Member Profile: Luz Jimenez Vela
1. What do you do, and how long have you been doing it?
I am a star nurseries doctor in the making. Ellaborately, I am a physics PhD student, teacher assistant, and researcher at Florida State University. I am particularly pursuing star formation theory in the astrophysics field. My first year as FSU’s bridge (master) student was in 2016 and I committed to their PhD program in 2018.
2. What was your first job?
I was a kids Summer Camp tennis instructor and front desk attendant at Anaheim Tennis Center out of high school. What feels like my first more formal job was becoming a physics Supplemental Instruction leader at Chapman University as a transfer undergraduate student.
3. Where did you complete your formal education?
In Southern California, I attended Fullerton College for my first half of undergraduate studies and graduated from Chapman University with a bachelor’s of science. I have now completed the masters of science degree at FSU where I continue to pursue the PhD.
4. How did you first get involved with ACM SIGGRAPH?
Via the Student Volunteer program in what became our first virtual SIGGRAPH conference in 2020! #proudtobesv
5. What is your favorite memory of a SIGGRAPH conference?
Many more than one comes to mind. In 2020, I have a very vivid recollection of attending a session with essentially the founding fathers of computer graphics and being star struck with the attendance of Edwin Catmull. In 2021, our SV Gather Town and the post mortem sessions with the Production session team were sensational and ignited in me a deeper belonging to our SIGGRAPH community. I also want to say that my favorite event is the Electronic Theater to the point of dreaming to chair it one day; I’m kind of obsessed with any sort of Animation show of shows.
6. Describe a project that you would like to share with the ACM SIGGRAPH community.
Sure! Remember the first question I answered? Zooming in yet a little more into my research of star formation, I analyze data from simulated molecular clouds as they collapse to form pre-stellar cores. A particular project I’m currently involved in is in understanding the relationship between magnetic fields and density as this happens.
7. If you could have dinner with one living or non-living person, who would it be and why?
I’d have dinner with physicist Richard Feynmann. He is known for his elegant and simple answers to any sort of questions as well as for his pursuit of physics simply out of the pleasure of finding things out. He inspired me to pursue physics and it would be a thrill and further inspiration to speak to him live.
8. What is something most people don’t know about you?
That I have sung in a choir for 9 years! I miss it very much. I sang seventh to twelfth grade in multiple choirs, then two years and a half with my church choir and then one semester with Chapman University. I still have a bit of hope that I could sing one semester with an FSU choir as a graduate student.
9. From which single individual have you learned the most in your life? What did they teach you?
Technically-wise, from my PhD advisor. He has taught me and continues to teach me the physics behind star formation, unceasing coding skills, and resilience with the process of becoming a doctor.
Life-wise, from my mother. She teaches me unceasing love every day, in my opinion the most worthy pursuit after all other noble causes.
10. Is there someone in particular who has influenced your decision to work with ACM SIGGRAPH?
Yes! And as in previous responses, there’s more than ‘one’ to the response. My astrophysics professor who is also my bridge program mentor introduced me to the former FSU Film School Dean who, upon knowing my technical background and ambition for animation, strongly suggested I should attend SIGGRAPH. That same day a very well known Disney Imagineer made me aware of the SV program and encouraged me to apply to it.
11. What can you point to in your career as your proudest moment?
Being selected as an Undergraduate Transfer Jack Kent Cooke Scholar back in 2011, is one of my proudest moments in my career. The road to the Luz of today has been a non-linear process. Becoming part of this group is as if I’d acquired unceasing fuel from distinct walks of lives and career fields to keep me going through any hardship and with any pursuit. At the time it also validated all of my extracurricular pursuits as a younger Scholar.