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Curriculum Vitae

Click here to view or download Curriculum Vitae, Joni Marie Clark Cunningham
Bachelors of Science in Physics, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM

Courses Completed:
Revolutionary Ideas in Science, Into the Final Frontier: The History of Human Space Flight, Engineering Physics, Life in the Universe, Introductory Computational Physics, Astronomical Observation, Science Ethics and Society, Electricity and Magnetism, Topics in Modern Astrophysics, Modern Physics, Research and Writing, Intermediate Mechanics, Thermodynamics, Forensic Physics, Advanced Physics and Quantum Physics
GPA: 3.17

Doctor of Philosophy, Astrophysics, Vanderbilt Astrophysics Group

Research Projects: 
Using Spectroscopic Eclipsing Binaries (SEBs) as a benchmark for stellar evolution, especially pre-main sequence (PMS) binaries. Finding synergy between missions like Kepler, APOGEE, Gaia, and TESS to probe deeper into multiplicity systems and refine current estimates of stellar parameters and star’s evolutionary history. Harnessing Gaia common kinematics as a tool to model the life journeys of SEBs  evaluating coevality in both HR diagram space and by tracing stellar birth origins to confirm stellar association.

Masters of Science in Physics, Fisk University, Nashville, TN

Courses Completed:
Math Methods for Physicists, Stellar Astrophysics, Structure and Dynamics of Galaxies, Orders of Magnitude, Professional Development, Structure and Formation in the Universe, Radiative Processes, Electricity and Magnetism, Orders of Magnitude, Professional Development


The National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program

Honorable Mention (2019)

Research Assistant Fisk/Vanderbilt University

Stellar Astrophysics, binary stars, and stellar evolution compose my research interests for the Fisk-Vanderbilt Bridge to PhD Program with my advisor, Keivan Stassun. By exploiting the observational overlap of Spectroscopic Eclipsing Binaries (SEBs) in Kepler and APOGEE, orbital solutions and evolutionary histories of these targets are attained, (see Publications). Current projects include probing the Taurus cluster with Gaia distance estimates and stellar rotational periods to statistically determine if the cluster is composed of two independent stellar associations. Finally, I am also currently using Gaia common kinematics to explore the birth origins of a pre main sequence trinary system.

Research Assistant, New Mexico State University, III

My third research project at New Mexico State University was advised by Jason Jackiewicz and Meredith Rawls. During my time in this position I organized and analyzed spectroscopic observations from this telescope and effectively modeled the results for publication. I presented this research at the American Astronomical Society’s 228th meeting in San Diego, poster session.

Research Assistant, New Mexico State University, II

The second research project completed whilst earning my Bachelors of Science in Physics was continued under the guidance of Paul A. Mason and Nancy Chanover. This research project required me to create and run computer software to simulate gravitational interactions and orbital stability in binary systems. These results were then successfully modeled for publication, (see Publications) and presented at the American Astronomical Society’s 222nd meeting in Indianapolis, poster session.

Research Assistant, New Mexico State University, I

The first research project I joined in my undergraduate experience was under the advisory of Paul A. Mason, in which we collected, organized and modeled data to establish a Binary Habitability Zone, which is defined as the region around a close orbit binary in which solid, liquid and gaseous water has the potential to remain on orbiting planets. Beyond that, we also established a Tidal Habitable Zone around binary stars, which is defined as the region around a close binary in which orbiting planets would not be at risk of tidal locking due to gravitational influence from their parent stars. These results were effectively modeled for publication and presented at the 221st American Astronomical Society’s meeting in Long Beach, California.

Dona Ana Community College Science Learning Assistant

For the entirety of my Undergraduate education, I also served as the Dona Ana Community College Science Department’s Learning Assistant. This position initially began as the teaching assistant for Paul A. Mason and Donald Murphy, both physics instructors, but evolved into a position that served all professors in the Science and Mathematics departments within the satellite campus of New Mexico State University. I created lesson plans and lectures to be given by the professors or myself, lead and coordinated laboratory assignments for Astronomy and Physics classes, assessed students’ grades for a variety of subjects and assignments and provided tutoring services, and co-authored a laboratory manual used in the Introductory Astronomy classes. Towards the end of my Bachelors education, I was also functioning as a guest lecturer within the Astronomy department for Robin Hastings.


Curriculum Vitae, Joni Marie Clark Cunningham (click to view/download)