Curriculum Vitae

Lisa May Walker

Department of Astronomy Office Phone: (434) 924-7935 University of Virginia Fax: (434) 924-3104 P.O. Box 400325 Email: lisamay at virginia dot edu Charlottesville, VA 22904


University of Virginia 2007 – Present
  • Ph.D. Astronomy 2014 (Anticipated)
  • M.S. Astronomy 2009
College of Wooster 2005 – 2007
  • B.A. Physics 2007
  • cum laude, Departmental Honors
Dickinson College 2003 – 2005

Research Experience

University of Virginia June 2007 – Present
  • Advisor: Dr. Kelsey Johnson
  • Studying the role of multiple galaxy interactions in compact groups of galaxies and their relevance to galaxy formation and evolution. Analyzing distribution of compact group galaxies in mid-infrared colorspace and the optical color-magnitude diagram, especially with respect to samples of galaxies in different environments. Investigating the relationship between neutral hydrogen and mid-infrared and optical colors.
College of Wooster August 2006 – May 2007
  • Advisor: Dr. John Lindner
  • Created two programs to visualize the effect of rotating (Kerr) black holes on their surrounding spacetime by integrating the null geodesics of Kerr spacetime. The first program displays the trajectories of light rays in an interactive 3D environment, and the second program determines the distortion of background images. These programs provide visual evidence for Einstein rings, frame dragging, and the warping of spacetime near a black hole. In addition, they demonstrate that the distortion caused by a Kerr black hole is dependent on the angle of its spin axis with respect to the source.
  • Advisor: Dr. Jack Baldwin
  • Constructed and analyzed a mosaic image of 30 Doradus. Mapped the thickness of the emitting layer of hydrogen in the 30 Doradus nebula, as well as to determine the distance of the main star cluster from the gas surrounding it. Modified an existing Fortran program to plot the locations of HST datasets, expanding its capabilities to include all HST instruments, and added a feature to select a specific wavelength. Volunteered in the campus planetarium several weekends.
College of Wooster summer 2005
  • Advisor: Dr. Lowell Boone.
  • Searched for microquasars at high galactic latitudes utilizing data from the the INTEGRAL satellite.


Robert J. Huskey Conference Travel Award Fall 2012
  • University of Virginia
Graduate STEM Fellowship Fall 2010 – Spring 2012
  • Virginia Space Grant Consortium (VSGC)
Presidential Fellowship Fall 2007 – Spring 2011
  • University of Virginia
Dean's List Fall 2005, Spring 2006, Fall 2006
  • College of Wooster
Astronomy TA of the Year 2004 – 2005 academic year
  • Dickinson College

Teaching Experience

Teaching Assistant Fall 2013
  • Introductory Astronomy Courses
  • University of Virginia
  • Lead night lab and administer observing quizzes
Instructor Summer 2011
  • ASTR3420: Life Beyond Earth
  • University of Virginia
  • Designed and taught course
Teaching Assistant Spring 2009
  • ASTR3480: Introduction to Cosmology
  • University of Virginia
  • Counseled students, conducted test review sessions
Student grader August 2005 – May 2006
  • Introductory Astronomy Course
  • College of Wooster
  • Graded weekly homework sets
Teaching Assistant August 2004 – May 2005
  • Introductory Astronomy Lab
  • Dickinson College
  • Counseled students, graded labs, administered observatory quizzes

Outreach Experience

Dark Skies, Bright Kids Volunteer August 2010 – Present
  • University of Virginia
  • "Astronomy Coach" teaching students at elementary schools
  • Key member in learning, piloting, and enhancing the program's planetarium
  • Create web content including application form, help maintain website
Volunteer 2007 – Present
  • McCormick & Fan Mountain Observatories Public Nights
  • Operate small telescopes, answer visitor questions, tour guide, give presentations in control room
NRAO Open House Volunteer Nov 2011
  • National Radio Astronomy Observatory
  • Conducted activity for families on invisible light
Planetarium Volunteer Summer 2006
  • Michigan State University
  • Presented shows
Planetarium Assistant August 2004 – May 2005
  • Dickinson College
  • Presented shows and helped prepare packaged shows

Advising Experience

Catherine Zucker, undergraduate June 2012 – Present
  • Performing photometry on WISE images of compact group galaxies
Jiasheng Chen, undergraduate Fall 2011
  • Morphologically classified galaxies in compact groups in a uniform manner
Natalie Butterfield, undergraduate March 2010 – August 2011
  • Created an optical color-magnitude diagram of galaxies in compact groups, for comparison with their distribution in mid-infrared colorspace


My ADS list of publications and presentations

Some Like It Hot: Linking Diffuse X-ray Luminosity, Baryonic Mass, and Star Formation Rate in Compact Groups of Galaxies
  • Desjardins, T.D.; Gallagher, S.; Hornschemeier, A.E.; Mulchaey, J.S.; Walker, L.M.; Brandt, W.N.; Charlton, J.C.; Johnson, K.E.; Tzanavaris, P. 2013, ApJ, submitted.
High Resolution Radio and Optical Observations of the Central Starburst in the Low-Metallicity Dwarf Galaxy II Zw 40
  • Kepley, A.A.; Reines, A.E.; Johnson, K.E.; Walker, L.M. 2014, AJ, 147, 43.
The Optical Green Valley vs Mid-Infrared Canyon in Compact Groups
  • Walker, L.M.; Butterfield, N.; Johnson, K.; Zucker, C.; Gallagher, S.; Konstantopoulos, I.S.; Zabludoff, A.; Hornschemeier, A.; Tzanavaris, P.; Charlton, J. 2013, ApJ, 775, 129.
Stellar Populations in Compact Galaxy Groups: a Multi-Wavelength Study of HCGs 16, 22, and 42, their Star Clusters and Dwarf Galaxies
  • Konstantopoulos, I.S.; Maybhate, A.; Charlton, J.C.; Fedotov, K.; Durrell, P.R.; Mulchaey, J.S.; English, J.; Desjardins, T.D.; Gallagher, S.C.; Walker, L.M.; Johnson, K.E.; Tzanavaris, P.; Gronwall, C. 2013, ApJ, 770, 114.
Examining the Role of Environment in a Comprehensive Sample of Compact Groups
  • Walker, L.M.; Johnson, K.E.; Gallagher, S.C.; Charlton, J.C.; Hornschemeier, A.E.; Hibbard, J.E. 2012, AJ, 143, 69.
The merger history, AGN and dwarf galaxies of Hickson Compact Group 59
  • Konstantopoulos, I.S.; Gallagher, S.C.; Fedotov, K.; Durrell, P.R.; Tzanavaris, P.; Hill, A.R.; Zabludoff, A.E.; Maier, M.L.; Elmegreen, D.M.; Charlton, J.C.; Johnson, K.E.; Brandt, W.N.; Walker, L.M.; Eracleous, M.; Maybhate, A.; Gronwall, C.; English, J.; Hornschemeier, A.E.; Mulchaey, J.S. 2012, ApJ, 745, 30.
Mid-Infrared Evidence for Accelerated Evolution in Compact Group Galaxies
  • Walker, L.M.; Johnson, K.E.; Gallagher, S.C.; Hibbard, J.E.; Hornschemeier, A.E.; Charlton, J.C.; Jarrett, T.H. 2010, AJ, 140, 1254.
Invitation to embarrassingly parallel computing
  • Breen, B.J.; Weidert, C.E.; Lindner, J.F.; Walker, L.M.; Kelley, K.; Heidtmann, E. 2008, American Journal of Physics, 76, 347.


Galaxy Evolution in Compact Groups November 8th, 2012
  • WEDGE Talk at Institute for Astronomy, University of Hawaii, Honolulu HI
Examining the Role of Environment in a Comprehensive Sample of Compact Groups April 5th, 2012
  • Virginia Space Grant Consortium, Williamsburg VA
Mind the Gap: MIR Evidence for Accelerated Evolution in Compact Group Galaxies April 18th, 2011
  • Virginia Space Grant Consortium, Newport News VA
Mind the Gap: MIR Evidence for Accelerated Evolution in Compact Group Galaxies December 9th, 2010
  • SEAL Talk at NASA Goddard, Greenbelt MD

Poster Presentations

Insight into Gas Processing in Compact Groups of Galaxies May 7th – 10th, 2012
  • From Stars to Galaxies, Gainesville FL. Conference on connecting our understanding of star and galaxy formation.
Mid-Infrared Evidence for Accelerated Evolution in Compact Group Galaxies September 21st – 24th, 2009
  • Galaxy Wars, Johnson City TN. Conference on stellar populations and star formation in interacting galaxies.

Accepted Observing Proposals

  • Principal Investigator
  • The Role of Gas Processing in Galaxy Evolution
  • Co-Investigator
  • The evolution of star formation in compact groups of galaxies
  • Principal Investigator
  • HI Masses of Compact Groups of Galaxies
  • Principal Investigator
  • HI Masses of Compact Groups of Galaxies
  • Co-Investigator
  • HI Mass Determinations of Compact Groups of Galaxies
  • Principal Investigator
  • HI Masses of Galaxies in Hickson Compact Groups

Professional Development

  • NRAO Soccorro

Professional Societies


Referee 2012 – Present
  • ApJ
Meeting Organization Summer 2012, 2013
  • "Compact Groupies Team Meeting"
  • Solicited and scheduled talks, planned and executed logistics of meeting
Grading Organizer Fall 2009 – Spring 2012
  • University of Virginia
  • Solicited grading requests from professors and matched them with graduate student graders


Programming Languages
  • IDL
  • Python
  • C/C++
  • IRAF
  • AIPS
  • Mathematica
  • LaTeX
  • HTML
  • CSS
  • MySQL
Operating/Windowing Systems
  • Mac OS X
  • X11
  • Linux
  • Windows

Relevant Skills

  • Object-oriented programming (IDL)
  • Troubleshooting code
  • Editing articles, proposals, applications
  • Experience with HTML and CSS
  • Planetarium development
  • Web content development and maintenance
  • Undergraduate mentoring: guided research, instructed in programming, data analysis, professional development
  • Adept at interacting and communicating with elementary students

site info

© 2011-2013 Lisa May Walker. Design by Andreas Viklund.