MIT Kavli Institute Directory

Sarah Ballard

Torres Postdoctoral Fellow Postdoctoral Scholar

October 13, 2015
L'Oréal USA announces that Sarah Ballard, MKI's newly arrived MIT Torres Postdoctoral Fellow, has been awarded a fellowship in the 2015 L'Oréal For Women in Science program. 

Sarah Ballard earned her bachelor's degree in Astrophysics from UC Berkeley in 2007, graduated from Harvard's PhD program in Astronomy & Astrophysics in 2012, and completed a NASA Carl Sagan fellowship at the University of Washington in 2015. She is originally from the San Francisco Bay Area.

Sarah cares deeply about creating a inclusive scientific culture within astronomy: one with equitable policies that allow all individuals to thrive. She has authored articles on parental leave, values affirmation, the intelligence of groups, incentivizing self-care in academia, and practices for allyship. Sarah designed and runs an impostor syndrome workshop, which she has delivered to departments across the country. She is also one-half of the podcast "Self-care with Drs. Sarah," which addresses practices for navigating and surviving within academic science.

Research interests: 

Sarah Ballard's research focuses upon planets orbiting other stars. Her science program is twofold: first, she places individual exoplanets under a microscope. She measures the properties of their host stars finely, leveraging measurements from asteroseismology and interferometry, to infer detailed information about the planetary sizes and compositions. She also applies a more wide-field lens to the known ensemble of exoplanets, particularly those orbiting stars smaller than half our Sun's mass. She investigates the architectural properties of planetary systems as a whole, and explores the links between the dynamics of planetary systems, their similarities and dissimilarities to the Solar System, and their potential habitability.

Honors and awards: 

Sagan Postdoctoral Fellowship, University of Washington, 2015

Torres Postdoctoral Fellowship, MIT, beginning September 2015

L'Oreal For Women in Science Fellowship, October 2015

Contact Information

t: 617-324-3619



B.S., Astrophysics, UC Berkeley, 2007; PhD, Astronomy & Astrophysics, Harvard, 2012