ACEing Caltech

About the Program

ACEing Autism - Pasadena @ The Athenaeum Club, Caltech

Our ACEing Autism - Pasadena branch was founded in Fall 2021, with our inaugural clinic taking place in Spring 2022. We started off with less than 10 students, and are now welcoming over 20 students for our Spring 2024 program. This community-based program welcomes volunteers not only from Caltech, but also from local high schools and the neighborhood. No tennis experience is required as our main goal is for everyone to have fun, while engaging in meaningful social interactions with our participants who are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. What started as a way for Caltech students to engage with the larger community has evolved our Sunday clinics in a microcosm of Pasadena itself. We love how much the ACEing Pasadena family has grown in recent years and hope we can continue to serve the community in the future.

We currently run a 6-week clinic in the Fall (October - early December) and a 5-week clinic in the Spring (May - early June). Please check our homepage for the most up-to-date information about our program!

If you're a new parent who is interested in getting updates via email, please reach out to us: pasadena@aceingautism.org. If you're interested in volunteering, please navigate here to learn how to sign up!


Meet the Executive Team

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Program Director - Kyle McCandless

Kyle is a current Caltech undergraduate (Class of 2024) majoring in Computer Science and Business. He is a member of both the Caltech Men's Tennis and Cross Country teams. On Kyle's favorite thing about ACEing, he says: "I love the energy of the program. Every week, the kids cannot wait to get on court and their enthusiasm is really contagious."

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Assistant Program Director - Yoyo Benchetrit

Yoyo is a current Caltech undergraduate (Class of 2025) majoring in Biology. She is a member of the Caltech Women's Tennis team. On Yoyo's favorite thing about ACEing, she says: "I love seeing the kids grow and form strong and meaningful bonds with their volunteers over the weeks. It really reinforces the importance of community."

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Logistics Director - Simon Hu

Simon is a current Caltech undergraduate (Class of 2026) majoring in Computation and Neural Systems. He is a member of the Caltech men's varsity swim team, and likes recreational sports and musical concerts. On what he loves about ACEing, Simon says "I love how so many people show up to volunteer, which reminds me of how supportive the community is."


Meet the Support Staff

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Court Lead - Nathan Taing

Nathan is currently a high school student attending Polytechnic School in Pasadena. He is a member of the Poly Varsity Boys Tennis team. On his favorite thing about ACEing, he says: "The genuine compassion and support the volunteers offer is incredible and truly appreciated by everyone. I'm so happy to see this clinic expanding, reaching so many kids and new volunteers - the program is always one of the highlights of my week!"

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Court Lead - Luke Haenisch

Luke is currently a high school student attending Polytechnic School in Pasadena. He is a member of the Poly Varsity Boys Tennis team. His favorite thing about ACEing is how it "is truly unique in that it supports the development of key social skills through dynamic and engaging athletic experiences", such that "both participants and volunteers not only bring a lot more passion to each session but also build far deeper relationships."


Past Executive Members

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Program Director & Founder (2021-2023) - Jen Yu

Jen is a recent Caltech alum (Class of 2022) who is currently attending medical school at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai in NYC. As an undergraduate, Jen majored in Computer Science and was a member of the Caltech Women's Tennis team. On Jen's favorite thing about ACEing, she says "I really love the community we've created here on campus and I look forward to seeing the kids have fun every week!"

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Logistics Director (2021-22) - Vanessa Mechem

Vanessa is a Caltech alum (Class of 2022) and majored in Chemistry as an undergraduate. She is currently working in NYC as a medical scribe at Weill Cornell Medicine.