My parents encouraged me in science since I was very young. I was drawn into astronomy through seeing Carl Sagan’s Cosmos on a rerun and reading science fiction as a kid. A summer research experience at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California convinced me that I wanted to do astronomy research as a career. I specialized in cosmology during my Ph.D. when a couldn’t-miss opportunity arose to participate in a space mission that has become a cornerstone of modern cosmology: the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP). Though I have been working primarily in cosmology in the past few years, I have a broad range of research interests in astrophysics.
On the biggest level, cosmologists are asking the most fundamental question: Where did everything in the universe come from? This is a question that humans have asked in different forms since the dawn of civilization, and now in the coming few years, we may finally answer it. This is the ultimate search for our own origins. My research involves confronting confounding and challenging problems on a daily basis because observations have revealed the universe to be a very strange place. My work is far from a solitary enterprise. I enjoy working and building friendships with fantastic colleagues from all over the world.