University of Florida

Biographical Information

I was born in Dayton, Ohio in 1968. I lived in Darke County, OH until age 11 and then relocated with my parents and sister to Kentwood, MI (a suburb of Grand Rapids) where I attended junior high and high school. I played water polo and was a varsity swimmer on a nationally-ranked swimming team at East Kentwood High School, graduating in 1986.

In 1986, I moved to Boston to attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. At MIT, I double-majored in physics and literature, was a member of Delta Upsilon fraternity, played varsity water polo, captained the MIT rugby team, and was a member of the Sigma Pi Sigma physics honor society. My bachelor's thesis under Prof. David Staelin was on planetary radio emission. I graduated from MIT with two bachelor's degrees in 1990.

In 1992, I entered graduate school in the Astronomy Department at Harvard University. I worked under Dr. Giovanni Fazio, and completed a doctoral thesis on infrared instrumentation and pulsar studies in 1997. During this time, I also started a family with my wife Veronica Donoso and our daughter Nicolette. In my last year at Harvard, I won the Derek Bok Award for Excellence in Science Teaching (while a TA for Prof. R. Kirshner's class "Matter and the Universe"), and the Edwin Fireman Award for Outstanding Graduate Research.

In 1997, I moved with my family to southern California, where I took a position as the Sherman Fairchild Postdoctoral Prize Fellow in Physics at the California Institute of Technology. Our daughter Sophia was born in mid-1998. At Caltech, I worked in the Infrared Army with Gerry Neugebauer, Keith Matthews, and Tom Soifer.

In 1998, I moved again with my family to Ithaca, New York where I took a position as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Astronomy at Cornell University. Our son Stefan was born in mid-2000. In 2002, I was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure at Cornell. While at Cornell I was awarded a 5-year NSF Early Career award. I also built the Wide-field InfraRed Camera for the Palomar 200-inch telescope, and founded the Hewitt Laboratory for Undergraduate Computation in Astrophysics.

In 2003, I moved yet again with my family to Gainesville, Florida where I took my current position as Professor in the Department of Astronomy at the University of Florida.  AT UF, I have been a University of Florida Research Foundation Professor, and in 2010 I was a Grupo Santander Visiting Professor of Physics at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid (Spain).