Another Wavelength: Kayla Filipek

    Date Posted: 
    Thursday, March 19, 2020

    This month in Another Wavelength, we chat with B.S. Student Kayla Filipek, currently studying Optics with minors in ECE and Math.

    Where are you from? 

    I’m from Bartlett, IL (northwest suburb of Chicago).

    What brought you to study optics? 

    I have always been interested in STEM and thought I was going to study chemistry for a while. By junior year in high school I knew I wanted to pursue a degree in engineering. Swimming, however, kind of led me to optics. While being recruited by U of A, I inadvertently learned about this college/degree program. Having never realized that optics was something you could major in, I did more research and realized it aligned the best with my interests.

    Who is your hero in science? 

    I wouldn’t say I have one hero in science—too many people have done such impactful work—it’s more of whose work has sparked my most recent interest. I just finished reading The Undoing Project, so for now I would say my people of interest are Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky. They are a pair of Israeli psychologists who won a Nobel Prize in economics from their findings on decision-making.

    Describe your research in 200 words or fewer. 

    I do not do research (yet!), but I am part of the university’s swim team. I am primarily a sprint freestyler and train an average of 20 hours a week, 50 weeks out of the year (so if I look sleepy in class…sorry!!!) I have competed at the 2016 US Olympic Trials and will be competing for a spot on the US Olympic Team for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics this June in Omaha, NE.

    Name three neat facts about you. 

    1. I have a fraternal twin sister, Marina, who attends ASU and is double majoring in Finance and Business Law and is minoring in German. (Attached pic of us at the Bean…which counts as large optics, right???)

    2. Shockingly, I like and miss Chicago winters.  

    3. I love visiting museums, especially art museums. I don’t know a lot about art, but I try to appreciate it as best I can!