Ben was born and raised in Los Angeles just a few minutes away from UCLA and spent much of his childhood collecting bugs in jars. Although no longer a bug collector, from this interest sprung a love and passion for the natural world that inspired him to pursue a bachelor’s degree in chemistry at the UC Irvine, where he graduated cum laude.
During his undergraduate years, Ben worked in nanoscience research where he developed a synthetic nano-polymer that could effectively capture specific biologically active proteins with high specificity. This research led Ben to pursue his Ph.D. in chemistry with a specialty in nano-materials at UCLA where he developed nano-structured lithium ion battery materials with the potential to allow batteries to charge and discharge in minutes and last for decades. He has since founded a startup company where he works to commercialize these materials in the hopes of transforming the battery industry.
Throughout his college years, Ben tutored many students from high school to college in chemistry, physics and math. During Ph.D. studies, he was a teaching assistant for both lower and upper division chemistry classes, teaching weekly discussion sections. His love and passion for teaching lead him to mentoring three graduate and five undergraduate researchers, as well as mentoring high school students for various science and entrepreneurial competitions. Ben believes that a bit of humor and personal connection can help students thrive in their studies, and he tailors his sessions to each student’s learning style.
In his free-time, Ben enjoys cooking, hiking, martial arts, watching movies, playing video and board games, exploring new parts of town (especially for food) and traveling!