Featured Graduate Student: Spring 2017
I’m a fifth year PhD student in the AST program. I was born and raised in Miami, FL. For undergrad, I went to the University of Florida, where I double majored in Astronomy, B.S. and Physics, B.A. In between undergrad and grad school, I worked as a research scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in order to gain more research experience. Finally, I was accepted to RIT in 2012 and plan on defending my dissertation in summer 2017.
1) How would you describe your field of study/research to a friend who is not in your graduate program?
My research mainly focuses on modeling the dust structure in the nuclear regions of active galaxies.
2) What brought you to RIT for your graduate studies?
While I was at NASA, I met an AST graduate student who was also at NASA as a graduate student research fellow. She told me about RIT and the AST PhD program, so I looked up the program and found that a lot of the professors conducted research in areas I was interested in so I applied.
3) What's been your best experience so far?
That’s a difficult question! Honestly, I’ve enjoyed the whole graduate school experience. Yes there are stressful and tough times but the professors and fellow graduate students help you power through. I’m truly grateful for all of the opportunities I’ve been able to participate in such as outreach, conferences, and observing at telescopes.
4) What do you most enjoy about Rochester?
I really like that Rochester is not too big and not too small. It has the feel of a city but also has a bunch of small, unique restaurants and stores.
5) What are your plans for after graduate school?
I’m going to be a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Southampton in the UK for the next 2-3 years.
6) What trait do you find most necessary to succeed in graduate school?
Passion. I think in order to succeed in graduate school, no matter what program, is to have a passion for what you are doing. It can be very stressful at times, so enjoying and loving what you do truly helps motivate you to push through the difficult times.
7) Do you have any advice that you would give to a new graduate student in your program or someone considering graduate studies in astronomy?
Prioritize and take care of yourself. It’s very easy to let yourself drown in your work. However, even if you enjoy it you will need to take a break every now and then, and focus on things outside of your research and classes that you enjoy doing for fun.