I am graduate student in astronomy at UC Berkeley. I grew up in Dublin, Ohio and got my B.A. in Physics with a Minor in Computer Science from Cornell University.
Outside of astronomy, I am also interseted in expanding education to those less privileged. I have been involved with the Cornell Computer Reuse Association to donate computers and expand computer literacy all around the world. I also helped start the Zambia Community Education Initiative, a not-for-profit that aims to improve education in Zambia. If you are interested in these organizations or something similar, contact me!
I am part of the team working on the Gemini Planet Imager (GPI), a near-infrared extreme-AO system that will directly image and take spectra of young Jovian-sized planets and the debris disks in which they form.
I am currently working on building the necessary software infrastructure to run the GPI Exoplanet Survey. My main contributions are building the GPIES Data Cruncher (poster pdf), an automatic data reudction system for our survey, and pyKLIP (Bitbucket repo), a PSF subtraction library written in python.
The software infrastrucutre I developed allowed us to discover GPI's first exoplanet!
Previously, I examined how well we could measure the star that is blocked by the coronagraph mask, in particular to measure the location and spectrum of the occulted star. This work was presented in a poster and conference proceeding at the 2014 SPIE Astronoimcal Instrumentation conference.
I developed a new technique for more precise astrometry of directly imaged exoplanets. This technique is based off the mathematical framework developed by Pueyo (2016) which allows us to forward model the signature of an exoplanet through the data reduction process. It allows us to use artifacts of the data reduction process which we used to consider nuisances to better constrain the position of the planet. In addition, I developed a Bayesian framework that properly accounts for the correlated nature of the noise in the data with Gaussian process regression, allowing us to obtain an accruate posterior distribution on the location of an exoplanet.
I applied this method on multi-epoch data of β Pictoris b taken with the Gemini Planet Imager. I publisehd a paper showing that I could fit a Keplerian orbit to my measured astrometry with well-behaved fit residuals. Our measured positions of β Pictoris b were a factor of 2-4 more precise than previously published values that used same data. We also were able to improve some of the orbital parameters by a factor of 2. Using this method, we showed the probability of the planet transiting the star was ruled out at 10-σ confidence. However, the Hill sphere of the planet will transit the star, and we will be monitoring the star in 2017 with both the Hubble Space Telescope and ground based observatories to look for circumplanetary material such as disks, rings, and moons.
I worked on observations of AU Microscopii (AU Mic) taken by GPI during the comissioning of the instrument. We observed AU Mic using both integral field spectrscopy to search for planets and broadband imaging polarimetry to characterize the disk. Using the state-of-the-art adaptive optics system of GPI, we are able to look closer in towards the star than ever before (~0.2" or 2 AU away from the star).
In an ApJ Letter I wrote, I presented analysis of this data. I showed that the SE and NW sides of the disk are asymmetric. I find that the SE side of the disk has a bump at around 1" (10 AU) that is roughly double the vertical scale height elsewhere. I also find that both sides of the disk look to be offset from the disk midplane, creating what looks to be a warp in the disk of ~2°.
In my undergrad career at Cornell, I worked with Professor Terry Herter on FORCAST, a mid-infrared camera for SOFIA. I am thrilled to have the unique opportunity to fly on SOFIA three times. Science wise, my work on FORCAST has invovled working on calibrating FORCAST, improving the reduction pipeline, and studying the atmosphere of Jupiter.
My research on Jupiter also involved Professor Peter Gierasch. We used FORCAST images of Jupiter to look at ortho-para hydorgen ratios and how they vary across Jupiter. The ortho-para ratio is a good tracer for convection on Jupiter and we want to show that FORCAST is capable of performing this measurement.
In the Fall of 2014, I was a graduate teaching instructor for Introduction to Astrophysics with Professor Mariska Kriek. This is the first course for astrophysics majors at UC Berkeley (mainly sophomores). I lead two discussion sections, held weekly office hours, and facilitated to weekly group homework session.
In the Fall of 2013, I was a graduate teaching instructor for Professor James Graham for Ay120 (Optical/Infrared Astronomy Lab). I held office hours, gave mini-lectures on programming, and helped with data aquisition. Here are some technical primers I wrote up for Unix, LaTeX, and Python.
As an undergrad at Cornell, I was a TA for CS4410 (Operating Systems) and CS4411 (Operating Systems Practicum) in the Fall semester of 2012. My responsibilities included holding office hours, answering the constant flood of emails, grading exams and projects, and fixing configuration issues with Visual Studio.
I also run or help run several web applications.
I interned at Microsoft the summer of 2012 working in the Visual Studio group. I worked on developing the automated testing framework for testing. I also participated in the DevDiv Intern Hack-A-Thon and my group's project was voted best by the full time employees. Our group used the Kinect to simulate touchscreen grestures in Windows 8. You can check out a video of our project here.