Hi there, I'm a second-year Astrophysics PhD student at UC Santa Cruz, working with Professor Jonathan Fortney on modeling the atmospheres of mini-Neptune to terrestrial-sized exoplanets, keeping in mind the observational constraints of upcoming telescopes such as the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT). My goal is to estimate the yield of low-mass exoplanets that we will be able to characterize with next-generation instruments such as the Planetary Systems Imager (PSI) to go on TMT, in addition to informing the optimal design for such instruments in order to maximize this yield. I am also working with Professor Myriam Telus on meteorite outgassing experiments in the lab to link a planet’s composition to its atmospheric composition. This project will help inform the initial atmospheric abundances that we set in our atmosphere modeling codes.
In general, my research interests include the detection and atmospheric characterization of exoplanet systems, the study of how planetary systems form and evolve, the intersection between theoretical and observational astrophysics, cosmochemistry, 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 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. 2019 submitted) 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.
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 am also the proud new human to an amazing Shih Tzu pup, Rocket (follow along her adventures on Instagram @rocket_ishihtzunot)!