Research

My work focuses at the intersection of the build up of passive galaxies over cosmological time and small scale challenges to ΛCDM to learn more about the tiniest and oldest galaxies known - ultra-faint dwarf galaxies. I employ big data analysis techniques in the interface of optical wavelength observations and theory (namely cosmological simulations). You can learn more about my published work in the links below.

Teaching & Service

I am deeply grateful for the excellent mentorship I have received from both faculty and peers throughout my academic career. I've now made it part of my mission to pay this forward. During my second year as a graduate student at University of California, Irvine I initiated and then co-created an organization of graduate student peer mentoring programs in my department, Physics and Astronomy Community Excellence Program, that has now influenced multiple programs outside my university and has been awarded external and internal funding to being the process of institutionalization. I have taken this gained expertise to my new role as Director of Peer Mentoring for the state-wide scholarship program - Cal-Bridge, of which I am an alum of their first scholar cohort. In addition to this work within student groups to improve the lives of my peers, I am on the Board of Directors at the Astronomical Society of the Pacific where I serve as the Diversity Committee Co-chair with the mission to help bring the ASP's vast STEM educational and outreach resources to astronomy graduate and undergraduate students. Finally, I am part of my department's Inclusive Excellence Committee and now a part of our American Physical Society's Inclusion, Diversity and Equity Alliance team.

In the realm of traditional teaching experience, I have been the instructor on record — crafting all parts of the Intro to Astronomy Lab - for two semesters and a Learning Assistant for four semesters at California State University Long Beach as a Physics Masters student. Teaching these labs and serving as a Learning Assistant at CSULB were terrific experiences. I now use active learning and open ended questioning techniques in my peer mentoring workshops.

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Outreach & Science Communication

I have conducted astronomy outreach focusing on underrepresented minorities and primarily with K-12 Special Needs students (including children on the Autism Spectrum and those with Down Syndrome). I'm also passionate about using various social media platforms to meet young folks where they are, spread astronomy knowledge and encourage them to follow their dreams. Come join me!

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About me!

My path to astronomy has some fun twists and turns. I grew up in Southern California and while I was interested in math in high school, I was discouraged against pursuing any STEM related field in college. As a 16 year old, this set me on a determined path to discover what I was passionate enough about to dedicate my life/career to. At first it was acting. To support myself after high school in this unsteady field, I joined the Army Reserves Band playing the alto and baritone saxophones! While attending community college full time and serving in the Reserves, I worked full time at Disneyland as an entertainer! As my acting dreams were starting to come to fruition, I realized they type of work required to improve my craft was not the type of work I am impassioned by. After a heavy dose of SciFi TV inspiration (Captain Katherine Janeway to be exact), I decided to pursue my childhood STEM dream!

At the age where many of my peers had graduated college and were starting their careers and families, I started on my astronomical path. First, I attended California State University, Long Beach where I earned a Physics BS and then completed one year of their Physics MS program. I am now a PhD Candidate at University of California, Irvine. I may not practice my saxophone much anymore but music still fills my home and Disneyland is still one of my favorite places to visit with my husband and daughter.