Lori Porter

Aspiring Astrophysicist

Columbia University

About Me

Picture of Lori Porter wearing a Columbia University shirt

I am a first-year graduate student at Columbia University's Department of Astronomy. I'm currently involved in research under Dr. Blakesley Burkhart and Dr. Matt Orr at the Center for Computational Astrophysics. I graduated with my undergraduate degree in physics from the University of Louisville in May 2023.

I am originally from Campbellsburg, Kentucky, a rural town where I first fell in love with the stars. Keeping this admiration in mind, I headed to high school at iLead Academy in Carrollton, KY. Far from the traditional high school experience, iLead is a selective high school program that gave me the opportunity to explore more into STEM.

Starting my junior year of high school, I switched paths from aerospace engineering to astronomy and astrophysics, and attended the Craft Academy for Excellence in Science and Mathematics. Craft is a highly selective, residential, dual-credit high school on the campus of Morehead State University. I found Craft to be much more suited to my interests, and gained a head start on my undergraduate degree by obtaining 60+ hours in courses by my high school graduation. Here, I found a love for outreach and advocacy. I also took my first steps into undergraduate research.

I knew for a fact that I wanted to continue studying astronomy and astrophysics. I love that science never truly ends; there's always more to discover. For every question you answer, two more take its place. Knowing I was fulfilled by my work, I enrolled at the University of Louisville for my undergraduate degree. I am currently at UofL on a full-ride scholarship supported by the Brown Fellows Program, a fellowship that pays for both my schooling and for two enrichment projects, taking place the summers after my sophomore and junior years.

Currently, my interests revolve around my research projects and extracurricular activities. I am a member of several campus organizations, including the Society for Women In Physics and Astronomy, Mortar Board Senior Honor Society, and I maintain an officer position in UofL's Society for Physics Students. Being involved in these organizations has helped me meet some fantastic people, and I've discovered that I really enjoy public outreach, advocacy for minorities in STEM, and accessible science for the public.

I am currently preparing to begin my PhD in Astrophysics at Columbia University, focusing my research on galaxy formation and evolution. My long-term plans involve ideally pursuing a research or outreach career.

My hobbies outside of academia include traveling, baking, cooking, 3D printing, thrift shopping, and taking care of my many houseplants. In my free time you can usually find me doing one of the above activities or attending a concert or music festival.