Kayla Jane Rodriguez


About me

I am a graduate Ph.D. student researcher in atomic-molecular-optical (AMO) physics working for professor Nathan Schine at the University of Maryland/Joint Quantum Institute building up an experiment aiming to engineer an optical cavity coupled to tweezer array of cold atoms

I first started my research endeavors in 2017 at UCLA as an  undergraduate in Professor Paul Hamilton's group, predominantly working on integrating electronics and optimizing atomic beams in an ytterbium MOT experiment. 

After graduating in 2018  with my B.S in physics, I spent my next before graduate school exploring different opportunities before moving forward working with Professor Boerge Hemmering at UC Riverside on a new molecular trap experiment aiming to laser cool and trap AlCl molecules. I gained invaluable experience primarily building and maintaining a second harmonic generation laser system, leading to my co-authoring a paper on AlCl spectroscopy. I then transitioned into UCR as a graduate student where I won the NSF GRFP and received my M.S in physics. While completing my degree, I switched to a new experiment aiming to trap single electrons in a Paul trap for applications in quantum computation, with its feasibility most recently published. 

When I received my masters, I decided to pursue an exciting opportunity at NIST Gaithersburg  working with Dr. Eric Norrgard and Dr. Stephen Eckel on laser cooling and trapping MgF molecules with the goal of using their internal states as an advanced temperature sensor of a blackbody where I worked on the experiment and on experimental simulation of trapping.  When my contract ended, I started working for professor Nathan Schine at the Joint Quantum Institute, where I will complete my doctoral degree. 

Tuning the laser power to optimize the second harmonic generation (SHG) cavity

Teaching/Diversity and Inclusion

 In addition to my studies, I am an active member of a graduate student run organization called POWUR (physics organization for womxn and the under-represented). My role in POWUR is to help facilitate communication (for example recruitment of undergraduate students, event planning, etc) and help maintain POWUR's social media platforms to ensure proper communication. By doing this, I hope to keep members informed with all POWUR's upcoming events and projects, as well as communicate with other student groups to present relevant information from them to POWUR. Additionally, to help bridge the gap in who has access to information (such as old exams, previous classwork, expected knowledge, and expected textbooks), I have created a website which makes all of this information available on this website labeled:  Physics Teaching.