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Caitlin Witt Awarded Prestigious CIERA-Adler Postdoctoral Fellowship


Caitlin Witt, has been awarded the prestigious CIERA-Adler Postdoctoral Fellowship in Chicago, Illinois.

Caitlin will receive her PhD in May in the WVU Department of Physics and Astronomy, where her research focused on multi-messenger studies of supermassive black hole binaries alongside her advisor, Prof. Sarah Burke-Spolaor.  This included performing and developing searches for nanohertz gravitational waves and electromagnetic signatures of binaries, as well as combining the two. Caitlin was also an active member in the Center for Gravitational Waves and Cosmology.

In her new role, she will continue her research on supermassive black hole binaries and multi-messenger astronomy.  

Her position is jointly appointed at both the Center for Interdisciplinary Exploration and Research in Astrophysics (CIERA) at Northwestern University and the Adler Planetarium.  At Adler, she will be working with the Public Observing team to help develop a program for local high school and college students to conduct astronomy research projects using the telescope in the Adler’s Doane Observatory. 

In addition to continuing her work in NANOGrav (North American Nanohertz Observatory), she hopes to collaborate with CIERA's Gravitational Wave and Multi-Messenger Astronomy group, as well as expand her focus on electromagnetic signatures of supermassive black hole binaries by working with time-domain astronomy experts at CIERA.

It’s an exciting move for Caitlin as she looks forward to working alongside the interdisciplinary experts at CIERA to expand her interests and expertise in computing and data science. Her new role’s outreach component at the Adler Planetarium is ideally complementary for her, as she notes “This will be a perfect combination of my passions for research mentorship, expanding access to astronomy, and public outreach.”