After writing monthly posts at Astrobites for two years, I have officially retired from the “regular rotation.” This comes as Astrobites welcomes a new cohort of authors and I refocus my writing energies toward more pressing matters (you know, like my dissertation and job applications). I will still serve as an editor, mentor, and occasional website wrestler, and I am proud to be one of four Astrobites Correspondents at next week’s American Astronomical Society (AAS) meeting near Orlando, Florida.
Things have been quiet here at AstronoMerrdiff while I’m in thesis mode. I’ll be presenting a portion of my dissertation research at AAS on Jan 5, which just happens to coincide with the arXiv announcement date of my latest accepted journal paper! This is a large chunk of my thesis and I’m thrilled how it finally came together (all 20 pages, 12 figures, and 4 tables of it). Look for an Astrobites-esque summary here in the coming weeks.
I’ll be in Las Cruces to touch base with colleagues in early February. That same month, I will lead an astronomy-themed retreat weekend at Ghost Ranch (join me!), and take a much-needed vacation with JoCo and friends. My thesis defense is scheduled for April 8, and I’ve got loads of research and writing to wrap up between now and then.
This is the time in a PhD career when everybody loves to ask, “what’s next?” For now, I don’t have an answer. I’ve applied for a few Seattle-based postdoc positions, and am keeping my eyes open for other astronomy jobs of interest. I have two other potential career trajectories up my sleeve: education/outreach and data science. (I’m also applying to be an Astronaut, but I think the likelihood of that is even lower than landing a position in academia!)
Setting overly-apt PhD Comics aside… certainly writing and online communication will play a role in my career wherever I wind up. I’m thrilled to have contributed so much to Astrobites and thankful for the friends I’ve made there. In this present moment, I recognize how incredibly lucky I am to get paid (a little) to do what I love (a lot) while living where I want (the Pacific Northwest). These early months of 2016 will be one heck of a ride. I’m hanging on tight; the Universe awaits.