Emily Freeland grew up in Bloomington, Indiana. "I really liked physics in high school and had a great teacher. One day I realized that astronomy was just using physics to find out information about stars, and then I decided I would be an astronomer because that sounded like fun."
Emily found the challenging aspects of physics as a motivation to learn more about it. She explains: "As a high school student, I was horrible and ... often couldn't predict or understand the physics that was going on during in-class demonstrations or homework problems. This was unlike my other classes and I was really interested in improving." Her physics teacher, Cindy Kvale at Bloomington High School South, helped her improve her intuition for physical phenomena, and helped turn a class that she did not understand very well into one that she liked.
Now Emily has a PhD in astronomy and studies galaxies at Texas A&M University. She likes astronomy, she says, because, "it is exciting to discover new things and to use all kinds of different telescopes to do so."
Although she says she likes observing, Emily spends most of her time sitting in front of her computer trying to understand what is actually happening in the data she took at the telescope. She says that she likes that part too. "I find it particularly satisfying to write papers and work on projects with friends because those experiences are truly collaborative."
Emily says she likes to bake. If she weren't an astronomer, she says, "I would be a pastry chef or a small farmer or a middle school teacher."
Her secret to staying up all night at the observatory is eating chocolate.
Postdoctoral Research Associate, Texas A&M University
Ph.D. Astronomy, University of Wisconsin
M.S. Astronomy, University of Wisconsin
B.S. Honors, Astronomy, Indiana University
B.S. Mathematics, Indiana University