University of Hawaii at Hilo

Natural Sciences Division

Department of Physics & Astronomy

Travis Thieme

B.S. Astronomy, B.A. Physics and minor in Math (Class of 2017)

Clubs organizations: 
Vice President of the University Astrophysics Club Fall 2016, Spring 2017
Where you are now and what you're doing: 

Currently, I am living in Hsinchu, Taiwan studying for my Masters degree at National Tsing Hua University. I am working as a graduate research assistant under my advisor Shih-Ping Lai on the topic of Class 0 protostellar disks. 

Areas of specialty:
Star formation
Places you have worked, interned or traveled to for your career:
Jobs ———————————————
NASA Infrared Telescope Facility: Night Attendant March 2016 - May 2017
University of Hawaii at Hilo: Teaching Assistant January - May 2016
Volunteer ———————————————
Mauna Kea Visitor Information Station: Stargazing Volunteer Fall 2016 - Spring 2017
Internships/ Research Experience ———————————————
NASA Hawaii Space Grant Fellowship: University of Hawaii at Hilo  Fall 2016, Spring 2017
Subaru Experience Program with Sokendai University: University of Hawaii at Hilo/ Subaru Telescope Fall 2016, Spring 2017
Akamai Workforce Initiative Summer Internship: Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory Submillimeter Array Summer 2016
Presentations ———————————————
NASA Hawaii Space Grant Smposium: Honolulu, HI Fall 2016, Spring 2017

Akamai Workforce Initiative Symposium: Hilo, HI Summer 2016

I was born in the cold and rainy city of Seattle, Washington. When I graduated high school, I, like most kids, had no idea what I wanted to study at the university. So I attended Edmonds Community College, starting off with computer science. I ended up taking an introduction to astronomy as one of my science elective courses. I immediately knew that I wanted to study astronomy from that point. It was actually my physics teacher at my community college who recommended I apply to the University of Hawaii at Hilo because her brother studied astronomy there. After three years of community college, I moved to the Big Island and spent two years finishing my bachelors degrees in astronomy and physics. 
What attracted you to UH Hilo Physics & Astronomy?
Hilo, Hawaii sits at the base of one of the greatest place in the world to do astronomy, Mauna Kea. The opportunities here are unrivaled anywhere else. Basically, every student in the department will have the opportunity to do research during their undergraduate studies, which is important for getting into graduate school. The department is small, the teachers are amazing and 
Advice for prospective/current students of UH Hilo Physics & Astronomy
If you’re coming in as a freshman, take math and physics courses right away. It’s even better if you’ve taken Calculus and Physics in high school. This is crucial to being a successful undergraduate in astronomy. Use your freshman year to study hard, make friends and explore the island! Try to get involved with some kind of research project by your Sophmore year. Many of the teachers will be willing to give you something to do research with if you show them that you are motivated to learn. But start early and get lots of research opportunities under your belt. Also, volunteer, volunteer, volunteer! Sign up as a stargazing volunteer every weekend your freshman year at the Mauna Kea Visitor Information Station. This is the best way to meet people who work at the telescopes and astronomers coming to Mauna Kea to do research. This is how I got my job as a night attendant at the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility on Mauna Kea. For transfer students, it’s a little more difficult as there are a lot of required physics and astronomy courses for your degree(s). Just volunteer and look for research opportunities as soon as possible. I only spent two years there, but had three separate research opportunities. If I can do it, you can too! Lastly, for everyone, if you come with the intent to only get an astronomy degree, I highly recommend getting the physics degree also! It is only three additional classes to get another degree. A math minor is also fairly simple to get also with two or three extra math classes. 


Travie Thieme Alumni photo








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  • (Updated October 2nd, 2017)