Introducing Rebecca Larson

Rebecca is a PhD student at the University of Texas at Austin studying some of the first galaxies that formed in the Universe. She wasn’t always interested in astronomy and claims to have ended up here ‘by accident’. Out of high school she joined the US Air Force and worked in the Intelligence Community as an Arabic Linguist for six years. During this time, and after leaving the military, she took as many college classes as possible. By the time she graduated with her Bachelor’s degrees she had attended 9 separate colleges and universities, and pursued 4 different degrees. Now she is halfway through her PhD in Astronomy and an advocate for non-traditional students.
When she’s not doing research she spends her time organizing Astronomy on Tap ATX (@AoTATX) and is the President of the Student Veterans Association (@TexasSVA).

 

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Introducing Kathryn Neugent

Kathryn Neugent is a PhD Candidate in Astronomy at the University of Washington working with Dr. Emily Levesque. She has additionally been working as a research associate with Phil Massey at Lowell Observatory for the past 10 years. Alongside Emily and Phil, Kathryn studies massive stars (stars greater than 10 solar masses) and their evolution in the Local Group Galaxies (primarily M31, M33, and the Magellanic Clouds). Her current projects include identifying and characterizing binary Red Supergiants and their B-type star companions, understanding the evolution of Yellow Supergiants as both pre-and post- Red Supergiant objects, and directly determining the masses of Wolf-Rayet + O star binary systems. As an observational astronomer she travels the world observing at telescopes such as Gemini in Hawaii and Las Campanas in Chile. While not observing she enjoys backpacking, photography, and hanging out with her boyfriend, cat and corgi in sunny Seattle. You can stalk her more at her website: kathrynneugent.com.

Introducing Gourav Khullar

Gourav Khullar (@isskywalker, Pronouns: he/him) is a PhD Candidate at the University of Chicago, affiliated with the Dept. of Astronomy and Astrophysics, and the Kavli Institute of Cosmological Physics. An Indian national, he has been in Chicago since 2015, having moved to the US from the University of Cambridge with a masters degree in Astrophysics, and the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi with a bachelors degree in Engineering Physics.
Gourav’s research focuses on the astrophysics of member galaxies of high-redshift galaxy clusters, which he studies via tools like optical-infrared spectroscopy and strong gravitational lensing. Gourav is part of the South Pole Telescope (SPT) Clusters collaboration, and is also affiliated with the Dark Energy Survey (DES). Counting himself as an observer and an analyst, Gourav is a frequent user of the Magellan Telescopes and the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO) in Chile for his research. His past work as an undergraduate and masters student includes an analysis of host galaxy properties in DES-discovered active galactic nuclei (AGN), understanding chemical enrichment in galaxy environments via simulations and observations, spectroscopic studies of Type Ib supernovae, and building stellar speckle interferometric apparatus in a laboratory that mimic adaptive optics systems on telescopes.
Outside astrophysics research, Gourav has also been a part of the Astrobites collaboration since 2015, both as a science communication writer-editor and an education researcher. Gourav also works on issues of social justice, having co-founded initiatives like the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Journal Club (DEIJC) at UChicago, a platform that helps early-career astrophysicists create an equitable and inclusive local community through peer education. He is an organizer and officer with Graduate Students United – UChicago’s graduate worker union – which has been fighting for labor rights for graduate members of the UChicago community. On a light day, you would find Gourav reading non-fiction books, listening to Punjabi music, or at a movie theatre checking out the latest superhero flick!

Introducing Josephine Peters

Josephine Peters (@josieapeters) is a PhD student at the University of Oxford. She researches galaxy evolution with data from radio interferometers; the Very Large Array (VLA) and the Low-Frequency Array (LOFAR). She takes samples of hundreds of galaxies and looks at how their luminosity changes over the history of the Universe. Before her PhD, Josie did an MSc at the University of Manchester and a BSc in Maths at King’s College London. It was outreach in the form of a photography exhibition that inspired Josie to go into astronomy.

To share her love of astronomy (and hopefully inspire others as she was inspired), Josie presents videos on astronomy news, explains topics such as spacetime and quasars, and interviews other astronomers.

When other aspects of science grab her curiosity, Josie co-presents a new podcast called A Piece of String (@StringPodcast), that brings together comedians and scientific minds to answer the biggest of all questions, ever.

Beyond science, Josie spends her time drawing silly comics (@artartyeahart), performing improvised comedy with The Oxford Imps and singing loudly.

Introducing Adina Feinstein

Hi! My name is Adina Feinstein, and I just finished my undergraduate degree in astrophysics at Tufts University and will continue my education next year at U of Chicago. My research experiences range from galaxy evolution to correcting for gravitational lensing to aging stars and characterizing exoplanets. I hope to use my time on Astrotweeps to talk about my research, the graduate school application process, and offer advice to those who wish to pursue astronomy in the future. Outside of academia, I’m a bake-aholic, love to crochet, and enjoy writing the occasional short story!

 

Introducing Zach Pace

Zach Pace (@zpacefromspace) just finished the third year of his PhD program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. A native of Buffalo, NY, Zach received a B.S. in Physics and a B.A. in Mathematics from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 2014. His research interests include galaxy evolution, chemical enrichment histories, and stellar populations. He works with data from the SDSS-IV MaNGA survey, an integral-field spectroscopic program that will produce spectral maps of 10,000 nearby galaxies by 2020. He is an avid, daily programmer, and an avowed machine-learning enthusiast.

Zach is also interested in scientific education and outreach. He regularly gives public presentations and telescope sessions at state parks around Wisconsin, through the Universe in the Park program. He served from 2014-2016 as Vice-Chair of Students for the Exploration and Development of Space, USA (SEDS-USA), an organization of nearly 50 college and university chapters dedicated to public engagement, career development, and science literacy. When not doing astronomy, Zach is often found reading, homebrewing, sailing, or playing pub quizzes (usually not simultaneously).