Stella Koch Ocker

Astronomy & Space Sciences


I received a B.A. with High Honors in Physics from Oberlin College in 2018, and am currently a fifth year PhD student working with Prof. Jim Cordes and Dr. Shami Chatterjee on pulsars, fast radio bursts, and interstellar and circumgalactic plasma.  My interests range from using pulsars and fast radio bursts to model the distribution and turbulent behavior of plasma in the Galactic interstellar and circumgalactic media to characterizing the host environments and intergalactic medium through which extragalactic radio bursts propagate.  My research also looks closer to home: using the Voyager mission’s plasma wave experiment, I study the plasma turbulence and structure in the very local interstellar medium (ISM) just outside of our heliosphere. As a member of the Nanohertz Observatory for Gravitational Waves (NANOGrav), I apply our knowledge of the ISM near and far to the effort to detect gravitational waves with pulsar timing at nanosecond precision.

Research Focus

Advisor: Professor Jim Cordes