Empowering Leadership: Computing Scholars of Tomorrow Alliance
Born and raised in a small desert town in Southern California, Crystal Valdez discovered her love for science playing with bugs in her backyard and through her high school chemistry class. She continued her study of chemistry when she attended the California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo and obtained her B.S. in biochemistry. During her undergraduate career, Crystal challenged herself with several different summer research programs but the most influential one was an REU at the University of Oregon in a theoretical chemistry lab. This was where she discovered her passion in the theoretical and computational sciences. Now at UCLA, she has just begun her second year of graduate school pursuing a doctorate degree in physical chemistry. She has joined the lab of Dr. Anastassia Alexandrova and is currently using mixed QM/MM methods to study the function and evolution of natural and artificial metallo-enzymes.  When Crystal is not working in the lab, you will probably find her in a yoga or dance class.