Chris Theissen is Awarded both Sagan and NSF Fellowships

Chris Theissen, former Boston University graduate student and postdoctoral researcher in the Cool Star Lab, has been awarded both the NASA Sagan Postdoctoral Fellowship and the NSF Postdoctoral Fellowship for 2019. The award is based on his proposed program: “Planetary Collisions around Low-Mass Stars: Constraining the Timescale for Collisions and Testing the Origin of the Kepler Dichotomy”, which builds from his graduate research investigating infrared excesses around relatively old M dwarfs. He will conduct this work with one of these fellowships under the mentorship of Prof. Quinn Konopacky here at UCSD.

The NASA Sagan Fellowship is one of the most prestigious postdoctoral awards in Astronomy, with an oversubscription rate of 16:1. Similarly, the NSF Postdoctoral Fellowship (which spans all science fields) is highly coveted. Chris has previously been an NSF Graduate K-12 STEM Fellow and Ford Foundation Fellow.

Congratulations Chris!

Cool Star Lab hosts Cal-Bridge Workshop on Growth Mindset

The Cool Star Lab hosted the first workshop for the Cal-Bridge program in 2018-2019 on the topic of Growth Mindset. This is the fourth such workshop on this topic hosted by Cool Star Lab PI Adam Burgasser, and the third workshop overall hosted at UCSD.

UCSD is one of the founding of the Cal-Bridge program, based at Cal-Poly Pomona and run by CPP faculty Alex Rudolph and UCI faculty Tammy Smecker-Hane. The purpose of Cal-Bridge is to create a pathway for underrepresented minority students from CSU campuses to matriculate into PhD programs in physics and astronomy. A recent $5M NSF grant has allowed Cal-Bridge to expand statewide, and to support up to 50 students, who benefit from financial support, research opportunities, and professional development workshops.

Growth mindset is the concept that intelligence, talent, and even personality can be changed and developed as a strategy for persistence in challenging academic programs. Developed by Carol Dweck and collaborators, growth mindset is now regularly taught in schools and universities to encourage positive psychological development. Adam has been teaching Growth Mindset for over 6 years with various student groups.

In addition to the workshop, the 20 Cal-Bridge scholars in attendance had a panel discussion with UCSD graduate students (including Cool Star Lab’s newest graduate member, Roman Gerasimov) and toured the Cosmology Lab.  Adam will also be hosting a workshop later in the year on effective writing techniques for graduate school applications statements of purpose.

Read more in the UCSD News report.

Ivanna Escala wins NSF and Ford Foundation Graduate Fellowships

Former Cool Star Lab member Ivanna Escala, now a graduate student at Caltech, has been awarded both National Science Foundation and Ford Foundation Graduate Fellowships. These prestigious graduate fellowships are awarded across all fields, and aim to support and recognize outstanding graduate students as they pursue Master’s and PhD degrees. These fellowships will support Ivanna as she continues her astrophysics research in numerical modeling of galaxy formation.

Congratulations Ivanna!

Adam Burgasser awarded a Fulbright Scholarship

Cool Star Lab PI Adam Burgasser has been awarded a 2017-2018 Fulbright Scholarship to conduct astrophysical research in the United Kingdom. Adam will be in residence at the University of Exeter Department of Astrophysics during the Fall of 2017, working with Exeter colleagues to investigate cloud formation in the atmospheres of the coolest stars, brown dwarfs and extrasolar planets.

The Fulbright Program was initiated by Senator J. William Fulbright in 1946 and is managed by the US Department of State. It aims to increase mutual understanding and support of friendly and peaceful relations between people of the US and the people of other countries by awarding exchange grants to US and foreign researchers in over 155 countries. Over 370,000 Fulbright Awards have been awarded since the programs inception, and many have gone on to win Nobel Prizes and become leaders and innovators in scientific research.

Daniella Bardalez Gagliuffi elected to the Bouchet Graduate Honor Scholar

Cool Star Lab graduate student Daniella Bardalez Gagliuffi has been elected to the Edward Alexander Bouchet Graduate Honor Society. Daniella was one of three Physics graduate students inducted this year, and was selected based on her excellence of research and commitment to mentor and support underrepresented groups in Physics and Astronomy.

The Bouchet Society is named after the first African American doctoral recipient in the United States (in Physics from Yale University in 1876), and recognizes outstanding scholarly achievement and promotes diversity and excellence in doctoral education and the professoriate. The Bouchet Society aims to develop a network of preeminent scholars who exemplify academic and personal excellence, foster environments of support and serve as examples of scholarship, leadership, character, service and advocacy for students who have been traditionally underrepresented in the academy.  The Society was inaugurated at Yale University and Howard University in 2005 in commemoration of Bouchet’s birthday. UC San Diego is one of 13 national chapters, and inaugurated its first inductees in 2009.

Daniella will be formally inducted at the annual Bouchet Scholar Conference at Yale University April 7-8, 2017.

You can read more about Edward Bouchet at http://www.math.buffalo.edu/mad/physics/bouchet_edward_alexander.html

Congratulations Daniella!