Hi, I'm Rob Ulrich! I am a first-year Ph.D. student, amateur science communicator, and advocate for diversity in STEM.
My research interests revolve around understanding aspects of crystal nucleation and growth, particularly through the lens of thermodynamics and kinetics. Currently, I am studying amorphous calcium carbonate (ACC), which can play a role in calcification and biomineralization in calcitic and aragonitic organisms. Biomineralization is the process through which these organisms produce minerals within their tissues to form functional structures. Biomineral research has diverse applications in science and engineering including new material synthesis, paleoclimate research, cementations, and biomedical calcification.
I am also passionate about communicating science and promoting diversity in STEM, especially targeting LGBTQ+ youth. I am hoping to start an organization at UCLA for LGBTQ+ students in STEM in the near future and I plan on becoming involved in organizations such as NOGLSTP, LAGLS, and oSTEM, which advocate for LGBTQ+ participation and pursuance of STEM fields.
I recently received dual degrees in Chemistry and Geosciences from Virginia Tech and am currently a first-year Ph.D. student at the University of California, Los Angeles. The majority of my research at Virginia Tech was done with Dr. Patricia Dove, a member of the National Academy of Sciences, working in her biogeochemistry lab with the mentorship of her Ph.D. student, Sebastian Mergelsberg. This past summer, I interned at S.S. Papadopulos & Associates, an environmental consulting firm internationally recognized for their practices in geochemistry, environmental engineering, contaminant studies, remediation, and surface-water hydrology. I worked on various geochemical projects from looking at the interactions between recycled concrete to juxtaposing stable isotope mixing models. Currently, I am getting ready to begin my first year at UCLA and I am ecstatic.
This coming fall I will be working in Dr. Aradhna Tripati's lab at UCLA looking into the effects of the crystallization pathway via ACC on clumped isotope signatures in calcite and aragonite. I will also be a teaching assistant for M10, Introduction to Environmental Science.