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About CPET

CPET's Mission

Our goal is to help members of the Caltech community become effective educators through an improved understanding of pedagogy by providing seminars on best practices and practical training and teaching resources on campus. We are a group of Caltech community members dedicated to improving our own teaching skills and helping others do the same. 

Each year we plan a teaching seminar series that includes talks by the best professors at Caltech and other local universities on topics including:  how to design courses, teaching tips, improving presentation skills, and outreach and mentorship (previous seminars). Some seminars are recorded by CPET and posted to YouTube where they can edify the local community for years to come (video list).

CPET also administers two certificate programs for the Caltech community, the Certificate of Interest and the Certificate of Practice in University Teaching. The Certificate of Interest provides students with an introduction to teaching pedagogy and best practices, while the Certificate of Practice allows students to improve their teaching skills with the support of CPET and CTLO. More details can be found of the Certificate home page.

CPET has also originated a Library collection on teaching books and professional development books at the Caltech library.  These books range in topics from the best presentation of quantitative information to research based tips for teaching (full list of library books).  Email CPET if you would like to recommend additions to the CPET library collection.

Mailing List
If you are interested in receiving announcements about CPET events, please sign up for the CPET mailing list

CPET events are listed on the CTLO webpage.

Contact Us
If you have any questions about CPET and ways to get involved feel free to email us at



Current CPET Co-Directors 

Olivia Wilkins 

Hey there! I’m a third-year graduate student working on astrochemistry in the Blake group. I study complex organic molecules in stellar nurseries like the Orion Kleinmann-Low Nebula, a massive star-forming region below the belt of the Orion constellation. Before coming to Caltech, I earned my B.S. in Chemistry and Mathematics at Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA, before heading to Germany as a Fulbright research fellow. I found my passion for teaching at Dickinson as a writing associate for first-year seminars, a peer tutor in the writing center, and a teaching assistant for both chemistry and mathematics courses. At Caltech, I’ve been a teaching assistant for Ch/ChE 91 (Scientific Writing) and have co-designed and -taught a Ch 101 tutorial (Astrochemistry: Spectroscopy in Space). I’ve also found a great community in CPET and the CTLO, and I am excited to be a part of the group as CPET co-director, a position in which I hope to help give other graduate students agency in their own quest to become more effective teachers. When I’m not analyzing telescope data or discussing teaching pedagogy, you can find me hanging out with my husband Alex and our son Günther at a coffee shop, walking around Pasadena, or enjoying a National Park.

Daniel Martin

Daniel Martin

Hello! I was born and raised in the heart of the Central Valley in Fresno, California. From there, I completed my undergraduate degree in biomedical engineering at the University of Arizona. Seeing that I couldn't escape the summer heat, it was only natural that I came here to Caltech. Now as a fourth-year graduate EE student in Prof. Yang's Biophotonics group, I conduct research in the design of optical systems. I specifically explore microscopy methods that can be used for medical syringe quality control and failure analysis. During this time, I had the opportunity to take Dr. Jenn Weaver's E110 course on "Teaching and Learning in STEM". I've been a TA in BE 189 before taking her class, but the formal introduction to pedagogy completely changed how I look at teaching! I immediately applied these teaching strategies to the course, but I knew redesigning this one classroom wasn't going to be enough for me. Just like the current and past CPET co-directors, I also want to play a larger role in the teaching movement at Caltech. There's so much that can be done to create a learning environment that promotes equality in learning among a diverse student body. I'd also like to give my peers the learning tools to thrive in a place that can be very intellectually demanding. On those rare occasions that I have a moment to myself, you can catch me anywhere from relaxing with a book and some coffee or exploring what LA has to offer with my friends.


Past CPET Co-Directors:

Rebekah Silva
Kelsey Boyle
Dr. Daniel Thomas
Dr. Noelle Stiles
Labeed Ben-Galy
Elisa Franco