What is your role in the DESI project?
I manage the work at the Mayall Telescope in support of the DESI project. During the installation phase, this consisted of daily oversight and planning updates for the installation work plan. Now that installation is complete, I coordinate the daytime work of the engineering and technical staff with the nighttime science observing. In doing this, I work closely with Klaus Honscheid, Paul Martini, Connie Rockosi, and many others.
Where were you born? Where do you live now?
I was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA. Before coming to NOIRLab, I’ve lived in three different countries across ten different time zones. I live now in Tucson, Arizona, USA. In normal times, I spend roughly half my time in the NOIRLab offices and the other half at the telescope on Kitt Peak.
What would you say is the most interesting or exciting thing about your job?
The most interesting thing is the constant flood of opportunities to learn new things. I’ve absorbed so much about new technologies for instruments from the DESI project, that I sometimes forget all the fascinating cosmology that I’ve learned as well. The most exciting thing is the chance to contribute to a science product that will have enormous lasting value to the cosmology and astrophysics communities. And the most fun thing is working with so many people from so many different backgrounds who know so much more than I do about what they’re doing. DESI project people are always fascinating to talk to!
Any advice for aspiring scientists?
1) Stay curious; always wonder “what?” and “how?” and “why?”
2) Don’t ever be afraid to talk to people you don’t know. That’s how you learn.
3) Don’t get discouraged. Most things or ideas don’t work the first time. Keep trying anyway.
Finally, what do you do for fun ?
I enjoy bicycling, hiking, going for walks, dining out, and being with my family especially outdoors.