cara battersby

Assistant Professor
University of Connecticut

Forming Star Cluster

The Milky Way Laboratory


Students Mentored

Dennis Lee, Harvard undergraduate student. Star Formation in the Central Molecular Zone
outside the 100-pc Ring. 2015 - present.

Jimmy Castaño,
Harvard undergraduate student. Formaldehyde Temperature Modeling of Cloud
in the Central Molecular Zone. 2015 - present.

Liz Gehret,
Summer REU student. Identifying Gravitationally Bound Cores in the Central
Molecular Zone. 2015 - present.

Amy Cohn,
Harvard undergraduate student. Physical Properties of the 'Bones of the Milky Way’.
Co-adviser: Alyssa Goodman. 2015 - present.

Mark Graham,
Southampton Master’s Student at Harvard University. Extreme Star Formation
in the Center of Our Galaxy. 2014 - present.

Catherine Zucker,
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory REU Student. Milky Way Bones.
Co-adviser: Alyssa Goodman. 2014 - present

Brian Svoboda,
Graduate Student at University of Arizona at Tucson. The Nature of Starless
Clumps. Co-adviser: Yancy L. Shirley. 2013 - present.

Nalin Vutisalchavakul,
University of Texas, Austin. The Star Formation Relation for Regions
in the Galactic Plane: The Effect of Spatial Resolution. Primary adviser: Neal J. Evans II. 2013.

Cara, Liz, Jimmy, Amy

There are no stupid questions, I tell my students, asking is engaging and engaging is learning.  I always encourage my students to ask questions, as the initial step in removing the barriers to their own understanding, and secondly, I teach them how to break those questions down and seek their answers. A student who takes ownership of their understanding can learn for a lifetime, and a student who takes ownership of their research is a scientist in the making. I depend upon good communication with my students about our respective goals and expectations so that I can help each student achieve his or her version of success. I place a high priority on flexibility to the needs and interests of the wide variety of students who come by my door. I aim to be an adviser who cares deeply about her students and empowers them to answer their own questions and develop as independent, research-based thinkers. 

As a postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, I have served as primary advisor for five undergraduate students and one graduate student. The students had abundant choice in faculty / postdoc advisers (about 350 PhDs at the CfA) and they chose to work with me. Our projects have been highly successful, with one publication in the Astrophysical Journal and two more in preparation. My primary goal is to meet the student where they are and help them get where they want to go. Despite the fact that all of these students signed on for a limited-term summer or thesis project -- each one has chosen to continue to work with me. These students are empowered, well-versed, and excited to talk about their research projects.

Cara and Mark