Dr. Jen Winters joined BSU in September 2023 and is an observational astronomer who came to astronomy via a circuitous path. She earned her BS in Music Management at Georgia State University as a non-traditional student after studying Western Classical Music History (Musicology) and Women's Studies at the University of Georgia in Athens and Piano Performance and Composition prior to that at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. She then went on to earn an MS in Physics and a PhD in Astronomy at Georgia State University in Atlanta. Following her graduate work, she spent six years at the Harvard & Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics as a Post-doctoral Fellow and Research Associate before spending a year at Williams College as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Physics.
Here at BSU, Dr. Winters is teaching introductory, algebra-based Mechanics (Fall 2023, Spring 2024), Introductory Astronomy (Spring 2024) and Computer Simulation (Fall 2023), and previously taught Modern Physics and introductory, algebra-based Electricity & Magnetism at Williams College. Dr. Winters' research focuses on discovering and characterizing stellar, brown dwarf, and planetary companions to nearby M dwarfs, the most numerous types of star in our Galaxy. She uses a variety of telescope facilities around the world (and beyond!), including the 8.1-meter Gemini telescopes in Hawai'i and Chile, the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO) in Chile, the Whipple Observatory in Arizona, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), the Hubble Space Telescope (HST), and the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). She has published nine first-authored papers in peer-reviewed scientific journals on this topic, including the discovery of the nearest exoplanet known to transit an M dwarf host star, and is a co-author on more than 50 scientific papers on topics ranging from fundamental M dwarf stellar characterization to M dwarfs as planet hosts to binary star studies.
In addition to her teaching and research responsibilities, Dr. Winters is the new BSU representative for the Massachusetts NASA Space Grant and serves on the American Physical Society (APS) Inclusion, Diversity, & Equity Alliance (IDEA) working group here at BSU.