Assistant Professor of Astronomy, Williams College
Strong bursts of star formation can dramatically transform the interstellar medium of low-mass galaxies and can even release gas and photons into the intergalactic medium. My research uses multiwavelength spectroscopy from the radio to the ultraviolet to study star formation and feedback in low-metallicity starburst galaxies. These highly star-forming galaxies are analogs of galaxies in the early universe and allow us to study such systems in unprecedented detail. I am particularly interested in understanding how ionizing ultraviolet radiation is produced in these galaxies and whether and how it escapes the galaxy. The production and escape of ionizing radiation has important implications for our understanding of massive stars and stellar feedback as well as the reionization of the early Universe. While these extreme low-mass starbursts can provide valuable insights into galaxy evolution, such high levels of star formation are rare in the present-day Universe. LSST’s extensive survey will discover many more of these unusual galaxies.
Early in my astronomy career, I realized I enjoyed teaching and mentoring undergraduate students as much as I enjoyed research. As a postdoc at Smith College, I was lucky to be able to pursue both teaching and research, but such opportunities are unusual for early career astronomers. I now work as a professor at Williams College, a small undergraduate liberal arts college, and I hope to share my experience with other early career scientists who are interested in learning about careers at primarily undergraduate institutions. In addition to developing courses for majors and non-majors, I mentor undergraduate students of all levels in research projects. I also have experience in supervising graduate student research and in leading a large HST survey and 40-person collaboration.