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marcel at astro.columbia.edu

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CU astronomy »


My current students... in their own words.

Rose Gibson
Rose grew up in Amherst, MA, and attended Wellesley College to study Astrophysics. While getting her bachelor's, she worked on connecting her astronomy research to teaching opportunities, focusing on how Raspberry Pi's can be used in a classroom as environmental probes. She's now pursuing her PhD in Astronomy at Columbia University where she's researching stellar UV activity and how it relates to rotation period and other activity indicators. Outside of school Rose enjoys reading, knitting, and struggling with her growing collection of Rubik's cubes.

Rose, Alejandro Núñez, and Stephanie Douglas at MDM, Dec 5, 2016.

Alejandro Núñez
Alejandro obtained his BS in systems analysis from the University of Miami before moving to New York for work in financial services. Unsatisfied in this field, he left private industry to pursue his long-time interest in astronomy, obtaining a BA in physics from Hunter College. At Hunter he studied brown dwarfs in the quest to disentangle age, mass, and metallicity effects in their spectra. Alejandro is now working toward his PhD investigating correlations between age and magnetic activity in pre- and main-sequence stars.

Our ApJ paper on X-ray activity in M37 can be found here. Alejandro's thesis has yielded two follow-up ApJ papers, one on M37's X-ray luminosity function, and another on chromospheric vs. coronal activity in the cluster.

Alejandro giving a talk about his thesis work, Astrofest, New York, Sep 9, 2016.

Alex Teachey
Alex Teachey is an NSF Graduate Research Fellow working on methods for determining stellar ages with time-domain data. He received his BA in physics from Hunter College in Spring 2015. As an undergraduate he worked as a research intern at both the American Museum of Natural History and the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, studying giant molecular clouds in the Milky Way with radio, near-infrared, and gamma-ray data. At Columbia, he has worked with David Kipping on the search for exomoons using data from the Kepler spacecraft. An inordinate amount of his brainpower has been devoted inadvertently to knowing Seinfeld and Star Wars inside and out. He also enjoys playing piano, singing, biking, and playing pétanque.

Alex presenting his exomoon work at Astrofest, New York, Sep 9, 2016.

Past students
Jeff Andrews
After spending four glorious years in the city of Chicago, where he received his BA in Physics from Northwestern University, Jeff found himself driving a U-haul van across Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. He finally arrived in Manhattan where he is now a sixth-year PhD student in the Columbia University Astronomy department. In the office, Jeff's research interests include stellar and binary evolution as well as anything related to neutron stars. In his free time, Jeff enjoys reading novels, cooking, rock climbing, watching movies, running, and especially backpacking. His webpage is here.

Jeff after his thesis talk, Seattle, Jan 8, 2015.

Our ApJ papers on identifying wide double-white dwarf binaries in SDSS and on using them to constrain the initial-to-final mass relation are here and here. And our ApJ Letter on the mass distribution of companions to low-mass white dwarfs is here. Jeff's final thesis paper, on the intriguing double white dwarf HS 2220+2146, was published in ApJ, and also highlighted by AAS Nova.
Jeff is now a post-doc in Andreas Zezas's group at the University of Crete.

Emily Bowsher

Emily grew up in Louisiana and received her BA in Astronomy and Computer Science from Wellesley College in 2004. After deciding CS wasn't her thing, she got her Master's in Physics and Astronomy in 2009 from Georgia State University working on interferometry instrumentation.  She then worked as a research assistant at the University of California, San Diego doing instrument design and studying brown dwarfs.  Emily is now starting her third year as a research assistant with Marcel studying stellar rotation and activity in open clusters.  Outside of work, Emily enjoys eating, traveling, art, and generally being outdoors.

Stephanie Douglas

Hailing from Maryland, Stephanie majored in astrophysics at Franklin & Marshall College, where she researched the mathematics of art, pulsars, and triple star systems. She also spent a summer studying brown dwarfs at the American Museum of Natural History. For her first-year project with Marcel, she explored the connection between rotation and activity for stars in two open clusters, the Hyades and Praesepe (or HyPra), a project that she expanding on for her PhD thesis. Aside from her studies, Stephanie spends her time reading, hanging out with friends, and learning to cook. Her webpage is here.

Our ApJ paper on activity in HyPra can be found here. As part of her thesis, Stephanie also led two ApJ papers on using K2 to measure new rotation periods in both clusters, starting with the Hyades before moving on to Praesepe.
Stephanie is moving to the CfA as an NSF Astronomy & Astrophysics Post-doctoral Fellow.

David Fierroz

David was a member of the Columbia College Class of 2011 majoring in Astrophysics. In the summers of 2007 and 2008 David taught Astronomy to middle school students with the Breakthrough Collaborative. While at Columbia he has worked with the Experimental Gravity Group; in the summer of 2010 he did an REU project as a member of the IceCube Neutrino Observatory team at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. For fun David enjoys playing jazz bass and participates in the Chicano Caucus.
After a year working as a research assistant for Maryam Modjaz at NYU, David returned home to LA...

David Jaimes

Born and raised in San Diego, David moved to New York City to join the Bridge to the PhD Program and work with Marcel on the open cluster Alpha Per. He majored in astronomy at San Diego State University, and investigated the age of the old open star cluster NGC 6819 using a detached eclipsing binary star system. He also worked for Astronomical Research Cameras, where he assembled controllers and multiplexors (including testing DSP software code) as part of the VIRUS Hobby-Eberly Telescope Dark Energy Experiment (HETDEX) project conducted at the University of Texas. Studies aside, David likes to trail-run, listen to rock music, night hike, cook, meditate, play soccer, get tattoos, camp out, and appreciate art.
Deivid recently began a Master's degree in astronomy at San Diego State.

Jenna Lemonias

Originally from Massachusetts, Jenna received her BA in Physics and Astronomy from Vassar College, in Poughkeepsie, NY.  Following graduation in 2008, she began work as a research assistant in the Astronomy Department at Columbia University.  She is now a second-year PhD student in the department where, in addition to her work on open clusters with Marcel, she studies the UV and HI properties of galaxies.

Jenna moved on to do her thesis work with David Schiminovich and graduated in 2014.

Emily Newsom

Emily worked for me as a research assistant in the days before I made my students write bios. A Berkeley graduate, she spent about a year analyzing X-ray data for a couple of projects, and contributed to papers on isolated neutron stars in SDSS DR4 (or rather their absence in DR4) and on the properties of stellar X-ray sources identified from the ROSAT All-Sky Survey and SDSS.

Emily is now a graduate student in Earth & Space Sciences at the University of Washington.

Marisa Pisano
Marisa is a student in the School of General Studies, working toward a BA in astrophysics. She is interested in supernovas and stellar life and death. In addition to being a student, Marisa is also a professional ballet dancer.
Marisa graduated from GS in May 2016.

Marisa in front of her posters, Seattle, Jan 5, 2015.

Adrian Price-Whelan

As a former research scientist with the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS), Adrian became interested in large survey science and statistical inference in large data sets. He is currently working on projects in time-domain astrophysics (PTF) and cosmology (BOSS), but is interested in a constantly growing list of astrophysical topics that incorporate theory, observation, and instrumentation. Outside of research, Adrian enjoys playing and writing music, programming, teaching, and bicycling around Manhattan. His webpage is here.

Our ApJ paper on identifying candidate microlensing events in PTF can be found here.
Adrian did his thesis work with Kathryn Johnston and graduated in 2016. He is now a Spitzer Post-doctoral Fellow at Princeton.

Amanda Quirk

Amanda is originally from just outside of Atlanta. In high school, she interned at the Fernbank Science Center in the planetarium and observatory. She is excited to be a student at Columbia College and plans on majoring in astrophysics. Other than studying the stars, Amanda enjoys drawing.