Following on from successful events held in the Heavitree and St Loyes wards in Exeter in previous years, I organised a star gazing event in Belmont Park, central Exeter in collaboration with the Mount Pleasant and Pinhoe Community Builders. We had over 200 visitors of all ages to the park which makes this event the most succesful of our "Park in the Dark" series. As the event nicely coincided with the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, I and colleagues from the University of Exeter's Astrophysics Group were keenly promoting the work of female scientists. Also, as the event took place during LGBT History Month, we were using diffraction glasses to spark conversations about the analysis of spectra in physics and astronomy but also how it is important to remember the diverse range of people who do science.
I am currently a European Research Council funded Research Fellow at the University of Exeter, UK, in the research group of Prof. Stefan Kraus.
My present research is focussed on the analysis of near-infrared interferometric observations of protoplanetary disks using worldwide astronomical facilities such as the Center for High Angular Resolution Astronomy (CHARA) and the Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI). To analyse these observations, I use and develop the Monte Carlo radiative transfer code, TORUS, originally developed by Prof. Tim Harries. I also use and develop the Exeter geometrical modelling pipeline, RAPIDO (Radiative transfer and Analytic modelling Pipeline for Interferometric Disk Observations), to model continuum and line emission from disks. These analyses probe the innermost regions of proto-planetary disks, allowing us to study their geometry, composition and shape. From this, we can learn more about planet formation and disk accretion processes. Further details regarding my scientific research can be found here and further information regarding my observing experience is provided here.
Prior to arriving in Exeter in October 2015, I worked at the University of St Andrews, UK, as an STFC STEP Fellow following the completion of my PhD at the same institution in April 2015. My PhD thesis, entitled "Revolution evolution: tracing angular momentum during star and planetary system formation" focussed on observationally probing the efficiency of stellar spin down during gravitational collapse together with quantifying the circumstellar angular momentum retained within planetary systems at various stages of formation. A copy of my thesis can be downloaded following links provided in my publications section.
Aside from my scientific research, I am also involved in various public outreach activites. Details of these can be found in the outreach section. I am a member of the Institute of Physics, a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, and a Junior Member of the International Astronomical Union. I am an ordinary member of the IOP South West branch committee with the aim of delivering more diverse physics-related events to communities in the South West of England. I also sit on the University of Exeter's Physics and Astronomy Inclusivity Working Group which is working towards creating a more inclusive work environment celebrating the diversity of all staff and students. I am also the College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Science's coordinator for the University of Exeter's LGBTQ+ staff network.
I am honoured to have been nominated for an Academic Recognition Award for my work in improving diversity in STEM and my outreach activities by colleagues in the College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences at the University of Exeter. More information can be found here.
I visited the disk group of the Physics and Astronomy department at the University of Leeds and gave a seminar to undergraduate students, postgraduate students, and staff about recent results from the CHARA survey of YSOs and my recent paper on star-disk misalignment.
I gave a talk summarising the LGBTSTEMinar as part of "PRISM Speakers". PRISM is a local LGBTQ+ network for people working and studying in STEM which I founded in July 2018. I summarised the amazing work being done by LGBTQ+ researchers in the UK and further afield which was show-cased at the meeting and also led a discussion on the impacts that the internationalism of STEM research can have on its LGBTQ+ researchers and students.
I attended the fourth annual LGBT STEMinar (a one-day conference bringing together LGBTQ+ researchers and students working in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)), held at the Institute of Physics (IoP) headquarters in London. I am extremely grateful to the IoP for providing funds to cover my travel and accommodation.