About TAURUS

Our mission and our beginning.

Our beginning.

The University of Texas at Austin sits at one of the most socioeconomically and ethnically diverse regions in the United States, but our history of scholarship in astronomy and astrophysics does not mirror that rich heritage. In late 2015, members of the UT Austin Department of Astronomy launched the TAURUS program which combats social marginalization of certain groups -- particularly Black Americans, Latinx Americans and Native Americans -- in Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields.

Among different STEM fields, the representation of Black Americans, Latinx Americans and Native Americans is particularly low in physics and astronomy. The Texas Astronomy Undergraduate Research experience for Under-represented Students (TAURUS) provides essential career ``boosts'' to highly-motivated students from traditionally marginalized backgrounds. Our aim is to increase retention of excellent students of color in astrophysics research by preparing them for graduate study in astronomy or the STEM workforce.

With generous support for our inaugural year from the Cox Endowment Fund and the Board of Visitors at the Department of Astronomy and McDonald Observatory, TAURUS was able to launch for summer 2016 with its first class of five Scholars. Over 40 members of the astronomy community in Austin contributed their time and effort to ensure the program was a success, and will continue to be in future years.

Goals for the Future

TAURUS is only getting started, with the hope that we can expand to support more students in the coming years. With a minimum of five scholars in residence each summer, we periodically fundraise for cover Scholars' local expenses. If you are passionate about equity and inclusion in astrophysics research, we invite you to contribute by getting in touch, visiting our HornRaiser page, and sharing our promotional video.

Who We Are

Prof. Caitlin Casey
Assistant Professor, UT Austin
TAURUS Director and 2017 Mentor
Dr. Keely Finkelstein
Research Scientist and Senior Lecturer, UT Austin
TAURUS Co-Director
Prof. Steven Finkelstein
2016 TAURUS Mentor
Prof. Brendan Bowler
2016, 2017 TAURUS Mentor
Dr. Chao-Ling Hung
2016, 2017 TAURUS Mentor
Now faculty at Manhattan College.
Dr. Andrew Mann
2016, 2017 TAURUS Mentor
Dr. Ivan Ramirez
2016 TAURUS Mentor
Now faculty at Tacoma Community College.
Dr. Trent Dupuy
2017 TAURUS Mentor
Now staff at Gemini Observatory.
Dr. Rachael Livermore
2017 TAURUS Mentor
Now postdoctoral researcher at the University of Melbourne.