Pheatured Scientist | 017

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Meet Phuture Dr. Gillian Beltz-Mohrmann

Gillian Beltz-Mohrmann started her journey in becoming an astrophysicist at Wellesley College, an all woman's liberal arts college located right outside Boston. Gillian set out to major in astrophysics to feed into her love of space. From a young age, you would have found Gillian reading books about the solar system, stargazing into the night while camping, or watching shows about space and stars on PBS.

Gillian gained research experience on a multitude of projects as an undergraduate. She has monitored the emission of early-type stars in young clusters, helped develop a method to track the frequencies of noise in the data from The Advanced LIGO detectors, and observed the brightness of stars for clues on potential exoplanets. Her vast training from these experiences along with the completion of her B.S. degree prepared her for the next step him her astrophysics career--graduate school.

Gillian is now a third-year graduate student in the Astrophysics Graduate Program at Vanderbilt University. She chose Vanderbilt based on the work of Associate Professor Andreas Berlind in large-scale structure and galaxy formation. He thesis focuses on developing predictive models to describe the initial conditions of the Big Bang by investigating how galaxies gather into clusters with models. The problem is that there needs to be a way to test if simulations of the universe used to model how clusters of galaxies are valid. Her goal is to generate a model that accurately describes the formation of clusters by evaluating and comparing the results from their galaxy formation model with what is observed and collected from databases on the positions of galaxies.

Once Gillian earns her Ph.D., her next goal is to continue her academic research as a postdoc and eventually become a research professor in a small liberal arts college like Wellesley! In her spare time, Gillian likes to play tennis as she is a part of the tennis club at Vanderbilt, explore caves, and communicate her science to the public. You can see her in action at Vanderbilt's Meet the Astronomer Friday, October 5th at 7:00 pm CST at the Dyer Observatory. Tickets are $5 which you could purchase here.