Awards & Honors, Student Experience
Portrait of Elizabeth Yunerman sitting on a concrete bench and wearing a graduation sash that reads "physics."

Undergraduate physics major Elizabeth Yunerman is the 2021 recipient of the Kenneth & Ann Thimann Scholarship. For student achievement week, we asked her about her time at UC Santa Cruz, her research, and her advice for incoming students.

Please tell us about your experience at UC Santa Cruz.
I’m lucky to have attended UC Santa Cruz where I’ve been given the opportunity to grow as a person and as a scientist, surrounded by the beautiful nature of Santa Cruz. Throughout all my years here, I’ve felt incredibly supported by my mentors, friends, family, and surroundings to achieve my dreams and continue through difficult times. I will deeply miss being at UC Santa Cruz, and I hope to be back sometime in the future.

What are your research interests and goals?
I am most interested in studying different stages of planet formation and evolution, and connecting these stages to the chemical evolution of their formation environment. In the long term, I aim to become an astronomy and planetary science professor leading exoplanet and planet formation research, while also mentoring and supporting others.

Please share your accomplishments during your time at here UC Santa Cruz.

My biggest accomplishment at UC Santa Cruz is how much I learned about myself and the research I am most passionate about. I came into UCSC undecided and very unsure of what career I wanted to pursue. Now I feel extremely confident in pursuing astronomy and astrophysics, and I can’t wait to start the next step of my career.

What advice do you have for incoming UC Santa Cruz students?
I would advise incoming students to get involved in research as early as possible. The faculty here want you to succeed and want you to find something that interests you, and are always there to support you on your academic journey. Most importantly, I would advise them to find true friends and take the time to explore the campus, downtown, the beaches, and the forest.

Congratulations to Elizabeth and all of our 2020-2021 award winners! For more student stories, check out the “Student Experience” category on the newscenter.