We are all researchers at the Leonard E Parker Center for Cosmology, Gravitation and Astrophysics (CGCA) at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Here are just a few snippets of what we're interested in...



Ian Brown

Ian Brown

Shaon Ghosh

Shaon Ghosh

“ I have been interested in science for as long as I can remember. I grew up outside of a town with a population of about 500 people so I always had great views of the stars on clear nights. I was also lucky enough to have parents who encouraged my curiosity and showed me the stars and constellations. I naturally became curious and wanted to know about what I saw. I decided to make a career out of my curiosity and came to UWM in 2016 where I have been researching fast radio bursts. When time permits, I still like to go camping out away from the city lights to see a meteor shower or just admire the beautiful complexity of the cosmos. ”

“ I am a gravitational wave astrophysicist, trained in extracting science from cataclysmic astrophysical events like colliding neutron stars and merging black holes. I got drawn into this field due to my love for astrophysics, which is the study of the cosmos and general relativity, the study of the spacetime itself. After completing my Ph.D. in 2013 from Washington State University, I worked for three years with astronomers to combine this field with the traditional observational astronomy. Currently, at UWM I am working as a member of the LIGO scientific collaboration in some of the most ambitious projects that we can now realistically think of achieving due to vast improvement in technology, like studying the matter of the neutron star and conducting gravitational wave astronomy using the LIGO detectors. Outside work I like reading books, especially science fiction, playing RTS computer games and spending time with my family. ”

Kristina Islo

Kristina Islo

Shasvath Kapadia

Shasvath Kapadia

“ I was not a science-minded child — my experiments started and ended with Doctor Dreadful’s candy laboratory; but, upon entering UWM as a freshman, I had an amazing teacher show me how science only requires you be curious, tenacious in solving problems, and open to the solutions. Since then I’ve become a graduate student, aiming to get my PhD in Gravitational Wave Astrophysics. In addition to my research, I’m involved in outreach efforts such as this to encourage diversity in the scientific community. When not working, you can find me reading all sorts of books, annoying my cat, napping, or looking up. ”

“ I joined UWM as a postdoctoral researcher in the summer of 2016 to participate in a multinational collaborative endeavor (LIGO) to hunt for gravitational waves – ripples in the very fabric of spacetime that are incredibly difficult to detect. Nevertheless, their recent discovery has opened a new window to our Universe, allowing us to “see” the orbits of black holes, and possibly other exotic objects, lurking in distant regions of the cosmos. I feel lucky to be a part of this worldwide effort at such an exciting time! Apart from research, I like listening to music and attending group exercise sessions at the university. Having grown up close to the ocean in a coastal town in southern India, I love the fact that Milwaukee is next to a large body of water, which is why I enjoy taking walks by Lake Michigan – when the weather’s not too cold.”

Casey McGrath

Casey McGrath

Siddharth Mohite

Siddharth Mohite

“ One day in fifth grade my teacher began a lesson on the stars and planets, and I was hooked - for me, that lesson has not yet ended! This quest of science has been a grand adventure which has taken me from the observatories on the volcanoes of Hawaii to the underground particle smasher outside of Geneva, and has afforded me the chance to meet a great number of fascinating people, studying incredible things. Now as I pursue my own advanced studies as a graduate student in gravitational waves and pulsars, I hope to unravel a few mysteries, and unearth even more. But aside from these pursuits I enjoy running and biking, cooking, driving my motorcycle, and exploring new places when I get the chance.”

“I was 'hooked on' astronomy when as a school kid I made my first telescope and looked at the moon. I was amazed at the amount of detail I could see, albeit it was a basic telescope. But this left me wanting for more; to know about things further away - the planets, stars and galaxies! My academic endeavor, ever since, has therefore been in the domain of astrophysics. I completed my undergraduate education from my home country of India and came to UWM as a doctoral student in 2016. My research is focused within the exciting new field of gravitational-wave astronomy which has opened a new window of observing the universe, helping us know about exotic, mysterious objects such as black holes and neutron stars. In my spare time apart from research, I love to play and watch cricket, cook and travel.”

Joseph Swiggum

Joseph Swiggum

Angela Van Sistine

Angie Van Sistine

“I am a radio astronomer and postdoc at UW-Milwaukee, unraveling the mysteries of the pulsar universe. I spend most of my time searching for new pulsars and “timing” them to learn as much as I can about individual sources as well as the underlying population. I apply these efforts towards improving the NANOGrav collaboration’s pulsar timing array, a galactic-scale gravitational wave detector. Outside work, I play and watch lots of volleyball and enjoy cooking, geocaching and board games.”

“I am originally from the greater Milwaukee area (Waterford) and am excited to be back home in Wisconsin. I studied physics and astrophysics at UW-Madison and received my PhD from Indiana University in Bloomington, IN. At UWM, I am doing research on star-forming galaxies in the nearby universe. These types of galaxies are interesting because they can tell us about how galaxies grow and change over time. Also, the nearby star-forming galaxies I look at can host the types of gravitational wave events that can be detected by LIGO, which many of my colleagues work on-check out some of the other bios on this page. When I'm not working with galaxies, I enjoy running, skiing and snowboarding, camping, brewing beer, and spending time with my family.”

Sarah Vigeland

Sarah Vigeland

“I came to UWM as a postdoc in 2015. Before that, I was an undergraduate at Carleton College in Minnesota and a graduate student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. My research interests include gravitation, black holes, and neutron stars. I am part of the NANOGrav collaboration, which uses pulsars to detect low-frequency gravitational waves from supermassive black holes in other galaxies. When I’m not doing physics, I enjoy reading, knitting, running, and playing computer games.”






Hall of Fame

(Previous CoffeeShop Astrophysics group members)





Sydney Chamberlin (Founder of CoffeeShop Astrophysics)
Laura Nuttall
Megan DeCesar
Laleh Sadeghian
Alex Urban
Sarah Caudill
Danielle Berg
Debnandini Mukherjee
Hong Qi