Sasha Asghari '12 (Physics)

Made at Sac State

Physics major Alexandra “Sasha” Asghari made quite a name for herself at Sacramento State, graduating with honors in 2012 and spending a summer working on the CERN super collider in Geneva. Currently at UC Berkeley pursuing a doctorate in nuclear engineering, she recently returned to the Sacramento campus to become part of the ever-growing “Made at Sac State” roster.

“The Ph.D. program will take me five years,” says Sasha, a native of Kyrgyzstan whose maiden name was Moskaleva. “I’m taking courses and teaching the first two years, and then will be researching and writing my dissertation for the last three.”

Her professional goal is to parlay her skills into the research field, focusing on nuclear nonproliferation and stockpiling issues. If the past is prologue, her chances of flourishing in this field look especially good.

Two summers ago, Sasha was directly involved with the ATLAS experiment in Geneva. ATLAS is a several-stories-high, 7,000-ton particle detector situated within the Large Hadron Collider (LHC); it is the world’s largest particle detector. Her team was responsible for investigating a possible candidate for replacing a portion of the detector that finds muons produced in a particle collision in the LHC. One of just five CSU students who participated in the summer program, Sasha credits her mother, a biochemist, with cultivating her fascination with science and math.

Working on this project was a great learning experience, she says, because it enabled her to interact with renowned international scientists. The laboratory work was complemented with graduate-level lectures by specialists in particle physics, providing a global perspective.

She also credits Sac State for giving her a firm grounding in physics. Professor Vassili Sergan and others challenged her to make the most of her potential.

She’s no less grateful for the support of the Honors Program and its former director, Professor Roberto Pomo. This program provided a rigorous academic regimen that reinforced the discipline she needed to excel in her major.

Sasha’s professional horizons continue to expand in direct proportion to her steely determination to succeed. She personifies Sacramento State’s tagline: “Redefine the Possible.” 

Article written by Alan Miller, Sacramento State's Office of Public Affairs, published January 2013.