Rubin Undergraduate Network (RUN): Introduction Thread

This thread is to introduce the Rubin Undergraduate Network (RUN). We are a collection of faculty and staff from various smaller institutions across the United States (as compared to large “R1” universities) that focus on research at the undergraduate level. We are dedicated to the involvement of undergraduates in meaningful astrophysical research using Rubin data.

In this thread you will find introductions from our volunteer members, along with contact information. We hold regular Zoom meetings, in which we discuss efforts to engage undergraduates in research, as well as offer opportunities for undergraduates to present their astrophysical projects to a friendly audience. Anyone who wishes to focus on using Rubin for undergraduate research is welcomed to join us.

Have a look in this same forum for our “Proposals” thread to find ideas about engaging undergrads in Rubin-supported projects.


Name: Mark Pitts

Institution: Eastern Kentucky University (Richmond, KY)

Personal Research Interests: Low-Mass Stars and Brown Dwarfs

Greetings! I am a newly-minted assistant professor at the Physics, Geosciences, and Astronomy Department at EKU. I am putting together a computer lab space on-campus for undergrads to be able to access and analyze Rubin data. I am always on the look-out for project ideas that are at a workable level for undergrads to tackle in a typical timeframe (i.e., 0.5-2 years).

Contact Info:

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Name: Christina Adair

Institution: Southeast Missouri State University and SLAC (LSST)

Hello! I teach an Introduction to Astronomy class and lab at SEMO and am looking for ideas for undergraduate research projects. The university has a 16-inch telescope and will soon have a building/outreach facility.

Contact info:

Name: Matthew Wiesner

Institution: Benedictine University

Personal Research Interests: Gravitational lensing and image simulations. Kilonova identification.

Contact info:


Name: Jesse Mason

Institution: Henry Ford College

Personal Research Interests: Whatever research I can make available to my community college students.

Contact info:

Hi everyone,

My name is Jesse. I teach physics and astronomy for Henry Ford College in Dearborn, Michigan.

My students (currently an 8-member team) have worked under the direction of Dr. Kristen Dage (currently at Wayne State University) researching black holes in young star clusters using archival data from Chandra.

We are currently working on the LSST modules and preparing a student-written and student-tested guide.



Name: Kristen Dage
Institution: Wayne State University
Research Interests: compact objects and globular clusters, machine learning, multiwavelength astronomy, making astronomy research accessible to everyone
Contact Info:

Hi everyone! I am not at an undergraduate focused institution, but my experiences as a non-traditional transfer student in the US academic system motivated me to question who gets to be an astronomer and why, and how can we remove roadblocks. I’m very lucky that Jesse and his fantastic team of students do exciting research with me, from radio to X-ray, and are willing to navigate the learning curve of astronomy data analysis software so that we can make it more broadly available.


Name: Becka Phillipson
Institution: Villanova University
Research interests: compact objects, XRBs, AGN, timing variability, chaos & nonlinear dynamics, machine learning, accessibility and inclusion
Contact info:

Hello everyone! I am currently an NSF postdoc at Villanova, but I will be starting as a new Assistant Professor in the Fall. I just joined the TVS collaboration and I am still getting my feet under me. I have worked with ZTF data studying the timing variability of XRBs and AGN and I am interested to expanding into the Rubin data. I am looking forward to exploring project ideas using Rubin data that are suitable for undergraduate students.