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Fellow: Clara Sousa-Silva, Ph.D.

Witnessing a solar eclipse occur exactly on its predicted schedule at a young age inspired Clara Sousa-Silva to pursue a career in astronomy. Her desire to understand the mechanisms of the universe now includes expansive ideas about exoplanet habitability—and a focus on the minute molecules that compose their atmospheres. As a theorist, Clara simulates the… Continue Reading

Fellow: Benjamin Rackham, Ph.D.

Ben Rackham is driven by a big question: “Are we alone?” He works toward finding the answer by addressing challenges to detecting signs of life on exoplanets that pass in front of, or transit, their host stars. For example, light signals received from stars can often be mistaken for planetary features. Ben’s research on a… Continue Reading

Fellow: Juliette Becker, Ph.D. candidate

Juliette Becker first gained an appreciation for the power of astronomical data—and the difficulty of acquiring it—while spending 30 nights at the Palomar Observatory located in San Diego, California. Ever since, she has aimed to ground her work in true observations to learn more about the growing population of known exoplanets. Since current observational methods… Continue Reading

Post: Making Headlines: Grantees in the News, February 2019

The Heising-Simons Foundation is proud to regularly see its grantee partners featured in media outlets across the country, providing an expert voice on a timely issue or being highlighted for their accomplishments and hard work. Here are some news items that have featured our grantees in February 2019.

Person: Monique Stoner

Monique Stoner is the office services coordinator at the Heising-Simons Foundation’s office in Los Altos. Prior to joining the Foundation in 2019, Monique worked in a variety of facilities administration roles for over 15 years. A native of the Bay Area, Monique received her bachelor’s degree from Menlo College in business management, with a focus on marketing.

Post: A New Hunt for Undiscovered Dark Matter Particles at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider

The research board at CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research), which operates the LHC, has approved the Forward Search Experiment, or FASER. Initiated by physicists at the University of California, Irvine, the multiyear FASER project is funded by grants of $1 million each from the Heising-Simons Foundation and the Simons Foundation, with additional support from CERN. The experiment will operate along the beam trajectory of the LHC, which creates new particles by smashing protons together at nearly the speed of light.

Person: Yalda Mohammadi

Yalda Mohammadi is the office services coordinator at the Heising-Simons Foundation’s office in San Francisco. Prior to joining the Foundation in 2019, Yalda worked in a variety of administrative roles for over seven years. Yalda also brings a passion for education, gender equality, and a demonstrated commitment to working and volunteering in the nonprofit sector.… Continue Reading

Person: Monica Takama

Monica Takama is the office assistant at the Heising-Simons Foundation’s office in Los Altos. Prior to joining the Foundation in 2019, Monica served as an affordable housing specialist for a real estate company in San Francisco. She is currently studying psychology and business at San Jose State University.

Person: Andrea Michel

Andrea Michel is a program associate for the Education program at the Heising-Simons Foundation. Prior to joining the Foundation in 2019, Andrea managed partnerships and community outreach at an education nonprofit that connected high school students from underserved communities to summer enrichment programs. Andrea received her bachelor’s degree in international studies with a focus on… Continue Reading