Regional Admissions Counselors
Caltech admissions officers are assigned to different regions of the United States. Feel free to contact the officer representing your area.
Jarrid James Whitney, Executive Director of Admissions and Financial Aid
Territories: California (Los Angeles private schools), Hawai'i
Jarrid came to Caltech in September 2010 after holding positions in admissions and financial aid at Cornell University (his alma mater), Dartmouth College, Stanford University, Notre Dame de Namur University, and most recently Santa Clara University. He is originally from a small town in rural upstate New York, where he was the first in his family to attend a four-year institution. While an undergraduate at Cornell, he developed a passion for access and equity for underserved populations, which led to his work in college admissions. He later went on to earn a master's degree in education from Harvard University with a focus on higher education. Jarrid's tribal affiliation is Six Nations Cayuga; Wolf Clan.
Nikki Kahealani Chun, Senior Associate Director
Phone: (626) 395-2645
Territories: California (Northern), U.S. Territories, APO/FPO Schools
Nikki is originally from Nu'uanu, O'ahu and has held admission positions at the University of Miami (her alma mater) and Rice University. She is proud to be a Kamehameha alumna and a first-generation college student with a B.S. in Media Management and a Master's degree in Enrollment Management. She still dances hula and has loved finding halau in each city she has called home. Nikki is responsible for marketing and communication, the freshman reading cycle, and staff training.
Jann Lacoss, Ph.D., Associate Director
Phone: (626) 395-6343
Territories: California (Pasadena), Delaware, District of Columbia, Georgia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, 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, Senior Assistant Director
Phone: (626) 395-8324
Territories: Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, 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 Weekend, and our fall fly-in program Caltech Up Close.
Kristin Robbio, Admissions Counselor
Phone: (626) 395-8934
Territories: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California (Central Valley, Imperial Valley, San Diego), Colorado, Louisiana, Nevada, Utah
Kristin is a San Diego native who has slowly made her way up the Southern California coast. In pursuit of her undergraduate degree, she attended Chapman University where she graduated with a B.S. in Health Sciences and a minor in Germanic Studies. After spending two years working in her alma mater's admissions office, Kristin moved to Los Angeles upon graduation to pursue a career in higher education at Caltech. She has a tattoo of serotonin on her left wrist and is obsessed with reality competition shows. Kristin is in charge of the tour guide program, co-coordinates the Summer Preview events, manages admitted student programming, and is the Alumni Office and Parent Program liaison.
Karen McCleary, Admissions Counselor
Phone: (626) 395-8972
Territories: California (Inland Empire), Connecticut, Florida, Massachusetts, Maine, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Wisconsin, Vermont
Karen grew up in New Hampshire and attended Carleton College in Minnesota, where she obtained a B.A. in Linguistics, learned how to ballroom dance, and worked in the Admissions Office as a student interviewer and tour guide. After graduating from Carleton, Karen made her way out to Pasadena to pursue a career in college admissions. She spends her days learning how to bake and reading science fiction novels. Karen in our athletics liaison, coordinator of the admitted students program called Caltech In A Day, co-coordinator of the Summer Preview events, and co-manager of our website content.
Aldair Arriola Gomez, Admissions Counselor
Phone: (626) 395-2644
Territories: Alaska, California (Los Angeles, Long Beach/South Bay, Orange County), 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.
Karla Arriaga, Admissions Counselor
Phone: (626) 395-8376
Territories: California (Glendale, San Fernando Valley, San Gabriel Valley), Oregon, Pennsylvania, 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.
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.