PAMS senior Kali Shoaf attended the Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics (CUWiP) Jan. 17-19 in Norman, Oklahoma.
She received the title of “Best Physics” for her conference presentation, along with two other presenters.
About her research
Shoaf analyzes changes in stars’ brightness called pulsations using NASA space telescope data from the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS).
After she identified a star with irregular pulsations, Shoaf began researching the cause of the star’s unusual structure.
“We hope to relate pulsations to temperature, size, mass and gravity to tease out an explanation for the higher frequency we are seeing in this one star,” Shoaf said.
Shoaf conducted her research under the guidance of Dr. Mike Reed.
She serves as the second author of a paper covering the star research that is set for upcoming publication.
In sharing her research, Shoaf aims to offer those of the of the astrophysics field a greater understanding of stars’ interiors.
About her experience
Given her experience with physics as a male-dominated field, Shoaf appreciated that the CUWiP provided women with a strong presence in a scientific environment.
“The most impactful talks I attended were those that covered the obstacles I face as a woman, as well as the even greater obstacles faced by women who are of color or identify as a part of the LGBTQIA+ community,” Shoaf said.
Such talks encouraged the women present to work together to overcome the challenges they face within the field.
“It was such a nice reminder that even though you may feel small on your own, there is a growing community of women in the field who can offer support,” Shoaf said.
About the university’s presence at the conference
Fellow PAMS seniors Meredith Vogel and Yadira Gaibor also attended the conference.
All presented posters on their undergraduate research projects in astronomy.