Regional Admissions Counselors
Caltech admissions officers are assigned to different regions of the United States. Feel free to contact the officer representing your area.
Nikki K. Chun, Director of Undergraduate Admissions
Nikki came to Caltech in September 2015 after working in admissions at Rice University (Houston, TX) and her alma mater, the University of Miami (Coral Gables, FL). She is originally from Honolulu, Hawai'i, and identifies as a first-generation student who is of part-Native Hawaiian and part-Chinese heritage. Nikki is a Kamehameha Schools Kapalma alumna; she earned her B.S. in Communication and M.S.Ed. in Enrollment Management from the University of Miami. She is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Higher Education Leadership with Colorado State University. In her spare time, Nikki dances hula with Kaulana Ka Hale Kula O Na Pua O Ka 'Aina, a hula halau based in Torrance, CA.
Jann Lacoss, Ph.D., Associate Director
Phone: (626) 395-6343
Territories: Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, International Applicants
Jann joined Caltech after several years at the University of Virginia's Teaching Resource Center. She holds a Ph.D. in Slavic folklore from the University of Virginia, an M.A. in Russian literature from New York University, and a B.A. in general studies from Ferrum College. She has taught Russian language, literature, and folklore, studies children's folklore, and has crocheted pi to about 30 decimal points. Jann is responsible for the international application cycle and the transfer and 3/2 admission cycles, she heads travel management and is the liaison for the RSI, Intel, Westinghouse, and Olympiad programs.
Derek Terrell, Associate Director
Phone: (626) 395-8324
Territories: Hawai'i, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas
Derek was born in South Korea and grew up in Lexington, Kentucky. He holds a B.A. in Spanish with a minor in Asian Studies from Hope College and a Master's degree in Higher Education from Harvard University. As a first-generation college student, he decided to focus his studies and initiatives on access, equity and inclusion for underrepresented students and continues to keep these values at the core of his work at Caltech. He has run a full marathon in Seoul, a half-marathon through Angkor Wat in Cambodia, and he has traveled to more than 15 countries. Derek serves as the coordinator for our counselor visit programs, our admitted student program Prefrosh Experience, and our fall fly-in program Caltech Up Close.
Karla Arriaga, Assistant Director
Phone: (626) 395-8376
Territories: Arizona, California (Central Valley, Glendale, Imperial Valley, Northern California (all), San Fernando Valley, San Gabriel Valley, San Diego), Colorado, Oregon, U.S. territories and APO/FPO schools, Washington
Karla was born in Mexico City and grew up in Southern California. She attended California State University Fullerton where she obtained a B.S. in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology. After graduation, she worked as a STEM-Grant Coordinator at a local community college, sparking her passion for working with underrepresented students and encouraging them to pursue higher education in STEM. Prior to Caltech, Karla held admissions positions at UC Santa Cruz and UC Davis. Karla enjoys travel adventures and once backpacked for two months in Southeast Asia. Karla is Caltech's manager of student blogs and social media, Frosh Lunch coordinator, and admitted student phone and postcard campaign manager.
Aldair Arriola Gomez, Admissions Counselor
Phone: (626) 395-2644
Territories: Alaska, California (Los Angeles, Long Beach/South Bay, Orange County), Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Montana, Wyoming
Aldair was born in Veracruz, Mexico before moving to the suburbs of Chicago when he was 8. He attended Pomona College in Claremont, California, where he obtained a B.A. in International Relations. As a first-generation college student, Aldair is passionate about making higher education more accessible to underrepresented students. He enjoys binge watching shows on Netflix, dancing Salsa/Cumbia/Merengue, and exploring the LA food scene. Aldair is our QuestBridge Liaison, Undocumented Student Liaison, Strive for College/I'm First Liaison, Military/ROTC/Yellow-Ribbon Liaison, and Alumni & Faculty Yield Liaison.
Kimberly Ortiz, Admissions Counselor
Phone: (626) 395-8934
Territories: Alabama, Arkansas, California (Inland Empire), Louisiana, Nevada, Utah
Kimberly was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. She obtained a B.A. in World Arts and Cultures and Chicana/o Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles. As a first generation college student, Kimberly noticed the inequities in higher education and made a personal commitment to engage with education in ways that would both help ensure the academic success of underrepresented students in colleges, and dismantle mass incarceration. In her free time, she enjoys exploring new cities in search of a great cup of coffee. Kimberly serves as our Marketing and Communications Coordinator, DecemberFest Coordinator, Caltech In A Day (CIAD) Co-Coordinator, and SLATE Inbox Manager. She is also responsible for the Momentum e-Newsletter and maintenance of the website.
Tessa Tweet, Admissions Counselor
Phone: (626) 395-8972
Territories: California (Pasadena), Georgia, North Carolina, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Wisconsin
Tessa was born and raised in the Seattle area and moved to Southern California to attend Pitzer College in Claremont. She graduated with a B.A. in Anthropology, where she focused on museums and material culture and studied abroad in the Amazon region of Brazil. After interning at The Getty Foundation, Tessa worked at the Huntington Library (just down the street from Caltech) in the Education Division. Tessa loves exploring Los Angeles museums and galleries and is always looking for a new exhibition to visit on the weekend.
Scott Jung, Associate Director for Operations
A native of Southern California, Scott attended UCLA, where he received his bachelor's degree in economics. He has been working in the Admissions Office for over 10 years.
Marta Chang, Admissions Coordinator
Marta has worked at Caltech since 1999. Taking a short break from admissions, she spent a year in the applied math department. She has studied computer science and has a diverse work background.
Christine Waldor, Admissions Coordinator
Christine has worked in the Admissions Office since 2001. Prior to her time at Caltech, she worked in the financial sector as well as in the admissions office at Whittier College, where she graduated with a B.A. in English.
Tiffanie Love, Receptionist
Tiffanie is a native of Pasadena and attended John Muir High School. She is currently in school studying psychology.