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, then completed one year of their Physics MS program and earned my Physics PhD at the University of California, Irvine. I am now an astrophysics postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, Riverside. 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 two daughters.