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Nominated Office: Councilor

Affiliation: Vanderbilt University and Fisk University

Position/title: Assistant Professor of Astronomy (Vanderbilt) and Adjunct Professor of Physics

PhD institution: University of Michigan (1999)

Areas of scientific interest:

  • Galaxy structure and dynamics
  • Supermassive black holes
  • Intermediate mass black holes,
  • Stellar dynamics
  • Computational astrophysics of all sorts
  • Gravitational wave astronomy

AAS positions:

  • Division of Dynamical Astronomy (DDA) Committee (elected 2009-2011)
  • AAS Van Biesbroeck Prize nomination committee (appointed 2011)
  • DDA nominating committee (appointed 2011-2013)
  • DDA nominating committee chair (2012)

Other relevant positions and experience:

  • Fisk-to-Vanderbilt Masters-to-PhD Bridge Program Steering Committee (2007-present)
  • Co-chair for the Committee for Minority Representation in SDSS (2012-present)
  • APS Division of Computational Physics Nomination Committee (2012)
  • Aspen Center for Physics Meeting Organizer (2010)
  • SDSS-III workshop local co-organizer (2011)
  • Single and Double Massive Black Holes in Galaxies Workshop co-organizer (2011)
  • XSEDE Regional workshop organizer (2012)
  • NASA, NSF, Einstein Fellowship, DOE INCITE proposal reviewer - several panels over six years

Candidate Statement: I am so honored to be nominated to serve on the AAS Council. The AAS supports nearly every aspect of our careers and advocates for us all. The AAS meetings are where we are inspired by the newest discoveries and where we network with one another; the papers we publish are run by the Society; and the best clearinghouse for astronomy jobs is the AAS Job Register. I could go on, but I only have 200 words!

If elected Councilor, I first hope to be a conduit to bring your suggestions and concerns to the Council. My personal goal is to promote efforts for a diverse and inclusive membership for all astronomers, regardless of background or career path. To build a talented, diverse workforce, we need support on many levels, from intense one-on-one mentoring, to career development workshops, to practical policies like postdoctoral family leave and childcare support at meetings. My work in the Fisk-to-Vanderbilt Masters-to-PhD Bridge Program has allowed me to experience the real-world challenges and successful practices for broadening participation STEM, and I hope to bring this experience to the AAS. Thank you for your consideration.