Monica Young


Advisor: Alan Marscher
PhD Thesis: Probing Quasar Accretion Physics with Optical and X-ray Spectroscopy
Current Position: Web Editor at Sky & Telescope magazine

Monica Young came to BU to pursue a Ph.D. in astronomy, and spent a year exploring the many space physics and astronomy research programs offered at BU. At the beginning of her second year, Monica received a predoctoral fellowship at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. She found the opportunity ideal for collaborating with her Ph.D. advisor, Alan Marscher, and her predoctoral fellowship advisor, Martin Elvis (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics), to study optical and X-ray emission from quasars. The collaboration took her across the river to CfA, where she took part in high-energy and quasar seminars as well as discussions with other CfA scientists, and to Italy to work with collaborator Guido Risaliti (CfA and INAF – Arcetri Observatory) — all while receiving excellent instruction and resources at BU.

After graduating Monica took a one-year postdoc at Penn State, where she wrote a paper on X-ray variability in quasars with advisor Niel Brandt, while also writing astronomy press releases for the Media Relations department. Her experiences in graduate school and afterward helped her land a position as Web Editor for Sky & Telescope magazine.

Why BU?

“Boston University’s astronomy department has a diverse set of research programs for incoming graduate students to explore. The exciting plethora of opportunities available at the university and in the surrounding academic community (accessible in large part through the department’s seminars) enables students to shape their own studies. The department facilitated my outside collaborations, which was essential to my success. My Ph.D. studies were essential to receiving my current editorial position at a popular science magazine.”