December 4, 2018
Rebecca Diesing grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She received her BA from Northwestern and is now pursuing a PhD in astrophysics. We interviewed her about her experiences at the University of Chicago.
Why did you choose UChicago?
I chose UChicago for its top-notch research, and for the diversity of subjects studied by the astronomy and astrophysics faculty. In particular, I was recruited quite successfully by my current advisor, Damiano Caprioli, who encouraged me to explore a new field of astrophysics and helped me develop the skills needed to do so successfully.
What noteworthy academic, research, or teaching activities you have pursued while at the UChicago?
With Damiano, I published a paper that explores how cosmic rays shape the evolution of supernova remnants. Thanks to the generous support of a second advisor, the current dean of the Physical Sciences Division, Angela Olinto, I’ve also had the opportunity to travel internationally, most recently to Italy for the International School of Cosmic Ray Astrophysics. Outside of research and academics, I try to remain active as a teacher and mentor. Though I no longer work as a TA, I currently mentor two undergraduates and volunteer at Strive Tutoring, which offers free after-school programming to underserved students on the South Side of Chicago.
What activities do you participate in outside of the classroom?
In addition to volunteering with Strive Tutoring, I also serve unofficially as a cheerleader for the astronomy and astrophysics intermural softball team. In my spare time, I enjoy painting, drawing, and downhill skiing.
What are your plans post-UChicago?
I plan pursue a career in academia, with the goal of becoming an astrophysics professor.
What support have you received at UChicago?
In addition to my TA/RA salary, I also received an Eckhardt Scholarship, which provides additional funding to help recruit graduate students in the physical sciences.
If you were speaking to a prospective student, what would you tell them about UChicago?
Graduate study at UChicago is incredibly challenging but absolutely worthwhile. The research here is truly phenomenal, and my advisors have helped me grow substantially as a scientist. And, despite what they told me at Northwestern, I’ve had a lot of fun here.