Tales of a Computational Astrophysicist

Assistant Professor in Physics and Astronomy

Dr. Kelly Holley-Bockelmann

Assistant Professor, Physics and Astronomy
Vanderbilt University

Dr. Holley ­Bockelmann joined Vanderbilt University in 2007. She received her B.S. in Physics at Montana State University and her PhD in Astronomy in 1999 at the University of Michigan. After her PhD, she did postdoctoral work at Case Western Reserve University and the University of Massachusetts.

In 2004, she joined the Center for Gravitational Wave Physics at The Pennsylvania State University, where she became a big fan of gravitational waves and attended many talks on loop quantum gravity that left her scratching her head. Her main interests are in computational galaxy dynamics, black holes of all sorts, and gravitational waves.

She is a recipient of a Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award from the National Science Foundation , is a Vanderbilt Chancellor Faculty Fellow, and her work has also been supported by NASA. Dr. Holley-Bockelmann’s research on growing supermassive black holes and rogue black holes have been featured in many online and print media outlets, though she still gets a bit nervous talking to the press.

As a first-generation college graduate within a family that sometimes lived below the poverty level, Dr. Holley-Bockelmann has a deep interest in broadening the participation of women, minorities, and first-generation college students in science.

She is the Co-Director of the Fisk-to-Vanderbilt Master's-to-PhD Bridge Program, which is designed to mentor a diverse cohort of graduate students to develop the skills needed to succeed as a PhD scientist.

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