Tala Monroe

B.S., Physics, Western Kentucky University, Summa Cum Laude, May 2003

Name and address of current employer

Indiana University
Department of Astronomy
727 East 3rd St, Swain Hall West 319
Bloomington, IN 47405-7105

Current position

I am Ph.D. Candidate, and a Research Assistant in the Department of Astronomy. I do Research! I am making use of mid-IR data from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope to look for mid-IR emission characteristic of debris disks around A stars in young star clusters. I will soon be determining metallicities of these star clusters to look for correlations and anticorrelations between the frequency of debris disks and stellar metallicities.

What I got from the WKU Physics and Astronomy department that helps me to be successful in this job

The best gift I received from the department was the encouragement I needed to pursue this career path. The one-on-one time I received from the professors was invaluable. I learned how to observe, analyze data, and to search relevant literature.

Analyses I performed for lab write-ups provided excellent preparation for doing research (as much as I hate to admit this, given my dislike of them!). Just to name a few skills acquired: looking at data from many aspects (basically just playing with data), making plots, consideration of sources of error and limitations of data, and technical writing skills.

Tips and advice for someone wanting to pursue a career in my area

Take as many programming and numerical analysis classes as possible! Take your time as an undergrad and get a good background, and be sure to ask questions.

Favorite memory from my time at WKU

Observing. I am grateful for the unique opportunity I had to do remote observing on a weekly basis. Also, traveling to KPNO w/ Dr. Gelderman was absolutely thrilling for me. Memories of these experiences have provided motivation and inspiration for me during some rough times.

 Last Modified 7/23/13