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Education and Public Outreach (EPO)
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)


Data Science Portal

The Data Science Portal is a series of tutorials designed to guide non-astronomers in a data-based exploration of the basic science of galaxies. The first two tutorials are available and require no prior knowledge of programming or astronomy.

Virtual Research Group Tour for Undergrads in Introductory Physics

Undergraduate student Joel Bernstein led our team effort to create a virtual tour of what we do for undergraduates in introductory physics. Check out this video to visit our SOAR telescope remote observing room and hear clips of both graduate and undergraduate students describing their current research.

Computational Astronomy & Physics (CAP) Program

The CAP summer program I direct was originally an REU (Research Experiences for Undergraduates) site from 2011-2015, which I converted to the CAP Boot Camp when I saw the REU program was helping students who were already going to succeed without my help. As a boot camp, CAP aims to serve students missed by REUs: those who must work or take classes in the summer, or who have graduated and missed the REU time window, or who look less impressive on paper than in the eyes of the faculty who nominate them. The CAP Boot Camp was recently featured in Science as a promising alternative model for improving representation of Black students in physics, as well as other underrepresented groups. Computational tutorials from the CAP program are freely available here. CAP has been funded by generous support from the Department of Physics and Astronomy, the NSF, Data@Carolina, and individual faculty.

AIMs Curriculum

I partnered with other current and former Teach For America corps members, most notably KIPP Pride High School teacher Keith Starr, to create the Astronomy Instructional Modules (AIMs) curriculum for physics to enable exposure to astrophysics within the bounds of the state-standard high school physics curriculum. We have presented workshops on the AIMs modules for the UNC-BEST program as well as the SHAPE Symposium for NC high school physics teachers, with funding from the NSF.

SMART Workshop

The Summer Mentoring and Research Training (SMART) Workshop for high school physics teachers and their students was a week-long summer program funded by the NSF. I served as Director with help from students in my research group, most notably Lead Program Assistant Katie Eckert.

GALEX Discovery Station

Graduate student Amanda Moffett led our team's effort to create a touchscreen "Discovery Station" in Chapman Hall on UNC campus, a prime location for pedestrian traffic. The station features interactive overlays of multi-wavelength galaxy images and two videos about galaxy evolution, one offering general background and the other explaining Amanda's research on extended ultraviolet disks as signatures of disk rebirth in E/S0 galaxies. Pictured from left to right: former undergraduate David Bradley who co-wrote the video scripts with us, Amanda, me, Jay Heinz of Morehead Science Center who produced the videos, and Jason Coposky of RENCI who programmed the touchscreen activity. The display was funded by a NASA Grant supplement to our GALEX Space Telescope observing program.

Additional EPO Talks, Articles, and Activities

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)

I am very active in DEI work, for example mentoring the undergraduate Visibility in Physics (formerly Women in Physics) club, extensively reforming our graduate program to better recruit and retain women and racial minorities, and designing an effective and flexible faculty peer mentoring program. I have also worked to address sexual harassment, support international students, raise awareness of LGBTQ concerns, and address mental health challenges. Some of my work to improve racial minority representation was recently featured in an article series in Science, "The Missing Physicists," about which we held a special colloquium panel discussion. I served as my department's first Associate Chair for Diversity from 2014-2017, winning the University Award for the Advancement of Women in 2016, and am again serving as Associate Chair for Diversity and Mentoring from 2020-2022. You can read more about departmental diversity efforts on our community page.