March 21, 2019
Adina Feinstein grew up in Syosset, New York. She received a BS in Astrophysics from Tufts University and is now a first-year student in the MS-PSD program with a concentration in astronomy & astrophysics. We interviewed her via email about her experiences at the University of Chicago.
Tell us about your research at the University of Chicago.
I detect and characterize exoplanets—planets around other stars— and learn about the stars they orbit.
Why did you choose UChicago?
I chose UChicago for the research and observational facilities that are available. The exoplanet faculty are some of the strongest leaders in the field and the relationship between the Departments of Astronomy & Astrophysics and the Geophysical Sciences is quite unique. This collaboration allows us to look at the same problems from different perspectives and I find that particularly valuable.
Describe something you are proud of accomplishing at UChicago.
I am really proud of my Master’s thesis project. It has already led to a first author paper (to be submitted very soon!) and I have been invited to conferences to speak about it. My thesis research involves developing a pipeline, called eleanor, to create light curves for millions of stars observed by the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS). I also won a medal at the American Astronomical Society meeting for a poster on my thesis. It has been a really exciting time so early in my career, and I don’t think I would have been able to accomplish nearly as much without the support Dr. Benjamin Montet, Professor Jacob Bean, and the rest of the group.
What’s something you love to do outside of the classroom and lab?
Outside of work, I really enjoy helping with outreach events. For example, I’m a scientist in the “Letters to a Pre-Scientist” program and recently spoke with the Chicago Astronomical Society at the Adler Planetarium. In addition to outreach, I play on “Little Bingos,” the physics and astronomy summer softball team. I also enjoy crocheting and am a self-prescribed bake-aholic. The Great British Baking Show is my inspiration.
What are your plans post-UChicago?
I hope to pursue a career in academia by following the traditional route of earning a postdoctoral position and then receiving a permanent position at a national laboratory.
What support have you received at UChicago that was particularly valuable to you?
My advisors have supported my travel to at least two conferences since my arrival at the University of Chicago. Getting your name and work out there is important and my advisors acknowledge this.
If you were speaking to someone who wants to learn about UChicago, what would you tell them?
Although graduate school is challenging, it’s very worthwhile. The top-notch research facilities at UChicago have helped me grow so much just in the past year. I feel I’ve grown more as a scientist here than in the four years of undergraduate studies. If you want to be at the forefront of research, this is the place. And even though graduate school is hard, we still manage to have more fun than the undergraduates.