Chang Career Exploration Prize

2024 Recipients

Daniel Araya, PhD (MS '12, PhD '16)
Engineering and Applied Science


Driven by the tragic loss of his spouse to cancer, Araya would like to redirect his research career away from aerospace engineering to one dedicated to studying the immune system for the benefit of future advances in treating cancer and other debilitating diseases.

With support from the Chang Prize, Araya plans to increase his fundamental knowledge of biology, immunology, and the latest immunotherapy treatments for cancer and autoimmune diseases through academic coursework and surveying the literature and gain career experience in a medical research laboratory that specializes in the development of immunotherapies and/or treatment of diseases of the immune system.

Corey Husic, PhD (PhD '23)
Chemistry and Chemical Engineering


Husic would like to explore this country's significant chemical pollution issues through science-based journalism via a podcast and writing. With support from the Chang Prize, he hopes to raise awareness of such issues in a manner that facilitates public engagement and policy change and supports this candidate’s potential pivot to a career in science communication and journalism.

About the Award

From working to solve the housing crisis to building an emotional support platform for students in need, the projects made possible by the Milton and Rosalind Chang Career Exploration Prize are changing the world and the career trajectories of the recipients. Caltech alumni have used the award to explore new professional opportunities and to reshape local and global communities for the better.  

The Chang Prize provides up to $65,000 to recent Caltech alumni (those who earned their degrees within the prior 10 years of the annual application process) to pursue interests outside of their career paths and developing new skills through innovative projects that have meaningful societal impact.


The Chang Prize is awarded at the discretion of Caltech and administered by Caltech Alumni Relations. Applications are reviewed and recipients selected by a committee comprising Caltech alumni, which convenes annually.

Submit a Proposal

Eligibility

Alumni who earned a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate degree from Caltech within the past 10 years may submit a proposal.

Applications are now being accepted and must be submitted by March 10, 2024.

SUBMIT YOUR PROPOSAL HERE

Proposal Requirements

Your submission must include:

  • Program Summary
  • Project Description with Goals and Objectives: Project narrative with what you intend to accomplish and the potential impact on your career or society.
  • Statement of Need: How will the Chang Prize funds allow you to accomplish what you would otherwise not have been able to do on your own?
  • Career Exploration and Professional Development: What will the applicant learn by embarking on this project? What skills or experiences will you gain?
  • Project Timeline: What are the project start and end dates and key milestones to note within a 12-month period?
  • Project Budget: Budget detailing use of Chang Prize funds within the project timeline (not to exceed $65,000).
  • Additional Attachments (optional)

FAQs

What is the Milton and Rosalind Chang Career Exploration Prize?

The Milton and Rosalind Chang Career Exploration Prize encourages recent Caltech graduates to explore new career paths through innovative projects that have meaningful societal impact. The Chang Career Exploration Prize can provide up to $65,000 in financial support for career exploration projects that last from six to 12 months.

Recipients are encouraged to deliberately take a break from their current professional paths to fearlessly explore diverse interests and develop new skills.

Who is eligible to apply?

Alumni who earned a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate from Caltech within the past 10 years are eligible to apply.

If you are currently enrolled as a student at Caltech, will be enrolled at Caltech at any time during the proposed career exploration period, or have been enrolled during the 2024 academic year, you are not eligible to apply.

Are there restrictions on what my project will examine?

Your project must entail taking a deliberate break from your current professional path to explore a new career path.

How do I apply?

The application process is currently open. Submit your application using the  Caltech Alumni Awards Portal. All applications must be completed and submitted by the deadline to be considered. Applications are due no later than March 10, 2024.

When should I begin my project?

If you receive a Chang Prize, you are expected to begin your project after signing a prize agreement in Spring 2024. You should complete your project within six to 12 months of the project start date

How will project proposals be evaluated?

The Chang Prize is awarded at the discretion of Caltech and administered by the Caltech Alumni Relations. A selection committee comprising Caltech alumni will convene to select the Chang Prize recipient(s). Proposals will be evaluated by the committee. Your project proposal should entail a deliberate break from your current professional path to explore a new career.  

Your proposal will be evaluated by:

  • Merit:  Is the proposed project compelling and innovative?
  • Knowledge Gained:  Will you gain valuable experience, engage in professional development, or pursue a career path outside of academia by undertaking this project?
  • Feasibility and Risk:  Allowing for a generous amount of risk-taking, could you complete the proposed project within a year, based on your available time and resources? Will you have sufficient resources to fulfill all the obligations that come with receiving the Chang Prize?
  • Need:  Would receiving this prize make a substantial difference in your ability to explore a new career path, take a risk, and complete your project?
  • Impact:  Does the proposed project have the potential to make a positive impact on society?

Will Chang Prize funds be subject to taxes?

Prizes and awards are deemed to be includable in the gross income of the Recipient by the Internal Revenue Service and may be subject to Federal and State withholding. Prize recipients will be reported to the IRS and CA Franchise Tax Board in the year(s) the Prize payments are disbursed. Since Prize/awards are income tax reportable and may be subject to withholding, Caltech employee and student payments must be reported to Payroll Services. The Recipient is encouraged to consult with a tax advisor.  Please plan your project budget accordingly.

Additional Rules and Guidelines:

  • You must adhere to the  Caltech Honor Code at all times.
  • You may submit only one project for the Chang Prize each year.
  • You may be selected as the recipient of the Chang Career Exploration Prize one time only.
  • Prizes will not be awarded in a given year if no submitted project is deemed viable.
  • The Chang Prize is not intended to provide one-time funding for startup companies or to act as an angel investment/funding.  
  • The Chang Prize is not intended to be a grant to continue an existing project or to serve as emergency assistance for an individual or company.
  • All application materials must be submitted online through the Caltech Alumni Awards Portal. The committee cannot accept submissions via mail or email. Incomplete submissions will not be considered. Submissions by alumni who do not meet the eligibility criteria will not be considered.
  • Chang Prize recipients will complete a project agreement and submit quarterly project updates on mutually agreed upon dates. Select project updates, not all, may be posted on the Caltech Alumni website to share samples of Chang Prize career exploration work and progress.

When will recipients of the Chang Prize be announced?

Recipients of the Chang Prize will be informed in the spring.

Questions?

For questions about the Chang Prize, contact info@alumni.caltech.edu.