2019 Student Cohort

We had approximately 530 applications from across the country for the 8 NSF-funded spots in our 2019 CIERA REU program!

We also had additional funding from the LSSTC, the Illinois Space Grant, and faculty grants, allowing us to fund a total of 14 students this summer.

Below you will find information about these very talented students who spent the 2019 summer with us.

Please click on each student’s name to visit their research website, which they each developed during their REU to present their research projects.


Students listed in alphabetical order by last name.

Devin Becker
DePaul University (Physics), Sophomore
Advisor: Mario Spera, Fred Rasio
Project: The Lives of Stars In Globular Clusters: From Birth to Black Hole

Andrew Bowen
Northwestern University (Physics, Astronomy), Junior
Advisor: Aaron Geller
Project: Eclipsing Binaries in Star Clusters from LSST

Melissa Cashion
Texas A&M University (Physics), Junior
Advisor: Mario Spera, Fred Rasio
Project: The History of Planetary Systems in Dense Star Clusters

Mercedes Collins
University of North Texas
(Physics), Junior
Advisor: Seth Jacobson
Project: The YORP Effect Can Efficiently Destroy 10 km Planetesimals In The Edge Of The Solar System

Owen Eskandari
(Physics), Freshman
Advisor: Wen-Fai Fong
Project: Stellar Explosions and the LSST Era

Xander Hall
Illinois Math and Science Academy
,  High School Junior
Advisor: Adam Miller, Aaron Geller
Project: Variable Star Classification with Zooniverse

Nathan Hung
Northwestern University
(Physics), Senior
Advisors: Adam Miller
Project: Automated Detection of Stellar Variables with LSST Data

Emma Kaufman
Illinois Institute of Technology
(Physics), Junior
Advisors: Sasha Tchekhovskoy
Project: Investigating Power Spectral Densities of Black Hole Properties

Camille Liotine
(Astrophysics), Junior
Advisor: Christopher Berry, Vicky Kalogera
Project: Simulation Analysis of High-Mass X-Ray Binaries and their Evolution into Binary Black Hole Mergers

Nikolaus (Nik) Prusinski
University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee
(Physics, Mathematics), Junior
Advisor: Nancy Aggarwal, Christopher Berry
Project: Detecting Orphan Memory from Gravitational Waves

Andrew Santos
Purdue University (Physics), Junior
Advisor: André de Gouvêa
Project: Exploring a New Model for Neutrino Propagation Using Current and Future Experiments

David Sten
Northwestern University (Physics), Freshman
Advisor: Giacomo Terreran, Raffaella Margutti
Project: An Analysis of the Tidal Disruption Event AT2019ahk

Sophia Taylor
University of Washington (Physics, Astronomy), Sophomore
Advisor: Luke Zoltan Kelley, Claude-André Faucher-Giguère
Project: A Numerical Formula Built to Measure Dynamical Friction in Realistic Galactic Environments

David Velasco
DePaul University (Physics, Mathematics), Junior
Advisor: Eric Dahl
Project: Characterization of Silicon Photomultipliers (SiPMs) for SBC Experiment

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