Ph.D. Student in Planetary Science
University of California, Santa Cruz


about // research // dei // teaching // contact // cv


I am a second-year Ph.D. student in Planetary Science at the University of California, Santa Cruz and a member of the UCSC Planetary Science Group studying cosmochemistry. My advisors are Professors Francis Nimmo and Myriam Telus.

I am interested in the formation of the solar system and the evolution of meteorites and asteroids through experimentation and models, particularly volatile depletion, chondrule formation, and the processes that heated and altered meteorite parent bodies. I am also interested in the mineralogy, bulk chemical, and isotopic compositions of returned asteroid samples.

I received my B.S. in Physics and Astrophysics and B.A. in Political Science from Boise State University. During my undergraduate career, I worked with Professor Daryl Macomb on long-term optical monitoring of BL Lacertae objects and was a member of Professor Brian Jackson’s Planetary Science Research Group.


Volatile content of iron meteorites

Magmatic and non-magmatic irons formed under different conditions. Some questions I’m tackling with this project are the following. What do we know about the volatile content of iron meteorites and how could this help us understand Psyche’s formation history? What are the differences in volatile content of these different iron meteorite groups and is this consistent with the models of their formation?

Hirschmann, M. M., Bergin, E. A., Blake, G. A., Ciesla, F. J., & Li, J. (2021)

Baltis Vallis is a lava channel on Venus that shows non-monotonic topography, so it must have been deformed after emplacement. Using Venusian convection models, I am currently investigating whether Baltis Vallis can tell us something about Venus’ convection and evolution.


DEI & Outreach

LGBTQ diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in science is a deeply personal passion of mine, as I have experienced the feeling of not belonging as an LGBTQ scientist. I work to help middle and high school students as well as university students of similar identities see a future for themselves in science. I also work to ensure all current scientists feel welcome in their respective disciplines, free of discrimination and harassment, particularly those who identify as LGBTQ. This is a critical issue affecting multiple disciplines as evidenced by the 2022 documentary Behind the Name: James Webb Space Telescope and a 2020 study that found the following:

  • 87% of respondents reported that increased LGBTQ mentorship would have been helpful during their time as a student
  • 85% and 69%, respectively, reported rarely or never experiencing faculty support for the LGBTQ community
  • 85% of respondents felt that other LGBTQ people in geology were not visible during their time as a student
  • 91% expressed that greater visibility and representation of LGBTQ people in geology would have been helpful during their time as a student

During my Higher Education Research Council Fellowship at Boise State University, I worked to improve LGBTQ inclusivity in the Physics Department by identifying and dismantling barriers, including working with professors and the Center for Teaching and Learning to provide LGBTQ DEI training for physics staff and students. I continue to develop solutions for challenges faced by LGBTQ scientists and youth, and to make science safer and more inclusive for all. Some of my DEI and outreach work is listed below.

  • Queer Youth Task Force of Santa Cruz, STEM and Adult Ally Volunteer, 2022-
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, UC Santa Cruz, 2021-
  • Geoscientists Encouraging Openness & Diversity in the Earth Sciences, UC Santa Cruz, 2021-
  • STEM Camp, Sacajawea Elementary School, 2021
  • STEM Camp, Caldwell High School, 2021
  • Third Thursday Astronomy Series, Boise State University, 2021
  • First Friday Astronomy Series, Boise State University, 2019-2021


Teaching Assistant, University of California, Santa Cruz
  • EART 111, Mathematics in the Earth Sciences, Fall 2022
Lab Instructor, Boise State University
  • PHYS 212L, Physics II with Calculus, Summer 2021
  • PHYS 105, Stars and Cosmology, Spring 2021 (2 sections)
  • PHYS 101, Introduction to Physics, Fall 2020
  • PHYS 111, General Physics I, Summer 2020
  • PHYS 111, General Physics I, Spring 2020
  • PHYS 112, General Physics II, Fall 2019
Teaching Assistant, Boise State University
  • PHYS 341, Classical Mechanics, Spring 2021
  • PHYS 111, General Physics I, Spring 2020
  • PHYS 111, General Physics I, Fall 2019
  • MATH 170, Calculus I, Fall 2013
  • MATH 175, Calculus II, Summer 2012
  • MATH 170, Calculus I, Spring 2012
  • MATH 170, Calculus I, Fall 2011


University of California, Santa Cruz
Earth and Planetary Sciences
1156 High Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95064