AstroTech 2022 Career Pathways Roundtable Discussion Guests

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Alan Garner

AstroTech Instructor

Alan Garner is a Postdoctoral Scholar at Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research. His current research focuses on using multilayer mirrors and critical-angle transmission gratings in support of a future soft X-ray polarimetry mission. He earned his PhD in 2018 at the University of Florida where he helped design, fabricate, test, and operate two near-IR instruments for the Gran Telescopio Canarias.

Abhimat Gautam

AstroTech Instructor

Abhimat Gautam is a Keck All-Sky Precision Adaptive Optics (KAPA) Postdoctoral Fellow at UC Los Angeles. Abhimat’s research focuses on understanding the stellar population and dynamical environment of the Milky Way Galactic center, particularly with the aide of stellar binaries. He also works on improving precision stellar astrometry and photometry extracted from adaptive optics images of the Galactic center.

Renate Kupke

AstroTech Instructor

Renate Kupke is an instrument scientist with the University of California Observatories, UC Santa Cruz. Her research involves development of advanced instrumentation techniques for use in astronomical instruments, including adaptive optics with the Laboratory for Adaptive Optics at UCSC. She has also been involved in the optical design and commissioning of scientific instruments for the Lick 3-meter telescope, the Keck telescopes and the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT).

Alicia Lanz

AstroTech Instructor

Dr. Alicia Lanz is a Postdoctoral Fellow at Carnegie Observatoriesbuilding astronomical instrumentation and studying the evolution of galaxies and the process of reionization of the universe. Dr. Lanz received in her PhD in Physics from Caltech in 2018, where she built an infrared telescope aboard a sounding rocket (called “CIBER-2”) to study fluctuations in the cosmic infrared extragalactic background to place limits on reionization. At Carnegie Observatories, Dr. Lanz is building the objective optics for the fifth Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS-V) Local Volume Mapper (LVM) instrument, which will perform the SDSS-V optical, integral-field spectroscopic survey. Dr. Lanz also uses Carnegie’s Magellan telescopes to gather observational data on the chemical and kinematic evolution of galaxies. Dr. Lanz also has experience with cryogenics; optical, thermal, and vibrational system analysis; infrared detectors and associated electronics; systems engineering; requirements definition; and rocket launches.

Sarah Logsdon

AstroTech Instructor

Sarah Logsdon is an Assistant Scientist at NSF’s NOIRLab in Tucson, Arizona. She is also the Instrument Scientist for NEID, an extreme precision radial velocity spectrograph designed to detect and characterize exoplanets and exoplanet candidates. Prior to moving to Tucson, Sarah spent two years at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, where she developed technologies, error budgets, and test plans for the NEID Port Adapter subsystem. The Port Adapter is responsible for sending star light from the telescope to the spectrograph. Sarah earned her PhD in Astronomy at UCLA where she served as the UCLA Instrument Scientist for FLITECAM, a near-infrared imager and grim spectrograph for SOFIA.

Jessica Lu

AstroTech Co-Principal Investigator and Lead Instructor

Jessica Lu is an Associate Professor of Astronomy at University of California Berkeley. Her specialty areas include Adaptive optics (AO), Astrometry, Black holes, Stars, Galactic Centers, Optical/infrared instrumentation. Prof. Lu works on several instrumentation teams that aim to improve AO and astrometry from the ground and space, including the W.M. Keck AO system, the Thirty Meter Telescope IRIS instrument, the ‘imaka project, and the Roman Space Telescope astrometry group. She is the Project Scientist for the Keck All-Sky Precision Adaptive Optics (KAPA) instrument.

Deno Stelter

AstroTech Instructor

Dr. R. Deno Stelter is a postdoc at UCSC where he works as the instrument scientist for SCALES (Slicer Combined with an Array of Lenslets for Exoplanet Spectroscopy). SCALES, an AO high-contrast integral field spectrograph, is currently in its Final Design phase.

Dr. Stelter was trained in the arts of advanced image slicer design and cryo-opto-mechanical engineering while in graduate school, and is passionate about astronomical instrumentation, regardless of whether or not slicers are involved.

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AstroTech is funded by the Heising-Simons Foundation and by the National Science Foundation through the Keck All-Sky Precision Adaptive Optics (KAPA) project (AST #1836016).