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Associate Zone CouncilorEmail:
My name is Cat, and I am a junior physics and applied mathematics undergraduate at the University of Texas at Dallas.
I first heard about SPS at a star party the summer before my freshman year, and I’ve been involved ever since. I immediately became the “Astronomy Officer,” and last year, I was elected President. My chapter is currently working on both a project for the Marsh W. White Award (rollover from last year) and a project for the Future Faces of Physics Award.
I am an avid undergraduate researcher, which demonstrates my commitment to physics. I began research two days after my high school graduation through the UTD Clark Summer Research Program, where I evaluated the effects of massive neutrinos on large-scale structure formation in the universe. In summer 2019, I participated in the UT Austin astronomy Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program, where I analyzed infrared Brackett emission as a diagnostic of accretion in T Tauri stars. Last summer, I programmed a user interface for the Robo-AO-2 autonomous adaptive optics system through the University of Hawai`i’ (Manoa) Institute for Astronomy REU. These research experiences have resulted in three publications (with a fourth under review), the 2020 and 2021 UTD Undergraduate Research Scholar awards, and the “Best Poster” award at the 2020 Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics.
I work to increase diversity in the physics community. For example, I am a founding Student Leader of the STEP UP Student Agents program. STEP UP is an APS initiative to encourage more high-school women to pursue physics in college. The STEP UP Student Agent program employs students to do outreach in their communities and share the STEP UP message.
I intend to study astrophysics in graduate school, then work on the development of space telescopes and while educating the public about science.