I am currently a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Observatories of the Carnegie Institution for Science in Pasadena, CA. In December 2014, I received my Ph.D. in Astronomy from the University of Virginia where I was a Jefferson Graduate Fellow under the guidance of Steven Majewski.
I primarily study the halos of galaxies, which are its *really* outer parts. In the halo, the dynamical timescales are very long and the stars can retain some spatial and dynamical memory of how they arrived there. This long memory is the pivotal concept that permits us to explore how the halo formed and even explore the properties of its building blocks. I find the halo stars using deep photometry and then we use the halo stars to:
- determine the detailed properties of the stellar haloes (usually for M31, i.e., SPLASH),
- understand the assembly history of nearby galaxies (M31AGES),
- constrain the behavior of dark matter (SPLASH + M31AGES), and
- measure distances that constrain the cosmic distance scale (CCHP-2).
Occasionally, I also study the objects that live in the halo -- i.e., the globular clusters, satellite galaxies, tidal debris, stellar disk, stellar bar and central bulge. I have been fortunate to not only participate in many projects, but at times lead major aspects of them (!). In particular, I led the multi-season imaging campaign for the SPLASH project and am Co-PI of the M31AGES NOAO Survey.
I feel that research needs to be balanced with a reasonable cocktail of teaching. mentoring, and outreach. These extra-curricular activities help me to put research findings into context and to meet people outside of my collaborators. I have been fortunate to participate in a number of wonderful programs that are described on individual pages. In particular, I am passionate about reaching underserved populations, where the term "underserved" is used to mean those populations that are not reached with traditional outreach programs for any number of reasons. While a graduate student at the University of Virginia, I worked to reach out to rural populations -- both those around Charlottesville itself and those near my home town in South-Central Virginia.
- 2016 September 14 -- Gaia DR1!
- 2016 October 16 -- Carnegie Astronomy Open House in Pasadena!
- 2016 October 23 -- Pasadena Astronomy Week!
- 2016 October 23 -- Astronomical Society of the Pacific Awards Banquet
- 2016 November 08 -- Guest lecture at Pomona College
- 2016 November -- Carnegie Science Day!
- 2016 December 14, 15, 16 -- Observing with DuPont 2.5m & RetroCam