As an observational astronomer, Stephanie used the Dark Energy Survey project to discover and study objects in the Kuiper Belt region of the Solar System.
A trained science communicator, Stephanie's written work has appeared on Astrobites, The Planetary Society, and The Union of Concerned Scientists. She completed a 2019 AAAS Mass Media fellowship and has given numerous public talks.
In July 2016, my research group's solar system object search algorithm returned the second-most distant object discovered to-date at that time. Because we suspected it to be a dwarf planet, I nicknamed it DeeDee for "distant dwarf." I led a successful telescope proposal to take additional measurements and conducted the subsequent analysis that enabled a calculation of DeeDee's size.
Planet Nine is a proposed, undiscovered, distant super-Earth planet in our solar system, motivated by the curious alignment in physical space of the most distant trans-Neptunian objects. However, a debate emerged shortly after P9's proposal regarding the significance of this alignment and whether it could be attributed to biases in observations. I examined the objects discovered by the Dark Energy Survey that fit the Planet Nine criteria to provide a third, independent voice in the debate.
As a graduate student, I cofounded ComSciCon-Michigan, chaired ComSciCon-MI 2019, and organized the Flagship conference. Now, I serve on the Leadership Team as the Write-a-thon lead and the ComSciConversations blog editor.
After completing RELATE's intensive science communication workshop, I joined the leadership team and contributed to shaping the organization's future direction. I've taught the 10-week workshop, guest lectured around and off-campus, and am leading discussions about expanding RELATE's model beyond UMich.