academia

So you want to be an astronomer

Astronomy research makes for an interesting and challenging career! In my experience, it’s one of the more collaborative physical sciences, and it’s one of the most fascinating things I could possibly be doing with my time. I’m regularly asked for my advice by high school and college/university students on what they should do to become …

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Doing my MSc in Canada

I wrote a guest post in AstroBetter about doing my MSc in Canada at the University of Alberta! Going abroad for a MSc is quite an uncommon path for US-born students in STEM, but I’m really glad I did it. Read the whole post here!

PhD thesis!!!

Presenting: my PhD thesis!! The whole thesis is downloadable here on the UvA Digital Academic Repository. The cover is an accreting black hole with a jet, seen through a light curve with quasi-periodic variability. Design by Libby Taggart Singh, image by NASA/JPL-Caltech. In the Netherlands it’s traditional to print up like 200 copies of the …

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How’s it going?

Hi! Here’s what I’m up to and how it’s going. I’m finishing two papers/chapters in the coming two months (well, finishing one and starting and finishing another, but the last is on NICER data so I’m pretty pumped about that). And also writing my thesis intro and conclusion. And also moving from the Netherlands to …

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Paper- and thesis-writing advice

I’m at the stage of my PhD where I’m finishing research for and writing up my last two chapters (and then putting together a broad intro and conclusion for everything), and writing two fellowship applications, and sometimes I have trouble focusing on what I’m working on. I asked my wonderful friends on Twitter and Facebook …

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MSc PAPER ACCEPTED!!!!!

The paper from my MSc research has been accepted for publication in ApJ!!!!! We simulated pulse profiles from thermonuclear X-ray bursts on the surfaces of accreting neutron stars, and fitted them with an evolutionary optimization algorithm to determine how well we could constrain the masses and radii of the neutron stars! The ADS entry for …

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Bard alumni career profile

Mine is the latest featured career profile on the Bard College Career Development Office website! You can read it (and others) here!

Applying for an astro PhD with an MSc

Since application season is upon us, here’s some thoughts on applying for a PhD for those who have/will have an MSc. Are you sure? It seems a bit basic, but the first thing to think about is why you want to do a PhD in astro. It’s hard by design, and ~90% of people with …

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AstroBetter series on Twitter at conferences

Twitter logo on Hubble deep field. Image credit: HST/Twitter/A.L. Stevens
My 3-post series on Twitter at academic astronomy conferences has concluded on the AstroBetter blog! The first post, aimed at non-Twitter users, explains the basics of Twitter and why it’s a good thing to have at conferences. The second post, aimed at current or would-be tweeters, gives tips and tricks for conference tweeting, and spawned a great discussion on openness and sharing of unpublished ideas. The third post, for LOC or SOC members, has a rundown of what needs to happen on the conference organizing side for Twitter to be successful at a conference. Join the conversations in the comments section of those posts or on Twitter! 😉

The series comes from a post here from this past May.

Letter to the AAS on #BlackLivesMatter

I’ve decided that I have the energy to channel my anger and frustration and sadness regarding the murder of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling (and the 604+ people of color who have been killed by the police in the US since January 1 2016) to do something about it. Specifically, I was moved by this …

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