ANN ARBOR—Michigan Physics welcomes our newest Literature, Science, and the Arts (LSA) Collegiate Postdoctoral Fellow, Camille Avestruz, who will start her appointment in the Fall of 2019. Dr. Avestruz comes to us after receiving her Ph.D. from Yale in 2015, and spending a few years as a postdoctoral fellow with both the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics (KICP) and the Enrico Fermi Institute, at the University of Chicago.

Dr. Avestruz’s multi-faceted research interests focus on large scale structures of our universe. She simulates the evolution of galaxy clusters, structures containing hundreds to thousands of galaxies, to understand the forces at play in this process and to predict and interpret observations of the cosmos. She also applies ‘big data’ methods, like machine learning, to examine observational data on gravitational lensing. These methods allow us to learn how lensing signatures relate to the underlying mass distribution. They also improve our ability to find these signatures in the large volumes of data our observatories will be producing in the future.

Alongside her scientific pursuits, Dr. Avestruz is also an avid advocate for inclusion in science and the academy. She engages in both public outreach and teaching in underserved communities. As an instructor for The Carpentries, a non-profit organization that teaches coding and data science skills, she has taught workshops for the Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) and Women in Science and Engineering groups. She is passionate about promoting the advancement of underrepresented minorities in STEM, and opening the intellectual exchange to members of the public at large.

In preparing for her time at the University of Michigan, Dr. Avestruz said, “I'm incredibly excited to collaborate with members of the department whose research interests are quite complementary to mine. I see the U-M campus as a place where I can continue forging ahead with the interdisciplinary work that I am doing across physics, astronomy, and data science."

After she attended LSA's NextProf Science workshop, Camille adds, "The department and college overall seem to really make an effort to make sure that the junior faculty are mentored through those initial years. This is important to me because I look forward to fostering a healthy environment within my own research group; having mentors to learn from will be crucial in developing the management and leadership skills through the transition to the professoriate.”

The Physics Department is pleased to be a part of Camille’s exciting career.