Introducing: Julie Rathbun

Julie Rathbun is a planetary scientist who studies moons of the outer solar system.  Her favorite place is Io and her favorite feature is the volcano Loki.  Her research on Loki has included ground-based and spacecraft observations and she’s also studied spatial and temporal variations in Ionian volcanoes.  When not studying Io, she’s usually studying Europa and is a member of the E-THEMIS team on Europa Clipper. She is currently a senior scientist at the Planetary Science Institute and a Professor of Physics at the University of Redlands.  In addition to her research, Julie is heavily involved in diversity work and has presented extensively on women on spacecraft science teams.  She is also currently chair of the Division of Planetary Sciences Professional Culture and Climate Subcommittee (PCCS).  You can normally find her tweeting from @LokiVolcano.

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Introducing René Ortega-Minakata

René A. Ortega-Minakata is a Mexican astronomer. He got a bachelor in physics at the University of Guadalajara (Mexico) in 2009 and later a Master’s and PhD in Astrophysics from the University of Guanajuato (also Mexico) in 2015. He later went to Valongo Observatory in Rio de Janeiro as a postdoc for one year and afterwards joined the Institute of Astronomy at UNAM in Mexico City, where he currently works also as a postdoc.
He is interested in the evolution of galaxies, particularly the relationship between their local (spatially-resolved) and global properties, feedback processes from AGN and star formation, and the relation of galaxies with their environment. He currently works with CALIFA, SDSS-MaNGA and MUSE data.
He is also interested in inclusiveness and equality in astronomy and academia in general.

Introducing Emily Rice

Dr. Emily Rice is an astronomer, professor, and creative science communicator in New York City. She is an assistant professor in the Department of Engineering Science & Physics at the College of Staten Island of the City University of New York (CUNY), faculty in the physics Ph.D. program at the CUNY Graduate Center, and resident research associate in the Department of Astrophysics at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH). She studies low mass stars, brown dwarfs (sometimes called “failed” stars), and directly-imaged exoplanets by analyzing their spectra and modeling their atmospheres. Her research group, Brown Dwarfs in New York City (BDNYC) has received funding from NASA and the NSF, and she is a co-author on 30 refereed publications. In 2015 Dr. Rice was an inaugural recipient of the Henry Wasser Award for Outstanding Scholarship from the CUNY Academy for the Humanities and Sciences. She earned her Ph.D. at UCLA in Astronomy & Astrophysics and undergraduate degrees from the University of Pittsburgh in Physics & Astronomy and German. In addition to her research, she co-authored of a suite of labs for introductory college-level astronomy courses called Astronomy Labs: A Concept Oriented Approach, available through Pearson. She frequently gives public presentations, including at the Hayden Planetarium at AMNH, and makes media appearances, produces science parody videos, organizes and hosts Astronomy on Tap events at bars in NYC, and shares astronomy-inspired fashion on the STARtorialist blog.

Introducing Jillian Scudder

Jillian Scudder (@Jillian_Scudder) is an extragalactic astronomer and assistant professor at Oberlin College in Ohio. Her research focuses on interactions between galaxies, trying to understand both what controls the strength of a galaxy’s response to an interaction, and how those responses change over cosmic time.

Jillian’s PhD work was completed at the University of Victoria in BC, Canada, studying the both star formation and the metal content of nearby pair galaxies in the local Universe. She then moved to a postdoc at the University of Sussex, in the UK, where she shifted her research focus to the more distant universe, using the far infrared as a tracer of the most highly star forming systems (which potentially could trace interactions) to try and understand much younger galaxies. She began her position at Oberlin College in July.  Her work is highly statistical in nature, using carefully selected, large samples of galaxies to determine differences between populations, and makes frequent use of comparisons to simulations.

Jillian also has written the public outreach blog Astroquizzical (@astroquizzical) for the past five years, and has a book based on the blog (Astroquizzical: a curious journey through our cosmic family tree) coming out March 8th in the UK & digitally, and in June in the US. Outside of work and writing, Jillian spends time hanging out with her dog, playing video games, and enjoying life in a small town.

Introducing James Davenport

James Davenport (@jradavenport) is a NSF Astronomy & Astrophysics postdoctoral fellow at Western Washington University, and a research fellow at the University of Washington’s new DIRAC Institute. His research is focused on stars, magnetic activity, flares, and starspots. He primarily uses data from the NASA Kepler and K2 missions, and is currently working on projects involving upcoming data releases from Gaia and ZTF.
For the past 5 years, Davenport has run a demographics survey of the annual AAS meetings that studies the gender dynamics of conference talks and Q/A periods. This work has found that men ask nearly twice as many talks as women in conference settings. However, the study is currently looking at ways to help level the playing field for all conference attendees. See this link for more details. (http://jradavenport.github.io/gender_study/)
Davenport currently maintains a monthly newsletter highlighting the latest in academic SETI research (http://seti.news), and is the author of the data, science, and visualization blog If We Assume (http://www.ifweassume.com). He earned his PhD from the University of Washington in 2015.

Introducing Stephanie Juneau

Stephanie Juneau is an associate astronomer at NOAO (National Optical Astronomy Observatory) headquartered in Tucson AZ. After growing up in Quebec, Canada, she moved to the United States to pursue a PhD in astronomy at the University of Arizona, studying the connection between supermassive black holes and their host galaxies across cosmic time. Following her PhD, she moved to Paris in France to work at CEA-Saclay (Commissariat de l’Energie Atomique). She spent the first year as a postdoc and then transitioned to a staff position at the same institute for a total of about 5 years in France. Despite excellent cheese and wine, she then moved back to Tucson, AZ and joined NOAO and her current position in 2016. Stephanie’s work continues to focus on unveiling the history of giant black holes and galaxies, but with a new twist combining data science and astronomy as part of the NOAO Data Lab (datalab.noao.edu). Ongoing and upcoming large samples of several millions of galaxies have inspired her to put the black hole-galaxy question in the larger context by considering the large-scale structures of the universe. She is a member of the DESI (Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument) and Euclid projects, which will allow us to make the most comprehensive 3D maps of the Universe by measuring distances to tens-to-hundreds of galaxies and quasars, and thus reveal clues about Dark Energy and other cosmological quantities.

Besides work and a few astronomy outreach projects, Stephanie likes to stay active with rockclimbing, hiking, camping (living in Arizona may not be a coincidence), and also enjoys visual arts such as painting, drawing, and engraving. She dreams of combining her scientific and artistic interests more closely. She will talk about black holes, galaxies, large galaxy surveys including the challenges that come with conducting and distributing them, and how to put it all together in the big picture. There are also two outreach events coming up this week so Tweeps will get a tour behind the scene as she prepares to inspire teenagers, and the general public.

is an associate astronomer at NOAO (National Optical Astronomy Observatory) headquartered in Tucson AZ. After growing up in Quebec, Canada, she moved to the United States to pursue a PhD in astronomy at the University of Arizona, studying the connection between supermassive black holes and their host galaxies across cosmic time. Following her PhD, she moved to Paris in France to work at CEA-Saclay (Commissariat de l’Energie Atomique). She spent the first year as a postdoc and then transitioned to a staff position at the same institute for a total of about 5 years in France. Despite excellent cheese and wine, she then moved back to Tucson, AZ and joined NOAO and her current position in 2016. Stephanie’s work continues to focus on unveiling the history of giant black holes and galaxies, but with a new twist combining data science and astronomy as part of the NOAO Data Lab (datalab.noao.edu). Ongoing and upcoming large samples of several millions of galaxies have inspired her to put the black hole-galaxy question in the larger context by considering the large-scale structures of the universe. She is a member of the DESI (Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument) and Euclid projects, which will allow us to make the most comprehensive 3D maps of the Universe by measuring distances to tens-to-hundreds of galaxies and quasars, and thus reveal clues about Dark Energy and other cosmological quantities.

Besides work and a few astronomy outreach projects, Stephanie likes to stay active with rockclimbing, hiking, camping (living in Arizona may not be a coincidence), and also enjoys visual arts such as painting, drawing, and engraving. She dreams of combining her scientific and artistic interests more closely. She will talk about black holes, galaxies, large galaxy surveys including the challenges that come with conducting and distributing them, and how to put it all together in the big picture. There are also two outreach events coming up this week so Tweeps will get a tour behind the scene as she prepares to inspire teenagers, and the general public.

Introducing Christa Van Laerhoven

Christa is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of British Columbia
(UBC). She’s from a small town just a couple hours east of Vancouver,
BC. She did her Bachelors in Physics and Astronomy at UBC, then did
her PhD in Planetary Sciences at the University of Arizona. She does
orbital dynamics, or, as she likes to call it “orbital shenanigans.”
She investigates how orbits change over long periods of time and how
that can be used to tease out interesting things about a planetary
system. In particular, she is interested in what the Kuiper Belt can
tell us about the history of our Solar System, and in how planetary
systems go unstable (or avoid going unstable). In her spare time she
works with the Yukon Center of the Royal Astronomical Society of
Canada (rasc.ca). As a result of that collaboration, this week she
will be on a flight to see the Aurora Borealis.

Christa tweets as @K04PB2B. Her twitter handle is the Minor Planet
Center (MPC) packed designation for the Kuiper Belt object 2004 PB112,
which orbits 4 times in the time it takes Neptune to orbit 27 times.