I'm a grad student at the University of Notre Dame now! Prior to this I was a post-baccalaureate researcher at The Ohio State University, where I completed my B.S. in Astronomy and Astrophysics with a minor in Computational and Informational Sciences in December of 2020.
My interest in astronomy centers around the field of exoplanets. What excites me the most about this rapidly progressing field is the potential to characterize planets that we've already discovered better than ever thought possible before. For example, we may know a planet's mass, radius, orbital period. But what does that actually tell us about the planet? Sure, this information will tell us whether the planet bears moreso a vague resemblance to, say, Jupiter or Earth, for example, or how hot the planet is. But, only recently have spectroscopic techniques and instrumentation progressed to the point that we might actually be able to find out what these planets are made of, whether they have cloudy atmospheres, or atmospheres at all for that matter. With this new knowledge, it will become easier than ever to imagine seeing these planets with our own eyes. No longer will the "artist's conception" be based purely on imagination, but on real data, such that we will be able to know exactly what to expect should humanity ever find the want, or the need, to visit these worlds.