Meet the EXECUTIVE Board

Gabby Engelmann-Suissa: President 
​School: Columbia College
Class: 2019
Major: Astrophysics
Hometown: Philly  
Why Astro: Astro makes me feel less lonely about life 
Research interests: Astrobiology! It makes you think about The Real Questions and is really interdisciplinary, which I love. It's a growing field on the frontiers of Astro and I definitely want to be a part of it. 
Interesting thing: I love dogs give me dogs 

Larry Li - VP
School: CC
Year: 2018
Major: Astrophysics & Computer Science
Hometown: Beijing, China

Why the interest in astro: I have always wanted to go into space but I'm not fit enough to be an astronaut so I decided to study astrophysics instead - Sad!
Research Interests: star formations, gas, radio modeling, data visualization in general

Research interests: Exoplanets, observational astronomy, brown dwarfs! Currently working on Project 1640 at the American Museum of Natural History, which aims to discover new exoplanets by direct imaging.
Briley Lewis - Senior Advisor

​School: CC
Year: 2018 (Junior)
Major: astrophysics!
Hometown: Orange, CA

Why Astro: When I was in middle school, I read one of Neil deGrasse Tyson's books ("Death by Black Hole and Other Cosmic Quandaries"), and I knew I wanted to learn more. The more I learned about space, the more deeply interested I became, and that all kind of snowballed to get me to where I am now!

Doug Filho - Treasurer
School: Columbia College
Year: 2020
Major: Astrophysics with maybe possibly a minor in history?
Hometown:Londrina, Brazil
Why and Interest in Astro: There are many reasons I think why all of us here are into astronomy. Astronomy and astrophysics are  amazing because they are at the same time abstract and relatable, so distant and yet so close to our reality. 
    I was introduced to astronomy by form of science programs on television. Series like The Universe and Nova science were interesting and engaging, but still only a hobby. My interests became a passion, like some of us I'd imagine, when i heard a science communicator gushing on about how incredible everything is. In my case it was the wonderful Neil DeGrasse Tyson who, through his stand-up comedy way of explaining things, made me want to become an astrophysicist.

    I'm still only a first year, so i know nothing of what research entails. I can only say what I am interested given the limited information i have been given. That said, I love cosmology and the study of the evolution of the universe. Galaxies and galaxy evolution also excite me. The study of Black holes and Special and General relativity are amazing subjects. I like to think about dark matter and dark energy even though I know nothing about them. Quantum seems excitingly confusing. In summary, everything is interesting because I haven't had the chance to look at anything in depth, which I'm very much looking foward to do!

Research :
 I've been actively involved conducting research in the field of Galactic Archeology. In short, we aim to reveal the driving mechanisms that have shaped the Milky Way. One of the approaches my research has taken is studying different stellar populations located on the outskirts of our galaxy commonly known as the "halo." One exciting aspect of our research has confirmed that the disk of the Milky Way might be oscillating! 
Anastasios (Andy) Tzanidakis - Secretary
School: General Studies
Year: 2018
Major: Astronomy 
Hometown : Greece, Crete
Why the interest in Astro : ​
When I was about 13 year old, one night I remember reading this article on the internet that there was a meteor shower. The same night, my parents claim that I slept walked to my balcony to look at the stars. Before I knew it, I could hear my parents shooting at me thinking that I was about to jump off the balcony... Well thankfully I woke up and in confusion I looked up. There was the constellation of Orion shining so bright, just as I was about to go inside, this massive fireball ( a very bright meteor ) just crossed Orions arm. After that, I knew I was hooked. Eventually I saved enough of money to buy my own telescope and practice astrophotography in my backyard. 

Maya Mallaby-Kay - Public Outreach and Web Master

​School - CC
Year - 2018 
Major - Astrophysics
Hometown - Washington, DC
​Why the interest in Astro - I've always loved physics and the way it makes you think.  When I came to columbia I took a seminar with an Astro professor & realized that astro was all the parts of physics that I love - I've never looked back since.
Research: I'm really into cosmology and will be spending my summer doing CMB research at University of Michigan.

Past Executive Boards

We are a community of undergraduates at Columbia University, with a common interest in astronomy and astrophysics. We hold regular meetings to plan events and talk about current research/events in astronomy, and also host events to help connect undergrads with research opportunities and professors. Some of our events include: lunches with professors, outings to local amateur astronomy club events, guest lecturers, stargazing trips (including our annual camping trip to Cherry Springs Dark Sky Park), and more!

Get involved with us and the astronomy community at Columbia - sign up for our email list using the form at the bottom of the page, and be sure to sign up for the department's undergrad mailing list!

About our annual Cherry Springs trip:

"[Cherry Springs] was a great chance to get away from the city and also get to know older students who are studying astrophysics.  Since the trip I've actually reached out to a fellow student, who I got to know better in Cherry Springs, about doing research next semester and he's been a great resource and has really explained some of the ins and outs to me.  Making these kinds of connections are so important for people like myself who are still trying to figure out what they are interested in."

"So often as students, we get lost in the monotony of homework after homework, paper after paper, code after code. So often, astronomy seems too terrestrial, too mundane. But when you go to places like Cherry Springs, you remember that there is something indescribable about the beauty of the night sky that transcends the tedium of problem sets. You remember why you love the stars."