University of North Carolina Asheville
Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy
I am interested in using LSST to identify new lensed and variability-selected quasar populations for spectroscopic follow-up, with the goal of enabling improved backlighting studies of the circumgalactic medium of galaxies and the intergalactic medium. I am also interested in developing Jupyter notebooks that make authentic explorations of LSST data accessible to high school and college students.
My research to date has focused on using extragalactic surveys of galaxies and quasars to study galaxy evolution and large-scale structure, and I have been an active member of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey for two decades. I held multiple leadership roles in the SDSS-IV collaboration, including leading a report on the collaboration’s demographics and inclusive practices and co-chairing the Education and Public Outreach working group. In the latter role, I focused on the development and proliferation of Python-based explorations of SDSS data suitable for high school and college labs. Additionally, I spent one year at the National Science Foundation as an AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow, where I worked within the federal government on projects related to increasing public engagement with science and improving the retention of low-income students in STEM fields.
I am now an Associate Professor at the University of North Carolina Asheville (UNC Asheville), the dedicated liberal arts college in the UNC System. The university’s distinctive mission is to offer a liberal arts education with a strong emphasis on undergraduate research opportunities, competitive with that offered at selective private colleges, but at a public college price. UNC Asheville is located in the Appalachian region of western North Carolina and draws students local to the area, 64% of whom qualify for financial aid. While UNC Asheville is not designated a minority-serving institution, its proximity to the Qualla Boundary and its established relationship with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians recently led to the college becoming the first primarily undergraduate institutional member of the Sloan Indigenous Graduate Partnership (SIGP) – a Sloan Foundation initiative to support and retain more Native American students in STEM graduate programs. I am currently also serving as the SIGP co-lead at UNC Asheville.
I would be delighted to mentor any LSSTC Catalyst Fellow who is interested in expanding their professional experience in the areas of science education, outreach, or policy and might be interested in visiting UNC Asheville and/or collaborating with our undergraduate research students.