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Awards & Honors

The Center for Exoplanets and Habitable Worlds team has received numerous awards for their accomplishments, including research, teaching and service to the university, community and profession. These include:


  • CEHW graduate student Mariah MacDonald wins NSF Graduate Research Fellowship.
  • CEHW graduate student Arpita Roy was awarded the American Astronomical Society’s Rodger Doxsey Travel Prize and the Penn State Alumni Association Dissertation Award. Both were awarded based on the excellence of her PhD dissertation research, “The Promise of Many Worlds: Detection and Characterization of Exoplanets with Extreme Precision Spectroscopy.” Arpita‘s work focuses on developing instrumentation and data analysis pipelines for high precise radial-velocity spectrographs to detect and characterize low-mass extra-solar planets and distinguish them from false positives.
  • CEHW graduate student Kimberley M. S. Cartier won the American Astronomical Society’s Chambliss Graduate Student Poster Medal which recognizes exemplary research by undergraduate and graduate students. Kimberley’s winning poster summarizes a chapter of her thesis, and discusses applications of science communication theory to the practice of astronomy communication across media and audiences. Not coincidentally, she has also written about best practices for poster design on her blog.
  • Dr. Daniel Carrera joins CEHW as a NASA Postdoctoral Program Fellow in conjunction with the Nexus for Exoplanet System Science.
  • CEHW Professor Rebekah Dawson awarded the 2017 American Astronomical Society Annie Jump Cannon Prize for outstanding research and promise for future research… for her work on extrasolar planet dynamical modeling.


  • NASA selects CEHW-led Team to Build Next-Generation Exoplanet-Hunting Spectrograph
  • Six CEHW faculty among team members for CyberLAMP, an advanced supercomputer cluster at Penn State made possible by a National Science Function Major Research Instrumentation award.
  • CEHW graduate student Jason Curtis awarded an NSF Postdoctoral Fellowship to be held at Columbia University.
  • CEHW Graduate Student Sam Halverson awarded NASA Sagan Postdoctoral Fellowship for his research developing instrumentation to detect low-mass exoplanets to be held at the University of Pennsylvania.
  • First year CEHW graduate student Jacob Luhn awardd a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship to study how precise radial velocity measurements made at different wavelengths using data from Penn State resources such as MINERVA, HET/HRS, and the Habitable Zone Planet Finder.
  • CEHW graduate student Guðmundur Stefánsson awarded a NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowship for his research proposal on “Extreme Precision Photometry and Radial Velocimetry from the Ground for TESS and Beyond”.
  • CEHW graduate student Sharon Wang awarded a Carnegie Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Carnegie Institute of Washington.
  • CEHW Graduate student Rachel Worth accepted an Insight Data Science Postdoctoral Fellowship.
  • CEHW graduate student Kimberly Cartier served as a mentor for the Summer Research Experience in the Eberly College of Science program (SEECoS). Her was honored with the first place award in the SEECoS program for excellence in the research presentation and the research program overall.
  • CEHW Professor Rebekah Dawson was appointed to NASA’s Science and Technology Definition Team (STDT) for the Large Ultraviolet, Optical, and Infrared (LUVOIR) Surveyor Mission. The STDT will develop a mission concept for LUVOIR in preparation for the 2020 Decadal Survey.
  • The International Astrostatistics Association honored CEHW professor Eric Feigelson with the Outstanding Contributions to Astrostatistics Award.
  • CEHW Professor Eric Ford gives the 2016 Eddington Lecture at University of Cambridge’s Institute of Astronomy and Royal Astronomical Society
  • CEHW Professor Eric Ford named Research Fellow of the Statistical and Applied Mathematical Sciences Institute for their 2016/2017 Program on Statistical, Mathematical and Computational Methods for Astronomy
  • Thomson Reuters recognizes CEHW Professor Ronald Gilliland as one of 2016 Web of Science Highly Cited Researchers.
  • CEHW Professor Jim Kasting to receive the 2015 National Academy of Sciences Award in Early Earth and Life Sciences and the Stanley Miller Medal “for his outstanding modeling studies of planetary atmospheres and habitability that constrain the environmental context for the origin of life.”
  • CEHW Professor Suvrath Mahadevan was invited to attend the Research Corporation for Science Advancement Scialog on Time Domain Astrophysics (TDA) as a Scialog Fellow. His proposal “Transformational Technologies and Techniques for High Precision Photometric and Spectroscopic Stellar TDA” was selected as one of six successful proposal teams.
  • AAS names CEHW Professor Jason Wright Harlow Shapely Visiting Lecturer to “bring the excitement of modern astronomy and astrophysics to two-year colleges and four-year undergraduate institutions throughout North America, especially institutions that do not offer an astronomical degree.”















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