Name: Elizabeth Warrick
Class Year: 2021
Hometown: Bethesda, Md.
Internship Organization: Department of Astronomy at Haverford College
Job Title: Research Intern
Location: Haverford (remote)
Thanks to my summer funding from the Bryn Mawr Beyond program, I was able to join Professor Karen Masters from Haverford College's astronomy department in conducting research on the morphology of galaxies. Morphology means the study of the structure of galaxies and how they got that shape. In particular, my research has involved examining how certain features of galaxies appear through different filters and what those structures could say about galaxy evolution. I investigated whether the lack of correlation between two galaxy morphological properties viewed in the optical spectrum carries over to those same properties when viewed in the infrared spectrum, and also worked to confirm the lack of correlation found when the properties were viewed in the optical spectrum. This brings up the question whether the features we see are due to the filter we are using or whether they are indicative of how the galaxy has evolved over time. If their properties have the same correlations in both infrared and optical, then perhaps that specific morphology is related to galaxy evolution rather than a property of the filter.
My day starts out with a cup of coffee and a check-in with my research group. The research group is made up of other BMC or Haverford students doing astronomy research, and fellows from the Keck Northeastern Astronomy Consortium. This always feels like a great way to start my day and feel connected to other students during the summer when we’re so far apart.
Even though we can’t be together in person, there are many ways to share our research, e.g., by having virtual conferences. As part of my internship this summer, I attended a virtual conference for the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) Collaboration Meeting in June. This was my first big conference with scientists in the field, where I had the opportunity to introduce myself and show my work. Before the conference, I spent a lot of time working on my presentation, practicing exactly what I would say, and getting feedback from my research group.
Attending the virtual conference was a lot of fun. There were Zoom meetings all day where people would present their research using SDSS data, with a lot of interesting breakout sessions, such as a panel on careers, tours of various observatories, and some social time for the junior researchers to talk to the senior researchers. There was always a plenary session in the morning and another in the evening in order to accommodate all the different time zones people are in right now. I also had the opportunity to meet and talk to many really interesting people in the field, all at different points in their careers. I learned a lot about different projects using SDSS data and future plans for the survey, and got to introduce myself to a lot of professionals in the industry! The opportunity to meet people in the field I want to work in one day was an experience I’ll never forget! One day, the people that I talked to might be my colleagues.
Visit the Summer 2020 Internships page to read more student stories.