E'lisa Lee

Year of graduation: 2016 (undergraduate), 2021 (M.S. in physics)
Degree from UH Hilo, minors & certificates: B.S. astronomy, minors: physics and Japanese studies

 Name:  E'lisa Lee
Year of graduation: 2016 (undergraduate), 2021 (M.S. in physics)
Degree from UH Hilo, minors & certificates: B.S. astronomy, minors: physics and Japanese studies
Clubs and Organizations: American Astrophysical Society, National Society of Black Physicists, National Society of Black Engineers.
Where you are now and what you're doing: I graduated with a master's degree in physics from California State University, Fresno. I have applied for PhD programs and I'm waiting to hear back from them. I'm also taking a couple of extra physics courses to strengthen my physics background. I've also been applying to various aerospace jobs and jobs in industry.
Areas of specialty: Active Galactic Nuclei
Places you have worked, interned or traveled to for your career: I have worked at the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope as an extended observing operator for two years. I worked as a teaching associate for elementary astronomy and algebra based general physics labs at California State University, Fresno. I also worked as a research student researching the accretion disks around quasars and cataclysmic variables. I've been able to travel to Tokyo, Japan for a short-term internship at Subaru observatory as well as other states in the U.S. for conferences.
Brief 1-paragraph bio What attracted you to UH Hilo Physics & Astronomy?
I was attracted to Hilo by the telescopes on the summit of Maunakea. I knew I wanted to work for an observatory and after some research I found UH Hilo. At the time the astronomy program at UH Hilo had a student telescope on the summit. Students at the time were given the opportunity to conduct observations and learn to operate the student telescope on Maunakea. Most universities don't have the opportunity to work so close to the best telescopes in the world. At UH Hilo you could walk up the hill and be able to interact with people that worked at Gemini observatory or other well-known observatories.
Advice for prospective/current students of UH Hilo Physics & Astronomy: 
To the prospective/current student in physics and astronomy, I would say you need to make sure you take as many math classes as possible. Being able to understand the math behind the physics helps immensely. 

Try to get experience in science outreach and become comfortable with explaining topics. If there are any opportunities to volunteer for Astro day, Journey Through the Universe, or other outreach events you should try to volunteer. Being able to communicate science to your peers and the public is important to understanding the material well. 

Start doing research on internships, some programs are Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU), Science Undergraduate Laboratories Internships (SULI), and specifically for Hawaii, Akamai Workforce Initiative and the Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation at UH Hilo. As an undergraduate student you want to do as many research internships as you can, so you can gain skills and figure out what you like and dislike. As a woman in science, you should try to go to the American Physics Society (APS) Conference for Women interested in Physics (CUWiP). At the CUWiP conference you are able to network with other undergraduate women, scientists, and professionals. 

And don't be afraid to reach out to the people that work at the observatories to establish professional relationships, find volunteering opportunities, and internships. Most importantly, you want to make sure that you are keeping up with the most current research going on in astronomy, so subscribe to astrobites. Astrobites is a website that summarizes astronomy papers for undergraduate students. 

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Imposter syndrome is a thing that is all too common in STEM students. Your professors want you to succeed, use their office hours! Manage your time well. Not just to get assignments in on time without having to pull all-nighters, but to manage stress and well-being. Budget time for your classwork, homework, job, but also for yourself: take walks, go to the gym, see a movie, go to the beach! Everything is a learning experience. Don’t get discouraged, and remember, it’s a marathon, not a race.

Website: www.linkedin.com/in/elisamlee/
Email address: emarinalee@gmail.com

(Updated January 24, 2022)