Hello! My name is Kate Grier and I am a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Arizona. I am currently working with the JWST NIRCam team here at UA while also studying variability in quasars via the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, and I have a very strong interest in teaching and outreach.
I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, where I was a competitive swimmer and water polo player. I received my undergraduate B.S. degrees in both physics and astronomy in 2007 from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (I-L-L!), where I was actively involved in the UIUC Astronomical Society and Campus Honors program. While there, I began studying active galaxies, both during summer REU programs and also under the supervision of Prof. Robert Brunner and Dr. Brian Wilhite.
I received my Ph.D. in astronomy from The Ohio State University in August 2013. My dissertation is composed of studies of the broad line region and measurements of black hole masses in active galactic nuclei with Prof. Bradley M. Peterson. After completing my degree, I remained in Columbus for a year as part-time postdoctoral researcher, part-time Planetarium Director, where I oversaw all activities of the newly-refurbished OSU planetarium. I then moved to State College as a postdoctoral researcher, where I worked with Prof. Niel Brandt and Prof. Donald Schneider on studies of quasar variability with SDSS for four years. In 2019, I began a position at the University of Arizona as a postdoctoral researcher, this time working on observing preparations for Maria Rieke’s extragalactic GTO program on the upcoming JWST mission. While here, I have also been coordinating observations with Steward Observatory telescopes for our quasar monitoring program and continuing my work on supermassive black holes and active galactic nuclei.