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Get to Know a Post-Doc: Julia Bodnarik

Julia Bodnarik joined LPL in February 2013. She works with Dr. William Boynton, mapping epithermal neutron count rates from the Lunar Exploration Neutron Detectors on board NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter to understand hydrogen migration on the Moon. Julia earned her Ph.D. in 2013 from Vanderbilt University conducting research as a Cooperative Education Graduate Student and Civil Servant at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA GSFC) in Greenbelt, Maryland. She worked on the research and development of neutron/gamma-ray instrumentation for space-based lander and rover applications to differentiate between bulk elemental compositions of different asteroid types, in particular C-type asteroids, under the mentorship and guidance of a team of advisers including Dr. Ann Parsons (NASA GSFC), Dr. Jeff Schweitzer (University of Connecticut), Dr. Jason Dworkin (NASA GSFC), Dr. Keivan Stassun (Vanderbilt University), and Dr. Arnold Burger (Fisk University). The instrument uses a 14-MeV pulsed neutron generator, to probe the subsurface regolith over a meter radius and down to depths of 1 meter, and neutron and gamma-ray detectors, to discern the in situ bulk elemental composition of the subsurface regolith. She conducted her instrumentation experiments at a unique outdoor neutron and gamma-ray test facility that she created and developed with collaborators at NASA GSFC. 

Julia is originally from Warner, New Hampshire. She earned a M.A. in Physics from Fisk University and a B.S. in Physics from Wichita State University.  Her M.S. research involved astrophysics modeling and research and development of a hand-held sized X-Ray diffraction and X-ray flourescence instrument under the guidance of Dr. Keith Gendreau, Dr. Zaven Arzoumanian and Dr. Vanderlei Martins at NASA/GSFC.  Before entering the research world of planetary science, Julia worked as a telescope operator and systems support associate on Mauna Kea in Hawaii for both the Smithsonian Sub-millimeter Array and the Gemini North observatories.

When she's not at LPL, Julia enjoys painting, outdoor activities, reading and dancing.