Stevenson Professor of Physics & Astronomy, Vanderbilt University & Fiske University
I have been involved with LSST in a variety of ways since the beginning, including active involvement in the Transients, Stars, and Milky Way science working groups, as well as work on broker-facilitators and working on tools for rapid visualization of LSST data. With my students and postdocs, I have published multiple papers on, e.g., the expected transiting exoplanet yield from LSST, metrics for predicting the yield of various types of stellar variables, and methods for determining fundamental properties of stars and exoplanets from ultra-precise light curves. My expertise includes stellar variability broadly, including magnetic activity and gyrochronology, fundamental stellar properties through eclipsing binaries and granulation flicker in light curves, transiting exoplanets and gravitational micro-lensing, and methods for discovery through data visualization.
I have been a committed mentor throughout my 25+ year professional career, with an emphasis on broadening the participation of individuals from historically minoritized or underrepresented groups. I am the founding director of the Fisk-Vanderbilt Masters-to-PhD Bridge Program which has become a leading producer of physics and astronomy PhDs earned by African Americans. I have been awarded the AAAS Mentor of the Year award and the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Math and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM). I served on the Astro2020 Decadal Survey steering committee as well as on the National Academy of Sciences committee that produced the report on the Science of Effective Mentorship in STEM. More recently, I am the founding director of Vanderbilt’s Center for Autism & Innovation, which seeks to advance the scientific careers of autistic and other neurodivergent individuals. The Center has so far supported the professional advancement of five autistic postdoctoral fellows in astronomy, including one who helped lead the development of one of the LSST broker facilitators.