ABOUT ME

Background

Welcome! I am 28 years old and originally from the town of Dix Hills in Long Island, New York. My appreciation for the universe began in High School at age 14. After taking an Astronomy elective course my path swiftly veered toward one of calculus, physics, and lots of looking up while most kept their eyes on the ground.  In 2010 I enrolled at Colgate University in Hamilton, NY to pursue a B.A. in Physics and Astronomy. Over the years at Colgate, my love for Astronomy remained  persistent, much like the vivid dreams of working out physics homework algebra in my sleep. With an unforgettable Arecibo Observatory visit and two REUs at Wellesley and Wesleyan under my belt, I decided there was too much I didn't know yet to stop there. I graduated Colgate in 2014 and applied to graduate schools, on the quest for more knowledge and more weird math dreams. 

I began my PhD in Astronomy at UMass Amherst in Fall of 2015, eager to explore research and wondering how I missed the memo on just how important coding would be for Astronomy (all caught up now). In the past 6 years as a graduate student at UMass I have had the opportunity to research multiple sectors of the universe with different data sets, visit telescopes, and travel the world (my personal favorite perk of being an Astronomer). I'm grateful to have met so many wonderful people in the community from these experiences. I currently reside in Amherst, MA where I am finishing up my final year of my PhD (expected August 2021) and applying for Post-docs. 

 

My hobbies include singing, playing piano, hiking around Amherst, and engaging in  adrenaline-junkie activities during my travels without telling my loved ones about it until it's over. I also love teaching Astronomy to all ages, whether doing outreach with kids or having a mind-blowing conversation with a friend.  I was recently a featured guest on the Starts With A Bang Podcast hosted by Ethan Siegel of Forbes Magazine (Podcast Link Here!) where I offer some expertise on active galaxies. I'm starting my own Astronomy podcast soon that will be a relaxed, amusing, and enjoyable way to help expand minds less accustomed to thinking about the vast universe. Stay tuned!

Hobbies & Outreach

Research Positions

2018-Present

University of Massachusetts, Amherst

The Connection Between Supermassive Black Hole Growth and Star Formation in Galaxies Across Cosmic Time in the COSMOS Field

Dissertation Advisor: Min Yun

2018

The Australian National University, Canberra, ACT

2018 Australia-Americas PhD Visiting Research Fellow

Bayesian forward modeling of star cluster populations in nearby galaxies

Advisor: Mark Krumholz

2016-2018

University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Star Clusters in Nearby Dwarf Galaxies NGC 2366 and IC 2574: Investigating the universality of the IMF with SLUG

Advisor: Daniela Calzetti

2015-2018

University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Early Science with the Large Millimetre Telescope: Prestellar cores in the Monoceros R2 Giant Molecular Cloud with AzTEC

Advisor: Robert Gutermuth

2013-2014

Colgate University

Actively accreting binary stellar systems

Advisor: Jeff Bary

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Lake Pukaki, New Zealand

A Multi-Dimensional Quantum Universe?!

 When I'm not in the depths of my thesis work or bungey jumping, I am usually thinking about how the universe operates from a non-"physical" quantum perspective. I am fascinated by the intersection between quantum physics, consciousness, & astrophysics; I think this seemingly intangible intersection could hold the answers to some of the most pressing questions we have about the universe. I believe that those who have made incredible breakthroughs, such as Einstein and Tesla, were tapping into these 'unperceived' realms alongside their traditional physics knowledge!

 

In the last ~30 minutes of the Starts with A Bang Podcast (here) I elaborate on these thoughts and dive into otherworldly explanations for the mysterious 95% of our universe we call dark matter and dark energy. I touch on the concept of stacked dimensions that each contain a range of standing wave-states of consciousness. Beyond the 3rd & 4th dimensions that humans exist in, these states of consciousness begin to vibrate faster & higher, unlocking knowledge and transcending the confines of space and time, as quantum physics suggests is possible. Perhaps 'hidden' parts of the universe remain imperceivable to us simply because our consciousness levels reside in a lower dimension at the moment. We might consider the possibility that extra-terrestrial (or 'inter-dimensional') species have evolved their existence into these higher dimensions where they (1) are able to perceive of more, (2) gain access to universal laws that invoke non-physical, non-gravitational forces, (3) have the ability to bend time and space, and (4) telepathically communicate as a result.

 

If this is the case, where does the prevalence of consciousness end? Humans are fragmented aspects of the universe (star-dust) emitting their own auric toroidal energy field and holding a level of consciousness. Might all aspects of the universe with an energy field and born out of fragmentation, such as galaxies, stars, and planets, retain some level of  consciousness? How would that affect the evolution (and creation) of the universe according to Physics as we know it?  Do 'life-forms' evolve their consciousness through these dimensions over time? Do the astronomical bodies we've studied for years follow suit? Hm...

Education

2015- Present

University of Massachusetts, Amherst

PhD in Astronomy (Expected August 2021)

2010- 2014

Colgate University

B.A. in Physics & Astronomy

1st Author Publications

Early science with the Large Millimetre Telescope: An LMT/AzTEC 1.1 mm Survey of dense cores in the Monoceros R2 giant molecular cloud

Alyssa D. Sokol, R. A. Gutermuth, R. Pokhrel, A. I. Gomez-Ruiz,  G. W. Wilson, S. S. R. Offner, M. Heyer, A. Luna, F. P. Schloerb, and D. Sanchez, 2019 MNRAS.483..407S

Research Fellowships

2015-Present

Spaulding Smith Fellowship for underrepresented minorities in STEM doctoral programs

UMass Amherst- Amherst, MA 

2018

2018 Australia-Americas PhD Visiting Research Fellowship, funded by the Australian Academy of Science

The Australian National University- Canberra, ACT