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"For leadership and key accomplishments in the experimental search for dark matter in the Universe, including advances in radioactive purity, as well as contributions to outreach, diversity, and inclusion through service and mentoring of students."Background:
Alvine C. Kamaha is an assistant professor at UCLA where she holds the inaugural Keith and Cecilia Terasaki Endowed Chair in Physical Sciences. She obtained her BSc in physics from the University of Douala in Cameroon where she also earned her first MSc degree, in atomic physics. She then received a scholarship from the Abdus Salam International Center for Theoretical Physics and traveled to Italy to pursue her second MSc degree, in high-energy physics. Her MSc dissertation probed mechanisms for non-standard neutrino mass, guided by Prof. Alexei Smirnov. She then switched to experimental physics, conducting her PhD with the SNOLAB group at Queen's University, working on the PICASSO bubble chamber for low-mass dark matter search. Since then, her research interest has been in astroparticle physics, mainly on direct dark matter detection. She has accumulated a versatile expertise in the field, working on different detection technologies (bubble chambers, spherical proportional counters, noble liquid xenon time projection chambers), and leading key projects on background controls and detector calibrations to enhance the sensitivity of these detectors. Her honors include the "Excellence in Science and Life Award" from the University at Albany – SUNY, the Mottashed and Millington/Stroud Graduate Awards from Queen’s University, and the “Female Excellence Academic Award” as a student in Cameroon. She is also a member of the International committee of the National Society of Black Physicists. At UCLA, Prof. Kamaha is continuing her leading role on LUX-ZEPLIN – the US flagship dark matter experiment while building a test facility to develop novel ideas to enhance the calibrations of current and future detector technologies in dark matter search.