Simulated Galaxies

I am not a leader in the sense that most people think of when they hear the word. I do not make speeches. I do not do outreach. I am not on the front lines of some political movement. I code. I do not even code for purpose that many of you would deem worthy of your interest; not even something many have heard of.

For the summer, I get the opportunity to spend the summer in Piscataway, New Jersey. I am simulating galaxies with Professor Alyson Brooks with the hopes of discovering something about galactic evolution. I was offered this position out of 368 applicants. In that sense, I am leader. I got this position, not because I can talk to people, but because I can solve problems.

Aside from the work, I have been able to go on several day trips with others in the program. I have visited the Hayden Planetarium in NYC and the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, Reading Terminal Market, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art in Philadelphia. Through these visits, I have been making connections that will last a lifetime. My roommates and I plan to go to Asbury Park this weekend.

All of the trips make it sound like I have a lot of freetime, but I work 40 hours a week on simulating galaxies. The cover photo for this post is an example of one. I have been spending long hours trying to use this information to determine information about galactic evolution.

Along with work, we have been doing Physics GRE prep and having many discussions on Graduate School, Collaboration, and Scientific Ethics. I am confident that these “courses” will help me succeed later on as a scientist. I am hoping to take the Physics GRE this fall and begin applications to Graduate School for Astrophysics, specializing in either Observational Planetary Science and/or the Origin of Magnetic Field lines in M Dwarf Stars. Both of these topics are very “hot” in Astronomy right now.

I am incredibly happy about my field choice both because of the people and the amount of open research questions. I am glad I found my passion so early in life.