Hello! My name is Zach Jennings. I’m a fourth year PhD student in the astronomy and astrophysics program at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Before graduate school, I grew up in the Seattle area and earned my BS in astronomy and physics from the University of Washington.
My astrophysics research interests are primarily in galaxy evolution, specifically the nature and assembly of globular cluster systems around nearby galaxies. I use wide-field imaging from some of the most advanced telescopes in the world, including the Hubble Space Telescope, Subaru Telescope, and the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope, to investigate these systems.
I am also very interested in statistics, especially Bayesian statistics, and machine learning. I have taken supplemental coursework for a formal “designated emphasis in statistics” attached to my PhD, and I have pursued research projects that allow me to bring modern statistical techniques to bear on interesting astrophysical problems. I feel the modern state of statistical modelling in astronomy is sorely behind the times, and hope that a more formal statistics education will become a staple of astrophysics coursework going forward. I am interested in future positions outside of astronomy that will employ advanced statistics and machine learning techniques to attack interesting problems.
Outside of work, I enjoy running, hiking, games, cheering enthusiastically for the Seahawks, and cheering morosely for the Mariners.