Victoria strait

About Me

I am a fifth year graduate student at UC Davis working with Maruša Bradač. I study galaxies in the first billion years after the Big Bang using gravitational lensing and large telescopes. For more information, see my Research page and CV.

I am passionate about outreach and inclusion efforts. For more information, see my Outreach page.

When not working, I like to spend free time outside.

research

Stellar properties of high redshift galaxies with RELICS
I am using HST and Spitzer/IRAC broadband imaging to study stellar properties like age, stellar mass and star formation rate of galaxies in the high redshift (z > 5) universe. As a member of the Reionization Lensing Cluster Survey (RELICS) collaboration, my current goals are to measure stellar properties of the >300 HST-selected galaxies that comprise the high-redshift sample found behind the 41 RELICS clusters. Focusing on the analysis of images from our 1000 hour Spitzer program, Spitzer-RELICS, I have constrained the rest-frame optical fluxes of seven z~8-10 galaxies and am currently finalizing a similar analysis for the rest of the sample, comprised of lower redshift (z~6-7) galaxies. Prime candidates for followup with JWST, these sources are part of a sample that will help piece together a picture of the epoch of reionization and early galaxy formation.

Image of SPT0615-57, the highest redshift candidate in RELICS, from: http://hubblesite.org/news_release/news/2018-02

Magnification, Mass, & Light of Galaxy Clusters
With the GLASS collaboration I modeled the mass profile and produced magnification maps of Hubble Frontier Fields cluster Abell 370. In my analysis, I uniquely combined 1300 weakly lensed galaxies with 39 strongly lensed galaxies using ultra-deep HST imaging and a combination of large spectroscopic campaigns. In addition to an analysis of the stellar mass/total mass distribution and a comparison of several lens modeling methods of the same cluster, we identified a multiply imaged z~8 galaxy.

Searching for Lyman-α with Keck
I observe with my group at UC Davis for our Keck program, RELICS of the Cosmic Dawn. We use MOSFIRE, DEIMOS and LRIS to search for Lyman alpha emitters. With observations of 7 < z < 8.2 galaxies from our previous program, we were able to place a constraint on the volume-average neutral hydrogen fraction of the universe. We usually observe from the remote observing room in Davis, but sometimes we make the trek to Keck HQ.

outreach

Astronomy on Tap, Davis
I started a branch of Astronomy on Tap in Davis with UCD Professor Stefano Valenti. AoT is a monthly series of public talks at a brewery. More information about events is on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

Elementary and Middle School Events
I participate in elementary school aged-centric outreach events in Davis and do various other kid-friendly outreach such as classroom visits. At past events, I've set up solar telescopes, done demonstrations of gravitational lensing, made comets out of household materials, and of course, made liquid nitrogen ice cream.

Application Review
As a first generation college and graduate student, I understand the importance of having help with the various application processes that higher education requires. I volunteer to read college and grad school applications and discuss my experiences with high school and college students.

If you need help with an application or have interest in participating in Astronomy on Tap, Davis, please feel free to contact me via e-mail, which can be found on my Contact page.

personal

I try to get outside in my free time, and enjoy any combination of running, climbing, and water/snow sports. I'm always happy to talk about trails and climbing spots wherever I'm visiting, and recommend places in northern CA or North/South Carolina.

Contact

Feel free to contact me about research, outreach, or application help.

Phyics Department
University of California, Davis
1 Shields Ave
Davis, CA 95616


vbstrait@ucdavis.edu