Misha Raffiee is a budding scientist, musician, and STEM educator. She is currently a research fellow at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in biology and mechanical engineering.
After her graduation from the Davidson Academy of Nevada at age 15, Misha enrolled at Caltech as a double major in Bioengineering and Business Economics and Management. She has been an Amgen Scholar and Undergraduate Research Fellow at Caltech, a NSF/NEES Undergraduate Research Fellow at the University of Nevada, Reno, is a member of the national engineering honor society Tau Beta Pi, and a recipient of Caltech’s prestigious Deans’ Cup. She has been an invited presenter at the United States Senate, at the NSF Young Researcher’s Symposium at the University of Illinois, Champaign, and at NSF for the 2011 National Hazards Expo.
In 2011, Misha co-founded Caltech InnoWorks, a for-student by-student initiative to provide underserved middle school students with outstanding hands-on educational opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). As InnoWorks Director, Misha successfully managed and coordinated a week-long day camp for 60 students, passing on her passion for teaching and research in STEM fields to future generations of InnoWorkers.
Misha has also been involved in science policy initiatives to strengthen STEM education programs on a national level. In 2012, Misha was the sole recipient of the Beckman Political Internship from Caltech to pursue a policy internship in Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s office in Washington DC. Through this internship, she provided support on a number of scientific issues and consulted on the Senator-sponsored STEM Smart Conference geared towards strengthening K-12 education in STEM fields.
Outside her academic and research interests, Misha is also an avid violinist, having begun playing the violin at the age of 2. She has been concertmaster of the Reno Philharmonic Youth Symphony Orchestra and is in her fourth season as concertmaster of the Caltech-Occidental Symphony Orchestra (COSO). She has been featured as a soloist with the Caltech-Occidental Symphony as a two-time grand prize winner of the COSO Concerto Competition and has performed at the US Senate.
Misha made her professional orchestral solo debut at age 10 with the Tahoe Symphony Orchestra and became the youngest-ever contract musician with the Reno Philharmonic Orchestra at age 12. She performed in the opening ceremony of the 2008 International Women’s Studies Foundation Conference held at UC Berkeley where she was also featured as a keynote performer. Misha has also performed with the Reno Chamber Orchestra, the Santa Monica Symphony, and Orchestra Santa Monica.
Misha has been published on LiveScience and as a headlining author on NSF.gov. She has also been featured in The New York Times, CNN, ABC Nightline, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and numerous other publications and books.