Beth Brown Memorial Award

Dr. Beth BrownDr. Beth Brown was a vigorous and engaged young astronomer who passed away in 2008 from a pulmonary embolism. She was 39 years old. A native of Roanoke, Dr. Brown earned her bachelor's degree from Howard University and, in 1998, became the first African American woman to earn a PhD from the University of Michigan's astronomy department. She secured a position at the Goddard Space Flight Center and, at the time of her passing, was set to begin a new position as Assistant Director for Science Communication. Although her time working in the professional astronomical community was short, she had a significant impact on our discipline; not least by serving as a role model for many students from underrepresented groups.

The AAS supports an award program in memory of Dr. Brown connected with the National Society of Black Physicists meeting. Representatives from our Committee on the Status of Minorities in Astronomy (CSMA) attend the conference regularly. The Astronomy and Astrophysics Section of the NSBP, which often has CSMA representatives, selects an undergraduate and a graduate student who present research results in the form of posters and one student, either graduate or undergraduate, for their oral presentation at the NSBP meeting as winners of the award (3 in total). The AAS provides them with complimentary registration at a future AAS meeting (next two meetings only) or an AAS Division meeting to present the same or additional research results AND free membership as a student member or affiliate for one year. The Board of Trustees recently approved some enhancements to this program; specifically to cover the cost of travel, lodging and food on a reimbursement basis up to $1000 maximum to an AAS or AAS Division meeting for each of the three winners in addition to giving them free registration.

The AAS is proud to memorialize Dr. Brown’s contributions to the astronomical sciences and the achievements of these students every year.



  • Best Undergraduate Poster Presentation: Myles Pope (Howard University), "Accurate Masses of Extraordinary Red Giants"
  • Best Graduate Poster Presentation: Kiersten Boley (Ohio State University), "Impacts on Planet Formation: Planet Occurrence Rates in the Metal-Poor Regime"
  • Best Oral Presentation: Caprice Phillips (Ohio State University), "Is LTT 1445 Ab a Hycean World or a cold Haber World? Exploring the Potential of Twinkle to Unveil its Nature"
  • Honorable Mention, Graduate Poster Presentation: Hodari-Sadiki Hubbard-James (Georgia State University), "Spectroscopic Identification of Young and Active K Dwarfs within 25 Parsecs" 
  • Honorable Mention, Oral Presentation: Chris Carr (Columbia University), "Regulating Star Formation with a Hot Circumgalactic Medium" 


  • Best Undergraduate Poster Presentation: Derod Deal (University of Florida), "Investigating NH3 Masers in W51"
  • Best Undergraduate Oral Presentation: Caleb Levy (Colgate University), "Multicomponent Multiscatter Capture of Dark Matter"
  • Best Oral Presentation: Kiersten Boley (Ohio State University), "Constraining Hot Jupiter Occurrence around Metal-Poor Stars"
  • Honorable Mention, Oral Presentation: Christian Aganze (UC San Diego), "Scale heights & Ages of Brown Dwarfs in Deep Fields" 


  • Best Undergraduate Poster Presentation: Amina Diop (Williams College, Massachusetts), "Vertical Structure of Turbulence around DM Tau"
  • Best Graduate Student Poster Presentation: Christian Aganze (University of California, San Diego), "Searching for Distant Ultracool Dwarfs in Deep HST/WFC3 Surveys"


  • Best Undergraduate Poster Presentations: Courtney Carter (Grinnell College, Iowa); Vincent R. Clanzy II (University of Tampa)
  • Best Oral Presentation: Carl Fields (Michigan State University, East Lansing), "Multi-Dimensional Hydrodynamic Simulations of Massive Stars"


  • Best Undergraduate Poster Presentation: Marika Edwards (University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee), "Developing a Gravitational Microlensing Generator to Determine Efficiency in Detecting Gravitational Effects of Primordial Black Holes in the Milky Way Dark Matter Halo"
  • Best Graduate Student Poster Presentation: Romy Rodriguez-Martinez (Ohio State University), "Finding Flares on M Dwarfs with ASAS-SN"
  • Honorable Mention, Oral Presentation: Sinclaire Manning (University of Texas at Austin), "Radio Morphologies of Dust Obscured Starbursts in the SuperCLASS Field"
  • Best Oral Presentation: Eileen Gonzales (City University of New York Graduate Center, American Museum of Natural History, Hunter College), "Is TRAPPIST-1 a Unique M-Dwarf Host Star?"


  • Best Undergraduate Poster Presentation: Carl E. Fields (Arizona State University), "On the Origin of the Elements: The Spectacular Role of White Dwarfs"
  • Best Graduate Student Poster Presentation: Julie Dumas (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute), "Testing the Caustic Ring Dark Matter Halo Model Against Observations in the Milky Way"
  • Best Oral Presentation: Christopher S. Moore (University of Colorado, Boulder), "The Effects of Magnetic Field Morphology on the Determination of Oxygen and Iron Abundances in the Solar Photosphere"