Background & Research Overview

with
		    the Great Refractor at Harvard University.

I am a NASA Sagan Fellow in the Divison of Geological & Planetary Sciences at Caltech. Like Professor Sagan, I am intrigued by the possibility that life could exist elsewhere in the galaxy. As an astronomer, I use telescopes on the ground and in space to search for planets orbiting other stars. Planet properties are typically determined relative to the properties of their host stars, so my research program includes characterization of both exoplanets and their host stars.

I earned my Ph.D. in Astronomy & Astrophysics from Harvard University in 2015 for my research with David Charbonneau on the frequency, composition, and detectability of small planets orbiting small stars. I previously earned my Master's degree in Astronomy & Astrophysics from Harvard in 2012 and my bachelor's degree in Astrophysical Sciences from Princeton in 2010.

I am originally from the Washington, D.C. area, where I gained an early introduction to astrophysics by participating in the Astronomy Research Lab at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science & Technology and taking dozens of trips to the National Air & Space Museum.


Research Highlights

Compositions of Small Planets

Working with the HARPS-N Collaboration, I measured the mass of the small planet Kepler-93b and found that the densities of all small, highly-irradiated planets can be explained by a single Earth-like compositional model.

Occurrence Rate of Small Planets

Using the full four-year Kepler data set, David Charbonneau and I found that small planets are common in the galaxy. On average, one out of every four low-mass stars harbors a potentially habitable Earth-sized planet.