What is your current job title and responsibilities?
Assistant Professor, Physics Dept (Planetary Science group), COS
Responsibilities: teaching, research, mentoring, department service.
What is your history at UCF and before UCF?
I’ve been at UCF since June 2012 – I came here for a postdoc just after I finished my Ph.D in Boulder, CO. I was a postdoc for 3 years, working as a postdoc and a lab manager for the Center for Microgravity Research labs. I then applied for a position when there was an opening due to faculty lines developed through the Center for Lunar and Asteroid Surface Science (CLASS), Dan Britt’s NASA SSERVI Institute. I started as an assistant prof. in Fall 2015. I do research relating to dusty (rocky) planetary surfaces.
What is your academic background?
Ph. D. May 2012, University of Colorado at Boulder, Dept. of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences, Experimental investigations of the lunar photoelectron environment and related dust dynamics (Advisor: Mihály Horányi).
M.S. May 2009, University of Colorado at Boulder, Dept. of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences, Observations and modeling of the mass and energy balance of terrestrial snowpacks (Advisor: O. Brian Toon).
B.S. May 2006, University of Missouri, Columbia, Dept. of Physics and Astronomy, magna cum laude, with general and departmental honors, Minors in Mathematics and Anthropology.
What is your favorite UCF memory?
Flying on parabolic airplane flights (the vomit comet!) for research, or going to a launch at Cape Canaveral to see a project we built launched to the International Space Station.
If you could change one thing at UCF, what would it be?
Build a spacecraft and instrumentation lab! Or, not research-related, 1) better public transportation to/from campus to connect it to other areas of town and 2) more pedestrian-friendly campus (lights at crosswalks, crossing signs automatically go at the intersections with lights, better bike lanes, etc.)
What is one piece of advice you would like to share with your colleagues?
It’s important to remember that each of us brings different experiences and skills, and for most of us, those will be very different than a lot of the students, so we should keep an open mind in order to try to connect with all students.
If UCF was going to name something in your honor, what would you like it to be and why?
An asteroid? Or a feature on the Moon.
If you could have lunch with anyone at UCF (who you do not normally eat lunch with), who would you choose and why?
Probably someone from the art or history department – it would be interesting to discuss similarities/differences in our experiences at UCF. Also history would be fun, since it would be fun to develop a history of science class.
Who at UCF would you like to thank for your success?
Joshua Colwell – postdoc mentor and has supported me throughout.
Name and describe a teacher or researcher from your past who truly inspired you and why.
Angela Speck – she was my professor for my first astronomy class in undergrad, and then became my research advisor my junior/senior year. She was intelligent, strong, was an advocate for her students, was a great role model (which I realize more in retrospect than I did at the time!), and was a fun person to be around.
What undergraduate or graduate class/program/experience inspired you the most and why?
Summer research at the University of Hawaii in undergrad – I was able to travel to Hawaii, meet amazing researchers, and make friends with people who are still my colleagues today.
What is your favorite restaurant or food?
What is your favorite movie, book or music?
Book: currently: Red/Green/Blue Mars series by Kim Stanley Robinson
What is your favorite vacation destination?