Katy Rodriguez Wimberly
Assistant Professor, CSU San Bernardino
My astrophysics research aims to answer the question “How do the evolutionary histories of ultra-faint dwarf galaxies impact them today?”. While UFDs have universally ancient stellar populations and the smallest stellar masses of any known galaxy, there’s still great diversity amongst them. For these systems to be used as the great near-field cosmological tools we know they can be, we must understand their evolutionary histories and how that impacts what we observe and simulate of them today. I approach this through spectroscopic observations and cosmological simulation analysis, and comparison to observations. Currently, I primarily work with the DEIMOS and LRIS spectroscopic instruments on the Keck telescopes. I look forward to extending my work on individual systems into the statistical analysis of UFDs as a population through LSST! Pushing observational limits in faintness and distance will enable incredibly exciting work into these tiny, ancient galaxies!
Alongside my astrophysics research, I also work in and conduct research in STEM Mentorship. I primarily work with undergraduate students who belong to groups that have been historically underrepresented in STEM. In my role as the Director of Mentorship for the UC-CSU state-wide STEM program, Cal-Bridge, I create programming and infrastructure for mentorship training and professional development for faculty, graduate and undergraduate students. As a graduate student, I co-created a peer mentorship program and successfully institutionalized the program – it’s still in operation today! Creating inclusive spaces within academia and pushing institutions to true equity for all scientists is at the heart of my mentorship work.
If you’re interested in Near-Field Cosmology, creating an academic career with a dual focus (such as astrophysics research and DEI work), and/or working with diverse, fantastic undergraduate students, I’d love to work with you!