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Graduate Students

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David Ball

  • B.A., 2015, Whitman College
Areas of Interest: Theoretical Astrophysics

David is working with Prof. Feryal Özel on understanding the physics of magnetic reconnection in accretion disks of supermassive black holes using both general relativistic magnetohydrodynamic and particle-in-cell simulations.

Chris Bilinski

  • B.S., 2010, California Institute Of Technology
Areas of Interest: Protoplanetary Disks, Variable Stars

Chris is researching presupernova outbursts using KAIT and measuring disk sizes using CHARA interferometry.

Alex Bixel

  • B.A., 2016, University of Virginia
Areas of Interest: Exoplanets, Planetary Atmospheres

Alex is working with Daniel Apai to study the atmospheres of transiting exoplanets using transmission spectroscopy. He is also interested in how life could be detected through its effects on the chemical composition of atmospheres.

Ryan Endsley

  • B.A., 2015, Washington University-St. Louis
Areas of Interest: Extragalactic Astronomy, Cosmology, and Galaxy Formation & Evolution

Katheryn Decker French

  • B.S. Physics and Planetary Science, 2011, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Areas of Interest: Galaxy Evolution, Tidal Disruption Events

Decker is working with Prof. Ann Zabludoff using multiwavelength observations of post-starburst galaxies to understand how galaxies transition from star forming to quiescence.

Nico Garavito Camargo

  • M.S., 2015, Universidad de Los Andes Areas of Interest: Galaxy Formation and Evolution Theory

Melissa Halford

  • B.A., 2012, Cornell University Areas of Interest: Extragalactic Astronomy

Melissa is working with Prof. Dennis Zaritsky to study the stellar initial mass function (IMF). Her research focuses on possible variations in the IMF in different environments.

Michael Hammer

  • B.A., 2015, Cornell University Areas of Interest: Planetary System Evolution, Planet-Disk Interactions

Michael is working with Professor Kaitlin Kratter on a subset of his research interests.

Yun-Hsin Huang

  • M.S., 2015, University of Chicago
Areas of Interest: Extragalactic Astronomy, Galaxy Formation, and Evolution

Yun-Hsin is working with Profs. Xiaohui Fan and Eiichi Egami on the Steward/UKIRT Near-IR Imaging of the Hyper Supreme-Cam (HSC) Deep Fields.

Jennifer Kadowaki

  • B.A., 2014, University of California-Los Angeles

Junhan Kim

  • B.S., 2010, Seoul National University
Areas of Interest: Radio Astronomy, Instrumentation

Junhan is working with Prof. Dan Marrone to build a Very Long Baseline Interferometer (VLBI) receiver for the South Pole Telescope (SPT).

Megan Kiminki

  • B.S., 2010, University of Wyoming Areas of Interest: Star Formation, Massive Stars, Astrobiology

Using observations of young stellar populations, Megan studies star formation on molecular cloud scales and the influence of massive stars on their surroundings. She is also interested in the formation and properties of binary and multiple star systems.

David Henry Lesser

  • B.S., 2010, Oberlin College Areas of Interest: Instrumentation

Rixin Li

  • B.S., 2014, Peking University

Katrina Litke

  • B.S., 2015, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign

Jianwei Lyu

  • M.S., 2014, Chinese Academy Of Sciences

Ramesh Mainali

  • M.S., 2012, Tribhuvan University
Areas of Interest: Extragalactic Astronomy, High energy astronomy

Currently working with Daniel Stark to study physical properties of high redshift galaxies and their evolution.

Christine O'Donnell

  • M.P.P., 2014, University Of Virginia

Ekta Patel

  • B.S., 2014, New York University Areas of Interest: Dwarf Galaxies, satellite galaxies, cosmological simulations

Ekta is studying the evolution of massive satellite galaxies such as the Magellanic Clouds and M33 in high resolution cosmological simulations. She specifically focuses on their frequency, orbital histories, and their influence on host galaxies.

Ragadeepika Pucha

  • Integrated M.Sc in Physics, 2015, Visva-Bharati University Areas of Interest: Stars and Galaxies

Yujing Qin

  • M.A., 2016, Chinese Academy of Sciences

Benjamin Rackham

  • B.S., 2009, Westminster College of Salt Lake City
Areas of Interest: Exoplanets, Planetary Atmospheres, Astrobiology

Ben studies the atmospheres of exoplanets via ground-based observations. He uses spectroscopic and photometric approaches to investigate molecular absorption and emission features of super-earths and hot jupiters, which constrain atmospheric models of these planets. These techniques can be applied to future projects characterizing the atmospheres of Earth-like planets in the habitable zones of nearby stars.

Carolyn Raithel

  • B.A., 2015, Carleton College
Areas of Interest: High Energy Theory, General Relativity, and Compact Objects

Stephanie Sallum

  • B.S., 2011, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Jan-Torge Schindler

  • M.S., 2014, Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel Areas of Interest: Extragalactic Astronomy, Stellar Evolution, Cosmology

Jan-Torge is working with Prof. Xiaohui Fan on an all-sky catalog of bright high redshift quasars to study the early growth of the most massive SMBHs, update the bright end of the quasar luminosity function and provide new quasar sight lines for studies of the Intergalactic Medium.

Deborah Schmidt

  • B.S., 2011, Fraklin and Marshall College

Evan Schneider

  • B.S., 2010, Bryn Mawr College Areas of Interest: Numerical Hydrodynamics, Galaxy Evolution, Galactic Winds

Peter Senchyna

  • B.S. Physics, Astronomy, 2015, University of Washington Areas of Interest: Extragalactic Astronomy, Galaxy Evolution

Peter is using multiwavelength data to probe stellar populations in nearby (z < 0.1) low-metallicity star-forming regions and calibrate models applicable to galaxies in the very early universe.

Patrick Sheehan

  • B.S., 2011, University of Rochester Areas of Interest: Star and Planet Formation, Extrasolar planets

Patrick uses a combination of infrared and submillimeter telescopes along with radiative transfer modelling to probe the envelopes and disks around protostars and to study the environments in which stars and planets form.

Rachel Smullen

  • B.S., 2014, University Of Wyoming Areas of Interest: Extrasolar planets, Binary Stars, Computational Astrophysics

Eckhart Spalding

  • M.S., 2014, University Of Kentucky
Areas of Interest: Exoplanets, Instrumentation

Eckhart is working with Prof. Phil Hinz to help commission the Large Binocular Telescope Interferometer, and is working on 2nd-year project to evaluate a new technique for acquiring precision infrared photometry with the LBT.

Justin Spilker

  • B.S., 2011, Iowa State University Areas of Interest: Extragalactic Astronomy, Radio Astronomy

Justin is studying high-redshift galaxies with various radio and submillimeter-regime telescopes, which allows us to understand the process of star and galaxy formation in the early universe. He also has an interest in high energy and cosmic ray astronomy.

Adam Sutherland

  • B.A., 2016, University of Chicago Areas of Interest: Exoplanets

Brian Svoboda

  • B.S., 2012, Western Washington University Areas of Interest: Star Formation, ISM, Radio Astronomy, Galactic Astronomy

Brian is studying protoclusters and the earliest phases of high mass star formation with radio and submillimeter telescopes. Currently, he is investigating the physical conditions, deuterium fractionation, and dust properties of clumps in the Bolocam Galactic Plane Survey.

Mengtao Tang

  • B.S., 2014, Peking University

Kevin Wagner

  • B.S., 2015, University of Cincinnati
Areas of Interest: Exoplanets, Circumstellar disks, and Planet formation

Kevin is a NSF graduate research fellow working to understand how planets form using some of the largest telescopes in the world (VLT, LBT, Gemini, Magellan, etc.). To find and study those young worlds (and the dusty disks in which they form), he is teamed with Professor Daniel Apai and the two are busily exploring the youthful stellar population in the Scorpion-Centaurus association. Recently, the team discovered the first known planet on a wide orbit in a multi-star system (HD 131399Ab) - whose orbit is so large compared to the other stars in the system that their gravity may perturb the 16 million-year-old planet from its orbit around star A and eject it into empty space. In addition to searching for new worlds, Kevin is leading several projects to study and characterize this fascinating planetary system.

Michelle Wilson

  • B.S., 2010, Case Western Reserve University
Areas of Interest: Galaxy Formation and Evolution

Michelle is investigating the environments of galaxy-scale strong gravitational lenses, the frequency of other structures along the lens' lines of sight, the kinematic and physical properties of brightest group galaxies, and the effect of environment on group galaxies at 0 < z < 1. She is also beginning a study of group and field galaxies' circumgalactic gas in absorption using lensed, multiply imaged QSOs.

Ya-Lin Wu

  • M.S., 2011, National Taiwan University
Areas of Interest: Adaptive optics, Exoplanets, Extragalactic Astronomy

Ya-Lin is a member of the Magellan VisAO team, and is working with Prof. Laird Close on the direct imaging of exoplanets.

Minghao Yue

  • B.A., 2016, Peking University

Yifan Zhou

  • B.S., 2014, Peking University