I got my start with LIGO while an undergraduate student in the SURF program in 2005 and have since experienced life as a graduate student, postdoc and now faculty member in the LSC. As a graduate student, I served as the second-ever student representative on the LIGO Academic Advisory Council (LAAC) in the early years of its existence (and through its transition to becoming a fully-fledged LSC committee). We launched the poster prize and the tutorial sessions at LVC meetings, which I’m happy to see continue to this day.
If elected co-chair, I’d see my duty as one of serving as an advocate with the LIGO Directorate for the educational aspects across all of the LSC to help ensure that postdocs, grad students and undergrads get quality mentoring and a broad education in the wide range of science involved with gravitational-wave detection.
I would want to first take the time to carefully understand the current concerns of students and postdocs by conducting a targeted survey. I would help guide and work with the other LAAC members to evaluate and update the current LAAC resources and programs and create relevant new activities, if necessary. For one, I’d like to see more done to connect our students and postdocs with former LVC members who may serve as role models for the broad range of possible career paths. To make the LAAC as effective as possible also requires providing regular outreach to new students to introduce them to the existence and resources of the LAAC.
I look forward to the opportunity to make a real impact on improving the educational environment for students and postdocs in the collaboration should I be elected!