Bio

I'm a planetary science graduate student at the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory at the University of Arizona studying small bodies and the processes that govern how they change with time. I'm originally from Brookline, Massachusetts and graduated from UMass Amherst in 2017 with a degree in Physics and Astronomy.


Click here if you want the (3200) Phaethon graphic I presented with at the DPS Press Conference on October 23rd, 2018.

Research

Broadly speaking, I am interested in both the processes that act to change the appearance and activity of small bodies as well as particular objects that seem to be themselves changing rapidly, primarily transition objects that are half-comet, half-asteroid. My graduate research career has so far focused on (3200) Phaethon, which is the parent body of the Geminid Meteor Shower as well as a sungrazing asteroid with nearly-unique activity patterns. I have recently submitted a paper detailing rotationally-resolved spectroscopy of Phaethon's surface and its implications on Phaethon's history to the Astronomical Journal. To follow up on this work, we're doing similar studies of other members of the Phaethon-Geminid-Complex and certain nearly-dead comets.

In addition to my work on Phaethon and related bodies, I'm a member of the Astronomy Working Group for the OSIRIS-REx mission to asteroid Bennu, where we work to compare ground-based and space-based studies of the object to improve ground-based observations of small bodies. I also have a few side projects at various stages of completeness, from analyzing fracture morphologies and distribution on Comet 67P to analyzing observations of Comet C/2015 V2's coma morphology in observations taken at the WIYN 0.9m telescope at Kitt Peak that I proposed for as an undergraduate.

The subject of my undergraduate honors thesis was to develop and document an On-The-Fly Regridding tool in Python for use with the millimeter-wave SEQUOIA focal plane array instrument. If you want to browse through the (uncommented, inefficient) code, it's on github here!


An RGB composite image of Comet 2015 V2 taken at KPNO in June 2017 (aligned on the comet nucleus, so the stars are split into the RGB triplets.)
The comet was about 0.81 AU away from the Earth and about magnitude 8.8.

Outreach and Extracurriculars

At LPL, I am the graduate student co-lead for the weekly Journal Club, help to organize and run our internal conference ("Lunar and Planetary Laboratory Conference", or LPLC), and participate in outreach activities when possible, like helping to run the LPL table at the UofA Baseball Science Night. At UMass, I was President of the Astronomy Club and Co-Director of the Orchard Hill Observatory, the campus's 16-inch outreach telescope. Weekly open educational telescope nights are run at the Observatory for the public and for Five College students. As President of the club, I started a mentoring program designed to keep students from underrepresented groups in Astronomy and visited local schools with a small telescope to talk about the Sun and other cool space things (usually comets, sometimes other less icy things).



In addition, I helped plan and run the nighttime observing sessions as well as operate in-class demonstrations for the 2016 Modern Astronomy Summer Program here at UMass Amherst.

Thanks to Mike Petersen for letting me steal his website design.