Week 10

This is my last official week of the DREU program but I’m still going strong and plan to continue it through the school year, and into next summer. This program has made me so much more confident in my ability to research and I’m so thankful for the opportunity I was given. I can’t even begin to say how much I love what I’m doing, and the fact that I’m being paid to do what I love by a wonderful program makes it even better.

My classifier is almost ready for a final run through, but I’m a perfectionist who will still be toying with it for the next few weeks before classes start up again. However, we’ve built up a satisfactory training sample and we found a new direction to present this research. Instead of focusing on the ML model, we’re focusing on the creation of the sample training set. Only 2% of the light curves in TESS are the type we want to see. Can you imagine going through hundreds of thousands of plots to look for that 2%? That’s what undergraduates and new graduate students do all the time in astronomy and it’s time we make it better.

So, this research has a new spin and a poster title: Leveraging Statistical Analysis to Develop Labels for Astronomical Time Series Data.

Pretty snazzy, eh? A bit too wordy for my taste, but it was hard to convey what I wanted to! I’ll be presenting my poster at the Grace Hopper Celebration in October and I’ll be submitting it for approval to the American Astronomical Society for their annual winter meeting in January. Wish me luck! (By the way, DREU funded me for Tapia AND Grace Hopper!! I wish I could have done a poster at Tapia but at least I’ll get to show folks what DREU helped me accomplish at GHC!)

Finally, I also plan on using this research when applying for the NCWIT Collegiate Award. Working on this project and doing research for it made me realize that there’s not a lot of work being done in the development of time series training data. We need to ease the burden placed on new academics who are classifying these things by hand day in, day out. My research not only trained my eyes, but it helped me learn actual statistics and metrics of my data. That’s pretty stellar (pun intended) if you ask me!

So thanks again, DREU and Dr. Davenport, for the wonderful summer and I hope y’all will stick with me as I keep this research going.

Written on August 21, 2020