Current Courses

Astronomy 631: Radiative Transfer (and Processes)

Graduate level 3 credit course

Course Description:  Most observational astronomy is based on interpreting the radiation given off by different astronomical objects. This course aims to instruct at the graduate level on the interaction and propagation of electromagnetic radiation from and through matter. Students who take this course should come away with a more detailed understanding of light, including different emission mechanisms (thermal and non-thermal), scattering and absorption through different media, the spectral nature of light concerning atomic structure, and the mathematical framework to support these concepts; and yes, of course, also the effects of plasma.


Astronomy 790: Astro-ph Seminar

Graduate level 1 credit seminar, co-taught, facilitator once per week through Feb. 2024
Previously co-facilitated: Fall 2023, Spring 2023, Fall 2022, Spring 2022, Fall 2021, Spring 2021 semesters

Course Description:  Staying up to date with the latest publications and preprints is one of the most important aspects of being a professional astronomer, and often forms the starting point for ideas for research projects or proposals. The most widely used resource for pre-prints in astronomy is astro-ph, which is divided into six subcategories and updated five times a week (alternatively there is space-ph and plasm-ph for space physics and plasma physics respectively). In addition to keeping up with the latest news in your own research field astro-ph also provides an excellent resource for learning about important results outside your own “research bubble”, and acquiring general knowledge of observational and theoretical astronomy. This seminar provides students with training to efficiently read and discuss astronomy research papers by participating in the IfA Astro-ph journal club.

Previous Courses

Astronomy 734: Astronomy Seminar I (Fall 2022) Plasma Physics for Solar and Astrophysical Systems

Graduate level 2 credit course

Course Description: The course will cover an introductory survey into the physics of plasmas applicable to solar, heliospheric and astrophysical systems. The course will develop the theory of plasma from a single particle description, to a kinetic, statistical description to finally a magnetohydrodynamic (MHD)/fluid description. Each section will employ examples related to different applications in solar and astrophysics, including cosmic ray acceleration, cyclotron/synchrotron emission, shock waves and various instabilities such as the kink instability and the magnetorotational instability (applicable to flares, coronal mass ejections, jets from active galactic nuclei and stellar accretion disks).

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Teaching Philosophy

My goal for teaching is to create an encouraging, active learning environment where students gain confidence and engage in participatory problem-solving. When teaching, I work with the class to meet them where they are, understand their needs, and find ways to deliver the information in a way that helps them accomplish their goals. I challenge my classes to give answers in a way that does not make them feel called out to understand their thought processes and work together to find a shared understanding that leads to an “ah-ha” moment. Students will come away from my classes understanding the concepts fundamental to all disciplines of physics that can be applied to both academic and non-academic parts of their lives. At the same time, they will feel value and agency over their education and learn to think analytically, knowing what steps to take to think critically about the problems at hand.