What is your position or role in the DESI project?
I am a graduate student at UC Irvine working toward my PhD. In DESI, I am part of the Lyman-alpha Forest working group and I am one of the Lyman-alpha quasar catalog co-leads. I am also part of the DESI mentoring program as both a mentor and a mentee.
Where were you born and where do you live now?
I grew up in Center Line and Warren in the metro-Detroit area of southeast Michigan, and I did my undergrad at Wayne State University in Detroit. I now live in Irvine in Southern California. Sometimes I miss having seasons and snow but my recent trip to Michigan brought me back to reality.
What do you do as a part of DESI?
I recently started a project to study the impact of quasar redshift errors on the 3D cross-correlation of quasars with the Lyman-alpha Forest. As one of the quasar catalog co-leads I am helping to put together a quasar catalog that will be used for future Lyman-alpha science analyses. I am also interested in using these quasars to study baryon acoustic oscillations (BAO). Previously, I helped out with commissioning by looking at GFA calibration data, and I’m hoping to get more involved with the focal plane team in the future. I’ve also done some observing shifts in the past, and am looking forward to more shifts in the future!
What is the most interesting or exciting thing about your job?
As a graduate student, I am always learning new things. Being a part of a collaboration like DESI also means that I get to travel, meet people, and make friends from all over the world! I always thought my career path would be pretty straightforward: get my PhD, do a postdoc, get a job at a university. I’ve learned though, that there are so many different opportunities and different paths I could take within astronomy/astrophysics that don’t necessarily involve teaching and are all very interesting. Good thing I’ve got a few years before I really need to decide!
Any advice for an aspiring scientist/engineer?
There is a lot of great advice from other DESI members but one thing I think is extremely important is that you don’t have to do science 24/7 to be a great scientist! It’s very important to set boundaries and take breaks to find and maintain a good work/life balance. Some people enjoy using their free time to work, others don’t, and both are okay! You have to find the right balance for you. Also never be afraid to ask questions as there is no such thing as a dumb question! A tip: if you don’t want to ask in front of other people you can usually ask your questions in an email after the talk or lecture. Finally, learn to code.
What do you do for fun?
Outside of DESI and my PhD I enjoy spending time with my friends and family. I love going to hockey games, especially when the Detroit Red Wings come to town. I try to watch every game when they’re not in town. Within the last year or so I’ve taught myself to crochet and I am currently trying to teach myself to knit. I also like to build puzzles, play video games, complete paint by numbers, and I’m hoping to start baking more in the upcoming year.