Prize Recipient

Gabriel Oman

Gabriel Oman
California Polytechnic University at San Luis Obispo


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 almost two years younger than me. We moved to Santa Maria, CA two weeks before the start of my freshman year of high school in order 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 me to ask questions, but my love of physics didn’t manifest until 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 am attending the California State Polytechnic University in San Luis Obispo (Cal Poly) in the fall. The physics program there is small, about 130 students out of 17,000 at the school, but well-funded and with plenty of opportunities for research and internships.

I’m an avid martial artist; something I started practicing since I was seven. Here at Cal Poly I’m involved in the PRIDE Center, ActiveMinds, and the Society of Physics Students. I spend a lot of time studying in Cal Poly’s physics lounge, the “h-bar.”