Jade Knighton

Jade Knighton

Graduate Student

Earth, Planetary, and Space Sciences

Co-coordinator of CDLS of the Vets in Stem Program, Jade Knighton mentors scholars and manages their group research project centering on CO2 sequestration technologies. She appreciates the connection the CDLS has made for scholars and faculty who share similar experiences in academia. “Professor Tripati has curated such a welcoming and supportive environment, and I feel a strong sense of belonging through CDLS,” Jade said. Growing up in Texas and identifying as Indigenous and Hispanic, she emphasizes that diversity and inclusion in STEM are essential to the field, as all scientific questions need fresh perspectives, which are the catalysts for new discoveries. 

“Representation in the higher levels of academia is so important for the recruitment and retention of students of color and non-traditional students, who bring with them unique skill sets, talents, and new ideas.”

Jade is a rising third-year Ph.D. student, focusing her research on clumped isotope paleothermometry to study metabolic and dietary patterns in extinct organisms. The goal of Jade’s work is to better characterize how these extinct organisms lived, and what their ways of life can tell us about evolution and mass extinction events. She believes using past extinctions will help us better understand our future as the climate continues to change and we encounter similar circumstances. As a kid, she loved dinosaurs and building terrariums to imagine what the environment looked like in the time of the dinosaurs. “My Tío Julio really encouraged my interests by buying me dinosaurs to add to my collection and listening to me tell him all about what I learned,” Jade said.

Outside CDLS, Jade works in the Tripati Iso-Lab here at UCLA as a graduate student researcher, assisting in running the mass spectrometers. After completing her Ph.D., Jade would like to continue in academia doing research on the origin of life problems and the evolution of endothermy.




Veterans in STEM

Veterans in STEM (VSTEM) is a group of veteran and military connected students building a community of student veterans and alumni majoring in STEM. VSTEM is supported by the UCLA…