Mansi M.'s Open Road

  • INTERVIEWED BY:

    Doctoral Roadtrip

MANSI M. KASLIWAL

Assistant Professor of Astronomy & Principal Investigator at GROWTH
California Institute of Technology

“Even though plan A didn’t find what I was looking for, there were other questions that I could answer with the same data and other things that I wasn’t looking for that I ran into in the process of reaching the goal. Enjoy the journey.”

INTERESTS:

Science Environment & Nature

THEMES DISCUSSED:

Determination Transitions Negativity Failure Opportunity Passion Fulfillment Dedication Hard Work Success Inspiration Family Support & Encouragement Risk

FOUNDATION:

Learning / Being Challenged

BIOGRAPHY:

  • Grew up on a farm in a small village in India—left home at the age of fifteen to come to the U.S. to pursue her passion for science.
  • Was the first person in her family to pursue a career in the sciences—says she often felt like the “black sheep” in the family, but they always supported her.
  • Even though she had support from her family, she encountered a lot of negativity from her community in India for her decision to leave.
  • Her love for astronomy was sparked as an undergraduate after witnessing the launch of the NASA Spitzer Space Telescope and being part of the discovery team that analyzed the data.
  • Says that her Ph.D. dissertation work was actually “plan D”—she chose a risky topic that failed many times, but she made the commitment to embrace her curiosity and challenge herself.
  • Was a NASA Hubble Fellow and completed her postdoctoral work with a joint appointment at the Carnegie Institution for Science and Princeton University.
  • Currently works as an assistant professor of astronomy at Caltech studying the dynamic universe; uses a network of telescopes continuously recording the night sky to study changes in the universe.
  • She has also conducted research with GROWTH, which is a five year project funded by the National Science Foundation to advance our understanding of cosmic events.

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