Originally from West Philadelphia, I attended high school at the city’s historic Central High School, and from there went on to earn a B.A. at Columbia University and Ph.D. from Caltech. I was faculty at Haverford College from January 2015 through June 2016, before beginning a new appointment at MIT in July 2016.
Captivated by the fundamental questions of high-energy particle physics (as well as the opportunity to live in Switzerland), I performed my Ph.D. research at CERN laboratories as a member of the ATLAS collaboration. My work focused on commissioning the ATLAS pixel detector in preparation for the very first LHC collisions and on understanding hadronic jet physics with initial data. As a NSF Postdoctoral Fellow, I was seduced away from LHC physics by the opportunity to help design and build the GAPS experiment, a balloon-borne search for antiproton and antideuteron signatures of dark matter interactions in the Galactic halo. With GAPS, I use cosmic particles to probe many of the same physics processes explored by the LHC, such as supersymmetry and extra-dimensional theories. Building on my experience with semiconducting detectors, I lead the development of Si(Li) detectors that lie at the heart of the GAPS design. While I was busy looking out to space for hints of new particle interactions, I also led the analysis of high-energy X-ray signals from the Galactic Center with the NuSTAR satellite telescope array. I am currently working to expand the NuSTAR program to look for X-ray signatures of exotic particle physics processes, joining optics development with the International Axion Observatory (IAXO) collaboration, and preparing GAPS for its initial balloon launch in late 2020.
I also care deeply about communicating of scientific progress, problems, and passion to the non-expert, in particular to students who, because of cultural factors or lack of exposure, have not considered the career paths that a science education opens. Check out my Eductation and Outreach page and contact me if you would like to know more.