2023 SURP Student Spotlights

The annual Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP) in astronomy & astrophysics at the University of Toronto is a unique opportunity for undergraduate students in astronomy, physics or engineering to prepare for a career in scientific research.

Throughout the program students have the opportunity to:

  • Experience what a career in research is like by independently conducting a project related to on-going astronomical research at U of T
  • Collaborate with U of T astronomers
  • Improve their research writing and communication skills
  • Learn about research being conducted at U of T
  • Participate in U of T public outreach

Students work with astronomers from the Dunlap Institute or the David A Dunlap Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics (DADDAA) depending on their research interest, choice of research project, or supervisor.

Follow the links below to learn more about six students who participated in SURP this summer!

Isabella Armstrong

Isabella Armstrong

Isabella is a fourth-year undergraduate student studying astronomy and physics with a minor in math at the University of Toronto. She grew up in Vancouver, BC and now lives in Toronto. Her passion for astronomy and astrophysics stems from a love of all things sci-fi. Isabella is grateful to have had the opportunity to work with Prof. Jo Bovy and Dr. Fraser Evans this summer.

Isabella studied hypervelocity stars (HVS) and the trajectories these stars take as they travel through the Milky Way at incredibly high speeds before eventually leaving the galaxy entirely.

Ian ChowIan Chow

Born and raised in Toronto, Ian just finished his final year of undergrad at U of T, graduating with an astronomy and physics specialist and a statistics major.

Ian worked with Dr. Keir Rogers on a project analyzing the distribution of ultra-light axions, which are a type of theoretical particle that cosmologists are interested in as a candidate for dark matter.

Sophia Da Costa

Sophia is a fourth-year undergraduate student at the University of Waterloo studying physics and astronomy with a minor in mathematics. Sophia is originally from Oakville, Ontario but has been based in the Kitchener/Waterloo area since the start of their BSc.

Sophia’s project involved designing and building an ultrawide band (UWB) receiver chain for the 46-meter radio telescope at the Algonquin Radio Observatory (ARO) alongside Dr. Keith Vanderlinde.

Andrew LiAndrew Li

Andrew is in his fourth year of undergraduate studies at the University of Toronto, specializing in astronomy and physics as well as completing a major in mathematics. He was born in Toronto, and moved to Calgary when he was two, but returned in 2020 to pursue his interest in physics at UofT.

Andrew worked with Professor Ting Li and Dr. Gustavo Medina in finding stellar stream members.

Libertad Rojas

Libertad RojasLibertad (Libby) is a fourth-year undergraduate student specializing in physics and astrophysics at the University of Toronto Scarborough. She grew up playing under the rain and mud of her hometown of Santa Cruz, Bolivia. This exposure to nature led her to develop a deep curiosity and passion for the unknown.

Supervised by Prof. Suresh Sivanadam and Dr. Momen Diab, Libby worked with a Shack Hartman wavefront sensor (SH-WFS) to reconstruct distorted wavefronts using Zenike modal fitting.

Ryan WangRyan Wang

Ryan is from Windsor, Ontario and just finished his fourth and final year of undergraduate studies at U of T’s David A. Dunlap Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics, specializing in astronomy and physics with a major in physics and minor in math.

Ryan’s work focused on locating stars that were kicked out of the core of exorbitantly old star clusters.