About Me

I am a Graduate Student in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, Georgia State University(GSU); working with Dr. Michael Crenshaw, on supermassive black holes, mass outflow and rotational kinematics of active galaxies. I love it!

I previously worked on cosmic rays and their application in meteorology for my master’s studies at GSU. I have been an engineer, a patent researcher, a condensed matter physicist and a nuclear physicist. Now, I identify myself as an aspiring astronomer, an advocate of women in STEM and a bike commuter.

In my free time, I like to ride my bike, cook Indian food and read classic novels.


In the heart of nearly every galaxy lies a supermassive black hole (of a million to a billion times the mass of the sun). The supermassive black holes (SMBHs) which are actively feeding through their accretion disk are called 'Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN),' and the host galaxies are called "Active Galaxies". When the accreting matter (gas and dust) falls down in 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 object in the universe.

NGC4151 is one of the most studied active galaxies. The image shows the host galaxy with a bright source in the center. Image credits: Judy Schmidt

This emitted radiation further ionizes and drives the surrounding gas outwards (what we call outflow), regulates the growth of SMBH and star formation in the host galaxy. My research focus is to identify the extent of the outflow in the galaxy and quantify AGN feeding (gas and dust) and feedback (outflow) process. Which will grant us insight towards the understanding of galactic evolution. In order to accomplish this, we analyze the emission lines (spectra) to study the kinematics of circumnuclear ionized gas in the galaxy. I use Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (STIS) on the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) and Dual Imaging Spectrograph (DIS) at the Apache Point Observatory (APO) for my observations.

Below is a STIS CCD broadband image of my target Mrk 78 [Left] and emission spectrum [Right] with double-peaked [O III] line, showing evidence of outflow.

Image credits: Mike Crenshaw
APO's DIS observations. Double peak in [O III] 5007 and 4959 emission lines shows the rotational and outflow components.

Observing at APO
GSU AGN research group at Apache Point observatory (APO) with ARC 3.5m Telescope in the background.
First night observing at APO. One of my most memorable days (nights). I forgot my phone in the dishwasher after the session by the way. Totally worth it!

I presented my work on Mrk 78 at 233rd Meeting of American Astronomical Society, Seattle, WA in January 2019. aas233rd

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

As the first woman in my family to go to school and choose science as a career, I profoundly feel the various struggle women face to pursue their dreams and thrive in this field. In hope to share my experience and gain support from the 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 the involvement of more undergraduates and making the group more inclusive for everyone in the department by organizing various activities.

Women in Physics at GSU

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


I recently joined Georgia STEM Public Outreach Team (SPOT) as a Graduate Ambassador. GA SPOT's mission: to inspire an appreciation of STEM and STEM careers in Georgia K-12 students through the delivery of interactive presentations by graduate and undergraduate students, highlighting innovative science and engineering research.[Ref:GA SPOT website ]. GSU Astronomy graduate student Justin Robinson has taken the lead to expand GA SPOT program at GSU.

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


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

I used to commute on my bike when I was in high school. 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 in 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 part 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 motivate me to push myself. I am also an active member of Sorella cycling which is a women-only cycling group in Atlanta. 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 if you 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

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]


Email: bmeena@astro.gsu.edu



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