Graduate Division

Honoring José Flores Velázquez

Remembering a talented Ph.D. student and outstanding scientist

Velazquez image

UCI Physics & Astronomy PhD student José Flores Velázquez was tragically shot and killed in a drive-by shooting on August 14th, 2019 near his family home in Los Angeles. The loss is a tremendous and heartbreaking one for his family, friends, and the entire UC Irvine community.  

José was an incredibly promising student in astrophysics and was a rising star in his field. He held a prestigious NSF Graduate Research Fellowship and was destined for a career at NASA.


“This is a tragic loss of a talented student who dedicated his life to being an outstanding scientist,” said Frances Leslie, Dean of the Graduate Division. “He was a role model for diverse students pursuing doctoral degrees in Physics and Astronomy.”


Prior to coming to UC Irvine, José graduated Cum Laude in Physics from Cal Poly Pomona.  He conducted summer research at Harvard and Northwestern University and presented his research all over the country including on Capitol Hill.  He came to UCI in 2018 through the Cal-Bridge program, which helps promising students from underserved backgrounds earn advanced degrees in physics and astronomy.


“José was such a joy and source of inspiration to many of us,” said James Bullock, Dean of the School of Physical Sciences. “He loved his family and went home on the weekends to spend time with them.  We have received calls of support from every institution he touched; José was the kind of person who left places better than he found them.  This is certainly true of UC Irvine.”


José’s undergraduate advisor has set up a gofundme page for his memorial for anyone who would like to contribute in his honor: