20210314_Lab Photo vTurtle2.jpg

Group photo January 2021

​​For past group photos, see the archive.

Kimberly A. See

Kimberly See


Kim was born and raised in Colorado and received her B.S. in Chemistry from Colorado School of Mines in 2009. After a year at CU Boulder and a year in industry working at NuSil Technology, Kim attended the University of California, Santa Barbara for her graduate work with Profs. Ram Seshadri and Galen Stucky. She received her Ph.D. in Chemistry in 2014. For her postdoctoral work, Kim received the St. Elmo Brady Future Faculty Fellowship and worked with Prof. Andrew Gewirth at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where she studied the local solvation structure of next-generation battery electrolytes. Find out more about Kim here.



Forrest Laskowski

Forrest Laskowski


Forrest was born in Maine but grew up in Montana and Alaska where he was always very cold. He remained in Montana to attend Carroll College and received degrees in Computer Science and Chemistry. Forrest will tell you that he was routinely chilly during his undergraduate years and developed a healthy fear of the Winter Storm Advisory™ sound. After graduating he worked at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory for two years before attending the University of Oregon for graduate school. Forrest’s PhD work, mentored under Prof. Shannon Boettcher, focused on improving photoelectrochemical water splitting efficiencies by developing techniques to better understand fundamental charge transfer processes. Forrest enjoyed his PhD science but now views “wet” as a synonym for “stupidly cold” and holds a grudge against Oregon’s deceivingly beautiful summertime weather. In his free time Forrest enjoys visiting Disney parks, rock climbing, reading epic fantasy, and playing games (boards/video/RPGs/mafia). He loves trying new foods and wine.

Image from iOS.jpg

Xiaotong Li 


Xiaotong was born and raised in Yantai, a seaside city in Eastern China. She did her undergraduate studies at Nankai University in Tianjin, China. During her undergraduate time, she attended a summer program called CSST at UCLA working with Prof. Paul Weiss, and then spent another half year there to finish the project as her undergraduate thesis on soft lithography for microbial fuel cells. She received her Ph.D. in chemistry from Northwestern University, where she worked with Prof. Mercouri Kanatzidis on structure-property relationships for 2D halide perovskites. Missing the sunshine and beach of California, she decided to move back to Southern California to start a postdoc position at Caltech. In her free time, she loves yoga, cooking and hiking. 


graduate students


Wendy Zhang


Wendy was born and raised in Changchun, China. She decided to explore the other side of the world at age 18, and spent her undergradate years in Virginia at the College of William and Mary. During her time at W&M, she worked with Prof. William McNamara on electrocatalytic and photocatalytic hydrogen evolution. At Caltech, she first worked with Prof. Gregory Fu on nickel-catalyzed cross-coupling. Missing the fun of CV, she decided to join See lab to start a new adventure! In her free time, Wendy enjoys yoga, cooking Asian food, and being a couch potato with her cats.

Joshua Zak

Joshua Zak


Josh was born in the D.C. area but decided as a toddler that the traffic was just too much to handle and moved to Pittsburgh, a city family on both sides has called home for generations. After a brief stint in Australia for middle school, he remembered that Pittsburgh has pierogis and ran home, eventually deciding to stick around for his undergraduate years. Josh studied chemistry and materials science at Carnegie Mellon University, where he worked with Prof. Stefan Bernhard to develop iridium complexes with long-lived excited states for use in photoredox catalysis. Then, feeling nostalgic about D.C. traffic, Josh decided to make the move out west to Caltech for his graduate studies. In his free time, he likes to save money for concert tickets and spend it on food instead.

Skyler Ware

Skyler Ware


Skyler was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, where it’s not uncommon to experience all four seasons in a single day. Unable to part from Cincinnati chili for too long, she stayed in Ohio for undergrad and attended THE Ohio State University, where she worked with Prof. Robert Baker to study mixed metal oxide catalysts for CO2 conversion to multi-carbon products. Skyler then decided to trade the cornfields of Ohio for the mountains of California and moved to Caltech for her graduate studies. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, rock climbing, and reading sci-fi novels.

Steve Kim

Steve Kim


Steve was born and raised in Incheon, South Korea, then his family moved to the bay area in 2007, and he went to high school there. Steve did his undergraduate studies (chemical engineering) at Georgia Tech, and he worked with Professor Sally Ng and studied secondary organic aerosol formation from toluene in urban settings (characterized by high NOx concentration). In his free time, he likes to play volleyball, play the guitar and sing, or sleep in with no alarms on the weekends.

Zac Iton

Zac Iton


Zac was born in the Caribbean Island Trinidad & Tobago but moved to Barbados at the age of 5 where he lived until he moved to Philly to pursue his undergraduate studies at UPenn. There he completed the VIPER dual-degree program and worked for Prof. Chris Murray. He investigated a variety of nanoparticles for possible energy/sustainability applications, including vanadium oxide films for smart windows and metal nanoparticles on ceria nanoplates for catalytic converters. After realizing he could not survive in the cold, Zac moved to California to pursue his graduate studies in material science at Caltech.  In his free time, he enjoys playing soccer, exploring the city and spending time with friends.

Brian Lee

Brian Lee


Brian was born and raised in Suwon, South Korea, then moved to Singapore in middle school. He moved again to Minnesota in high school, then attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where he received a bachelor of science degree in chemistry. He worked with Prof. Ken Suslick on the development of polymer gas chromatography microcolumns, then with Prof. Alison Fout on carbene based pincer first row transition metal catalysts. In his free time he enjoys getting his heart broken by the Minnesotan sports teams.

Eshaan Patheria

Eshaan Patheria


Eshaan grew up in Dublin, Ireland and later moved to Mumbai, India when he was 10 years old where he spent the rest of his school days. He then moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts to attend Harvard University where he received his Bachelor's degree in Chemistry and Physics. While there, Eshaan worked under Professor Philip Kim studying charge transport and interlayer excitons in van der Waals heterostructures of transition metal dichalcogenides. Before starting at Caltech, he spent one year working with an NGO called Gram Vikas to build a solar micro-grid in a village called Maligaon in Odisha, India. In his free time, Eshaan enjoys playing basketball, running and trying new foods.


Kim Pham


Kim was born and raised in Boston Massachusetts, home of proud sports fans and unpredictable seasons. At Brown University, Kim studied materials chemistry and worked with Professor Robinson on selective copper-catalyzed oxygen reduction reactions. As much as she loved the charm of the east coast and the convenience of public transportation, Kim decided to escape to sunny California for her graduate studies. In her free time, she loves to dance west coast swing and ballroom, work on crafting projects, and cook Vietnamese food.

Michelle Qian

Michelle Qian


Michelle was born in Pasadena before her parents moved to Minnesota to experience the frozen tundra. Not realizing that there were other seasons besides winter and construction, she completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Minnesota. She wrote her undergraduate thesis on luminescent lanthanide probes for aqueous anions under the direction of Valerie Pierre. Deciding that -50 F was a touch too cold, Michelle returned to Pasadena for her graduate studies. Her hobbies include collecting minerals, hiking, and coaxing people into going to bar trivia with her.

Steven Stradley

Steven Stradley


Steven spent his first 22 years below sea level in New Orleans, Louisiana. There, he earned a degree in chemical engineering at Tulane University. He wrote his undergraduate thesis on the binding affinity of the human adenosine receptor to a fluorescent ligand under Professor Anne Robinson. Steven thought that his string of loosely related work experience, including his time as an Airbnb host, an internship at a nuclear power plant, and his position as manager of his alma mater’s outdoor recreation program, gave him the perfect background for work in batteries. As a result, he eventually left the swamps for the cooler climate of Southern California to pursue his graduate studies at Caltech. When he’s not in the lab, Steven spends most of his free time watching Bon Appetit videos, climbing, and cooking.

Grace Chen

Grace Chen


Grace was born and raised in Taipei, Taiwan, then her family moved to Southern California when she was in middle school. Having never experienced cold winters with snowfall, she decided to move to Connecticut to attend Wesleyan University, where she received her bachelor's degree in Chemistry. She worked with Prof. T. David Westmoreland on the synthesis and characterization of Mn(II)-based MRI contrast agents. Despite falling in love with the rich history and historic architecture of New England, she missed the wide variety of delicious Asian cuisine and the pleasant climate of California, so she returned to Southern California for her graduate studies at Caltech. In her free time, she enjoys playing the piano, swimming, and hiking. 

Daniel McHaffie

Daniel McHaffie


Dan grew up in Hamilton, Canada, and earned a BASc in Nanotechnology Engineering nearby at the University of Waterloo. During his undergraduate degree, he worked with Professor Wei Tsen to study a variety of low-dimensional materials for quantum computing applications. While spending some time outside of academia, Dan investigated degradation mechanisms of electrode materials in both lithium-ion batteries and neural interfaces during internships at companies in the Bay Area. His hobbies include canoeing, hiking, and playing soccer.


Christopher Povinelli


Christopher grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and spent his undergraduate years in Massachusetts at Boston College, where the winters were also cold. There, he worked with Prof. Dunwei Wang on energy storage research, including MOF separators for magnesium-sulfur batteries and silicon monoxide prelithiation for lithium-ion anodes. He also spent a summer at Argonne National Lab working with Dr. Patricia Ignacio-de Leon on lithium batteries as well as silica xerogels for biofuel extraction. At Caltech, he continues to work on batteries while desperately trying to retain his cold tolerance in a warmer climate. In his free time, Christopher enjoys modding Minecraft and cooking.

former group members

graduate students and postdocs

undergraduate students

Shaoyang Lin.jpg

Shaoyang Lin


My name is Shaoyang Lin (林劭阳). I was born in Chengdu, Sichuan and grew up in Shantou, Guangdong. I did my undergraduate study in South China University of Technology in Guangzhou, learning about organic light emitting diodes and organic solar cells. I received my Ph.D. degree in Chemistry at Virginia Tech in 2019. Under the direction of Dr. Amanda Morris, I investigated catalysis mechanisms and charge transfer pathways of electrochemical and photoelectrochemical reactions catalyzed by metal-organic framework based heterogeneous catalysts. After that, I became a postdoctoral scholar in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at The Ohio State University, joining Dr. Claudia Turro’s group in April 2019. My research was focusing on illustrating the reaction mechanism, especially the role of redox non-innocent ligands in dirhodium HER electrocatalysts. In my free time, I like watching soccer games and playing soccer. I have been a fan of Inter Milan for 20 years. I also like hiking, cooking, watching movies and singing.