The Physics and Astronomy Graduate Mentors (GradMAP) group
GradMAP Logo

Our peer mentoring program exists to help early graduate students succeed in their transition to graduate school, navigate department resources, and provide a network of mentorship which will grow and flourish throughout the student’s career. Providing a systematic support network of peers reduces the challenge of adjusting to a difficult program in a new location. This built-in community provides an additional space to build the personal and professional relationships which make our department a collaborative, welcoming, and inclusive space.  

This initiative gives our graduate students an opportunity to learn many of the non-academic skills associated with being a successful physicist. Mentorship experience prepares students to be both competent and compassionate leaders as they enter academia or the work force. 

Objectives of the program: 

  • Place students into a mentoring cohort, consisting of two 1st year and two 2nd year graduate students, led by upper-level graduate students, which will provide guidance and introduce them to resources within the department. 
  • Make the adjustment to graduate school easier and less isolating by integrating 1st year graduate students into the department community and providing a support network of other graduate students. 
  • Facilitate personal and professional development. 

Graduate Mentors (GradMAP) Coordinator

Caroline Roberts

Caroline Anna Roberts, Ph.D.

Graduate Mentor Program (GradMAP) Coordinator
Instructional Services Specialist

Caroline received her BS in Physics from Sewanee: The University of the South and her MS in Physics and PhD in Astronomy from Georgia State University. In the University of Iowa Department of Physics and Astronomy she is the Astronomy Laboratory Coordinator and Van Allen Observatories Manager, supervising the experience of undergraduate students taking Astronomy lab classes in the department and overseeing the operation of the department’s 17- and 20-inch telescopes used for labs, research, and outreach. She is also a co-coordinator of the department’s “Hawkeyes in Space” outreach program and the program advisor for GradMAP, the department graduate student peer-mentoring group.

Meet your Graduate Mentors

Brown

Collin Brown

Graduate Research Assistant
Graduate Student Mentor

Collin Brown’s research interests involve using high-performance computation and kinetic plasma theory to study the solar wind. He is working with Dr. Greg Howes, Dr. Jimmy Juno, and Dr. Steve Baek to develop a machine learning algorithm that detects key properties of shocks in simulated astrophysical plasmas.

Sanjay Chepuri

Sanjay Chepuri

Graduate Research Assistant
Graduate Student Mentor

Sanjay Chepuri is interested in studying space physics. He is currently working with Dr. Allison Jaynes examining the Earth's magnetosphere using data from MMS and other spacecraft.

Gross

Arran Gross

Graduate Research and Teaching Assistant
Graduate Student Senate Representative
Graduate Student Advisory Committee Member
Graduate Student Mentor

Arran Gross is interested in the multiwavelength properties of active galactic nuclei in nearby galaxies. He is currently working with Professor Hai Fu to identify and characterize pairs of active nuclei in merging galaxies. He has also worked with Professor Phil Kaaret to study the X-ray variability of the black holes in the irregular galaxy Haro 11.

Gunderson

Sean Gunderson

Graduate Teaching Assistant
Graduate Student Mentor

Sean Gunderson’s interest is in the properties and evolution of hot stars. His research is primarily focused on the hypersonic stellar winds of these stars using theoretical models and high energy light spectra. The research is an intersection between high energy astrophysics and plasma physics; particularly the physics of plasma shocks that generate X-rays within the stellar winds.

Horvath

Sarah Horvath

Graduate Research Assistant
Graduate Student Advisory Committee Member
Graduate Student Mentor

Sarah Horvath does research in computational space plasma physics. This includes running high-resolution simulations of turbulent solar wind plasma in order to better understand the process of Landau damping by electrons: a mechanism that contributes to the heating of the solar wind as it expands outward from the Sun. Characterizing this mechanism within simulations can provide theoretical framework for interpreting data from current and future spacecraft missions.

McLaughlin

Jacob McLaughlin

Graduate Research Assistant
Graduate Student Mentor

Jacob McLaughlin performs research in experimental plasma sciences, specializing in nonperturbative, laser-based diagnostic techniques.  Working with Dr. Skiff, his current focus is wave-particle interactions and kinetic instabilities.

Pare

Dylan Paré

Graduate Teaching Assistant
Graduate Student Advisory Committee Member
Graduate Student Mentor

Dylan is originally from Massachusetts and did his undergraduate in astronomy and physics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. His research at Iowa is on the Galactic Center studying the properties of non-thermal structures seen throughout that region.

swarm

Dustin Swarm

Graduate Research Assistant
Graduate Student Mentor

Dustin Swarm is interested in high energy astrophysics and the application of machine learning in astronomy. He is currently working with Prof. Casey DeRoo studying X-ray sources in the Galactic center found using an outlier detection algorithm.

Riley Troyer

Riley Troyer

Graduate Research Assistant

Originally from Fairbanks, Alaska, Riley has been fascinated by the northern lights (aurora) for his entire life and is currently studying a dim but dynamic type called pulsating aurora. He is also interested in science policy and helped create Connecting Science to Society, a student science policy and communication organization. Riley works for Dr. Allison Jaynes and is funded under a NASA FINESST grant.

Vidal

Keith Vidal

Graduate Teaching Assistant
Graduate Student Mentor

Keith Vidal is interested in space and plasma physics.  He has studied strongly coupled and magnetized plasmas and is currently studying wave-particle interactions in the Earth's magnetosphere with Prof. Jaynes.