Kat Volk is a planetary scientist working at the Department of Planetary Sciences/Lunar and Planetary Laboratory at the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona. Her research mostly involves observational and theoretical studies of trans-Neptunian objects (aka Kuiper belt objects) in the solar system, with a focus on how their orbits can help us understand the dynamical history of the giant planets in our solar system. She has also worked a little bit on the orbital dynamics of exoplanets as well as investigating the possible dynamics of the recently re-proposed “planet 9” in the outer solar system.
Kat received her undergraduate degree from Wittenberg University in Springfield, OH where she double majored in Physics and Russian Area Studies. Having always loved astronomy and related disciplines, she then moved to Tucson to work on a PhD in planetary sciences. After completing a PhD dissertation that focused on theoretical studies of small body populations in the outer solar system, Kat then moved to Vancouver, British Columbia for a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of British Columbia. Her research there included work with the Outer Solar System Origins Survey (OSSOS), a survey for discovering new trans-Neptunian objects. Kat then moved back to the University of Arizona to continue her research. You can find updates about Kat’s research on her website: katvolk.com.