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#WCWinSTEM: Moiya McTier, B.A.

#WCWinSTEM: Moiya McTier, B.A.


This week’s #WCWinSTEM is Moiya McTier, lover of exoplanets and galaxies.

As compiled by Chrystelle Vilfranc

Today’s #WCWinSTEM feature is Moiya McTier, a recent Harvard College graduate. McTier was the first at Harvard to major in both Astrophysics and Folkore & Mythology. Her senior thesis was a science fiction novel inspired by the Thirty Meter Telescope conflict in Hawaii and in relation to her own original exoplanet research. She is currently waiting to hear back from publishers. How cool is she? McTier will be starting her first year of a doctoral program in Astronomy at Columbia University this fall.

McTier first delved into astronomy at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory where she studied starburst galaxies as a National Science Foundation (NSF) Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) student. Following that summer, she went on to research quasars, galaxy clusters, star formation, the Cosmic Microwave Background and exoplanets. Although she has not yet picked a research project, McTier hopes to be able to combine her two astronomical loves: exoplanets and galaxies. During her first year at Columbia, she is most likely to spend it studying either exoplanet statistics or stellar evolution.

Apart from her research, she plans to be heavily involved in education and outreach. McTier says she enjoys doing outreach, “Because there’s no point in doing science if other people don’t know what you’re doing and why it’s important.”

McTier on the importance of highlighting WoC in STEM:

McTier says that it is important to highlight WoC in STEM careers to encourage more girls of color to enter the world of STEM. From a personal standpoint, McTier states:

“If I had seen more women of color astronomers as I was growing up, maybe it wouldn’t have taken me 19 years to realize I could be an astronomer, too.” 

Furthermore, McTier acknowledges that more WOC in STEM are needed in different STEM fields to offer different perspectives. Finally, McTier reminds us:

“Science has been done by the same kind of people (straight white cis men) for literally over a millennium. It’s about time we shake things up and introduce to STEM the kind of creativity that our unique experiences as women of color can produce.”

 Thank you Moiya for all that you bring to the #STEM community! We appreciate you! Good luck with your graduate school journey!


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