Physics Recruitment

Meet Our Graduate Students

Meet Aurora Ireland

Short bio: 
My name’s Aurora, and I’m a fourth year PhD student working in high energy particle theory. Specifically I work on particle phenomenology, which means I build theoretical models to explain shortcomings in our current understanding of particle physics, and then predict signatures of these models that can be searched for in experiments. I really enjoy getting to conduct this research both at UChicago and at the nearby national lab, Fermilab. Before starting my PhD, I did my undergrad at Arizona State University then a one year masters program at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics. After completing my PhD, I’d like to continue in academia–either as a professor or a research scientist.

Who inspires you?
My friends are all such impressive, kind, fantastic people. They continually inspire me to become a better version of myself.

What are you a fan of?
Besides physics, I’m a big fan of skateboarding, soccer, drinking fancy coffee, baking delicious baked goods, video games, and graphic design.

Why did you choose to study physics?
Basically I couldn’t see myself doing anything else. I’ve always wanted to understand things at the most fundamental level. I’m not so sure this is possible, but physics will take me as far as I can go. 

Why did you choose UChicago?
There were a few professors I wanted to work with here, but I knew that even if my interests changed, there were great people working in essentially every area. So it was an easy choice.

What are the best things about your PhD program?
I really love working with who I work with. It’s a very laid back, open atmosphere where I feel comfortable asking questions and exploring ideas.

What was the best surprise about UChicago or life in Chicago?
Not necessarily a surprise, but the lakeshore trail is awesome! My friends and I love skating up into the city in the summer and having picnics in the fall. 

If you could share any advice to your colleagues, what would it be?
Completing a PhD is a marathon, not a sprint. Go at a sustainable pace, take the time to both explore your interests and to enjoy yourself, and surround yourself with a supportive community of friends and advisors. 

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