About

Las Campanas Observatory, Chile, February 2016

Las Campanas Observatory, Chile, February 2016

Prague, Czech Republic, June 2016

Prague, Czech Republic, June 2016

Hi there, I'm an Astrophysics PhD student at UC Santa Cruz, working with Professors Jonathan Fortney and Myriam Telus on understanding super-Earth exoplanet atmospheres via experiments and modeling tools. I currently work on meteorite outgassing experiments to inform our understanding of the phase space of atmospheric compositions expected for low-mass exoplanets. I also want to identify the best super-Earth targets for follow-up observations using next-generation of large-aperture ground-based telescopes (more commonly known as Extremely Large Telescopes or ELTs).

In general, my research interests include the atmospheres of exoplanets, cosmochemistry, the study of how planetary systems form and evolve, the intersection between theoretical and observational astrophysics, planetary science and astrobiology. I am originally from Reston, Virginia and received my B.A. in astrophysics with honors, along with a minor in astrobiology, from Princeton University in June 2016. I recently received my M.S. in astrophysics from UCSC in June 2019.

I spent the 2016-17 academic year as a research trainee at the Carnegie Institution of Washington's Department of Terrestrial Magnetism (DTM) in Washington, D.C., under the mentorship of Drs. Alycia Weinberger and Alan Boss. During my time at DTM, I performed data analysis of an unusually warm, dusty debris disk surrounding a binary star system using the SOFIA airborne observatory (Thompson et al. 2019a) in addition to helping with the photometric calibrations for the Carnegie Astrometric Planet Search program, which will find exoplanets, brown dwarfs and stellar companions.

While at Princeton, I conducted several independent research projects during my junior and senior years related to exoplanets, including a preliminary study of the distribution and demographics of exoplanets found in binary star systems for those stars analyzed by NASA’s Kepler satellite. For my senior thesis research, I worked with Professor David Spergel on a project that developed an original approximate model to aid in the astrometric detection and characterization of multiple exoplanet systems. 

Rocket and I, Santa Cruz CA, 2018

Rocket and I, Santa Cruz CA, 2018

My prior research experience includes working at Caltech’s Infrared Processing and Analysis Center under the mentorship of Dr. Davy Kirkpatrick.  Analyzing data from the WISE satellite, we discovered over 40 previously undetected brown dwarfs. In addition, I have interned at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab and the American Museum of Natural History’s Hayden Planetarium.  

When I'm not doing science, I love traveling, reading good books with tea, and practicing yoga. I also spend lots of time hanging with my Shih Tzu pup, Rocket (follow along her adventures on Instagram @rocket_ishihtzunot)!