Graduate Program in the News

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2016

Yao-Lun Yang Wins Graduate School/University Co-Op Award for Outstanding Masters Thesis

yao-lun yang

Yao-Lun Yang

April 2016

Yao-Lun Yang has been selected as the recipient of the 2016 Graduate School/University Co-Op Award for Outstanding Masters Thesis. Yao-Lun's thesis, The Class 0 Protostar BHR71: Herschel Observations and Dust Continuum Models, is an exciting mix of future modeling and community contributions. Yao-Lun has been integral in the creation of a public standardized archive of Herschel observations (Green et al., in referee; supporting document already ingested to Herschel Science Archive) and has tackled the complications of modeling active protostar systems with RADMC-3D, with some very exciting results close to submission. Expressing a keen interest in visualizations, and with strong programming skills (IDL/Python), he has been heavily involved on proposals for SOFIA, IRTF, and Gemini time, which now include awarded time. Finally, Yao-Lun has worked with Prof. John Lacy, completing some very demanding observations using the IRTF/TEXES combination, outside of his main research interest.

Wenbin Lu and Emma Yu Win Graduate School Continuing Fellowships

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Wenbin Lu

emma yu

Emma Yu

March 2016

Wenbin Lu and Emma Yu have been awarded Graduate School Continuing Fellowships for 2016.

Wenbin Lu is a 3rd year grad student working with Dr. Pawan Kumar. His research includes gamma-ray bursts and the tidal disruption of stars by super-massive blackholes. He developed a method for determining the property of the star cluster in which a star explodes to produce a gamma-ray burst, and has also beautifully pieced together multi-wavelength data for a spectacular TDE (Tidal Disruption Event) that was detected a few years ago.

Emma Yu is a 5th year grad student working with Dr. Neal Evans and Dr. Sally Dodson-Robinson. Emma has shown strong leadership skills while working on a technically difficult project that combines accretion disk physics, radiative transfer, and chemistry. She has led well-regarded proposals for observing time on the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA). Her work has attracted the attention of scientists nationally and internationally, and she is a frequent presenter at conferences and has been to international workshops in Yokohama and the Netherlands.

National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowships Awarded to Sinclaire Manning and Jessica Luna; Four Astronomy Students Win Honorable Mention

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Sinclaire Manning

jessica luna

Jessica Luna

March 2016

Astronomy graduate students Sinclaire Manning and Jessica Luna are 2 of 28 University of Texas students awarded prestigious Graduate Research Fellowships from the National Science Foundation for 2016. The annual award honors students who show exceptional potential for serious contributions to the areas of science, technology, mathematics, and engineering. The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship has provided funding for exceptional early career graduate students since 1951, the oldest of its kind. Sinclaire is a first year graduate student working with Caitlin Casey. Jessica is a first year student working with Dan Jaffe.

This year, four astronomy students were also designated as Honorable Mention:

Sydney Sherman - first year student working with Shardha Jogee
Benjamin Kidder - second year student working with Dan Jaffe
Briana Indahl - second year student with Gary Hill
Taylor Hoyt - undergraduate student

Frank Edmonds Memorial Fellowship Awarded to Raquel Martinez and Wenbin Lu

raquel martinez

Raquel Martinez

wenbin lu

Wenbin Lu

January 2016

Raquel Martinez and Wenbin Lu have been awarded the 2015 Frank Edmonds Memorial Fellowship. The award is given to a second or third year graduate student who shows promise in research.

Raquel was chosen for her work with Dr. Adam Kraus on the PSF-fitting (Point Spread Function) search of archival Spitzer imaging data to identify wide-orbit planets around young stars. Outside of UT Austin, Raquel works on two other research projects, including a study of the young eclipsing binary system BM Ori with Dr. Seth Redfield of Wesleyan University, and a follow-up study of candidate debris disks from WISE with Dr. Deborah Padgett of Caltech.

Wenbin was chosen for his work with Dr. Pawan Kumar for outstanding contributions to research in gamma-ray bursts and the tidal disruption of stars by super-massive blackholes. He developed a method for determining the property of the star cluster in which a star explodes to produce a gamma-ray burst, and has also beautifully pieced together multi-wavelength data for a spectacular TDE (Tidal Disruption Event) that was detected a few years ago. Wenbin’s papers on these subjects have been well received.