I was born in Italy and moved to Maryland with my family when I was eight. My early curiosity about the Universe was fueled by visits to the Smithsonian Air & Space museum, a couple of small summer projects with Massimo Robberto, an astrophysicist and family friend, and seeing starry nights free of light pollution during family vacations to National Parks. My interest in astronomy was matched by my love of novels and poetry.
In 2010, I graduated from the College of William & Mary with a double major in Physics and English. As an undergrad, I worked with Prof. Seth Aubin and Prof. Irina Novikova on my physics thesis, which was entitled “The application of four-wave mixing to cold and ultra-cold atom imaging”. When I started at William & Mary, I was awarded a 1693 Scholarship, which includes a grant for research, giving me the opportunity to also do some linguistics research; my research on the different Italian dialects spoken by my grandparents can be found here. The summer before my final year of college, I was accepted to an REU program at the Institute for Astronomy in Hawaii and I spent 10 weeks there doing research on luminous infrared galaxies with Lisa Kewley. Although I enjoyed all these different research experiences, astronomy filled me with the greatest sense of wonder, which led me to the Astronomy graduate program at UC Berkeley.
I enjoy situations in which my astronomical and literary interests can overlap. One such instance was the annual one-minute colloquium at UC Berkeley, where each member of the Astronomy department had exactly one minute to introduce themselves and share their most recent research; the one-minute poems I wrote as a grad student to present at the one-minute colloquia can be found on the “Astro Poems” page. Another opportunity was developing a children’s story, and accompanying presentation and hands-on activities, for a group of pre-K to 3rd graders on the life cycle of stars.
In my free time, I enjoy re-discovering the beauty of everyday things with my son Gabriel, experimenting in the kitchen with my husband and fellow astrophysicist, Garrett, hiking, and reading voraciously.