About Me

I am a PhD graduate student at Penn State, studying for my dual-title PhD in Astronomy & Astrophysics and Astrobiology. My research interests focus mainly on the dynamics of exoplanets, but also include their formation, dynamical history, and population synthesis.

The newest version of my CV can be found here.


Dual-title PhD, Astronomy & Astrophysics and Astrobiology, Pennsylvania State University, August 2016-present

MS, Astronomy and Astrophysics, Pennsylvania State University, August 2016-August 2018

MS, Space Sciences, Florida Institute of Technology, January 2016-May 2016, transferred

BS, Physics, Florida Institute of Technology, August 2012- December 2015 

BS, Astronomy and Astrophysics, Florida Institute of Technology, August 2012- December 2015 


Initiation and Sustentation of Plate Tectonics

Penn State, Dr. Bradley Foley (September 2018--present)

--Perform 2D convection models using grain damage mechanisms under a variety of initial conditions

--Test whether onset of plate tectonics or sustentation of plate tectonics is more difficult

Correlated Noise in Transit Data

Penn State, Dr. Rebekah Dawson (September 2018--present)

--Model correlated noise with a variety of techniques
--Find best methods for accounting for correlated noise in transit data

Formation of Resonant Chains

Penn State, Dr. Rebekah Dawson (June 2017--September 2018)

--Reproduce resonant chains in known systems via N-body simulations in rebound (Python) with different dynamical histories
--Determine plausibility of resonant chains forming via short scale migration, long scale migration, or eccentricity damping

--Paper submitted to AAS journals

Formation of Super-Earths

Penn State, Dr. Rebekah Dawson (June 2016--June 2017)

--See how conditions of the disk affect orbital and compositional properties

--See if we need two separate populations of super-Earths to produce the observed population

--Try to identify origin of closely-spaced super-Earths

Exoplanetary Systems

Florida Tech, Dr. Darin Ragozzine (September 2013—May 2016)

--Define and find Systems with Tightly-spaced Inner Planets (STIPs)
--Found the masses of four planets in two three-body resonances in Kepler-80
--Used Levenberg-Marquardt method for global chi-squared minimization
--Used IDL to analyze and plot results
--Tested robustness of fitter by creating multiple sets of test data

Dwarf Planet Haumea 

Florida Tech, Dr. Darin Ragozzine (August 2012—present)

--Find masses and orbital parameters of Haumea and its two moons

--Update existing IDL code to Python with better astrostatistical methods

--Use Markov chain Monte Carlo to process model and maximize likelihood

Stellar Winds of Theta Carinae

Florida Tech, Dr. Veronique Petit (August 2014—February 2015)

--Analyze image from Chandra of star to see if shocks can heat a low density wind
--See if similarities in kinematic properties between O and B stars is a trend
--Use CIAO to process data, extract and analyze spectrum, model other spectra for wind characteristics

Geomagnetic Storms 

Florida Tech, Dr. Niescja Turner  (August 2012—May 2013)

--Researched if differences in dst indexes when measured from ground and from orbit were significant
--Used IDL to plot and interpret data


Work Experience

Astro 1 Instructor

       Pennsylvania State University (Summer 2018)

Research Assistant

       Pennsylvania State University (June 2016-present)

Systems Engineering Intern

     Northrup Grumman, Aerospace Systems (Summer 2016)

Systems Engineering Intern                                                                                            

       Lockheed Martin, Missiles and Fire Control (Summer 2015)                                          

Research Assistant             

       Florida Institute of Technology (September 2012—May 2016)


       Mathematical Advancement Center, Florida Institute of Technology (August 2014—December 2015)



Brumbach Fellowship, The Pennsylvania State University (2018)
Zaccheus Daniel Award, The Pennsylvania State University (2018)
NASA Pennsylvania Space Grant Graduate Fellowship (2018)
National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (2017)
Braddock/Roberts Fellowship (August 2016)
Distinguished Student Scholar in Physics (April 2016)
Distinguished Student Scholar in Physics (April 2015)
John T. & Martha Hartley Scholarship (August 2015)
Distinguished Student Scholar in Physics (April 2014)
Outstanding Sophomore in Physics Award (April 2013)
Delta Sigma Pi Fraternity Scholarship (August 2013)

Professional Affiliations

American Astronomical Society, Junior Member

American Physical Society, Junior Member

Society of Physics Students, Member

Phi Kappa Phi Honors Society, Member

Sigma Pi Sigma Honors Society, Member

Phi Eta Sigma Honors Society, Member