I am currently a postdoc researcher with Columbia University Nevis Laboratories, working on the ATLAS Experiment and living in Geneva. Right now my research interests include looking for new physics involving highly "boosted" top quarks, or top quarks that are created with a very high momentum. These tops are so boosted in fact, that if they decide to decay into a b-quark and a hadronically-de caying W boson, the decay products merge into a single big jet. To understand these properly, it becomes extremely important to study and measure the properties of jets that contain substructure. Additionally, during the long LHC shutdown that starts in 2013, I'll be spending a lot of time working underground in the ATLAS cavern on the Liquid Argon Calorimeter.
This research/hardware is a big change from my PhD work with the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, also on ATLAS, where I almost exclusively dealt with muons...from commissioning the Muon Spectrometer back in 2008 as the last detector elements were installed, to studying the performance of muons from Z boson decays and measuring the first cross section at sqrt(s)=7 TeV, to performing a search for new physics in the tail of the dimuon mass distribution with the data collected in 2010.
I was born and raised just outside of Los Angeles to a Texan mom and a Glaswegian dad, and while I haven't lived there since I was an undergraduate at Cal Poly Pomona, I still consider California my home. From the time I was little I loved all kinds of science; however, I didn't join the field of particle physics until after my second year of graduate school... a long story involving animatronic velociraptors, a road named Zzyzx, Italians, and spargel (German for asparagus). It has a happy ending though... I feel incredibly lucky to be a particle physicist at CERN in an era when a new particle was discovered!
In the spare time I can find, I really enjoy traveling, cooking, playing guitar poorly, playing various sports even more poorly, and generally spending as much time outside as possible. Other random passions of mine include small-scale graphic design (like designing the Quarks CERN softball team logo), and I'm proud to proclaim myself an arrogant linux elitist, always an advocate of open-source software.