Hi! I’m Stephanie, a high-energy-physicist-turned-astronomer working toward my Ph.D. at the University of Michigan. I’ve had a non-linear path to becoming an astronomer, even though astronomy has been my passion since about the sixth grade. Better late than never, right?
I’ve come to find myself studying the Solar System, and more specifically the small objects that orbit within a donut-shaped ring farther out than Neptune. While this isn’t what I’d pictured myself studying when I began graduate school, I honestly wouldn’t want to be studying anything else! These small, seemingly insignificant bodies in the distant reaches of the Solar System actually hold the key to unlocking its entire history! The much larger gas giant planets easily fling them about, so by discovering many of them and watching how they move, we can try to make educated guesses as to what types of interactions happened in their pasts. I think that’s what I find so cool and exciting about my research – we are pushing the limits of the best telescopes and cameras on Earth to search for objects that are a fraction of the size of Earth and farther away than Pluto or the New Horizons spacecraft. It’s truly amazing!
Throughout my time so far in graduate school, I’ve become really passionate about science education and public outreach and the importance of giving back to one’s community by passing on knowledge. I love talking to people about science, whether it be my own work or something completely unrelated. Science (but especially astronomy….though I may be biased :D ) is just so cool!
I’ve worked hard over the past several months to create this website and blog so I can share my passion and excitement for science (mainly astronomy, but probably some other cool things too!) with all of you. I’ve also created a travel blog to document my travels to wherever astronomy takes me around the world (starting now….as my family and friends already know, I’ve been several places already, including Chile and several European countries…). You can get to both of these from the “Blogs” tab at the top of the site. I hope you’ll find my blogs interesting!