Student Success Center Innovators are the driving force behind our commitment to student excellence. They are dedicated individuals who invest their time, energy, and creative ideas to shape and expand our programs. Their unwavering determination ensures that our services reach those students who need them the most, making a meaningful impact on their academic journey. With their forward-thinking approach, they continually enhance our resources, making them more accessible and relevant to the diverse needs of our student community. These innovators embody our mission to empower students to thrive, and their contributions are instrumental in achieving that goal.



Physics Ph.D. Graduate

Jonathan studied Physics, was a Sloan Minority PhD. Scholar, and a co-founder of the EXPAND program at UC San Diego. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics from UC Santa Barbara in 2019 with highest honors and multiple departmental awards. He graduated with his Ph.D. in the Spring of 2024. He primarily studied proton-proton collision data collected by the CMS detector at the LHC, with a focus on measuring fundamentally important properties of the Higgs Boson. In addition, he helped coordinate a program he co-founded in 2020 called EXPAND, which provides research opportunities led by graduate student and postdoc mentors for UCSD undergrads with no prior experience. Jonathan is interested in leveraging his diverse technical skillset against pressing societal problems like AI safety or combating misinformation. At the same time, he is committed to making meaningful, positive change in his community, using the leadership and entrepreneurial experience he gained from EXPAND, towards a more equitable future.


Chemistry & Biochemistry Ph.D. Candidate

Ph.D. student in the Chemistry & Biochemistry department at UCSD. Her research focuses on the protein-protein interactions in the fatty acid biosynthesis pathway of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the causative agent of the disease tuberculosis. As a first-generation college student, a military spouse, and a mother to two small children, Desirae has faced countless barriers while pursuing higher education. Her experiences have taught her how invaluable mentorship and support is for the success of underrepresented students. It is also these experiences that made her eager to participate in the EXPAND program. She frequently participates in STEM outreach and led the development of an extracurricular STEM program at her children’s elementary school on base. Desirae enjoys activities like hiking, baking, and making additions to her vast collection of unicorns. Her favorite quote is “You have to be odd to be number 1,” and she hopes to inspire future scientists to change the world, one oddity at a time.