Associate Professor, CSU Stanislaus
I work on astrophysical transients, focused mostly on explosions in space. My research involves cosmic explosions – supernovae, neutron star mergers, and, in particular, Gamma-Ray Bursts (GRBs). GRBs are created by relativistic jets – streams of material moving at almost the speed of light – that produce incredibly bright flashes of high-energy light that can be seen all the way across the Universe. They are powered by new-born neutron stars or black holes, and produce the most powerful explosions since the big bang. I work on comparing observations of these events to computational models, to learn more about the properties of the jets that create them, how they originate, and how common they are.
Currently, I am part of a collaboration with the Rubin Observatory to train undergraduates to use Rubin data, and build capacity for research using Rubin in the CSU system. I am using Rubin preview data to help figure out how to identify GRBs and other jet-driven explosions, which will make up a fraction of the 100’s of thousands of transient events Rubin will see each year.
I am now an Associate Professor in Physics at California State University Stanislaus, a primarily undergraduate and Hispanic-Serving Institution. I have mentored over 20 undergraduate research students at Stan State, including many underrepresented, first-generation, and low-income college students. I have also worked to develop materials and workshops for bringing equitable, inclusive, and anti-racist practices to STEM classrooms, funded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.