I am currently a Postdoctoral Research Fellow located at Princeton University, but I hold a joint affiliation with 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 and my Thesis received the Robert J. Trumpler Prize. I spent three years at OCIS working with Wendy Freedman and Barry Madore, before receiving Hubble Fellowship sponsored by Jenny Greene at Princeton University. I also hold, in name only, a Carnegie-Princeton Fellowship that provides access to Las Campanas Observatory.
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 and APOGEE),
understand the assembly history of nearby galaxies (M31AGES, Hyper Supreme Cam Survey),
constrain the behavior of dark matter (SPLASH + M31AGES, Hyper Supreme Cam Survey),
measure distances that constrain the cosmic distance scale (CCHP-2 and spin offs!),
homogenous, large-scale OPEN data to understand our Galaxy (SDSS, APOGEE),
push such work to ever farther distances using innovative telescope and instrument technology.
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, was Co-PI of the M31AGES NOAO Survey, and served as Science Working Group Chair for the SDSS-IV APOGEE-2 Program for 2.5 years. I have been awarded hundreds of nights of nationally competitive observing time and love partnering with non-observing colleagues to do fun observational projects that stretch my technical abilities (like this one).
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.
Too many to keep straight these days :-).
I average about one invited seminar per month, do some observing, and help run workshops that engage my collaborations with data, science, and enthusiasm. If I am in Princeton, my door will be open and you are welcome to interrupt me.