University of Arizona (2015)
Joined UW in
I am pursuing a dual-title Ph.D. in Astronomy & Astrobiology working with Professor Meadows on modeling exoplanet atmospheres. I continue development of a new 1D RCE climate model using the Virtual Planetary Laboratory‘s sophisticated SMART radiative transfer code. I primarily work on developing the convective routines, which include heat fluxes in unstable and stable atmospheres, phase changes, and cloud formation. I have been awarded a NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowship to implement a day/night heat transport structure and couple this model with the versatile KINETICS photochemistry code. These tools are used to model a variety of small planet atmospheres (particularly around M dwarfs) that may be very alien compared to Solar System planets. These models are also used to to predict spectral signatures of the modeled environments, and inform and assist with upcoming missions designed to characterize terrestrial exoplanets. The TRAPPIST-1 system is a target of particular interest and focus of my work.
During summer of 2015, I measured the pure rotational spectra of the four stable rare isotopologues of Titanium Monoxide (TiO) at the University of Arizona utilizing the Ziurys group direct absorption millimeter wave spectrometer and their Fourier Transform microwave spectrometer. This required melting or laser ablation of high purity titanium with the presence of oxygen to form vapor-phase TiO. This is relevant for astrophysics because TiO is a potential nucleation particle for the formation of interplanetary dust and in vapor phase has been measured around the red supergiant VY Canis Majoris.
During summer of 2014, I worked with Dr. Aki Roberge and Dr. Christopher Stark at NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center on the Haystacks project for simulating exoplanet observations by working on the code for generating a high-resolution spectral image model of the Solar System. High-fidelity planetary system spectra, including the star, the planets, and the effects of dust, are important in understanding the requirements for future exoplanet observing missions under development. During my work at Goddard, I received the John Mather Nobel Scholarship (2014).