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.
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.