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Nobody said grad school was going to be easy, but nobody told me it was going to be this much fun, either. The amazing community at Caltech inspires me every day. Whether I am working on my research, taking photos around campus for the yearbook, or starring in a musical comedy based on Star Trek, I am grateful for the opportunities available to me—opportunities that your support makes possible.

I love stories, and science tells us the most incredible story of all. Saturn was the first planet I ever looked at through a telescope. Its magnificent rings were just a blur, but I could tell from its oddly misshapen figure that this planet was something else—something grand, something with a story. It’s these personal discoveries that excite me, constantly reminding me I am at the right place to do groundbreaking research. As a planetary science graduate student, I’m currently working on modeling processes on early Earth, with implications for the theory of the emergence of life at submarine alkaline hydrothermal vents.

Exciting discoveries are happening throughout campus. Emerging from each division, phenomenal graduates are tackling some of the world’s most complex problems. Caltech graduate students invented new ways of engineering HIV drugs, successfully implanted neuroprosthetics in the part of the brain that controls our intent to move, and continue researching with Curiosity, the Mars rover—transforming science and the world.

This outstanding work done right here at Caltech can be directly attributed to the investments made by you and your fellow alumni. Your annual gift to Caltech is what sustains our tradition of excellence and provides the resources we need to pursue and achieve our academic goals. Whether it’s a gift toward your own division, a favorite professor and his or her lab, graduate fellowships, or an unrestricted gift to support all of Caltech, your gift becomes part of the story of Caltech and the discoveries that happen here. I am privileged to walk this campus every day and capture a glimpse of your generosity with my camera lens.

This fall we will welcome (and welcome back) the next cohort of scientists and engineers who will continue their academic journey at Caltech. I invite you to help them succeed by investing in the opportunities that lead to excitement, discovery, and transformative science. Make your gift today and create an opportunity for a student like me. Thank you for leading the way.

Michael Wong
Planetary science grad student