Chavez graduated with a Bachelors of Science degree in 1996 from the private university based in Pasadena, California.
The board of trustees is the governing body of the university.
Growing up in Taos, Chavez was unable to find academic opportunities in math and astronomy until he was chosen to take part in a summer science program at Los Alamos National Laboratory through the American Chemical Society's Project SEED I and II program.
Chavez went on to a Ph.D. program at Harvard University, where he graduated in 2003 with a doctorate in chemistry. He returned to LANL in 2003 as a Frederick Reines distinguished fellow and became a full-fledged member of the national lab's staff three years later.
Chavez, who was twice elected to the local school board, is currently a principal investigator at LANL and a project leader in the Joint Munitions Program of the Department of Energy and Department of Defense. His work includes using the principles of organic chemistry to synthesize new kinds of high-energy molecules, according to a press release from Caltech.
He is both an adjunct chemistry professor at the University of New Mexico-Taos and an invited professor at the École normale supérieure in France.
Chavez will serve alongside the 40 trustees, 28 senior trustees, 19 life members and one honorary life member on the Caltech board.