Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy, University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire
I primarily study hydrogen-accreting white dwarfs and the thermonuclear novae that result from such accretion by building computational models using the open source scientific software instrument Modules for Experiments in Stellar Astrophysics (MESA). I’m excited to see the wealth of data the Vera Rubin Observatory LSST will bring for these and related stellar transients, and I look forward to using MESA to build new models to explore the new puzzles that will surely arise. I am also a developer of MESA, helping to guide development and maintain the infrastructure that supports its development.
I am currently an assistant professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire (UWEC). I sought out this position because UWEC values providing opportunities for undergraduate research in the context of an otherwise teaching-focused institution. At UWEC, I maintain a substantial teaching load, including an introductory computational physics course that I developed. I oversee a small team of undergraduate researchers while also maintaining several research collaborations. My and my collaborations’ research have been funded by grants from both the NSF and NASA. Additionally, I am involved in science outreach to the local area through my position as the director of our campus planetarium.
As a mentor, I bring the experience of moving from the research-focused environments of large R1 universities (UCSB & ASU) to a medium-sized primarily undergraduate institution and the resulting challenges of simultaneously teaching multiple courses while maintaining a robust research program and service obligations. In particular, I bring some insights into what types of research questions can translate into projects that attract external funding while still being appropriate for undergraduate researchers. On the more technical side, I bring experience in high performance computing and collaborative software development.