People

Members (and guests!) of the Cool Star Lab in Summer 2017. Top row from left: Joshua Hazlett, Dorsa Majidi, Stella Zhang, Carolina Herrara Hernandez, Diego Octavio Talavera Maya, Niana Mohammed. Bottom row from left: Steven Truong, Gretel Mercado, Debby Tran, Elizabeth Hilario Moreno, Luis Nunez, and Adam Burgasser.

The Cool Star Lab has included high school students, undergraduate students, graduate students, and research and educational staff at UC San Diego, and occasional visitors from around the region and the world.  Our research undergraduates have gone on to top graduate schools, earned prized graduate and postdoctoral fellowships, and have embarked on careers in academia and industry.

Research Staff

Christopher Danner (BS Physics 2020) was a UCSD Physics major who started working in the Cool Star Lab in 2020. He is analyzing archival SpeX data for ultracool dwarfs in the IRTF Archive, and helped mentor students during the 2021 summer research period. Chris will be stating a Masters degree in Astronomy at SDSU in 2021.

Dr. Carl Melis (PhD Astronomy 2009, UCLA) is a Research Scientist at UCSD and former NSF Astronomy and Astrophysics, CASS Postdoctoral Fellow, and Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Scholar Award recipient.  Carl’s research focuses on the birth, life, death, and re-birth of planetary systems with an emphasis on terrestrial (Earth-like) planets. [Homepage] [NASA ADS]

Dr. Chris Theissen (PhD Astronomy 2017, Boston University) is a Sagan Postdoctoral Fellow at UCSD, and recipient of the Ford Foundation Fellowship, the Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellowship, and UCSD Chancellor’s Outstanding Postdoctoral Fellow Award. Chris’s research focuses on low-mass stellar populations with large surveys, including searches for evidence of planetary systems; and stars in young clusters. He also helped develop UCSD’s Faculty and Student Team (FAST) program. Chris is originally from San Diego. [Homepage] [NASA ADS]

Graduate Students

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Christian Aganze (BS Physics 2016, Morehouse College) was previously a summer undergraduate research student in the Cool Star Lab through the UCSD-Morehouse-Spelman Physics Bridge program. After earning his Bachelor’s in Physics and Dual-career Engineering major at Morehouse College in 2016, he came to UCSD as a graduate student in Physics. His research focuses on deep surveys of brown dwarfs used to investigate the structure and evolution of the Milky Way, and he is currently two studies analyzing brown dwarfs found in the HST WISPS and 3D-HST surveys. Christian was a member of UCSD’s Faculty and Student Team (FAST) program, and was also an inaugural member of the LSST Data Science Fellowship program. In 2020, Christian was awarded the Beth Brown Memorial Award from the American Astronomical Society and National Society of Black Physicists. Christian is originally from Rwanda. [Homepage] [NASA ADS]

Chih-Chun “Dino” Hsu (BS Physics 2014, National Tsing Hua University) joined the Cool Star Lab as a Physics graduate student in 2016. His work focuses on analysis of high resolution spectroscopy of ultracool dwarfs using new archival data, using a forward modeling tool he has developed called SMART. In 2019, he was awarded a Lattimer Award for Graduate Excellence and a Friends of the International Center award. Dino is originally from Taiwan. [Homepage] [NASA ADS]

Roman Gerasimov (BSc Astrophysics 2018, University College London) joined the Cool Star Lab in 2018. He is developing new atmospheric models for ultracool dwarfs with non-solar abundances for investigations of globular cluster populations and local halo brown dwarfs. He has also worked on Lorentz Invariance Violation. Roman is originally from Russia. [Homepage] [NASA ADS]

Undergraduate Students

Juan Diego Draxl joined the Cool Star Lab in 2021, and has contributed to the reduction of archival data from the IRTF Legacy Archive and investigating M dwarf companions to white dwarf stars (with research scientist Carl Melis).

Sohan Ghosh joined in the Cool Star Lab in 2021, contributing to the reducing of archival data from the IRTF Legacy Archive and investigating M dwarf companions to white dwarf stars (with research scientist Carl Melis). Born in Bangalore and raised in Abu Dhabi, Sohan’s hobbies and interests include, boxing, going on runs, and finding new places to eat with friends. His life goal is to get a PhD in Astrophysics and eventually conduct his own research.

Eduardo Gauna Gutiérrez is a physics student from the Universidad Autónoma de Baja California, who joined the Cool Star Lab in 2021 as part of the ENLACE program. Eduardo is investigating machine learning methods for automatic identification and classification of ultracool dwarfs in deep photometric surveys.

Zijie Gong is a student at Instituto Tecnológico de Tijuana (Mexico), where is he pursing in a degree in electromechanical engineering. Zijie joined the Cool Star Lab in 2021 as part of the ENLACE program, and is investigating machine learning methods for automatic identification and classification of ultracool dwarfs in deep photometric surveys.

Carlos “Charlie” Daniel Verdaguer Guzmán is a student at the Instituto Tecnológico de Tijuana who joined the Cool Star Lab in 2021 as part of the ENLACE program. Charlie is investigating machine learning methods for automatic identification and classification of ultracool dwarfs in spectroscopic surveys.

Natalia Henriquez (B.S. Physics 2021, UCSD) joined in the Cool Star Lab in 2021, contributing to the reducing of archival data from the IRTF Legacy Archive and testing SPLAT’s model-fitting functions

Delilah Jacobsen is an undergraduate student majoring in Astrophysics at UC San Diego. She joined the Cool Star Lab in 2021 and has contributed to the reduction of archival data from the IRTF Legacy Archive. Her focus is investigating wide M dwarf companions to FGK stars (working with graduate student Dino Hsu). For her work in this lab, she is a recipient of the Summer 2021 UCSD Division of Physical Sciences Undergraduate Research Award.

Mikaela Larkin joined the Cool Star Lab in 2021, and has contributed to the reduction of archival data from the IRTF Legacy Archive. She is currently developing atmosphere models for Population III stars using the Triton Shared Computing Cluster at the San Diego Supercomputer Center (working with graduate student Roman Gerasimov).

Rocco Novello is an astrophysics major with a minor in engineering mechanics who joined the Cool Star Lab in 2021. Rocco has contributed to the reduction of archival data from the IRTF Legacy Archive and the investigation of M dwarf companions to white dwarf stars (with research scientist Carl Melis). Born and raised in Southern California, his hobbies and interests include playing/watching baseball, skateboarding, meeting new dogs, and creating content for Youtube and Twitch. He is drawn to astrophysics by a lifelong fascination with the world outside our atmosphere, and a desire to contribute to mankind’s collective knowledge of the universe. One fun fact about Rocco is that he once released a rap song on Spotify. [Twitter]

Eibar Ortiz Ortega is a student at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México who joined the Cool Star Lab in 2021 as part of the ENLACE program. Eibar is investigating machine learning methods for automatic identification and classification of ultracool dwarfs in spectroscopic surveys.

Brigette Vazquez-Segovia is a Physics major with specialization in astrophysics at UCSD who joined the Cool Star Lab in 2021, Brigette has been contributing to the reduction of archival data from the IRTF Legacy Archive and investigating wide M dwarf companions to FGK stars (working with graduate student Dino Hsu). Brigette enjoys drinking excessive amounts of iced coffee with friends and walking her dogs, and her life goal is to become a Physics Professor.

Mariana Payán Villalba is an engineering student at Centro de Enseñanza Técnica y Superior, who joined the Cool Star Lab in 2021 as part of the ENLACE program. Mariana is investigating machine learning methods for automatic identification and classification of ultracool dwarfs in spectroscopic surveys.

Joman Wong joined the Cool Star Lab in 2021, and has contributed to the reduction of archival data from the IRTF Legacy Archive and building analysis tools for asteroids in SPLAT. Joman is originally from Hong Kong.

Tianxing “Sky” Zhou is an Astrophysics major at UCSD who joined the Cool Star Lab in 2021. Sky has contributed to the reduction of archival data from the IRTF Legacy Archive and is investigating wide M dwarf companions to FGK stars (working with graduate student Dino Hsu). Sky is originally from China, and his hobbies include reading science fiction, playing computer games, going to the gym, and drinking his favorite food – milk tea with Boba (a personal goal is the have the best milk tea every day!).

 Visiting scholars

Dr. Carlos Arturo Espinoza Galicia is a faculty member at the Instituto Tecnológico Superior de Huichapan who joined with the Cool Star Lab in 2021 as part of the ENLACE program. Carlos is investigating machine learning methods for automatic identification and classification of ultracool dwarfs in spectroscopic surveys.

Eduardo Martín Guerrero is a CSIC Research Professor based on the Centro de Astrobiologia (INTA-CSIC) in Madrid, Spain. One of the founding researchers in the field of brown dwarf astrophysics, he has part of the team to discover one of the first brown dwarfs, Teide 1, in 1994. He is visiting UCSD as part of Spain’s Salvador de Madariaga mobility program for senior researchers, with the primary goal of planning for brown dwarf observations using the future ESA Euclid satellite.

Dr. Adriana Nava is a faculty member at the Universidad Autónoma de Baja California who joined with the Cool Star Lab in 2021 as part of the ENLACE program. Adriana is investigating machine learning methods for automatic identification and classification of ultracool dwarfs in deep photometric surveys.

High School Students

Arantxe Mandiola (Mater Dei Catholic High School) joined the Cool Star Lab in 2021 as part of the ENLACE program. Arantxe is investigating machine learning methods for automatic identification and classification of ultracool dwarfs in deep photometric surveys.

Sophie Uchitel (Pacific Ridge High School) started as a volunteer researcher in the Cool Star Lab in 2021. Sophie is helping to broaden SPLAT’s ingestion of data from other spectrographs.

Former Lab Members

Athena Ababao (BS Biochemistry 2019 UCSD) was a UCSD research student and member of the Cool Star Lab in 2018 who contributed to analysis of SpeX archival data.

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Miriam Aberasturi (PhD Astrophysics 2015 U. de Madrid) was a visiting graduate student from Centro de Astrobiologia in Madrid, Spain, working on Hubble Space Telescope observations of late L and T dwarfs to assess the multiplicity rate across the L dwarf/T dwarf transition.  She spent 6 months in late 2012 in residence at UCSD, completed her thesis in 2015, and is now a research scientist at ESO-Madrid. [LinkedIn] [NASA ADS]

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Natasha Banchik (BS Physics 2013 UCSD; MS Education 2015 UCSD) was an undergraduate research assistant on both the Beach Physics project and Project Planetaria. She is now a Physics teacher in Hoover High School in the San Diego Unified School District. [LinkedIn]

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Daniella Bardalez Gagliuffi (BS Physics MIT 2011; PhD Physics UCSD 2017) completed her PhD in Physics at UC San Diego on the thesis topic of spectral binaries composed of late-M, L and T dwarfs.  A native of Peru, Daniella previously earned her Bachelor’s in Physics from MIT in 2011 where she worked on brown dwarfs, galaxy formation, and damped Lyman alpha systems. Daniella earned several awards and scholarships while in the Cool Star Lab, including an International Center Fellowship, an IPAC Visiting Graduate Student Fellowship, an AWIS Graduate Scholarship, and a Sigma Xi scholarship; and was inducted into the Bouchet Scholar Society. Daniella is now a postdoctoral fellow at the American Museum of Natural History. [homepage] [NASA ADS]

Clara Bennett (BS Physics 2011 MIT) was an undergraduate researcher working on the Spitzer/IRAC photometry of very low mass stars and brown dwarfs.  Last check, Clara was working at NASA Goddard Spaceflight Center.

Kieran Berton is a Physics major at St. Olaf’s College who has worked with Carl Melis over two summers on Hamilton echelle spectroscopic observations of young stars in the Pleiades.

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Jessica Birky (B.S. Physics 2019, UCSD) started working in the Cool Star Lab in 2016. In addition to contributing to the SPLAT program, she focused on analysis of high-resolution SDSS-APOGEE spectra of late-M and L dwarfs through UCSD’s Faculty and Student Team (FAST) Initiative site. Jessica is now a graduate student at the U. Washington with an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. [homepage] [NASA ADS]

John Bochanski was a postdoctoral researcher in the Burgasser Lab at MIT, working on construction and software development of the FIRE spectrograph and kinematic investigations of M, L and T dwarfs.  He specializes in the use of large surveys to study the formation and evolution of the Galaxy, and is active member of the LSST Consortium. He is now an Assistant Professor at Rider University and an active blogger at Sky and Telescope. [homepage]

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Emily Bowsher (BA Astronomy and Computer Science 2004, Wellesley College, MA Physics & Astronomy 2009, Georgia State University) was a Research Assistant/Engineer working on astronomical instrumentation development. She did a concept study for wide-field imaging instrument (called Cerberus) for the Lick Observatory.  Last check, Emily was a research assistant at Columbia University. [NASA ADS]

Kellas Cameron (BA Aeronautics and Astronautics 2010 MIT, PhD Operations and Technology Management 2018, Boston University) was an undergraduate research student who worked with Prof. Burgasser at MIT, analyzing optical spectra of ultracool dwarfs. Kellas is now a Assistant Professor at the University of South Florida, Muma College of Business. [webpage] [LinkedIn]

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Amelia Christensen (BS/MS Electrical Engineering 2013 UCSD; PhD Electrical Engineering 2017, Stanford) was an undergraduate researcher investigating the variability of L dwarfs in the Catalina Rapid Transient Survey.  Her xcde-style poster presentation at the 220th meeting of the American Astronomical Society earned a Chambliss Astronomy Achievement Student Award honorable mention. Amelia is now a postdoctoral researcher at Washington University, St. Louis [Linkedin]

Caleb Choban (BS Physics 2016 UCSD) worked on machine-learning algorithms to define optimal near-infrared indices for segregating spectral subclasses of M, L and T dwarfs, and was a lead code developer for SPLAT. He has stayed on at UCSD for his Physics PhD, working primarily in numerical simulation with Prof. Dusan Keres.

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Dianna Cowern (BS Physics MIT 2011) was a science outreach coordinator and Creative Director for Beach Physics.  Hailing from Kauai, Hawaii, Dianna earned her Bachelor’s in Physics from MIT in 2011, and has done research on dark matter and low-metallicity stars. After winning the 2014 Alan Alda Flame Challenge, Dianna has become a science education superstar as YouTube’s Physics Girl. [Beach Physics] [Physics Woman]

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Andrew Davis (BS Engineering Physics 2017 Morehouse College, BS Mechanical Engineering 2019 U. Michigan) was an Applied Physics and Dual-degree Engineering major at Morehouse College, who participated in the 2016 UCSD-Morehouse-Spelman Physics Bridge program. He led development of the SPLAT Web Interface and contributed to data reduction of SpeX brown dwarf spectra. Andrew aims to get a PhD in Aerospace Engineering and become a research engineer at NASA. [LinkedIn]

Sharon Diamant was a visiting student in the Cool Star Lab in 2020 from the Netherlands. Sharon analyzed the spectra of peculiar brown dwarfs, work that was included in Hsu et al. (2021). Sharon is now a graduate student at Leiden University. [LinkedIn]

Elizabeth Engler (High Tech High School) worked with the Cool Star Lab in 2016 to characterize stars in the SPLAT catalog.

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Ivanna Escala (BS Physics 2015 UCSD, PhD Astronomy 2020 Caltech) joined the Cool Star Lab in 2014, and developed techniques to determine the physical properties of a set of unusually magnetically active T-type brown dwarfs. Ivanna earned both an NSF Graduate Fellowship and Ford Foundation Fellowship in 2016, and completed her PhD in Astronomy at Caltech in 2020. Ivanna’s work focuses on the elemental abundances of stars as a means of tracing galaxy structure and evolution. She is now a Carnegie-Princeton Fellow at the Carnegie Observatories. [Homepage] [NASA ADS]

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Jacqueline Faherty (PhD Astronomy 2010 SUNY Stony Brook) is an expert in infrared astrometry and cool dwarf populations, and developed and led the Brown Dwarf Kinematics Project as her graduate thesis.  An International NSF Fellow at U. de Chile and Hubble Fellow at Carnegie Department of Terrestrial Magnetism in Washington, DC, Jackie is now senior scientist at the American Museum of Natural History. In 2020, Jackie was awarded the AAS Vera Rubin Prize. [homepage] [NASA ADS]

Sarah Garcia (BS Physics 2011 UCSD) was an undergraduate researcher measuring Spitzer/IRAC photometry for very low mass dwarfs. She is also an accomplished dancer.  At last check, she was teaching Physics at High Tech High.

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Salvador Guiterrez (BS Electrical Engineering 2010 UCSD) was an undergraduate McNair Research Scholar working on Beach Physics.  At last check, he was an Electronics Engineer at Watt Stopper/Legrand.

Jason Gunn is an Aerospace Engineering major at UCSD who worked in the Cool Star Lab in 2020, developing tools to organize the SPLAT source library. [LinkedIn]

Joshua Hazlett (BS General Science 2017 Morehouse College, BS Computer Engineering 2020 Columbia University) participated in the UCSD-Morehouse-Spelman Bridge program in 2017, working on a web-based interface for the SPLAT program. Joshua is now Data Analytics Business Consultant for IBM. [LinkedIn]

Elena Heide (B.S. Physiology and Neuroscience 2017, UCSD) was a student in Prof. Burgasser’s Physics 1A course who collaborated on a project to explore embodied Physics learning through gymnastics. Elena was the lead author on the resulting study, “Let’s Get Physical: Teaching Physics Through Gymnastics“. Elena is now pursing her M.D. at UCSD Medical School.

Carolina Herrara Hernandez was a high school student from Mexico who participated in summer research in 2017 through the the bi-national ENLACE program. Carolina analyzed resolved ultracool dwarf binaries with imaging and spectral data.

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Elizabeth Moreno Hilaro was a Physics major at the Universidad de Guanajuato, Mexico when she joined the Cool Star Lab in 2016 and 2017 through the UCSD STARS program. Elizabeth contributed to the SPLAT project and led spectral and imaging analysis of several late-M dwarf binaries. Elizabeth is now a graduate student at the University of La Serena, Chile.

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Aishwarya (“Aisha”) Iyer (BS Physics 2015 UCSD) examined mid-infrared variability in the TWA 30AB system using Spitzer photometry, and was a SURF fellow at Caltech. She completed a Master’s degree at CSU Northridge working with Mark Swain on exoplanet transmission spectra, and is now a PhD student at ASU working with Mike Line on M dwarf atmosphere models. Aisha is originally from Mumbai, India,

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Yuhui Jin (BS Physics, Math 2017 UCSD) worked in the Cool Star Lab in 2013-2014 where she analyzed survey data on astronomer’s perspectives on the definition of a planet, contributed code to the SPLAT project, and compared models to MLT spectra in the SpeX Prism Library to measure physical properties. Yuhui is now in the graduate program in Math at Caltech. [LinkedIn]

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Harish Khandrika (MS Astronomy 2013 SDSU) was a Davidson Fellow at UC Berkeley and a research assistant in the Burgasser Lab studying weather-related variability in L and T dwarfs using Lick/Gemini. He published this work in 2013, earned his Master’s in Astronomy at SDSU, and is now a research scientist at Space Telescope Science Institute. He is also a gifted photographer. [Harish K Photography]

Kelly Kilts (BA Physics 2009 MIT, Teaching Masters 2010 Bridgewater State University) was an undergraduate research student who worked with Prof. Burgasser at MIT, studying the optical spectra of ultracool dwarfs. Kelly is now a Physics & Astronomy teacher at Lexington High School in Waltham, Massachusetts, and an exchange English teacher at Isurugi and Fukuoka high schools in Japan. [LinkedIn]

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Emily Levesque (BS Physics 2006 MIT) was an undergraduate researcher working on the observational properties of supergiant stars.  She earned her PhD in Astronomy from U. Hawaii in 2010 for which she was awarded the Robert J. Trumpler award in 2012.  Emily has been an Einstein Postdoctoral Fellow, a Hubble Postdoctoral Fellow, and recipient of the Annie Jump Cannon Prize, and is now a Professor at the University of Washington. [webpage]

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Sarah Logsdon (BS Physics 2011 UCSD, PhD Astrophysics 2017 UCLA) was an undergraduate researcher examining the kinematics of late M and L dwarfs using optical spectroscopy obtained with the Magellan/MagE spectrograph.  She earned a Physical Sciences Dean’s Undergraduate Awards for Excellence in 2010.  She completed her PhD in the Physics and Astronomy Department at UCLA and is now at the NIED Instrument scientist at NSF’s NOIRLab. [LinkedIn]

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Dagny Looper (PhD Astronomy 2011 U. Hawaii) led numerous investigations on very low mass stars and cool brown dwarfs, investigating atmospheric properties, multiplicity and low-mass objects in nearby moving groups.  Her thesis work uncovered several new low-mass stars and brown dwarfs in the TW Hydrae association, including a remarkable wide pair of disk-obscured, jet-emitting M dwarfs TWA 30AB.  She completed her MFA in Cinema at New York University. [Black Sunday Pictures] [IMDB]

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Mike Lopez (BS Physics 2015 UCSD, MS Physics Education 2018 Ohio State University) was a McNair Scholar at UCSD and an undergraduate researcher in the Cool Star Lab. He worked on SPLAT, developing tools to identify and characterize the first planetary-mass brown dwarf found in the young 32 Orionis cluster. Mike also conducted Physics Education Research in our group, analyzing detailed student test performance in our 2015 Cooperative Problem Solving model experiment; and at the University of Colorado, Boulder. A participant in the APS Bridge Program, Mike did graduate research at the Ohio State University Department of Physics earning a Master’s degree in 2018.

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Rosalinda Lopez (BS Astrophysics 2016 UCLA, MS Mechanical Engineering 2018 UCR) was an Astrophysics major at UCLA who worked with Carl Melis on radio monitoring observations of the hyperactive L dwarf 2MASS 1315-2649AB. Rosalinda is now a PhD candidate in Mechanical Engineering at UCR. [LinkedIn]

Ryan Low (B.S. Physics 2020, UCSD) was a Physics major who worked in the Cool Star Lab from 2018-2020. His senior thesis project focused on analyzing optical spectra of ultracool dwarfs obtained with the Lick/KAST instrument. He was awarded a Dean’s Undergraduate Award for Excellence in 2019. He is now a graduate student at U. Kansas [Homepage]

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Christopher Luk (BS Physics 2012 UCSD) was an undergraduate researcher analyzing Keck/NIRSPEC spectra of very low mass stars, in particular spectral binaries.  He is also a highly skilled archer.  He is currently pursuing his PhD degree in Material Science.

Dorsa Majidi (B.S. Astronomy 2021, UCLA) was a Physics major at Palomar College who joined the Cool Star Lab in 2017 as part of the UCSD STARS program. Dorsa helped develop database tools for the SPLAT code, and presented her work at SACNAS and AAS national conferences. She will be starting the PhD program in Astronomy at the University of Wisconsin, Madison in 2021. Dorsa is originally from Iran.

Diego Octavio Talavera Maya (BS Aerospace Engineering 2018 UABC) was a summer research student from Mexico who participated in the bi-national ENLACE program in 2017. He analyzed resolved ultracool dwarf binaries with imaging and spectral data. He is now pursuing his “Space Masters” at Lulea University in Sweden.

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Constantinos Melachrinos (BS Physics 2008 MIT, PhD Physics 2013 U Chicago) was an undergraduate researcher at MIT working on searches for ultracool subdwarfs.  He earned his PhD from the University of Chicago working on the Atlas Experiment at CERN, and is now teaching physics at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Cyprus University of Technology.

Khryztopher Mena (BS Physics 2021, UCSD) worked in the Cool Star Lab in 2020-2021, and was one of the inaugural Dean’s Undergraduate Research Fellowship awardees. Khryztopher developed workflows for analyzing ultracool dwarf spectra with SPLAT. Khryztopher is now a PhD student at USC. [LinkedIn]

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Gretel Mercado (BS Physics 2018 UCSD) was a Physics major and Computer Science minor who used SPLAT tools to investigate a new L dwarf companion to a nearby sun-like star. She participated in the CAMP program and was on the leadership of the Undergraduate Women in Physics group, and helped to organize the APS Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics hosted by UCSD in 2016. Gretel earned her Bachelors in Physics in 2018.

Niana Mohammed (B.S. Physics 2019, UCSD) was a Physics major who worked in the Cool Star Lab from 2017-2019. She contributed to the reduction of SpeX data in the IRTF archive and development of the SPLAT code. Niana is now a Master’s student in the Fisk-Vanderbilt Master’s-to-PhD Bridge program. Niana is originally from Ethiopia. [Homepage]

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Jason Morpeth (BS Physics 2013 UCSD, Masters Physics 2015 SDSU) was an undergraduate researcher who did database management for the SpeX Prism Spectral Libraries and investigated quantitative metrics for identifying brown dwarfs in large surveys. Jason is now a senior analyst at HP [LinkedIn]

Christine Nicholls was a postdoctoral researcher at UC San Diego from 2011-2013.  Her research focuses on  stellar evolution and variability, particularly among red giant stars, and using photometric and radial velocity techniques to study binaries containing giant stars and brown dwarfs.

Jon Parra (BS Astronomy 2014 UCSC) was a pre-doctoral student working on simulating brown dwarf populations in the local Galaxy for the SPLAT code.

Dillon Peng (BS Physics 2019 UCSD) was a Physics major who started working in the Cool Star Lab in 2018. He analyzed archival SpeX data for ultracool dwarfs in the IRTF Archive.

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Sebastian Pineda (BS Physics 2010 MIT, PhD Astronomy Caltech 2016) was an undergraduate researcher at MIT working on the activity and kinematic distributions of M dwarfs in the SDSS survey.  He completed his PhD as an NSF Graduate Fellow in the Department of Astronomy at Caltech, and is now a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Colorado Boulder. He also had a cameo in The PhD Movie.

Jon Rees (Ph.D. Astronomy 2016, University of Exeter) was a postdoctoral researcher in the Cool Star Lab from 2018-2019, investigating abundances effects in the evolution of brown dwarfs in globular clusters. His prior thesis research was on deriving robust ages of stars in young clusters. Jon is now a Support Astronomer at Lick Observatory. [LinkedIn] [NASA ADS]

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Guido Roberts-Borsani (MS Physics 2014, University of Kent; PhD Astronomy 2015, University College London) was a visiting undergraduate student from the University of Kent, who performed numerical simulations of local brown dwarf populations to assess binary properties from limited observations. His PhD work focused on galaxy evolution at high redshift. He is now a postdoctoral researcher at UCLA.

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Isabela Rodrigues joined the Cool Star Lab in 2016 as a summer research student through the Brazil Institute of International Education Scientific Mobility Program. Here, she used word frequency software to analyze student writing from the Physics 1A Cooperative Problem Solving experiment to compare and assess the evolution of student sentiment between lecture and workshop models. She presented her work at the 2016 Physics Education Research Conference in Sacramento, CA.

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Maitrayee Sahi is a Noyce Master Teacher at Garfield High School who worked in the Cool Star Lab through the Industry Initiatives for Science and Math Education (IISME) program. She worked on the SPLAT project and fitting models to the spectra of the coldest T dwarfs.

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Nathan Schram (BS Physics and Astronomy 2013 UC Riverside) was an undergraduate research from Palomar College who investigated variability in low mass stars in TW Hydrae.  He transferred to UC Riverside in 2011 and graduated with a BS in Physics and Astronomy in 2013.

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Guillaume Shippee (BS Physics 2019, UC Berkeley) was a summer research student in the Cool Star Lab in 2016, and currently attends UC Berkeley. He made major contributions to SPLAT Web Interface and is working with Chris Theissen on finding new nearby cool dwarfs through the SDSS LateMOVERS program.

Breann Sitarksi (PhD Astrophysics 2016 UCLA) was a graduate student in Physics at UC San Diego in 2011, where she worked on Keck/OSIRIS spectroscopic observations of the brown dwarf binary 2MASS J1315-2649AB.  She completed her PhD in 2016 from UCLA working with Nobel Laurette Andrea Ghez. Breann is now an Optical Systems Scientist for the Giant Magellanic Telescope project [LinkedIn]

Adrian Suarez (BS Physics 2018, UCSD) joined the Cool Star Lab in 2015, and worked on analyzing the spectra of resolved ultracool dwarf binary systems. Adrian is now sous chef! [LinkedIn]

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Melisa Tallis (BS Physics 2016 UCSD) was part of the a Cool Star Lab from 2013-2016, where she searched for young M and L dwarfs using the SpeX Prism Library; and contributed to the construction of a prototype sound planetarium through the cosmOcosm collaboration.  In 2014, she earned a Dynes Scholarship for Summer Undergraduate Research. Originally from Buenos Aires, Argentina, Melisa has played for the UCSD’s women’s soccer team, is an avid bicyclist and an enjoyer of eclectic music. She has worked for the Gemini Planet Imager Extrasolar Planet team at Stanford University. Melisa is now a research assistant at PlomBOX. [LinkedIn]

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Tomoki Tamiya (BS Physics 2016 UCSD) was a Physics major who started working in the Cool Star Lab in 2015. He contributed to coding development for the SPLAT project and investigated the spectra of a resolved pair of late-type M dwarf binaries. Tomoki is originally from Kobe, Japan.

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Jake Todd was an undergraduate at UCLA, who worked with Carl Melis on H-alpha monitoring observations of the nearby M9 dwarf 2MASS J0720-0846. Jake is now a JD Candidate at Columbia Law School. [LinkedIn]

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Charae Tongg (BS Computer Science 2015 Boston College) was a high school student at Seabury Academy who worked on the outreach project Astrofacts!  She is now a software developer at Spotify. [LinkedIn]

Steven Truong was a CAMPARE scholar from SDSU who worked in the Cool Star Lab in the summer of 2017. His research aimed to develop a web interface for the SPLAT program.

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Russell van Linge (BS Physics 2019 UCSD) was a Physics major at Palomar College (taught by the great Takashi Nakajima!) who joined the Cool Star Lab as a summer student in 2016 through the CAMPARE program. Russell worked on analysis of JVLA radio monitoring data of the low-mass radio-emitting binaries 2MASS 1315-2649AB and NLTT 33370AB in collaboration with Carl Melis and Peter Williams at Harvard. He also contributed to the SPLAT Web Interface. He transferred to UCSD in 2017 and earned his Bachelor’s degree in 2019. He is now an analyst in a local consulting company.

Tianxing Wang (B.S. Physics 2021, UCSD) was a Physics major who worked in the Cool Star Lab from 2019-2021. He analyzed archival SpeX data for ultracool dwarfs in the IRTF Archive, and developed a pipeline to match spectral source information to catalog data. Tianxing conducted his research as an inaugural recipient of the UCSD Division of Physical Sciences Undergraduate Research Award. He will be stating the PhD program in Material Science at UCSD in 2021.

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Andrew West was a postdoctoral fellow at MIT, working on M dwarf population studies using large surveys.  He is an expert on low-mass stars, magnetic activity, and the properties of nearby galaxies.  Andrew was a Professor of Astronomy at Boston University, where his class “Alien Worlds” was been called one of the 10 Craziest College Classes.

Ryan Wilson (St. Augustine) was a volunteer researcher in the Cool Star Lab in 2017, working on characterizing UV observations of young stars with Carl Melis.

Ruiyu Zhang (BS Computer Science 2019 UCSD) was a UCSD research student and member of the Cool Star Lab in 2018-2019 who contributed to analysis of SpeX archival data.