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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 Community Meetings
The CPET Community meets once a quarter to discuss and plan events throughout the year. We meet once a quarter and everyone is welcome to come. Check out the Main Page or the Events Calendar for information on where and when we have meetings.

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



Current CPET Co-Directors 

Rebekah Silva

Hello world!  I am a fifth year graduate student in the CCE division working in Jackie Barton’s lab. I study mechanisms of how different DNA repair pathways signal one another to coordinate complex processes essential for life. Before Caltech, I began my undergraduate work at Riverside Community College (RCC) and finished my degree in Chemistry after transferring to Stanford University. I encountered thoughtful teachers at RCC and Stanford who inspired me to pursue my interests, and I strive to do the same for my students. I had the the opportunity to tutor in the Math Learning Center at RCC, and I especially enjoyed helping and encouraging students who were pushing through arithmetic, algebra, and trigonometry classes. In graduate school, I have had the opportunity to TA freshman chemistry labs, a freshman chemistry class, and an organic chemistry lab for pre-medical students. I have also co-developed the Chemistry Tutorials program and co-taught a tutorials course on "Curing" Cancer from a DNA Perspective: Trends in Treatment Strategies from Cisplatin to Virotherapy. I have learned many lessons while teaching, including motivating students who are non-majors, the challenges associated with leading larger courses, and designing a new course. CPET and the CTLO have been and continue to be great resources for me and others who aspire to be effective teachers, and I am excited to a part of the teaching movement at Caltech in a more formal capacity as CPET co-director. Outside of campus, I enjoy spending time with my lovely roommate, Tonia, going on adventures with friends, planning and participating in GCF events, finding restaurants with delicious gluten-free options, baking, hiking, and dreaming about the day I can own a cat. 

Olivia Wilkins 

Hey there! I’m a second-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.


Past CPET Co-Directors:

Kelsey Boyle

Dr. Daniel Thomas

Dr. Noelle Stiles

Labeed Ben-Galy

Elisa Franco