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Graduate Students

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Vanessa Bailey

  • B.S., 2009, University of Minnesota Areas of Interest: Adaptive optics, Extrasolar planets

Vanessa is part of the teams commissioning the Large Binocular Telescope Interferometer (specifically, its Adaptive Optics system) and the MagAO system. She is also interested in using AO observations to study how debris disk morphology may be used to improve target selection for direct imaging exoplanet surveys.

Nicholas Ballering

  • B.S., 2008, University of Wisconsin - Madison
Areas of Interest: Extrasolar planets, Debris Disks, Astrobiology

Nick is using infrared spectra from the Spitzer Space Telescope to study the structure of debris disks, with the aim of finding signatures of extrasolar planets.

Michael Baubock

  • B.A., 2010, Boston University
Areas of Interest: General Relativity, High Energy Theory

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.

Katherine Follette

  • B.A., 2004, Middlebury College Areas of Interest: Planetary Astronomy, High Energy Astrophysics, Astronomy Education

Kate takes high-contrast adaptive optics images of circumstellar disks, which she uses to search for signatures of planet formation. She is a member of the Magellan Adaptive Optics (MagAO) science team, and is in charge of the simultaneous differential imaging (SDI) mode for the VisAO camera. Kate is also interested in astronomy education and outreach, particularly strategies for improving quantitative literacy through science.

Amanda Ford

  • B.A., 2001, Harvard University Areas of Interest: Intergalactic Medium, Galaxy Evolution

Amanda uses hydrodynamic simulations to understand metal enrichment of the Intergalactic Medium. She studies the mechanisms by which galactic winds can inject metals into the IGM, whether those mechanisms vary with galaxy mass, and how well observations can distinguish between proposed mechanisms.

K. Decker French

  • B.S. Physics and Planetary Science, 2011, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Areas of Interest: Cosmology, Star and Planet Formation

Decker is working with Prof. Ann Zabludoff to study the use of gravitational lensing in detecting high redshift galaxies. She is using large simulations to study the observability of galaxies lensed by multiple objects.

Melissa Halford

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

Melissa is working with Prof. Dennis Zaritsky to study relationships between various properties of galaxies, with the goals of better understanding galaxy evolution and improving measurements of galaxy distances.

Charles Kilpatrick

  • B.S., 2010, Caltech Areas of Interest: Stellar Astronomy, Supernova physics

Charles works with Prof. George Rieke to study the expansion of supernovae into the interstellar medium. Using infrared and submillimeter observations, his research examines how atomic and molecular species are affected by high-velocity supernova shocks.

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

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.

Kushal Mehta

  • B.S., 2008, University of Maryland, Baltimore County
Areas of Interest: Cosmology, Large Scale Structure, Galaxy Evolution

Kushal has worked with Daniel Eisenstein and the SDSS collaboration to measure various cosmological parameters of the Universe. Currently, Kushal is working with Daniel Eisenstein and David Weinberg to explore physics effects that can affect the way galaxies are distributed and evolve in halos.

Kyle Penner

  • B.S., 2008, University of Texas at Austin Areas of Interest: Extragalactic Astronomy, Cosmology

Kyle works on galaxy evolution/transformation at z>~2 in the sub-mm and mm regimes.

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.

Megan Reiter

  • B.A., 2007, University of California, Berkeley Areas of Interest: Molecular Clouds and Star Formation, Young stellar objects

Megan uses images from the Hubble Space Telescope and spectroscopy from the Magellan Telescope in Chile to study jets from young intermediate-mass stars to learn more about how they form.

Stephanie Sallum

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

Jan-Torge Schindler

  • B.S., 2011, Kiel University

Deborah Schmidt

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

Evan Schneider

  • B.S., 2010, Bryn Mawr College Areas of Interest: obscured AGN, Galaxy Evolution, Planet Formation

Youngmin Seo

    Areas of Interest: HI super-cloud and GMCs, Low mass star formation, and Planet formation

    Youngmin is studying formation of structures and objects in our Milky way including HI super-cloud, GMCs, low mass stars, and planets. Currently, he is concentrating on the low mass star formation from starless cores. He uses radio telescopes to observe filaments and starless cores in molecular clouds. He also carries out hydrodynamics simulations and radiative transfer modelings to study dynamical processes of low mass star formation.

    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.

    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.

    Jordan Stone

    • B.A., 2008, University of California, Berkeley Areas of Interest: Star and planet formation especially disk processes and evolution, and the supermassive black hole at the center of the galaxy

    I've been working to understand the physical nature of protoplanetary disks around young stars to better understand how the late evolution of proto-star--disk--proto-planet systems produce the variety of planetary systems observed.

    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.

    Brandon Swift

    • B.S., 2005, UC Berkeley

    Johanna Teske

    • B.S., 2008, American University (physics) Areas of Interest: Stellar Astronomy, Planetary Astronomy, Astrobiology

    Unlike Clark Kent, 'Johanna' has a fascinating and productive secret identity that she pursues with passion during the day and, sometimes, during the wee hours of the night. Her research focuses on observationally constraining the compositions of exoplanets and their host stars, and exploring how their properties relate to each other, other planets, and perhaps our own solar system. Her alternate identity also requires some night-time observing, but this is Johanna's favorite aspect of her disguise and she frequents the MMT in Arizona and Mauna Kea in Hawaii. However, in times of trial, when there is a call for party platters, birthday treats, or coffee-discussion munchies, Johanna strips her day-time persona and becomes COOK-TASTICA, spreading happiness and yumminess where and when she can to those in need.

    Amali Vaz

    • B.S., 2012, University Of Massachusetts Boston

    Gregory Walth

    • B.S., 2008, University of California, Los Angeles

    Michelle Wilson

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

    Michelle has been investigating galaxy groups and brightest group galaxy properties (kinematics, morphology, spectroscopic characteristics, color, mass, etc.) at moderate redshifts (0

    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.

    Chang You

    • B.S., 2010, Univerty of Scienci and Technology of China
    Areas of Interest: Gravitational lensing environment, Lyman Alpha Blob nature and evolution

    You, Chang came from University of Science and Technology and China. She is now doing polarization measurement for Lyman alpha blobs to understand their nature and powering mechanism.