Incoming NSF Graduate Research Fellow
University of Oregon Department of Earth Sciences
This fall, I will begin a PhD in Earth sciences at the University of Oregon as an NSF Graduate Research Fellow. Here, I will work with Dr. Josef Dufek to study the physics of volcanic eruptions on Earth and throughout our solar system. In May of 2022, I graduated summa cum laude from CU Boulder, where I studied astrophysics and planetary science as a Goldwater and Astronaut Scholar. During this time, my research focused on the detection and characterization of exoplanet systems.
Having grown up in western Colorado, I like to spend my spare time hiking, biking, and anything else outdoors! I am also an amateur astrophotographer, enjoy gardening, and play the violin.
My current research focuses on the physics of volcanic eruptions both on Earth and other terrestrial bodies. This work helps better understand the threats posed by eruptive events as well as how volcanoes contribute to the evolution of a planet's surface and atmosphere. Previously, I conducted research on the detection and characterization of exoplanet systems. My Google Scholar page contains a list of my publications and below you can find descriptions of my past work.
I worked with Dr. Meredith MacGregor at CU Boulder to model ALMA images of circumstellar debris disks, which form from colliding planetesimals. Using these observations, we can place limits on systems' planet-forming and dynamical histories. I specifically focused on eccentric structures, which indicate the presence of sub-stellar companions shepherding material into non-circular orbits. Dr. MacGregor also advised my honors thesis, which measured the alignment between debris disks and their host stars, helping understand the mechanisms that may misalign planetary orbits with their stars' rotation axes.
I first began research with Dr. Sam Quinn and Dr. David Latham at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, where I worked with the TESS Follow-up Observing Program to identify exoplanet candidates. I later began an independent project analyzing a decade of radial velocities from the bright, nearby star Vega, identifying a planet candidate and placing new detection limits on orbital companions. This work has been featured throughout the media; feel free to check out CU Boulder's press release!
In 2019, I began to contribute to RadVel, a Python package used to search for and model exoplanets in radial-velocity time series. I then worked with Dr. BJ Fulton at Caltech to apply this work to data from Gliese 411, the fourth closest stellar system to Earth, investigating a previously disputed planetary signal as well as identifying a planet candidate.
During the summer of 2021, I conducted research with Dr. Michael Liu through the University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy REU Program. I compared evolutionary models of ultracool dwarfs to model atmospheres for over 100 objects, identiying systematics in the parameters returned by model atmospheres. This work is critical towards improving future models, which help understand the evolution of planets and brown dwarfs.
I previously volunteered with the Grand Mesa Observatory, located near my hometown of Fruita, Colorado. Here, I helped organize stargazing events and public talks while maintaining and operating equipment. I also designed an observational astronomy and data analysis curriculum that gives local high school students a hands-on introduction to astrophysics and programming. While at CU Boulder, I also regularly joined graduate students to run open house nights at the Sommers-Bausch Observatory.
As my research transitions to volcanology, I hope to focus on additional outreach in the Earth sciences. I am particularly interested in making field work and the geosciences available to people with disabilities and other historically marginalized groups.
I use a small aperture (250 mm) telescope and specialized monochrome camera to take pictures of the night sky. All of my images and details about them can be found on my AstroBin page. Below is a selection of my favorite images!