Aurora Kesseli (aurorak at


Boston University, Boston MA
Graduate Studies in Astronomy, September 2014-present

Colby College, Waterville ME
Bachelor of Arts, May 2013
Major: Physics, Cum Laude Minor: Environmental Studies
Undergraduate Advisor: Elizabeth McGrath

Research Experience

Boston University, 2016-Present
Determining bulk properties of low-mass (M dwarf) stars and exoplanets around low-mass stars
Advisor: Phil Muirhead

Boston University, 2014-2016
Characterizing stars and investigating variations in the initial mass function
Advisor: Andrew West

Colby College, September 2012-May 2013
Morphologically classified highly red-shifted galaxies in the CANDELS survey
Advisor: Elizabeth McGrath

University of Wisconsin Madison, Summers 2011 & 2012
National Science Foundation funded Research Experience for Undergraduates program
Modeled variability from disks and hot spots in young stellar objects
Advisor: Barbara Whitney

Teaching Experience

Boston University, Teaching Fellow
Courses: Pre-Majors in Astronomy (Fall 2014), The Solar System (Spring 2015, Fall 2016)

Colby College, Teaching Assistant
Courses: Introduction to Astrophysics (Fall 2011, 2012), Astronomy (Spring 2013)

Presentations and Papers

“An Empirical Template Library of Stellar Spectra for a Wide Range of Spectral Classes, Luminosity Classes, and Metallicities Using SDSS BOSS Spectra.” Kesseli, A., West, A. A., Veyette, M. et al. 2017, ApJS, 230, 16

“A Model For (Quasi-)Periodic Multiwavelength Photometric Variability in Young Stellar Objects.” Kesseli, A., M. A. Petkova, K. Wood, et al. 2016, ApJ, 828, 42

“Probing Variations in the IMF as a function of galactic properties.” Kesseli, A., A. A. West. 2015, The Stellar IMF at Low Masses, poster

“Massive Quiescent Disk Galaxies in the CANDELS Survey.” Kesseli, A., E. M. McGrath. 2014, BAAS, poster #145.15

“Massive Quiescent Disk Galaxies in the CANDELS Survey.” Kesseli, A. , Honors Thesis. Colby College.

“How to make a habitable planet.” Kesseli, A. TEDx talk, Colby College, February 23, 2013. Waterville ME.

“Explaining Multi-Wavelength Photometric Variability in Young Stellar Objects.” Kesseli, A., B. A. Whitney, K. Wood, P. Plavchan, S. Terebey , J. Stauffer. 2013, BAAS, poster #256.10

Honors and Awards

Senior Prize in Physics, Colby College Physics Department, 2013

American Association of Physics Teachers’ (AAPT) Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award, Colby College Physics Department, 2013

Inducted into the National Physics Honors Society, Sigma Pi Sigma


Programming Languages: Python, IDL, LaTeX, html (proficient)

Databases: Sloan Digital Sky Survey, CANDELS


Girls Science Club, Group leader:

Girls Science Club (GSC) is a weekly after-school program, where elementary school aged girls from low income neighborhoods in Boston participate in fun, hands on science projects with graduate women from Boston University at the West End Girls and Boys Club. I am one of the group organizers and lead activities throughout the semester. GSC won the award for the best volunteer group of the 2015-2016 academic year out of over 20 groups that volunteer at the West End House, and was featured in an article in BU Today. For more information or to use any of our science activities, visit our blog!