Prize Recipient


Gabriel Oman
Cal Poly


I was born in Yakima, WA in 1995. My mother was a librarian at the elementary school I attended and my father was one of the Spanish teachers at the junior high nearby. I have one sister a little under two years younger than me. We moved to Santa Maria, CA two weeks before my freshman year of high school was to start to follow my father’s new job; that of a Uniserv Staff Member for the California Teachers Association.

I have always been interested in science. My parents, being educators, encouraged asking questions. But my love of physics didn’t manifest until the time I was eleven. I had checked Stephen Hawking’s “A Brief History of Time” out of the public library and was immediately hooked. Since then I’ve wanted to be a physicist.

I will be attending the California State Polytechnic University in San Luis Obispo (Cal Poly) in the fall. The physics program there is small, about 170 students out of 17,000 at the school, but well funded and with plenty of opportunities for research and internships.

While at Cal Poly I hope to join the marching band (I have been playing trombone for seven years) and play at sporting events. I am also planning on mentoring local FIRST (For the Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics teams like the one I helped found at my high school.