First Cohort

Princeton University
Exoplanets and Black Holes

Tansu Daylan is developing a pipeline to search for exoplanets and black holes in data collected by the LSST, with the intention of investigating the abundance and properties of those objects in our Milky Way galaxy. “I’m deeply excited about the opportunity to make lasting contributions to the LSST mission, as well as providing mentorship to students to help them build leadership skills and research expertise,” says Daylan, who is at Princeton University for his fellowship.

Rutgers University
Gravitational Lensing

Somayeh Khakpash conducts research on gravitational lensing at Rutgers University. Khakpash became a parent while studying as a graduate student and then as a postdoc. Inspired by her own experiences, as part of her Fellowship Khakpash also plans to build a database of resources and accommodation for graduate students and postdocs who are also facing the challenges of becoming parents. “I hope I can provide beneficial resources for my fellow astronomers who are going through the same challenges that I did,” she says.

Columbia University
Milky Way Halo

Emily Cunningham will take up the fellowship at Columbia University in fall 2025 . Her research focuses on using large-scale surveys, such as LSST, to probe the Milky Way galaxy’s halo of stars. To extend her impact beyond her own research, Cunningham will support the Research Experiences for Veteran Undergraduates (REVU) program, which is a summer program for enlisted veteran undergraduate students.

Washington State University
Active Galactic Nuclei

“Coordinating data collected by Rubin with new and existing surveys is an avenue of interest I find most appealing, and one that will benefit astronomers regardless of what they study,” says Christopher Carroll, who studies active galactic nuclei at Washington State University. “And just as important to me is preparing the next generation of astronomers with the knowledge and skills to extract the most from LSST.”

University of Arizona
Core-Collapse Supernovae

Azalee Bostroem says that she was drawn to the Catalyst Fellowship “because it encompasses three important aspects of astronomical research that I value: scientific results; community focused software development; and community education.” In particular, Bostroem plans to build a software tool that can model the brightness of core-collapse supernovae. Bostroem intends to make her tool available to other astronomers through LINCC to help train current and future astronomers to make the most of the huge databases that the Rubin Observatory will produce.

University of Oxford, U
Dark Energy

“The Catalyst Fellowship comes with a unique set of opportunities,” says Mootoovaloo. “For example, learning and sharing new skills, doing cutting-edge research on forthcoming LSST data, mentoring, and a combination of social science and astronomy, all of which, in my personal opinion, is crucial for growth and development.”