Amanda Pagul | ADS
University of California, Riverside 
Expected Ph.D. in Physics and Astronomy
Advisor: Dr. Bahram Mobasher
The University of Chicago 
Bachelor of Arts, Physics with a Specialization in Astronomy and Astrophysics
BA Thesis: A Study of the Large-Scale Structure Using Counts-In-Cells within the Dark Energy Survey  
Advisor: Dr. Joshua Frieman
University of California, Riverside 
NASA FIELDS Research Assistant for Bahram Mobasher, PhD 
September 2015 - Present
• Analyzed Hubble Frontier Fields (HFF) images by extracting galaxies and measuring their       
  photometry using Source Extractor, creating one of the first catalogs of this data for public use
• Performed PSF-matching between Hubble, HAWK-I, MOSFIRE, and Spitzer data using TPHOT
• Modelled cluster galaxies and intra-cluster light (ICL) to understand both morphology and faint 
  galaxies engulfed by cluster light
• Extracted galaxy properties, including redshift, stellar mass, star formation rate, and age, by fitting 
  photometry to multiple spectral energy distribution (SED) codes

Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory
Visiting Scholar collaborating with Brian Nord, PhD 
October 2019 - June 2020
• Analyzed overlapping data between DES and the Hubble Frontier Fields, with emphasis on the study of crowded environments and the performance of the processing pipeline within this context
• Compared state of the art TPHOT software with the primary DES processing pipeline

University of Chicago, Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics
Research Assistant for Joshua Frieman, PhD 
January 2014 - June 2018
• Worked with simulations (MICE) and the Dark Energy Survey (DES) data to compute density 
  fluctuations that constrain cosmological parameters and calculate dark matter/luminous matter bias
• Used counts-in-cells technique to more easily constrain higher order bias terms and compared with 
  two-point correlation function measurements

Instituto de Física Teórica and CIEMAT in Madrid, Spain 
Research Assistant for the Dark Energy Survey 
Summer 2014 
Supervisors: Dr. Juan García-Bellido and Dr. Eusebio Sánchez
• Contributed to the large scale structure working group of DES, analyzing data using a counts-in-
  cells technique, which measures density fluctuations in the MICE simulation
• Compared the effects on measurement using different pixel sizes, such as HEALPix, and rectangles
A. Pagul, F.J. Sánchez, I. Davidzon, B. Mobasher: "Herding BUFFALO Data: Photometric Catalogs of A370 in the BUFFALO Survey" (In Prep.)

N.O. Njoku-Achu, P.O. Offer, et. al. (including A. Pagul) "Journey with the SEO 0.5-m Telescope: Progress and Prospects" (submitted, 2021). Embracing the Future: Astronomy Teaching and Public Engagement: ASP2020

A. Pagul, F.J. Sánchez, I. Davidzon, B. Mobasher: "Photometric Data Catalogs for the Hubble Frontier Field Clusters and their Parallel Fields" (2021). The Astrophysical Journal Supplement (ApJS)

Steinhardt, Charles, Jauzac, Mathilde, et. al. (including A. Pagul) "The BUFFALO HST Survey" (2020). The Astrophysical Journal Supplement (ApJS)

 M. Nowinski, A. Pagul, K. Meredith: “Slack and Stone Edge Observatory: Where Astronomy Happens” (2019). Advancing Astronomy for All: ASP 2018 ASP Conference Series, 524: 201 

A. I. Salvador, F.J. Sánchez, A. Pagul, et al. “Measuring Linear and Non-Linear Galaxy Bias Using Counts-in-Cells in the Dark Energy Survey Science Verification Data” (2019). MNRAS, 482(2): 1435-1451

Running with BUFFALO on the Frontier. STScI AGN and Galaxies Journal Club (May 2021)
Rustling Rays on the Frontier Fields. University of New South Wales Seminar (December 2020)
Herding BUFFALO Data: Processing and Extraction of Photometry in the BUFFALO Survey. European Astronomical Society (EAS) 2020 (June 2020)
• Co-organizer of the DeepSkies Lab educational journal club (Spring 2021 - present)
• Scientific Organizing Committee: BUFFALO Collaboration Meeting (June 2020)
Running with BUFFALO on the Frontier. Fermilab New Perspectives Conference (August 2021);
Won 2nd place for Most Accessible Talk and 1st place for Best Joke (lol)
Herding BUFFALO Data: Processing and Extraction of Photometry in the BUFFALO Survey. BUFFALO Collaboration Meeting (June 2020)
Herding BUFFALO Data with Data Science. FIELDS Meeting. (October 2019)
A Measurement of the Higher Order Galaxy Bias with Counts-in-Cells. Poster presentation 
  accepted to the Summer School on Large Scale Structure, organized by MPA-Garching (July 2018)
• Yerkes Observatory Undergraduate Workshop and Student Intern Kickoff: Hubble Frontier Fields 
  (June 2018)
• UC Riverside Grad Slam: Through the Looking Mass: Uncovering the Nature of the Early Universe 
  with Gravitational Lensing (April 2018)
• Tustin Middle School Career Day: A Day in the Life of an Astrophysicist (April 2018)
• FIELDS Meeting Hubble and Beyond: A FIELDS Hubble Space Telescope Presentation (July 2016)
• Dark Energy Survey Chicagoland meeting Counts-in-Cells: Constraining Galaxy Statistics 
  (September 2015)
• Yerkes Observatory Student Workshop Introduction to DS9 (March 2015)
• Society for Physics Students Probing the Large Scale Structure of the Universe (September 2014)
• WGTD-FM Yerkes Star Quest Radio Guest to talk about Astronomy, the Observatory, and Goals 
  (September 2014)
Fermilab URA Visiting Scholars Program Exploring Synergies between the Hubble Frontier Fields and the Dark Energy Survey: Insights on the Environmental Dependencies of Galaxy Properties (Fall 2019)
FIELDS Graduate Fellowship Preparing for the JWST Era with the Hubble Frontier Fields and BUFFALO Surveys (2019)
Sigma Xi Membership (2018-Present)
NSF GRFP Honorable Mention It Takes a Community to Raise a Galaxy: How Environment Affects Galaxy Evolution (2018)
Dean’s Fund for Student Life (joint award) funding a three-day physics workshop for undergraduates at Yerkes Observatory, $1500, (University of Chicago, Spring 2015)
Women’s Board Funding (co-awardee) funding telescope repair and renovation, $27900, (University of Chicago, Spring 2015)
International Experience Grant funding research at El Instituto de Física Teórica, $3500, (University of Chicago, Summer 2014)
Dean’s Fund for Student Life funding research at El Instituto de Física Teórica, $1500, (University of Chicago, Summer 2014)
• Actively leading a program with GLAS Education on using Stone Edge Observatory to perform an all-sky-survey (2020 - present).
• Solar System Mobile Workshops (3rd grade at elementary schools in Riverside county) 
• Origami Workshops (5th grade at elementary schools in Riverside county) 
• Solar Telescope Observation Workshops (8th grade at middle school in Riverside county) 
• Mercury Transit (for general UC Riverside public)
• Yerkes Observatory Stone Edge Telescope Program 
Languages: English (Native), Russian (Native), Spanish (Proficient), Basque (Basic)
Computer Languages: C, C++, ROOT, HEALPix, Python
Astro Specific Software/Databases: Source Extractor, LePhare Photometric Analysis, EAZY, TPHOT, GALFIT, GALAPAGOS, Skynet Telescopes and Stone Edge Telescope, CDS and SDSS databases
Other Useful Software: Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign


PHYS 02LC, undergraduate physics lab on waves and modern physics, UC Riverside, Summer 2021.
15 students with an average evaluation score of 7 out of a best possible 7.
Excerpts from PHYS 02LC anonymous student evaluations:
     - Fantastic TA!
     - I had Amanda as a discussion TA last quarter for Physics 2B and she demonstrated the same proficiency in the subject in class as well in lab. This quarter for Physics 2C Lab, Amanda definitely stepped up when one of our lab topics was not covered yet in class, she gave an overview of the subject and I was able to understand the concepts for the lab which improved my understanding during the lecture in class, when we were taught the subject. I enjoyed her classes because I see her passion and she truly cares to see students understand the material, which I really appreciate. I was even able to get an astronomical insight during class, which was very interesting. I would encourage Amanda to keep her teaching strategies for her future classes, they have motivated and worked for me!
     - Amanda is my favorite physics lab TA by far here at UCR. She was so nice to her students and did a great job at explaining the material. She was incredibly helpful when it came to any lab questions I had and always offered further clarification if I did not fully understand a concept. She was also very personable, had a very friendly demeanor to her, and was very approachable and relatable.
     - I chose Amanda as my TA for lab 2LC after having her as a TA for my 2LA because she is so approachable and knowledgable. She encourages students to ask questions whenever we are in doubt. I asked her various questions during each lab, some that may have been "dumb" questions, but she did not make me feel dumb by any means. She treated each question seriously and walked students through the steps to get the right answer. She explained the material so well before the lab which really helped understand the lab (and lecture). She is passionate about physics and enjoys teaching it, which was evident by her positive and enthusiastic attitude while lecturing. She also asks us if there was ways she could improve since she wants to be a resource for all of us. She also replied to emails quickly. The best physics TA that I have had for all my physics series TAs.

PHYS 037, undergraduate class on the Origins of the Universe, UC Riverside, Winter 2021.
Excerpts from PHYS 037 anonymous student evaluations:
     - It is hard to find a T.A in this pandemic that puts effort into their class but she was a joy to interact
       with. The class was effective as reviewing mistakes is a hallmark of learning that is often over looked as
       teachers sprint from chapter to chapter. Nevertheless, she not only gave answers, she encouraged interaction,
       told excellent jokes, and fostered a community of learning. A+
     - Really helpful T.A who was really understanding of the setbacks with online format and ongoing pandemic.
       Their understanding of the material and ability to explain break it down when confused was really helpful
       during discussion. The main reason I did well in this class was going to discussion so a very overall effective
       teacher indeed.
     - Being in Amanda's discussion section was one of the highlights of my winter quarter! She is very passionate
       about her work, and is always willing to help out students. She held review sessions and always made herself
       accessible to students outside of class as well.
     - Amanda was the best TA I could've hoped for in this class. She was kind, understanding, patient, and every
       time she answered questions, she'd make the language understandable to us who weren't STEM-oriented.
       She went above and beyond in providing examples that would help understand but also keep us interested in
       the subject.

PHYS 02LA, undergraduate physics lab on basic principles of classical mechanics, UC Riverside, Fall 2020. 43 students with an average evaluation score of 6.88 out of a best possible 8.
Excerpts from PHYS 02LA anonymous student evaluations:
     - Amazing TA! Even if the labs were long and annoying she understood our struggles and helped in every way
       she could. She made time to help myself and my group as much as possible.
     - Amanda was probably one of the best and nicest TA I have ever had. She would go out of her way to
       accommodate us outside of class, would always answer our questions in the best manner, would reply to our
       emails very quickly, and was super-helpful during class. I wish all TAs could be like her.
     - Amanda is amazing! She is very funny and approachable and was open to helping the lab section whenever
       we needed it. She was an awesome TA and made the class a lot less stressful than I anticipated. She's
       doing a great job!
     - Best TA ever
     - Amanda was an outstanding TA and very helpful. I have never taken physics before this class and I feel that
       I owe much of my success in this lab to her. She knew what she was talking about and explained it in a
       straightforward, concise manner. I also appreciated that she answered emails quickly. Overall, very nice job!
     - Fair, approachable and understandable
     - One of the best TA's I've ever had! She was the most helpful and available TA's who cared so much about
       her students and was so clear and understanding when we asked questions. I hope I get her again!!
     - one of the best TA's I've ever had! I normally really dislike lab because I'm not very good at it but Amanda
       made it very easy and fun!
      - One of the best Ta's I have ever had. Always explained in detail how to get an answer you are stuck on
        and really helped her students!

ASTR 21200, undergraduate astronomy class on Observational Techniques, University of Chicago, Spring 2020. 32 students. There were multiple TAs and we did not receive individual evaluations.

ASTR 12710, undergradute astronomy lab on Galaxies, University of Chicago, Winter 2020. 8 students. There were multiple TAs and we did not receive individual evaluations.
PHYS 040B, undergraduate physics lab on mechanics and thermodynamics for engineers, UC Riverside, Spring 2018. 20 students with an average evaluation score of 6.88 out of a best possible 7.
Excerpts from PHYS 040B anonymous student evaluations:
     - The TA was truly great. She really cares about what she is teaching and thoroughly explained the labs and  
       what was to be done. Always ready to help and always had a positive attitude.
     - Thank you Amanda for being a great TA. Keep doing what you are doing and finish grad school! Always         
       respectful, helpful and cheerful. Thank you again
     - The most approachable lab TA I have had. Amanda is a bundle of fun and is wicked smart. She is invested in           actually helping students understand the material on a conceptual level.
     - Very nice and approachable, I never hesitated to ask her little questions during lab. She was also very      
       knowledgeable and would explain the lab and which equations we should use (and why). She was always     
       helpful and patient. Overall, she was very nice and made lab a very enjoyable experience.
     - (:
     - The way that you would relate the lab to actual things in the real world helped me understand the importance 
       of the lab. Not only that but have you always recap a lab was very helpful knowing what he did and how our  
       next lab is related to the previous lab.
     - The TA provided useful hints and asked questions that helped me find the answers on my own. They also 
       were helpful in explaining the graphs that were in the lab and the formulas that were used in the lab 
Support Astronomer and Project Organizer 
Stone Edge Observatory Sonoma, CA 
Summer 2016 – Present
• Helped maintain and develop software for 0.5-meter remote telescope for streamlined observing 
  sessions, both for education outreach and scientific work
• Communicated with and instructed astronomers, pre- and post-observing, in the use of the Stone 
  Edge telescope for optimized data product return
• Revamped organization and created a website to better facilitate communication between 
  observers and decrease idle telescope time

GLAS (formerly Yerkes Observatory Education) Liaison
Williams Bay, WI 
Fall 2012 - Present
• Learned how to operate a 41” refracting telescope, and 24” and 40” reflecting telescopes
• Explored the properties of galaxies with the use of SDSS filters in these telescopes
• Developed content for and taught workshops to educate public on observational astronomy
• Developed long-term curriculum for an all-sky-survey with the Stone Edge Observatory telescope with high school and undergradute students

Dr. Bahram Mobasher, Advisor, Department of Physics, University of California Riverside, 951-827-7190; 
Dr. Joshua Frieman, Advisor and Former Director of the Dark Energy Survey, Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, University of Chicago, 630-840-2226; 
Dr. Richard Kron, Professor, Director of the Dark Energy Survey, and former Director of Yerkes Observatory, Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, University of Chicago, 773-702-3335;
Dr. Angela Olinto, Homer J. Livingston Distinguished Service Professor and Physical Sciences Division Dean, Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, University of Chicago, 773-702-8206;  
Back to Top