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Meet Abby Crites

Science is a human endeavor. When I think back on a project I’ve worked on, I recall the team members who contributed to its success, the colleagues who helped me build a particular piece of equipment, and the collaborative environment in the lab. Results and data are important, but it’s the people who make science memorable.

Caltech is where I learned this lesson. Thanks to the support of alumni like you, Caltech produces extraordinary scientists and, even more important, amazing individuals.

As a high school student, I participated in a summer science program and learned physics from Tom Tombrello. After that experience, I knew I wanted to become a physicist. And I knew Caltech was THE place to do it. I spent four years, including three summers with a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship, studying the cosmic microwave background with Andrew Lange. I enjoyed being able to do what I love—working with my hands and building instruments—as we created practical solutions to study immense philosophical theories like the Big Bang.

Upon completing my undergraduate degree, I headed to the University of Chicago to earn my doctorate and work on the South Pole Telescope. It was gratifying to start and complete an entire project—doing everything from building and installing instruments to gathering and analyzing data. With three trips to Antarctica, I also got to experience life at the South Pole firsthand.

I returned to Caltech two years ago as a Keck Institute for Space Studies Postdoctoral Fellow and am grateful for this opportunity to study another phase in the history of the universe. Your annual gifts provide young scientists and engineers at Caltech with much-needed scholarship and fellowship support.

My second chapter at Caltech has led to exciting new developments for me on campus. Offering guidance to female graduate students through the Caltech Center for Diversity’s Women Mentoring Women program has been a truly rewarding experience. It’s thrilling that the Class of 2019 is 46 percent female, as engaging more women in science means more role models for future generations. And I’m happy to be playing a part in making science more inclusive.

I invite you to do your part. Invest in transformative and inclusive science. Invest in collaboration and opportunity. Invest in Caltech. Make your gift today.


Abigail (Abby) Crites BS ’06