Photo of Kenia Pina

Resilient, Driven, and Family Oriented

UC LEADS Research Scholar

I grew up in a city neighboring Compton, Ca, where schools are severely under-resourced and students are not well prepared for higher education. Luckily, my teachers tended to be positively invested in my class success and I was well motivated to pursue my dreams looking past high school. My favorite subject was always math so it made sense that both of my high school mentors were my previous math teachers. With their support, alongside the support of a network I created as an upperclassmen in high school, I was encouraged to pursue a higher degree in STEM. As a freshman in Berkeley, I became involved with the Cal Alumni Student Association via the Cal Leadership Award. I stayed with the organization for three years and learned a lot through my positions as logistics coordinator, evaluations coordinator, and then evaluations director. Simultaneously, I have always been a part-time student worker. From manning phone banks, to Summer Bridge outreaching, financial unit student assisting and ultimately my astronomy research position, I have fluctuated in and out of working up to 18 hours weekly throughout my years at Cal. In the Fall of 2015, I was published as the discoverer of supernova 2015c (SN2015c) , a candidate which I found in early January of that year. My hobbies include dancing, naps, drinking coffee, solving puzzles, playing cards, and listening to music.

I worked with Alex Filippenko, Department of Astronomy at UC Berkeley during the summer and fall of 2015 and spring 2016. I presented my research project “The Study of Type IA Supernovae to Help Understand Dark Energy” at the UC LEADS Statewide Leadership and Research Conference hosted by UC Merced.

Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams published me as the discoverer of SN2015c in November 2015. Publication information below:

Electronic Telegram No. 4049

Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams
CBAT Director: Daniel W. E. Green; Hoffman Lab 209; Harvard University;
20 Oxford St.; Cambridge, MA 02138; U.S.A.
e-mail: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) (alternate .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address))

Prepared using the Tamkin Foundation Computer Network


“NERDS offers a community that catalyzes professional development in the direction of a field of your choosing, a judgment-free space to work on homework and grow collaboratively with other students like you, and offers all kinds of resources that will ensure that you reach your goals. There are health and wellness workshops which have reminded me to take care of myself mentally and physically. There are professional development allies who come in to help us with our resumes, LinkedIn profiles, and help us keep our head shots updated. There is funding for research and travel to conferences that I have been able to take advantage of in the past, and these experiences have really served to help boost my morale and rethink my bigger-picture goals. NERDS has been my backbone here at Cal from the day I was admitted into the UC LEADS program. They've come to my rescue in desperate times of need, rebuilt my self-esteem when needed, and they continue to push me in the direction they know I want to grow in to help me achieve my mathematician goals. ”

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