Undergraduate Research Program

Guadalupe Tovar

Tovar, Guadalupe

Astronomy         Minor: Physics
Mentor: Victoria Meadows, Astronomy; Jacob Lustig Yaeger, Astronomy

Contact: tovarg@uw.edu

Current research project: Mapping Exoplanets Using Time Variability



Translate your work so that we can all understand its importance
When you look at a map of the world you are able to point out the distinct land forms (continents), oceans, and poles. Similarly, my current research involves creating maps of planets outside of our solar system. We are constructing them by observing how the brightness of the planet changes as it rotates on its axis. Different surfaces reflect more or less light, and these maps will serve as a guide to understand the capabilities of future NASA telescopes.

What is the most exciting and/or rewarding aspect of your undergraduate research experience?
On a day to day basis, it is exciting when you get your code working or when you find a solution to the problem you’ve had for weeks because they are contributions to your field of study. However, one of the most rewarding aspects of research has been the multitude of opportunities that come with it. I have been able to travel to conferences to present my research, network with people across various disciplines, and apply what I am learning in class to a real project.

What advice would you give a student who is considering getting involved in undergraduate research?
Ask questions! Talk to your professors, faculty, and graduate students in your department of interest to find out what projects they are involved in. A conversation can provide you information on how to get involved in a research project.