short personal bio

👋 I am Zoya!
If you are looking for my CV, you can find it here!

I grew up in Allahabad, India. It is a small city in North-Central India. I went to St. Stephen's College, Delhi University for my undergraduate and did a M.Sc in physics at Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay. I moved to New York for my PhD at Stony Brook University in 2012 and then over to west coast in Pasadena for my postdoc in 2019.

I did not have a last name until recently. Growing up, I was simply "Zoya" (like Lizzo or Zendaya!). However, publication and immigration were not on-board with this idea so I got a brand new last name during my grad school. (Perhaps, I should have chosen to be a rockstar instead!) I chose to be a "Vallari" after seriously considering "AAA" which would have eternally reserved the first author spot for me in all collaboration papers .

Apart from physics, I do capoeira. It is an Afro-Brazilian martial-arts with a deep rooted history in Black liberation. I trained as a Kathak (Indian classical dance) dancer throughout my childhood, for almost 15 years. I recently took up drumming on a whim and am absolutely loving it. I am obsessed with mangoes and I am extremely fond of sunshine.