Julia Dominesey: Engineering Excellence with the Jacobs Fellowship

Julia Dominesey
April 25, 2024

UC San Diego Ph.D. student Julia Dominesey was recently awarded the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Jacobs Fellowship, recognizing her academic and professional achievements while providing crucial support for her research pursuits. This fellowship not only acknowledges her past successes but also empowers her to make significant contributions in the future.

The Jacobs School Fellowship was established in 2000 by Dr. Irwin Jacobs and Mrs. Joan Jacobs to help the Jacobs School support the most talented graduate students. Recipients of the Jacobs School Fellowship are selected for their academic achievement, demonstrated leadership, commitment to community, and innovative potential.

Dominesey’s journey to UC San Diego wasn't a result of a lengthy decision-making process, but rather a fortuitous encounter. "I visited the campus a few years ago while I was still in my master's and fell in love with the campus, the architecture, and the environment," she said. “Also, the genuine enthusiasm people showed for their work and that of others was truly inspiring," she reminisced.

This initial connection with the university left an indelible impression, prompting her to apply for her Ph.D. without hesitation. Despite having industry opportunities, the allure of UC San Diego's academic environment won out. 

Central to Dominesey’s academic trajectory is her passion for research. In Professor Javier Garay's lab, the group delves into the intricate realm of laser-material interactions. Dominesey’s focus revolves around characterizing and exploring novel tampers to increase pressures in laser-driven shock experiments. Through her work, she aims to unravel new insights that could have groundbreaking implications for fusion. 

Dominesey’s advice to incoming students highlights the importance of mentorship and thoughtful decision-making. "Get to know your potential PI through their work, personal interviews, and their current graduate students. The work will always be interesting (that's why you're applying), but the personality, interests, and research style of your PI and labmates are crucial to feeling at home and supported," she advises. Truthfully, Dominesey feels fortunate to have joined her research group, highlighting their exceptional mentorship and warm welcome since she arrived.

Amidst the rigors of academic life at UC San Diego, Dominesey finds strength in her support networks. "My partner, parents, and research group have been incredibly supportive," she acknowledges. Additionally, active involvement in student communities such as the Alpine Club, the Triathlon Club, and the MAE women's group has enriched her experience, providing a sense of belonging and camaraderie during her graduate program.