About Me

I am a doctoral candidate in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Georgia State University (GSU); working with Dr. Michael Crenshaw on supermasssive black hole feedback. My research focuses on understaning the dynamical impact of Active Galactic Nuclie (AGN) winds on their host galaxies.

I have an undergraduate degree in Electronics and Communications Engineering and a Masters in Technology in Optoelectronics and Optical Engineering. Before starting the Ph.D. program at GSU, I worked as an Intellectual Property Researcher at CPA Global, India.

I previously worked on cosmic rays and their application in meteorology and received an MS in Physics at GSU. I have been an engineer, a patent researcher, a condensed matter physicist, and a nuclear physicist. Now, I am happy to identify as an observational astronomer, an advocate of women in STEM, and a bike commuter.

I like to ride my bikes, cook Indian food, and cross-stitch astronomy-themed patterns in my free time.

Research

Overview

In the heart of nearly every galaxy lies a supermassive black hole (of a million to a billion times the sun's mass). The supermassive black holes (SMBHs) which are actively feeding through their accretion disk are called 'Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN),' and their host galaxies are called "Active Galaxies." When the accreting matter falls into the black hole, as a result of heating and friction, a lot of energy is emitted in the form of radiation. This radiation, so powerful that it can outshine the whole galaxy, makes an AGN one of the most luminous objects in the universe.

NGC 4151 is one of the most studied active galaxies. The image shows the host galaxy with a bright nucleus. The ionized gas outflows can be seen on streak of light bule colors on the right side of the center. Image credits: Judy Schmidt

This emitted radiation further ionizes and drives the surrounding gas outwards and creates AGN winds or AGN outflows. These outflows may regulate the black hole feeding by evacuating gas from the circum-nuclear environment and, at the same time, may regulate the star formation at the center of galaxies by redistributing the cold molecular gas.

As part of my dissertation research, I identify the extent of AGN-driven outflows in a sample of nearby galaxies and investigate their origins. To achieve this, I use optical imaging and spectroscopic observations taken with Hubble Space Telescope and Apache Point Observatory (APO)'s 3.5m Telescope.

More information about research in the Extragalactic Astronomy at GSU can be found here .

Observing at APO

I am currently leading the observations of nearby active galaxies using APO's ARCTIC Johnson - Cousin's broadband filters (BVRI). These observations are used to obtain the 2D surface brightness profiles of the galaxies and constrain the mass to light ratio of galaxy components such as bulge, bar, and disk. More information on the Apache Point Observatory can be found here.

GSU AGN group at APO with the 3.5m telescope in the back.
First time observing at APO in Nov 2018.

Presentations

Poster Presentation at 233rd Meeting of the American Astronomical Society, Seattle, WA, in January 2019. aas233rd Poster Presentation at 235th Meeting of the American Astronomical Society, Honolulu, HI, in January 2020. aas235th Talk given at APO Symposium 2021.

As the first woman in my family to go to school and choose science as a career, I profoundly feel the various struggles women face to pursue their dreams and thrive in this field. In the hope of sharing my experience and gain support from inspiring female scientists, I joined the newly established Women in Physics at GSU. In my third year of graduate school, I served as the president of the organization. During my tenure, I worked towards involving more undergraduates and making the group more inclusive for everyone in the department by organizing various activities.

Women in Physics at GSU

WIP
Women in STEM conference at GSU in April 2018. Speakers from STEM departments at GSU, GaTech, Kennesaw State University, and STEM Atlanta Women were invited.

GOT Space

I am a Graduate Ambassador for GOT (Georgia Outreach Team) Space , which is affiliated with Georgia Space Grant Consortium. As a Graduate Ambassador, I have lead and participated in various outreach events at elementary schools and high schools in the greater Atlanta area.

SPOT
Giving an interactive talk at Maynard High School about astronomy research at GSU and a Q & A session with the students.

Here is a list of my publications on ADS.

Selected publication on ORCID.

Please click here to download my full CV.

Biking

@ Stone Mountain, Atlanta [Pictue courtesy: J. Christopher Matyjasik]

After moving to the United States, I bought my first bike (Dhanno) in May 2017. While riding back from the store, I fell and sprained my elbow. But that did not stop me from continuing to pedal. I remember throwing up after riding for 2 miles that summer. Now I can ride 70 miles in a day on these Atlanta hills.

Biking helps me with my anxiety and to keep a positive outlook. Plus, it's always fun to be out on a beautiful day. I commute to GSU on my bike, and that's one of my favorite parts of the day besides debugging codes.

Fortunately, Atlanta has a huge bike community of very supportive people. I made good friends who helped me build up strength and motivated me to push myself. My favorite place to ride is Stone Mountain and east Atlanta.

Please feel free to contact me if you want any information about biking in Atlanta or are new to biking and need a riding buddy! Here is a Facebook group to find random group ride in the city.All-Atlanta Random Rides Club . And if you are looking to join a group of amazing women cyclists in Atlanta, I would highly recommend Sorella cycling .

A pleasant summer morning ride (Bike: Trigger) called Mash to Brash starts at Loose nuts cycling shop at 6 AM every Wednesday. [Picture courtesy: Mark McCampbell]
Crushing Sorella's monthly Eventide ride on Dhanno (my commuter bike). [Picture courtesy: Brittany Hopson]

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