My Research and Teaching

I passed my PhD defense on April 2, and I was hooded on May 16, 2004. I just finished my last semester at the Astronomy Department at Boston University. This fall I'll be starting as a Lecturer for the Astronomy Department of the University of Maryland.


My doctoral research was with Professor Janes on open star clusters. We are monitoring the clusters NGC 7789, NGC 6819, M67, and NGC 188 for variability due to stellar activity. We're hoping to do this to a much greater photometric precision than has been done before. That's the short version. For a longer version, take a look at my oral examination presentation. Or you can take a look at my thesis, Ultra-High Precision Photometry of Open Clusters: A Study of Stellar Activity in Old Stars, broken down into PDF files by chapter:

Since we now have access through BU to the Perkins Telescope at Lowell Observatory, we can make many more observations. However, the Perkins Telescope doesn't have many instruments currently, so I helped build the PRISM instrument.


From August 1998 to February 2003, I spent 131 nights at the Perkins Telescope. Of course, that doesn't mean the weather cooperated on all of those nights. I've used two different instrumental setups and five different CCDs. I also observed for a few nights on the neighboring Hall Telescope.

In 1999, my friend Dan Eldredge and I took advantage of BU's time on the Perkins Telescope and proposed to take many astronomical images to "test" the capabilities of the telescope. The reduced images happen to be quite attractive and can be used for PR purposes for the new Institute for Astrophysical Research in the Astronomy Department. Dan has a web page with the images. I've also taken some images on my own that you can see here.

While on an observing run in July 2001, I literally encountered a bug in the system. Here's part of a CCD image showing the bug.

During my September 2002 observing run, the night of UT 17th, I confirmed the discovery of a Comet 2002 S1 by Brian Skiff at LONEOS. Here's the announcement circular; you can see the images on astronomical objects page.


I am currently the TA for AS101 with Prof. Clarke.

I have been a TA for many of my years at BU, which I have thoroughly enjoyed. However, being an RA for two and a half years in the middle allowed me to work on my research and hopefully graduate. I have TAed AS101, AS102, AS109, AS202, and AS203. During the summers of 1999 and 2000, I was the lecturer for the AS101 course during the first summer session. It was really hard work making up lectures, and problem sets, and syllabi, and more!

During the summer of 2003, I taught the 3-lecture astronomy class for the Summer Challenge Program, for high school students.

Here's a link to my IAR homepage. Or, here's a link back to my homepage.