Introducing Joshua Lothringer

I’m Joshua Lothringer (@JDLothringer). I’m a PhD candidate in my final semester at the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory at the University of Arizona. I did my undergrad in astronomy from the University of Colorado at Boulder where I worked at the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics operating several NASA spacecraft, including the Kepler space telescope and the Student Dust Counter on New Horizons. I also worked on the science team of the MAVEN mission to Mars. In the fall, I’ll be moving to Baltimore to postdoc at Johns Hopkins University and work with folks at the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI).

My research has focused on studying exoplanet atmospheres. I’ve been lucky enough to observe and model exoplanet atmospheres. I’ve used observations from HST/STIS to study Neptune and sub-Neptune sized exoplanets, as well as done some ground-based observing work at MMT. I’ve also used the PHOENIX stellar atmosphere model to simulate the atmospheres of the hottest Jovian exoplanets.

Outside of my research time, I like to read (mostly sci-fi), play video games, watch sitcoms, play guitar, and walk by partner’s doge.

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Introducing Sarah McIntyre

I’m Sarah McIntyre (@ExoBioExplorer) a PhD student at the Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the Australian National University.

My current research aims to examine the effect that a diverse range of astronomical and planetary parameters have on an exoplanet’s ability to sustain liquid water. I spend most of my time working on exoplanet models and simulations and doing lab experiments. Long term research plans include helping determine optimal targets for near-future ground- and space-based observations of planetary atmospheres and the potential detection of life in space.

When not exploring exoplanets I read (lately mainly about AI/machine learning), compose, play piano (or violin) and travel.

Introducing Haley Wahl

I’m Haley Wahl (@hwahl16) and I’m a PhD student in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at West Virginia University. I’m originally from New England and I did my undergraduate at the University of Vermont. My main research interest is pulsars. I love pulsars because each of them is different and they exhibit weird phenomena like nulling (where they just randomly stop pulsing for a period of time and we have no idea why!). They’re a ton of fun to study and we can learn about neutron stars, equations of state, the interstellar medium, gravitational waves, plasma physics, and so much more from them.

During my time at UVM, I worked with Dr. Joanna Rankin studying two pulsars that exhibit an emission phenomenon called “swooshing” and also started a project on pulsar emission geometry at low frequencies. I’m currently working with Dr. Maura McLaughlin with the NANOGrav collaboration (the Nanohertz Observatory for Gravitational Waves, a collaboration that is working to detect gravitational waves using pulsar timing) on studying the polarization and rotation measures of a set of 40 pulsars.

In addition to doing research, I’ve recently fallen in love with science outreach! I work at WVU’s planetarium putting on shows for the public and love getting people excited about space. I frequently talk to classes through the Skype a Scientist program and love sharing my knowledge about space with elementary and middle school classes and telling them what it’s like to be a scientist. I recently started writing for AstroBites and once a month, I get to take a really cool paper that may be a little bit technical and bring it down to a level that everyone can understand. I’ve always loved writing so I’m so happy to have found AstroBites.

When I’m not at my computer exploring the mysteries of pulsars, you can find me in the kitchen trying my hand at yet another pastry (I’ve been inspired lately by The Great British Baking Show), in my running shoes exploring another part of Morgantown, or with a book in my hand. I’m also part of the Physics and Astronomy Graduate Student Organization (PAGSO) at WVU and am currently the secretary of the Graduate and Professional Student Senate, a group that is dedicated to keeping graduate students involved in what’s going on at WVU.

Introducing Andrew Mann

I’m Andrew Mann (@amannastro) a new assistant professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Before coming to North Carolina, I was a Hubble Postdoctoral Fellow at Columbia University, before which I was the Harlan J. Smith Fellow at University of Texas and Austin after getting my PhD from University of Hawaii at Manoa in 2013. My research focuses on the evolution of planetary systems. Primarily, I search through data from the K2 and TESS transiting planet surveys to find young (10-650 million year old) planets and compare their properties to similar older planets statistically.

I also work on fundamental stellar properties (chemical composition, radius, mass, temperature). Primarily I study low-mass and young stars as a means to better understand the planets orbiting them (we only know a planet as well as we know its host star). I am just getting involved with the design and building of small satellites (CubeSats) to answer fundamental questions about astrophysics.

Outside astronomy, my primary interests are hiking, traveling, eating exotic food, sci-fi books, and board games. I am also slightly obsessed with my cat.

Introducing Sarah Schmidt

I’m Sarah Jane Schmidt (@sjs917), and currently I’m the Schwarzschild Postdoctoral Fellow at the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics – Potsdam (AIP). Before that, I was a postoctoral fellow at Ohio State University and before that I got my PhD at the University of Washington (2012). My work is focused on determining the magnetic properties and metallicities of some of the smallest stars and warmest brown dwarfs (spectral types M and L). To do this, I primarily works with survey data of all sorts – photometric, spectroscopic, and/or time-domain. In addition to cool star science, I plan to tweet about equity + inclusion, learning to mentor students, and what it’s like to be from the US and (try to) adapt to German academia.

In my non-astronomy time, I read (sci-fi, fantasy, history, biography, feminist theory), sing in a collective women’s choir, listen to podcasts, play video games, and recently borrowed a bass guitar that is my new favorite thing.

Introducing Brian Jackson

Brian Jackson (@decaelusastrojack.com) is an assistant professor teaching astronomy in the Physics Department at Boise State University. Before coming to Boise State, he was a postdoctoral fellow at the Carnegie Institution of Washington’s Dept. of Terrestrial Magnetism in Washington DC and before that, at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt MD. He earned a PhD in Planetary Sciences from the University of Arizona‘s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory in Tucson AZ and my BS in Physics from Georgia Tech in Atlanta GA. His research focuses primarily on orbital dynamics and transit observations of extrasolar planets, planets outside of our solar system. He also does some planetary science field work, notably on Death Valley’s Racetrack Playa (www.racetrackplaya.org) and on terrestrial and Martian dust devils.

Introducing John Wenskovitch

John Wenskovitch (@wenskovitch) is a PhD student in the Computer Science Department at Virginia Tech.  His research falls in a zone combining aspects of data visualization, human-computer interaction, and machine learning.  As a part of the Discovery Analytics Center, he works to develop intelligent and interactive techniques for the visualization and exploration of high-dimensional datasets.  His past work in collaboration with astronomers involved visualizing and interactively exploring spectral flux density data from stellar merger simulations.
John is also an amateur astronomer, volunteering his free time at observatories and with his own telescopes to share the otherwise-invisible wonders that can be found telescopically to all who are interested.  He is passionate about astronomical outreach, particularly regarding light pollution and basic science education.  He currently serves as Vice-President of the Roanoke Valley Astronomical Society, and is actively involved in outreach with the Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh.
During those unfortunate nights when the moon is full or the weather is sub-par, John is also an avid science fiction reader, mediocre marathoner, accidental artist, nature enthusiast, and traveler (having set foot in 43 US states and 25 countries over the past five years).