Institute for Astronomy Home
IFA Home Page   |    Search   |    Other Editions    No. 40 - 2011 
  All Articles  


IfA Welcomes 10 New Students

New graduate students 2011

IfA welcomed 10 new graduate students in August. Many arrived with master’s degrees as well as a variety of astronomy-related work experiences.

Dani Atkinson comes to Hawai‘i from Washington state, where she worked on the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) Project after receiving a bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington. She was attracted to IfA by the Institute’s strong instrumentation program. William Best taught math, physics, and guidance at Punahou School for 15 years. He spent the summer of 2010 working at IfA with Michael Liu. “Now I’m delighted to be here as a full-time student,” he says.

Hyewon Suh comes to IfA with a master’s degree from Yonsei University in Korea. She hopes that one day she will help “to illuminate the origin of the Universe in some way.” Kelly Lockhart grew up in Texas and received her bachelor’s degree in astrophysics from Rice University in 2007. After graduation she traveled in Europe and worked in tech support for a California software company. She says, “After three years in the real world, I was more than ready to return to astronomy. My undergraduate research was in star formation, but I’ve decided to explore some other interests and have started a research assistantship with Lisa Kewley in galaxy evolution.”

Both Li-Yen Hsu and Po-Feng Wu received master’s degrees from National Taiwan University in 2010. Hsu wrote his master’s thesis on weak gravitational lensing, while Wu studied the L1551 IRS5 protostellar system. Wu says his interest in both outdoor activities and observational astronomy makes Hawai‘i the place to be.

Louis Scuderi graduated from the University of Arizona with a bachelor’s degree in astronomy and physics. As an undergraduate, he worked extensively on photometric observations of transiting extrasolar planets. He hopes to continue that work at IfA, but he also wants to expand his research to include planetary science, brown dwarfs, and low-mass stars. Yanxia Li holds a bachelor’s degree from Beijing Normal University. She chose graduate school at the IfA for its breadth of astronomical subject matter studied, both observational and theoretical.

Lauren Stephenson grew up in southwest Michigan. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in aviation technology from Purdue University, she worked at the Boeing Company in St. Louis for five years while she pursued a degree in astrophysics from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. She says, “I chose the IfA because of the large department, broad research interests, and amazing resources.” Ding Huang did his undergraduate work at UCLA, where he spent a year studying interstellar gas with Prof. Michael Jura, work he hopes to continue.