglected diseases. I love sweets so in my free time, I like to bake and test my baking recipes.  



Current graduate student, Lucy Guzman

My name is Lucy Guzman. I am from the Central Valley, more specifically, from a small town called Exeter. I graduated from CSUF with an undergraduate in Biochemistry. My mentor is Dr. Paula Hudson! I am interested in learning more about how to be a well-rounded student. I enjoy learning how instruments work and would like to further expand my knowledge of laboratory instruments. I am hoping to apply for Ph.D. programs in Atmospheric Chemistry, but that plan is not set in stone yet. In my spare time, I like to catch up on sleep or go to concerts. A fun fact about me is that I used to live on a fruit farm so I know a lot of random fruit knowledge.



Graduate student, Marco Hernandez

Hi, my name is Marco Hernandez! I was born in Lynwood, and I live in Bell Gardens. I graduated CSUF last semester with a degree in Biochemistry. My mentor was Dr. Maria C. Linder, but I am now doing my masters in physical chemistry under Dr. Andrew Petit. I am interested in learning the mechanisms and the “how” and “what” molecules do on the quantum and molecular level! As of now, I would like to have a career in teaching at a community college or university. On my spare time I like to listen to music, learn about new and upcoming technology like computers, monitors, TV’s, entertainment systems and general home automation. I am an open book and love a good conversation!



Graduate student, Zeinab Khalil

Hi, my name is Zeinab Khalil, and I am from Downey CA. I received my bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2022. I am currently a first year Master’s student with a concentration in analytical chemistry.  I am joining Dr. Curtis’s Research group and focusing on air quality and atmospheric aerosol particles. After graduating, I hope to become an instructor at the community college level or pursue a career in air quality or environmental hazards. Outside of school, I spend most of my time with my husband and 2-year-old daughter. I also enjoy watching sports with my family and trying new foods from different cultures.



Graduate student, Linh Kim

Hi! My name is Linh Kim and I’m from Ontario, CA. I received my B.S. in Chemistry at CSUF in 2019. Now, I’m a 1st year analytical chemistry graduate student. I work in Dr. Allyson Fry-Petit’s lab where I do research on the structures of oxygen transport materials. I’m interested in learning more about materials chemistry and instrumentation. Currently, I’m a full-time Lead QC/HPLC Chemist for an eyedrop company and would like to eventually become a lab manager/director in either industry or academia. My favorite hobbies include cooking Asian street food and playing my trumpet. Fun fact: I was a member of the CSUF Varsity Pep Band for a couple of years!



Graduate student, Amanda Reyes

Hello, my name is Amanda Reyes. I was born and raised in Southern California. I received my Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from California State University, Fullerton in 2018. After graduation, I worked as a substitute high school teacher, and eventually I worked as a lab technician in a medical diagnostics lab. I gained an interest in working towards a master’s degree while working on COVID diagnostic tests. Currently, I work in Dr. Pecic’s lab focusing on biochemistry. I am interested in gaining more skills in research and analytical techniques. I hope to pursue a career in research in the pharmaceutical industry. In my spare time, I enjoy reading and studying film. 



Graduate student, Gustavo Salgado

Hi! My name is Gustavo Salgado and I was born and raised in Santa Ana, CA. I earned my B.S. in Biochemistry and Cell Biology from University of California, San Diego. I am currently a first-year master’s student in Biochemistry. I am in Dr. Keppetipola’s lab where I focus on protein biochemistry. I am interested in learning all the laboratory techniques used to study proteins and nucleic acids. After obtaining my master’s degree, I would like to study diseases in a research lab. In my free time, I enjoy biking, jogging, playing soccer, and spending time with my family.



Graduate student, Shelby Seely

My name is Shelby Seely and I'm from Glendora, California. I graduated from Cal Poly Pomona with a bachelors in biotechnology and a minor in chemistry. My mentor is Dr. Salzameda, who has already taught me so many new techniques in his lab. I am most interested in learning how to make new compounds. Specifically, compounds that could be used to create medicines to prevent or treat diseases which I then plan on using while doing medical research in the future. In my spare time I enjoy hanging out with my niece and nephew and going on adventures with them!

Graduate student, Laura Ulloa

My name is Laura Ulloa and I was born in Fountain Valley, but raised in Anaheim – where I currently reside.  I received my undergraduate degree in Biochemistry from California State University, Fullerton in 2019.  I am interested in learning how to develop molecules that can be used in drug synthesis.  I would like to work in a pharmaceutical company to help develop drugs to combat diseases.  I would also like to obtain my Ph.D. in Chemistry.  In my spare time, I like to go hiking, read books, and go to Angels baseball games.  A fun fact about me is I have two kids, whom I love with all I’ve got.



Graduate student, Rachel Williams

Hi, I’m Rachel Williams and I am from Riverside, California. I went to UCR for my undergrad where I graduated with a Chemistry degree in 2022. I took a gap year and was a lab assistant at Loma Linda Hospital in their Pathology lab. I’m interested in using organic chemistry to create molecules that can help people cope with illnesses. In the future, I would like to be a professor or work in medicinal chemistry. In my spare time I like to play video games, specifically puzzle games or RPGs, and pick up new hobbies like crochet and bookbinding.

Continuing Graduate Students

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.


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 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 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 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. 

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.

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.


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 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. 

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.  

Current graduate student Paul

My name is Paul  Nguyen.  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 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 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 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 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 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.


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.