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Stephanie Kwan


Biography and Interests

I am a postdoctoral research associate with the CMS Experiment at Princeton University working with Prof. Isobel Ojalvo. I received my PhD from Princeton in May 2024 advised by Prof. Ojalvo, and was enrolled in the TAC-HEP program as a fifth and sixth-graduate student. I am currently based at CERN in Geneva.

I received a B.S. in Physics from Caltech in 2018 and was supported by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (NSF GRFP) during part of my graduate program.


My thesis research focused on searches for exotic Higgs decays to two light neutral scalars decaying to two bottom-quarks and two tau leptons, and emulator development for the Level-1 Trigger algorithm for reconstructing electron and photon candidates in the the barrel portion of the CMS calorimeters, in the High-Luminosity LHC upgrade of the CMS detector. These two projects furthered my interests in searching for new physics, managing analysis workflows, and developing detector data processing algorithms to achieve these physics goals.

After the GPU/FPGA training module in the TAC-HEP program, I conducted a summer project to explore and optimize implementations of an activation function (GELU) commonly used in transformer machine learning architectures, and synthesized three implementations (non-optimized, a mathematical approximation, and finally a look-up table) in Vivado HLS to estimate their resource usages. The look-up table (LUT) implementation used the fewest resources and have the lowest latency.

Recent Accomplishments

I defended my thesis in May 2024 advised by Prof. Isobel Ojalvo and am excited to continue my research with the CMS Experiment.


  • Jennifer Ngadiuba (Fermilab)
  • Adrian Pol (Princeton, IRIS-HEP), Isobel Ojalvo (Princeton)

Traineeship dates

I participated in the TAC-HEP program from 2022-2024.