Osterbrock Fellows 2021-2022

    Rosa Wallace Everson

  • Rosa Wallace Everson

    Rosa Wallace Everson is a NSF Graduate Fellow, Eugene V. Cota-Robles Fellow, and Osterbrock Fellow in Astronomy & Astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz, where she studies the evolution of interacting binary stars using semi-analytical and numerical methods, with a focus on common envelope evolution. With Bachelors degrees in both Theatre and Physics, she spent nearly a decade as a professional musician and performing artist prior to training as a scientist. Rosa seeks to integrate her broad experience to bridge science and society, advocate for diversity and inclusion in STEM fields, and inspire and support the next generation of researchers. Recent successes include leading the effort to craft and pass the 2016 Society of Physics Students Statement on Diversity and Inclusivity, which encourages inclusion, support, and retention in undergraduate physics departments on the national level, as well as founding the Osterbrock/Women in Physics and Astrophysics Bridge Scholarship at UC Santa Cruz, which assists undergraduate women and minorities in STEM by directly reducing the financial burden of the graduate school application process.


  • Erica Gonzales

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    I am a Ph.D candidate in the Astronomy and Astrophysics Department and a UCSC undergraduate alumna (Physics - Class of 2013). A former real estate broker, I decided to pursue a career in science later in life and I am eager to serve as a role model and mentor other non-traditional, underrepresented students. 

    In my research, I use the world’s largest telescopes to take pictures of nearby stars to discover previously unknown small stars and planets around them. My dissertation project is to use Kepler archival data, in conjunction with new information about Kepler stars, to untangle signals of planets in binary star systems. 

    The Osterbrock program and its founders have left an indelible mark on my career. The program has shown me the power of building a network among leaders in astronomy and other fields in order to exact change in the way the public perceives science and how science is taught to our youth. 

  • Alexandra Mannings

  • Alexandra ManningsAlexandra Mannings, hailing from Atlanta, Georgia, is a second-year graduate student in The University of California - Santa Cruz's Astronomy & Astrophysics department. She completed her undergraduate studies at The University of Alabama, where she earned degrees in Physics and Dance. Alexandra is an NSF Graduate Fellow, and hopes to use this and the Osterbrock fellowships to advance collaborations between art and science on campus through interdisciplinary research and educational outreach. Alex would also like to explore the various roles that administration can play in supporting fruitful research and learning environments. At UCSC, her research focuses on Fast Radio Burst host galaxy characterization and studying immediate burst environments as a means of constraining progenitor models. When Alex is not doing research, she enjoys teaching dance, watching movies, and spending time outdoors.

  • César Rojas-Bravo

  • No alternative textI was born and raised in Costa Rica, in Central America. I obtained undergraduate degrees in Physics and Classical Philology at Universidad de Costa Rica, and have lived abroad in Barcelona and Brazil, which overall has helped me to have an open mind, to enjoy different cultures. In 2017 I started the Ph.D. program in Astronomy at UCSC, pursuing my dreams, where I do exciting supernova cosmology research with Ryan Foley and David Jones. I was involved in the kilonova discovery in August 2017, and that granted me some exposure in Costa Rica. This made me realize I could be a great example for future Costa Rican scientists. Therefore, when I heard about the Osterbrock Leadership Program, I immediately knew it would be a great opportunity to enhance my leadership skills. I also desire to help the Latinamerican community in the United States: I've been providing Spanish translations to astronomical material of Lick Observatory, and have participated in multiple Noche de las Estrellas, a special Lick Observatory visitors night for the Spanish-speaking community.

  • Namrata Roy

  • Namrata Roy
    I was born in the beautiful city of Kolkata in Eastern India and moved to the US for doing my graduate studies in 2016. I completed my Bachelor's and Master's degree in Physics from Presidency University, Kolkata. Being in a very strong physics department, I had an intense Physics training throughout my undergraduate years but not so much in astronomy. That is because astronomy is still a growing discipline in India, especially at the undergraduate level. 


    However, I was very lucky to find astronomy connections within the department towards the later years of my B.Sc and throughout my Master's years. I was mentored and advised by professional astronomers who were trained in astronomy in the US and eventually came back to their hometown in India to encourage more young students towards astronomy. My interaction with them was the prime motivating factor for me to choose an astronomy career and to be so passionate about it. In terms of research interests, I have worked in a variety of things, ranging from black holes spewing radiation as in Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN), to solar physics and flares. Now I mostly work at the interface between galaxy evolution and AGN physics and how a galaxy is affected by stuff coming out from the black holes in their center. 


    Similar to my undergraduate mentors, I want to eventually go back to my country and help build a stronger astronomy community and make it a component in the undergraduate curriculum. That will require leadership, organizational and management skills alongside formal academic training. I am very excited to be a part of the Osterbrock program and to acquire all those skill sets during my graduate studies. As an Osterbrock fellow, I wish to organize projects and programs that will strengthen international collaboration amongst astronomers and at the same time make it more accessible to the younger population via different outreach programs. I hope this would eventually pave the way for achieving my longer-term goal of making astronomy education more accessible to the young population in India. 

  • Maggie Thompson

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    I am a fourth year graduate student in the Astronomy and Astrophysics Department at UC Santa Cruz. My PhD research focuses on understanding terrestrial exoplanet atmospheres using a combination of laboratory experiments and models. I received my undergraduate degree in astrophysics from Princeton University and have prior research experience at Carnegie Institution and Caltech/JPL.

    I am particularly interested in how terrestrial planets obtain their atmospheres and how we can utilize cosmochemistry of objects in the Solar System to improve our knowledge of the formation and evolution of exoplanets. I am performing outgassing experiments on a wide variety of meteorite samples, the leftover building blocks of planets, in order to place experimental constraints on early atmospheric compositions of terrestrial planets.

    Beyond doing research, I seek to be an effective teacher and mentor to both students and the general public and to improve diversity and inclusion in STEM. Through the Osterbrock Leadership Program, I am gaining essential leadership skills and insights into the large-scale operations of the astronomy community while also having the opportunity to delve into one of my passions which is the intersection of science and art. In addition, I am currently organizing virtual workshops through the Rising Stargirls program to engage middle school-age girls of all backgrounds with astronomy and astrobiology. Throughout my career, the tools I acquire through the Osterbrock program will serve me well in my position as a scientist, educator and member of the astronomy community.

  • Madelyn Broome

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    Madelyn Broome

    Madelyn earned her bachelor's in Astrophysics from Princeton in 2019 and master's from Cambridge the following year. She currently works on exoplanet theory for her PhD with Ruth Murray-Clay at UC Santa Cruz. Her lifelong commit to excite, engage, and elevate historically-excluded learners in STEM takes many forms, from outreach and designing research-based inclusive pedagogy, to making physics accessible to the general public through science writing. She has written for a variety of publications and currently co-runs the university's Ask an Astronomer account. When she's not mentoring young women or speaking at events to encourage other Native youth in STEM, she can be found sailing, rowing, playing for the university rugby team, or watching arts performances.

  • Joseph Murphy

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    Joseph Murphy

    I am a third-year graduate student and NSF Graduate Research Fellow working with Professor Natalie Batalha. My research interests include exoplanet detection and characterization as well as applications of statistical methods. Prior to joining the Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz, I received my B.S. in Physics and M.S. in Applied and Engineering Physics from Stanford University, where I conducted research with Bruce Macintosh and Ian Czekala. As an observer, I make frequent use of the Keck I telescope on Maunakea to obtain precision Doppler measurements of exoplanet-hosting stars. However, as a member of the Native Hawaiian community, my work in observational astronomy evokes a sense of duality on issues of land use and science policy. Through the Osterbrock Leadership Program, I hope to learn more about my own identity and use my personal experience as a vehicle for greater empathy, understanding, and improved communication.

  • Nicholas Scarsdale

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    Nicholas Scarsdale

    I am a third year graduate student at UC Santa Cruz advised by Natalie Batalha. My interests are in all things astrobiology. Currently I am focused on preparing for JWST observations of small planets, ongoing followup of TESS planet candidates, and detailed climate modeling of warm exoplanets. Previously as an undergraduate at Penn, I studied optically-complex cellular structures in the Tridacna genus of clams that helped their symbiotic algae photosynthesize.
    Having previously considered a career in politics, I am very excited to learn more about all things policy through the Osterbrock program. I am also an active advocate for stronger structural protection for early career scientists (particularly grad students), essential to maintaining a strong and diverse astronomy community, and I hope the Osterbrock program will help me develop skills to become a more effective advocate for that cause.
    Outside of academia, my interests include trying to achieve my annual goal of listening to a new album of music every day, rock climbing, fantasy roleplaying games, and most recently voice lessons to improve my karaoke skills.

  • Rachel Bowens-Rubin

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    Rachel Bowens-Rubin

    Rachel Bowens-Rubin is a graduate student in Astronomy & Astrophysics at the University of California Santa Cruz.   They completed their bachelors degree in Physics and Earth, Atmospheric, & Planetary Science and masters degree in Planetary Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  After MIT, Rachel worked as a mechanical engineer with the Harvard Cosmic Microwave Background group to deploy the BICEP3 telescope to South Pole Station, Antarctica.  In the Austral winter of 2018, they served as the winterover lab technician at McMurdo Station, Antarctica. 
    For their current research, Rachel hunts for exoplanets.  They image exoplanets directly by identifying potential targets using supporting radial velocity and astrometry datasets and then leading high-contrast imaging campaigns with the W. M. Keck Observatory.  They also develop adaptive optics instrumentation as part of the UCSC Lab for Adaptive Optics, specializing in adaptive secondary mirrors.  They hope to increase the number of exoplanets that we can directly characterize and lay the technological groundwork to someday be able to image an exoplanet like Earth.