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Current members


Peiwei Chen, President

Peiwei is a biology grad student in Alexei Aravin's group. He has community service experience with over 10 non-profits in both Asia and US on various social causes, and he once led a pro bono service trip to Cambodia with a team of 20 volunteers. He is currently a member of the Early Career Leadership Program Accessibility Subcommittee at Genetics Society of America, working to promote accessibility for early-career scientists with disabilities. Through LEAP, he hopes to contribute to a future in which hands-on science education is accessible for everyone.


Cai Tong Ng, Vice President for External Affairs

Cai is a biochemistry graduate student in the Dunphy lab where she studies how DNA replication is regulated. Outside of research work, she is keen on helping underprivileged students gain access to better resources so that they can reach their full potential. She has participated in various projects towards that objective, both locally and abroad. In her spare time, she likes to fuss over a Shiba fur ball and watch standup comedy.


Jingjing Sun, Vice President for Campus Liaison

Jingjing is a postdoctoral fellow in Angela Stathopoulos's group. She enjoys hiking with her dog outside of the lab. She feels fortunate to be part of LEAP, hoping to bring more talented students into STEM fields.


Suchitra Dara, Vice President for Internal Affairs

Suchitra is an undergraduate bioengineering student (c/o 2024). She serves as an associate editor for the Caltech Undergraduate Research Journal, a health advocate, a representative on the Advocacy Committee, and a Rise tutor. She is excited to help students in different communities have better and more scientific experiences through LEAP!


Jesus Galeana, Strategic Development

Jesus Marcelo Galeana is a first year graduate student perusing his PhD in chemistry. By studying chemical biology, he hopes to develop and improve chemotherapeutic delivery using both an inorganic and a molecular biology approach. He also studied both at College of the Sequoias and at the University of California, Irvine where he received his bachelor degrees in Chemistry and Biochemistry. In his spare time he likes cooking, traveling, and playing Catan.


Kitty Cahalan, Ph.D

Assistant Director for Educational Outreach, Caltech CTLO

Kitty brings a tremendous amount of expertise in educational outreach to the LEAP project and has been instrumental in every step of the project development.

Liz Jackman

Associate Director of Student Programs, Caltech Y

Liz provides consultation and programming support to the LEAP project and offers valuable insights into educational landscape in the region.

Alison Tominaga

Program Manager for Allyship and Campus Outreach, Caltech Center for Inclusion and Diversity

Alison offers critical guidance in kick-starting the LEAP project and helps connect the project with various resources on campus.


Xiaotian Bi

Chemistry grad student, Lu Wei's lab

Sarah Balderston

Bioengineering grad student, Niles Pierce's lab

You could be here!

We are currently recruiting LEAP affiliates who are interested in helping us campaign for lab equipment donations and/or serving as contact persons for different labs/buildings/groups at Caltech.

Learn how to get involved.


The Lab Equipment Access Program (LEAP) was co-founded by Peiwei Chen, Frank Macabenta, Jingjing Sun and Suchitra Dara - students and postdocs in the Division of Biology and Biological Engineering (BBE) at Caltech - in early 2022. Originally as a project with Caltech Center for Inclusion and Diversity (CCID), LEAP continues its effort to make a real-life impact with the generous support from Caltech Center for Teaching, Learning, and Outreach (CTLO), Caltech Y and BBE.