About Me

I am a Presidential Management Fellow at the Air Force Headquarters in the Pentagon working as a civilian operations research analyst. I recently finished a 6-month rotation in the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee on the Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics. In 2017, I graduated from Yale University with a PhD in astronomy. My dissertation focused on the study of exoplanets, planets beyond the solar system. As part of my dissertation research, I discovered two planets, PH3 c and Kepler-150 f (see Publications). I graduated from the University of Iowa in 2012 with a B.S. in physics and astronomy and a minor in Latin. I was born in Clinton, Iowa, grew up across the Mississippi River in Fulton, Illinois, and after nine years of college and graduate school, I’ve now been living in Washington, DC for more than two years.

See my Résumé/CV for more.

Interests

My main career interest is in policy, especially science policy. While I think all science policy topics are interesting, the ones I engage in the most are the hot-button issues that are politically controversial despite a scientific consensus in favor of them:

  • Climate change is happening. It's caused by humans. We need to mitigate it. The United States needs to rejoin the Paris Agreement and then go much further, along with the rest of the world, to prevent irreparable harm from increasing global temperatures and more extreme weather.

  • Nuclear power is a powerful energy source as we transition to more renewable energy.

  • Vaccines are possibly the most important medical advancement in history. Several vaccines should be mandatory with only a medical exemption.

  • Genetic engineering of crops and food is safe and often times better for the environment. Mandatory labeling is unnecessary at best and harmful at worst.

Science may not always give us the truth, but it's the best method for trying, and it's always improving.

Other interests include:

  • Politics: I'm really passionate about politics. Politics are how you change the world, and a lot of it needs changing.

  • Astronomy, and in particular, exoplanets: While politics is about changing the world, my interest in astronomy covers the rest of the universe.

  • Science: It's the greatest tool in the world from distinguishing truth from opinion. If you're arguing against the scientific consensus, you're (almost always) going to have a bad time.

  • International affairs: While I don't have time to keep as up-to-date as I wish on international affairs, I try to be aware of major (and some minor) happenings from around the world.

  • Election polling, statistics, and policy: I'm definitely a poll junkie. Relatedly, I think one of the most important (and underappreciated) issues of our time is America’s unfair and unequal voting system, such as gerrymandering, voter suppression, the electoral college, and the Senate.

  • Genetic engineering: As previously mentioned, the genetic engineering of crops and food is safe and has been environmentally friendly. Genetic engineering could usher in a new agricultural revolution.

  • Movies: I have a spreadsheet of every movie I have ever seen (more than 1,250 and counting) and have rated every single one of them. The Mummy (1999), Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, and Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl are currently the only three movies with a perfect 10.0. Birdemic: Shock and Terror scores the lowest at a 0.1.

  • TV shows: I also track the TV series I've watched. Scrubs is the only perfect 10.0, but Game of Thrones is close behind (at least before the most recent season).

  • Board games and card games: Great for a night in with friends.

  • Sports, and in particular, college football: Go Hawkeyes!