Christian Aganze awarded Beth Brown Memorial Award

Christian Aganze, a graduate student in the Cool Star Lab, was awarded the Beth Brown Memorial Award at the 2020 National Society of Black Physicists (NSBP) conference in November 2020. The Beth Brown Memorial Award recognizes exceptional research presented by an undergraduate and graduate students at the NSBP meeting, and is co-organized by NSBP and the American Astronomical Association (AAS). Christian was cited for giving the Best Graduate Student Poster Presentation at the NSBP conference for his work on “Searching for Distant Ultracool Dwarfs in Deep HST/WFC3 Surveys.”

The Beth Brown Memorial award honors Dr. Beth Brown, the first African American woman to earn a PhD in 1998 from the University of Michigan’s astronomy department. She made a significant impact on the field of astronomy, as a National Academy of Science & National Research Council Postdoctoral Research Fellow, an Astrophysics Fellow at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, and a visiting Assistant Professor at Howard University. She passed away unexpectedly in 2008 at the age of 39 years old.

Award recipients receive complimentary registration at a future AAS meeting (including costs of travel) to present their research, and free membership as a student member or affiliate for one year. They are also invited to present their research at Howard University and the University of Michigan, two of Dr. Beth Brown’s alma maters.

Congratulations Christian on this prestigious award!

Additional Information:

Dino Hsu awarded the Friends of the International Center fellowship

Dino Hsu, a 4th-year graduate student in the Cool Star Lab, has been awarded the Friends of the International Center fellowship. This fellowship is awarded to graduate students and medical students that “in some way promote international friendship, understanding, and cooperation in a meaningful way.” Both international scholars and scholars conducting international research with international ties are eligible to apply. Dino was one of 30 applicants selected for this award across UCSD campus.

The Friends of International Center was founded in 1961 to “support international education; to foster friendship, understanding, and cooperation within the international community; and to create a meeting place on the UC San Diego campus for people who share these aims.” The Friends of the International Center fellowship is funded in partnership with UCSD Graduate Division.

Congratulations to Dino!

Dino Hsu awarded the Lattimer Award for Graduate Excellence

Cool Star Lab graduate student Chihchun “Dino” Hsu

Graduate student Chihchun “Dino” Hsu has been awarded the 2019-2020 Carol and George Lattimer Award for Graduate Excellence.

The Lattimer Award honors outstanding graduate students in UCSD’s Division of Physical Sciences (Chemistry & Biochemistry, Mathematics & Physics) who seek interdisciplinary approaches to problem solving and have a strong commitment to education, mentorship, and service. The award is named after local philanthropists Carol and George Lattimer, who have supported UCSD through charitable giving and advising. Carol volunteers at The Preuss School as a mentor, and George has served on the UC San Diego Foundation Board of Trustees.

Dino was one of two recipients of the Lattimer Award this year, and both recipients will be honored at a luncheon in the Spring term.

Congratulations Dino!

Ryan Low awarded Dean’s Undergraduate Award for Excellence

Cool Star Lab undergraduate researcher Ryan Low

Ryan Low, an undergraduate researcher in the Cool Star Lab, has been awarded the UCSD Division of Physical Sciences Dean’s Undergraduate Award for Excellence for 2019-2010.

Ryan is a Physics major and has been a member of the Cool Star Lab since Winter 2018. He has been leading the analysis of optical spectral of very low mass stars and brown dwarfs obtained with the Lick Observatory KAST instrument, and his work is uncovering some of our nearest (and previously overlooked) stellar neighbors.

The Dean’s Award recognizes undergraduate students for academic excellence throughout their undergraduate period. Students are nominated by faculty and advisors, and evaluated by selection committees in each department. Ryan is one of 33 students across the Division that were selected for this award this year. Ryan and his fellow recipients will be honored at a reception in May.

Congratulations Ryan!

Jessica Birky awarded NSF Graduate Fellowship

Jessica Birky, a graduating senior at UCSD and student participant in the Cool Star Lab’s SDSS Faculty and Student Team program, has been awarded the 2019 NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. Started in 1952, the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) Master’s and doctoral degrees at US institutions. In 2018, 2,000 awards were made among 12,000 applicants (roughly in line with other NSF funding programs), making the NSF GRFP one of the most competitive fellowship programs currently available.

Jessica designed her application around developing data-driven spectroscopic models for M dwarfs to determine detailed chemical abundances (<0.1 dex precision) for these common, low-mass stars. She has already started this work at UCSD and MPIA (collaborating with NYU’s David Hogg and UNC’s Andrew Mann) by analyzing SDSS APOGEE data with The Cannon. Jessica’s proposal aims to extend this work by using the thousands of kinematic pairs identified in Gaia, while separating out binaries and rapid rotators.

Jessica has less than a week to decide which graduate program she will be attending, but the fortunate institution will now have a fully-funded prize-winning scholar for the first 3 years!

Congratulations Jessica!