My name is Alex Phillips and I am a fourth-year graduate student working on my PhD in geochemistry. I grew up in San Diego, volunteering at my local aquarium and falling in love with all things marine biology. While at UC Santa Barbara, I realized that my true passion was marine chemistry. I worked on lab projects and research at sea that took me everywhere from oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean in the submarine Alvin to bubbling methane Seeps in Southern California. My PhD at Caltech is a continuation of my marine chemistry background, focusing on the organic chemistry of ocean sediments and water.
It was so great to show her that physics and math are intertwined – if she could conquer one, she could conquer the other.
I have been volunteering with the Rise Program for two years now and really enjoy mentoring high school students and preparing them for college. One of my favorite moments was with my student who was studying calculus and physics. We had spent the last few months understanding derivatives, and she really had them down now, but when she looked at her physics homework there was so much dread on her face looking at the complicated equations for Newtonian mechanics. I put her book aside, and we derived the equations by taking derivatives and it was the most amazing “aha” moment to witness. It was so great to show her that physics and math are intertwined – if she could conquer one, she could conquer the other.