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Research Group

Back Row (left to right): Derrick Carr, Ella Castelloe (graduated May 2021), Melanie Elliott (graduated May 2021), Nate Cleaves (graduated May 2019).
Front Row (left to right): Joel Bernstein (graduated May 2022), Zack Hutchens, Pablo Lechon (graduated May 2019), Sheila Kannappan, Mugdha Polimera.

Graduate Students

Derrick Carr is a PhD student working on analyzing compact "nugget" galaxies, believed to represent the first seeds of growth of giant elliptical galaxies, in the low-redshift RESOLVE and ECO surveys as well as theoretical simulations. He contributed to a paper led by former undergraduate Michael Palumbo that demonstrated the existence of blue nuggets, first detected at high redshift, in the low-redshift RESOLVE survey. He is using galaxy structure, star formation history, dynamics, and environment to examine nugget demographics and evolution.

Zack Hutchens is a PhD student working on constructing group catalogs and analyzing multiphase gas in groups for both the RESOLVE-G3 (Gas in Galaxy Groups) initiative at low redshift and the LADUMA survey at high redshift. He is using x-ray and radio observations to assess hot and cold gas both within and between galaxies in groups, to probe group evolution. As a member of the LADUMA team, he is a coauthor of the recent discovery of a powerful megamaser at z>0.5 featured in the popular press.

Mugdha Polimera is a PhD student working on constructing a census of AGN -- active galactic nuclei, the growing (super)massive black holes at the centers of galaxies -- in the RESOLVE and ECO surveys. Her first thesis paper documents the extraordinary abundance of a previously overlooked class of AGN in dwarf galaxies (check out the EurekAlert news release), identifiable using optical spectroscopic techniques that take into account the low metallicity and strong star formation in dwarfs. She is also examining mid-IR and X-ray AGN detection and contributing to simulation work (papers 1 and 2) led by Chris Richardson at Elon.

Undergraduate Students

Abbey Dunnigan is a rising junior working on identification of galaxy nearest neighbors. She is comparing different search techniques and using the resulting nearest neighbor catalogs to assess the role of local environment for nugget evolution and AGN activity.

Em Chittenden is a rising junior starting research this summer.

Kathryn Hart is a rising sophomore starting research this summer.

Former Undergraduates Still Active on the Team

Joel Bernstein is a 2022 graduate working on SALT-RSS spectroscopy for the RESOLVE survey and leading the paper documenting our SALT-RSS reduction and analysis pipeline. As demonstration science, he is using the data to analyze the stellar kinematics of lenticular and elliptical galaxies.

Ella Castelloe is a 2021 graduate working at a science museum in Knoxville. In her free time, she is preparing her senior honors thesis for journal submission. Her work presents a new way to define galaxy systems based on gravitational boundness criteria and applies bound system analysis to RESOLVE and ECO to examine the evolution of galaxies and galaxy systems as they collapse.

Melanie Elliott is a 2021 graduate working as a sustainability analyst for the Institute for the Environment at UNC-CH. In her free time, she is helping Joel Bernstein to document the RESOLVE SALT-RSS pipeline, for which she led analysis of the gas kinematics of spiral and irregular galaxies.


Former graduate and postdoctoral advisees and where they are now -- * indicates active core members of the RESOLVE team:

Lisa Wei (coadvised with S. Vogel and A. Baker) (UMD PhD 2010): data scientist in industry
*Mark Norris (postdoc 2008-2012): faculty at U. of Central Lancashire, UK
*Amanda Moffett (PhD 2013): faculty at U. of North Georgia
*David Stark (PhD 2015): science support staff scientist, Space Telescope Science Institute
Erik Hoversten (postdoc 2012-2015): data scientist in industry
*Kathleen Eckert (PhD 2016): data scientist in industry, still doing astro in her spare time
*Elaine Frazer (nee Snyder) (MA 2016): research and instrument analyst, Space Telescope Science Institute
Charles Bonfield (MA 2018): data scientist in industry

Former undergraduate advisees who continued astrophysics in graduate school (or beyond!):

Ashley D. Baker (coadvised with A. Berlind) - U Penn (now a postdoc at Caltech)
Kirsten R. Hall - Johns Hopkins (now a postdoc at CfA doing climate science)
David Hendel - Columbia (now a postdoc at Toronto)
Ashley Bittner - NC State (now doing environmental engineering with a little astro in her spare time)
Callie Hood - UC Santa Cruz
Katrina Litke - Arizona
Michael Palumbo - Penn State
Christine Ray - UT San Antonio/SWRI
Angelica Rivera - Drexel
Danny Rosenberg - Appalachian State (now in private industry)
Kya Sorli - UC Boulder
Kate Storey-Fisher (coadvised with A. Erickcek) - NYU
Asher Wasserman (co-advised with A. Baker) - UC Santa Cruz