Vernon Wetzell is a Samoan-American 1st year Ph.D. student with the Department of Physics & Astronomy in the School of Arts & Sciences. Before becoming a member of the Penn community, Vernon earned a BS in Astrophysics from UC Santa Cruz and an MS in Astrophysics from San Francisco State University. His primary research interest is optical cosmology, including previous work with the Dark Energy Survey. He is also interested in physics education research to make physics and astronomy a more diverse and equitable community. Beyond his academic achievements and interests, Vernon is also an accomplished athlete and currently holds the Samoan national swimming record in the 50m breaststroke.
During his time at Penn, with the support of the Fontaine Society, Vernon hopes to achieve his academic goals while promoting an inclusive environment for all members of the Penn community by pushing for educational innovation in the School of Arts & Sciences.