About Me

 a photo of me smiling

I'm a fifth year graduate student at Georgia State University. My research uses optical interferometry from the CHARA Array to image the surfaces of red supergiant stars. In the past, my work has also included studies of higher multiplicity high mass star systems, symbiotic binaries, and s-process element producttion in red supergiants via high resolution spectroscopy. a photo of Michigan State

I am originally form Northeast Ohio and grew up biking and hiking around the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. I still love hiking! Amoung my other non-astronomical interests are distance running, cooking and baking, and the history of science. I did my undergraduate at Michigan State University, where I was an undergraduate researcher at the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory. I worked with a group that studied the structure of rare isotopes--work that actually connects to astronomy as it informed theories about the production of these heavy elements in supernoave. However, I loved my astronomy courses and found that the beautiful objects in astronomy caught my attention more than the rather abstract work on nuclei. At MSU I also first got involved with science outreach and communication, working with the wonderful student run organization, Science Theatre. a photo of me lying on a bed of nails, with a blanket of nails

Research

Imaging the Surface of Red Supergiants

A Reconstruction of a Red Supergiant

Red supergiant stars are among the largest stars in size. Theory predicts and observations suggest that they have convection cells which span a large portion of their surface. For my dissertation project, I'm working with Fabien Baron to image these features using the MIRC instrument on the CHARA Array and some advanced imaging algorithms. We'll then be comparing these images to 3D models.

Parameters of Massive Stars
in Higher Multiplicity Systems

It's becoming clear that the most massive stars in our universe are rarely found alone but rather as members of systems with two or more stars orbiting a common center of mass. I'm working with Doug Gies to study the properties of O and B stars found in systems with three or more stars. To do this, we use spectroscopy to determine the radial velocities and orbits of the stars. We then use the radial velocities to tomographically separate the spectra of each star so that we can determine its properties such as temperature, gravity, and rotation.

Outreach and Service

a photo of me lying on a bed of nails, with a blanket of nails

Professional Service

Graduate Student Alliance

The GSA serves the graduate students of Georgia State University seeking to improve their experience and advocating for their needs to the university. From 2016-2017 I served a President of the GSA and in other years have been involved as a representative from my department.

AstroPAL

I have also been active in the Astronomy Peer Advising Leaders (AstroPAL) group in my department. This is a student founded, student run, mentoring group for astronomy graduate students at GSU. Students who have passed their qualifying exam are paired with incoming graduate students and meet regularly with them to offer support, advice, and other assistance. We also put on monthly focus groups for graduate students and advocate to the department when we discover that policies are adversely affecting students. I have served as treasurer and president of AstroPAL during my time at GSU.

Other Recent Service

  • Local Organizing Committee: IAU Symposium 314: Young Stars and Planets, 2015
  • Graduate STudent Representative 2013-2015, GSU College of Arts and Sciences Graduate Council

Past Outreach Work

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