Thank you for the nomination and the opportunity to stand for election for LAAC grad student representative. My name is Sylvia Biscoveanu, and I am currently a fourth year PhD student at MIT. I joined the collaboration in 2015 as an undergraduate, and my unique experiences at each institution where I was involved in LIGO research (Penn State, Caltech, Monash, and MIT) have shown me the value in having a centralized source of information for grad students in the collaboration as well as a way for students across many different institutes to stay connected.
If elected, I will strive to make it easier for student researchers to get started and more involved in the collaboration, making the resources already maintained by the LAAC more accessible and widely advertised. As someone with experience in both the stochastic and CBC working groups, I understand how difficult and intimidating it can be to get started with contributing to collaboration projects and papers. I have been actively involved in developing tutorials for introducing commonly-used codes like bilby and want to expand this effort and include more introductory programming of this nature at LVK meetings. I would also update and maintain the current list of gravitational-wave related postdoctoral fellowships and talk opportunities as a reference for early career scientists. With so many timezones and institutions included in the LVK, it can be especially hard to feel connected when you’re not able to attend telecons and interact with others during working hours. I would work to expand the informal network of grad students in the LVK and find a way for us to keep in touch and share experiences through something like a mailing list or mattermost channel on top of the social events that typically occur during LVK meetings. Particularly during the pandemic with conferences and research occurring remotely, staying connected is key to our mental health, happiness, and overall success in graduate school.