KICP and Inaugural Brinson Prize Fellow
Ph.D., MIT, Cambridge, 2021
I study the earliest stars and galaxies through an approach known as Galactic Archaeology, in which long-lived, ancient (“metal-poor") stars are identified and used as time capsules to infer the processes in the early universe that shaped their chemical composition. The most primitive of these stars are extremely rare (∼1out of 100,000 stars), which bottlenecks this field. In my PhD, I have developed novel imaging analyses using metallicity-sensitive imaging filters that have increased the efficiency of identifying these stars by an order of magnitude. I am looking forward to applying these techniques to reveal the signatures of early galaxy evolution in most of the ancient, "relic" ultra-faint dwarf galaxies that orbit the Milky Way. Based on an initial study of just one of these galaxies, I discovered that it harbored a previously undetectable, spatially extended "halo" of chemically primitive stars; the first direct evidence that these systems inhabit extended dark matter halos.