I had a really exciting, productive last year! I hope you did, too. Let’s celebrate together!

2019 was a wild ride from start to finish.


In January of 2019, I began writing my application for the Chandra X-ray Center predoctoral fellowship (subdivision of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics) that I was offered later in May that I accepted immediately and then prepared for the rest of the year, and now am just days away from starting! This same month, I had to prepare to re-take the one written qualifying exam that I failed the first go-around in August 2018. It was my second (and last) attempt to pass the classical and statistical mechanics exam – and I did! This meant I could continue to pursue my Ph.D. I almost forgot – this was the same time my first paper was published!

That same spring semester of 2019, I prepared to defend my Master’s thesis on a candidate for cosmic ray acceleration (I’ll do a post on that very soon!). Additionally, it was my first semester as a full time research assistant which means NO teaching duties of any kind! 

In March of 2019, I turned 25. Woo!

In April, I successfully defended my Master’s thesis. However, I forgot to apply for graduation at the beginning of the semester so I didn’t actually earn my Master’s degree from Clemson U until just a few days ago (I applied for graduation in fall 2019). I should receive my diploma in the mail in the next couple of weeks!

In May, my parents made the big move to a new neighborhood in Williamsburg. My sister and I grew up in the suburbs of Hampton, VA where my parents’ lived up until this spring. They had been itching for something new and a little more along the lines of their needs and they seem really happy where they are now!

In June, Noah and I travelled to Europe for two weeks to visit and explore with our two good friends and we visited over five countries! I planned this trip for us as a way to celebrate the many accomplishments I had in the spring semester and to wish us all more adventure, fun, and progress for the rest of the year to come. It was our first time ever leaving the United States and it was awesome to get out of our comfort zone and experience completely new things.

From August to November, I finished my last semester of electives towards my PhD and prepared for the move and new-ish research project in Cambridge, MA. During this time, my sister and her husband got new army orders to prepare to be stationed in Kentucky in spring 2020. This is great news as they have been stationed so far from us since Dale, my brother-in-law, has been in the military. They first lived in Fort Drum, New York and later Alaska. Now they are back on the east coast! In addition to their moving closer to us, they have a wonderful new family with the Brantley addition, my nephew. That little twerp is seriously awesome. He is so well-behaved and good natured about things. He smiles pretty much all of the time. He LOVES dogs and animals and his Auntie Jordie (me)!

In December, I officially moved my pack, Noah, Ruca (the beagle), Mars (the tabby cat), and Bella (the black cat) up to Cambridge. Noah was offered and accepted a job with the USPS in Cambridge. So we are still transitioning but things are starting to wind down as everything falls into place. Most of all, we get to spend time home with family for the holidays.

I’m so grateful for so many people and opportunities that made this year so special to me.

My family and friends kept me sane. My parents helped me financially, emotionally, mentally, etc. with this move. I don’t know if the move would’ve been possible without them. Noah has been a great, loving, and supportive partner through it all. I have amazing mentors in my field: Marco, Stefano, and Dan to name a few. They have taught me what I know and continue to work closely with me on my PhD research. I am also so thankful for the ladies in our departmental office and the department chair for all of their hard work and help in getting me transitioned with the fellowship, both in person and with the paperwork. I have been blessed with an outstanding support system in my career! I can’t wait to see what my new research community at the CfA has to offer.

New Year’s Resolutions & Continuing Goals

I know. It’s a little cliche and sappy but it’s always good, in my opinion, to share your hopes and dreams with others to help keep you accountable and to even remind yourself of why you want certain things for yourself and others. I’m sharing goals that I want to accomplish in the next year (or maybe more) as well as goals that have been carried over from 2019 (and maybe earlier) into 2020. 


  • Keep cooking meals at home and branch out with new recipes (please, no one take that as a hint to get me a recipe book. It takes up space and I just use a Google kitchen display for recipes!)
  • Keep studying. Even things not pertaining to my field. I already don’t do much theoretical (aka MATH) work in my field. I want to stay sharp so I’ll need to make sure I do this in my own time.
  • Become fluent in Spanish. I’ve taken Spanish all of my life and I STILL cannot speak it fluently. I’m getting there-ish though (not really). Spanish books for learners would be an awesome gift though instead of a recipe book….
  • Publish 3 new papers by 2020. I have 2 still in the works but should be wrapped up very soon, I hope, and one more that should manifest from my CfA research project early on.
  • Maintain good health and diet. I have been an avid runner since I was about 19 years old. Ruca and I run regularly now, about 4 miles 4 days per week in addition to a 30 minute work out routine that I developed myself over the years. I am not the greatest when it comes to diet so I’d love to work on that through cooking at home.
  • Stop complaining. I’ve realized I’ve gotten stuck in a rut of complaining. a lot. I’ve also noticed it puts me in a worse mood by focusing on the negatives so much so, in 2020, I’m gonna zip my lip and go with the flow. 
  • Join the equity and diversity group at CfA. As always, I find it hugely important to speak up for your marginalized peers and to make sure you understand how you can actually help. 
  • Find new ways for educational outreach in Cambridge area. Being an active scientist that engages with the general public is another important note for me. I want to keep actively fighting against misinformation. If anyone has ideas on this one, that would be great! Shoot me a message on the contact form or even include it in your response below.

Now it’s your turn!




Or something that you overcame this year. Celebrate your malleability, adaptability, and willingness to improve, change, and embrace the good and the bad!


What are your hopes, dreams, and goals for 2020 and beyond?

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