Thursday, January 15, 2015

FWS Research Assistant Highlights: Kim Banks

My Name is Kim Banks and my intended major is Physics and an Astronomy minor. I am currently working for Jessica L. Rosenberg as a research assistant. I am a freshman and I am grateful to get such an assistantship so soon, especially in my preferred field of work. We are working on a proposal to use the Hubble Telescope in May of 2015 to look at spheroidal dwarf galaxies and use a quasar as a source of light to find out what these galaxies are made-up of.
Currently, I am gathering data together to look over and decide with is the best to use for the project. Then I am to submit a request to gather data from an online database called Mikulski Archive For Space Telescopes about objects- such as a quasar- that we want more information about. Before this, I collected information from the different galaxies and organized the information into Excel sheets for easier access. After I have gathered the requested data I am to access it through a program using Linux.

I have learned a lot since being this assistantship. I have learned a great deal about my intended career field and about the work I will be dedicating my life to. Along with learning about locating points in space- similar to longitudes and latitudes on Earth but in space- have also learned about measurements used to define how far away something and what these measurements are equivalent to. This week, I should be learning a bit about how to use Linux, which is preferred in most of this line of work. 

My long-term goal is to become an Astrophysicist and work under other scientist in this field while gaining experience then eventually researching independently. Having the opportunity to work in this kind of position so early on is a true dream, especially as my first job. This assistantship as done a great deal for me and helped me make another step closer to accomplishing my dream.