About

I’m an Astronomer, Astrobiologist, and an NSF Astronomy and Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellow and UC President’s Postdoctoral Program Fellow in the UCLA Department of Physics and Astronomy and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. I study the climate and habitability of planets orbiting stars other than our Sun, called extrasolar planets. I will be an Assistant Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at UC Irvine beginning in Fall 2017.

I’m also a classically-trained Actor, and use my theater background to communicate science to the public in engaging, innovative ways. I was recently named a 2015 TED Fellow, which is an exciting honor. And I am the 2016 recipient of the Origins Project Postdoctoral Award Lectureship.

ashields AT astro DOT ucla DOT edu

For more about me, read a recent profile on the TED blog here.

8 comments on “About

  1. Wow! Very inspiring! I have a 14 year old daughter who is very interested in studying astrophysics but is also passionate about music. By the looks of your resume, you can do it all! As her mother, I have been researching schools that would allow her to major in one and minor in the other. Do you have any advise? Congratulations to you! Have you done your TED Talk yet?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Posted this as a separate comment long ago:
      Hi Susie,
      Your daughter sounds very talented! I had a wonderful experience at Phillips Exeter Academy, which has an incredible science and music program. It is a private school, but they are committed to making sure that every child accepted can attend. If you are rather thinking more down the line to colleges, US News and World Report usually posts rankings annually of universities in different academic departments. I’d say choosing a range of schools that offer strong music and astronomy/astrophysics programs is a good approach. Your daughter’s college counselor will no doubt be very helpful in this regard. Strong liberal arts schools are also great because she’d get a solid foundation in both most likely. I wish her all the best!!

      Like

  2. Hi Susie,
    Your daughter sounds very talented! I had a wonderful experience at Phillips Exeter Academy, which has an incredible science and music program. It is a private school, but they are committed to making sure that every child accepted can attend. If you are rather thinking more down the line to colleges, US News and World Report usually posts rankings annually of universities in different academic departments. I’d say choosing a range of schools that offer strong music and astronomy/astrophysics programs is a good approach. Your daughter’s college counselor will no doubt be very helpful in this regard. Strong liberal arts schools are also great because she’d get a solid foundation in both most likely. I wish her all the best!!

    Like

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