I hold a Hubble Fellowship through the Observatories of the Carnegie Instititon for Science, based in Pasadena, CA. From 2014-2017 I held the Carnegie Origins Postdoctoral Fellowship, a joint position between the Carnegie Department of Terrestrial Magnetism in Washington, DC and the Carnegie Observatories.
I'm interested in the chemical environments for planet formation and the compositions of exoplanets, which I learn about through studying host star compositions. How the compositions of stars vary has for a long time, and continues to be, one of our best tools for learning about the kinematic and chemical history of our Galaxy and how it compares to other galaxies. My work takes the fundamentally important technique of stellar spectroscopy and applies it to one of the newest and most dynamic fields in astronomy -- stars other than our Sun that host planets.
I also want to find and measure the masses of new small, terrestrial planets that might just have life, which I do by detecting stellar radial velocity variations due to orbiting planets. With some wonderful collaborators, I have recently started a survey of small transiting planets detected by TESS to measure their masses and thus help constrain their compositions. To help confirm small planet candidates, I also use high resolution images of potential host stars to rule out any false positives (e.g., nearby stars) that might mimic the signatures of planets. Overall, my research uses high resolution optical spectrometers and imagers mounted on big telescopes in Hawaii and Chile. Observing and tinkering with these instruments is my favorite part of my job.
In addition to science related to exoplanets, I also care deeply about making science more inclusive and supportive of a diverse community. I practice this most visibly through teaching, outreach, and mentorship, and I continuously try to learn and improve my practice.