Proto-Astrophysicist | Scicomm Enthusiast
"When we explore the cosmos, we come to believe and prove that we can solve problems that have never been solved. It brings out the best in us."
My name is Catherine Slaughter, and I am an early-career astronomer whose research interests are primarily in stellar astrophysics, particularly where observational astronomy can be supplemented by computational methods. I double-majored in Physics and Astronomy at Dartmouth College, where I conducted my culminating research project under Prof. Brian Chaboyer, receiving my Bachelor’s in 2021. I am currently studying Astronomy Research at Leiden University in The Netherlands, and expect to defend my Master’s thesis–advised by Prof. Matthew Kenworthy–in July 2023. After earning my MSc, I am looking forward to pursuing a PhD at the Minnesota Institute for Astrophysics. I will be studying stellar populations in nearby dwarf galaxies using HST (and, eventually, JWST) archival data under the supervision of Prof. Evan Skillman (University of Minnesota) and Prof. Dan Weisz (UC Berkeley). My dedication to research stems from a lifelong love of problem solving. I am happiest when I am fixing what’s been previously broken, making better what’s just ok, and creating solutions to problems that perhaps didn’t exist before. This mindset informs the way I go through the world as a student, a researcher, and (most importantly) a person. Whether it is at a university, NASA, or with any number of other astrophysics research facilities worldwide, I would consider it an honor and a privilege to get to continue solving problems in astronomy as my life’s work.
I am passionate about public outreach in STEM and believe that encouraging people to engage with science is an absolutely critical part of being a scientist. I love teaching, and take any opportunity I can to work as a tutor, a TA, or a public lecturer. I believe in affirmative inclusivity in the sciences, and am always trying to work on my own personal growth and for institutional change.
Outside of school and research, I spend much of my free time reading, listening to or playing music (usually ukulele), and playing fastpitch softball with my team here in Leiden. I am a HUGE Chicago Cubs baseball fan (this season notwithstanding). Back in New Hampshire I developed a love for hiking, kayaking and (of course) climbing, and I would love to thru-hike the Appalacian Trail some day.
(Doesn’t every astronomer have too many photos in front of various telescope domes?)