Running hydrodynamic simulations of planets in protoplanetary disks.

I am a 5th-year graduate student and an NSF Fellow at the University of Arizona's Steward Observatory. My research advisor is Professor Kaitlin Kratter, and I have also worked with Dr. Paola Pinilla (now a Research Group Leader at MPIA in Heidelberg) and Dr. Min-Kai Lin (now an Assistant Research Fellow at ASIAA in Taipei). I plan to apply for postdoctoral positions in Fall 2020.

For my research, I use the El Gato supercomputer and the FARGO3D code to conduct hydrodynamic simulations of newly-formed (or still-forming) planets in order to explore how these planets shape the disks around them as they are forming. It is an exciting time to study protoplanetary disks thanks to the activation of the ALMA telescope in 2011, the first telescope capable of taking good images of the disks in the nearest star-forming regions to our home planet. I am interested in using simulations to better understand what these brand-new disk images and related observations can tell us about planet formation. This includes validating or refuting unseen planet candidates, as well as constraining the properties of these planets and the surrounding disks. My first and second first-author papers focused on planet-induced vortices.

Beyond research, I am heavily involved in outreach. My main interest is to inspire kids to love math and science. I am fortunate to have the opportunity to instruct elementary school students in how to conduct their own scientific research projects as part of the UA Sky School, and to teach middle school students astronomy-themed activities as part of Project ASTRO. Nonetheless, my primary outreach focus as a graduate student is Astrobites, where I am still very involved with the site even with my three-year term as a writer ending.

Before graduate school, my undergraduate research at Cornell focused more on simulations of N-body dynamics. I also participated in two summer research programs: the SAO Solar Physics REU at Harvard, and the LEAPS program at Leiden. While I was at Cornell, I held several undergraduate outreach leadership positions, most notably serving as the Outreach Coordinator for our Society of Physics Students chapter for three years. Additionally, I am a former president of the Cornell Astronomical Society. My favorite outreach activity at Cornell was Expanding Your Horizons.

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