Nathalie Ouelette

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About the Presenter: 

I was born and raised in Montréal, QC in a family of engineers. From an early age, the library was one of my favourite places to spend my Saturdays. I spent hours reading about dinosaurs, tornadoes, and the Universe. I knew nearly straight away that I wanted to understand how it all worked, and I quickly turned my attention to the stars and sky. I couldn't think of anything bigger and more awe-inspiring to study than space. I graduated from McGill University's Honours Physics program in 2010 before starting my graduate studies at Queen's University in Kingston, ON. I obtained my Ph.D. in Physics & Astronomy in 2016 after defending my thesis on the subject of dynamics and scaling relations of Virgo Cluster galaxies under the supervision of Prof. Stéphane Courteau. I am still an active researcher in the field of galaxy evolution in the galaxy clusters, am a key member of the Spectroscopy and H-band Imaging of Virgo (SHIVir) team, and the Principal Investigator of its spectroscopic component. I developed a passion for science communication and outreach early on during my undergrad, and knew I wanted to make it an integral part of my career moving forward. I managed the Queen's Observatory for nearly 6 years and led the Queen's Astronomy Research Group's outreach efforts during my graduate studies, and only fell more in love with talking to people about how hecking awesome astronomy is. HECK! I'm still very active in science communication and will jump at every chance to tell you something cool about science. After jumpstarting the Education & Outreach program at the new McDonald Institute on astroparticle physics as its first coordinator, I was then appointed as the Coordinator for the Institute for Research on Exoplanets at the Université de Montréal and the Canadian Outreach Scientist for the JWST working with the Canadian Space Agency! Outside of science, I am a huge nature- and animal-lover. I especially love squirrels and dogs and hope to bring an end to the Great Squirrel-Dog War of the 21st Century. After resisting the lure of becoming yet another rock climbing physicist for 9 years, I finally tried it out in December 2016 and realised there's a reason all these physicists end up rock climbing. It's really darn fun. These days, you'll most likely find me hanging precariously off a rock wall, watching really awful movies, or painting some sweet nebulae for my family.

Presenter affiliation: 

Université de Montréal
Coordinator at the Institute for Research on Exoplanets