Meet the Inaugural Catalyst Fellowship Cohort

The first cohort of LSST Discovery Alliance Catalyst Fellows funded by the John Templeton Foundation has begun! Read the press release.

The Catalyst Fellowship aims to realize the full potential of the Rubin Observatory’s Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST), both through new discoveries and by creating exceptional opportunities for astrophysics and social science researchers, including those from traditionally under-represented groups and institutions. Fellowships are held at a variety of US or international host institutions.

Check out each fellow’s planned research and other activities related to Rubin LSST.

Azalee Bostroem

Host Institution: University of Arizona
Research Area: Core-Collapse Supernovae

Azalee says she was drawn to the Catalyst Fellowship “because it encompasses three important aspects of astronomical research that I value: scientific results, community-focused software development, and community education.” Bostroem plans to build a software tool that can model the brightness of core-collapse supernovae. She intends to make her tool available through LINCC to help train current and future astronomers to make the most of the huge databases the Rubin Observatory will produce.

Christopher Carroll

Host Institution: Washington State University
Research Area: Active Galactic Nuclei

“Coordinating data collected by Rubin with new and existing surveys is an avenue of interest I find most appealing, and one that will benefit astronomers regardless of what they study,” says Christopher Carroll, who studies active galactic nuclei at Washington State University. “And just as important to me is preparing the next generation of astronomers with the knowledge and skills to extract the most from LSST.”

Tansu Daylan

Host Institution: Princeton University
Research Area: Exoplanets and Black Holes

Tansu is developing a pipeline to search for exoplanets and black holes in data collected by the LSST, with the intention of investigating the abundance and properties of those objects in our Milky Way galaxy. “I’m deeply excited about the opportunity to make lasting contributions to the LSST mission, as well as providing mentorship to students to help them build leadership skills and research expertise,” says Daylan, who is at Princeton University for his fellowship.

Arrykrishna Mootoovaloo

Host Institution: University of Oxford
Research Area: Dark Energy

“The Catalyst Fellowship comes with a unique set of opportunities,” says Mootoovaloo. “For example, learning and sharing new skills, doing cutting-edge research on forthcoming LSST data, mentoring, and a combination of social science and astronomy, all of which, in my personal opinion, is crucial for growth and development.”

Somayeh Khakpash

Host Institution: Rutgers University
Research Area: Gravitational Lensing

Somayeh conducts research on gravitational lensing at Rutgers University. She became a parent while studying as a graduate student and then as a postdoc. Inspired by her own experiences, Khakpash also plans to build a database of resources and accommodations for graduate students and postdocs who are also facing the challenges of becoming parents. “I hope I can provide beneficial resources for my fellow astronomers who are going through the same challenges,” she says.

Emily Cunningham

Host Institution: Columbia University
Research Area: Milky Way Halo

Emily will take up the fellowship at Columbia University in the fall of 2025. Her research focuses on using large-scale surveys, such as LSST, to probe the Milky Way galaxy’s halo of stars. To extend her impact beyond her own research, Cunningham will support the Research Experiences for Veteran Undergraduates (REVU) program, which is a summer program for enlisted veteran undergraduate students.