Say hello to Dr. Ashley Nova (She/her)! Dr. Nova is a researcher in astronomy and machine learning at the University of Hertfordshire in the United Kingdom! She is also a gamer, a writer, and an amateur model!
What kind of scientist are you?
I’m a research fellow in astronomy and machine learning. That means I teach computers how to look at the sky, how to find objects of interest and classify them for analysis. I’m mostly interested in what makes galaxies tick, why they look the way they do, and how they formed.
What made you want to become a scientist?
As a kid, I never stopped asking questions, and spouting off random ‘cool facts’ I had learnt. I became interested in space through years of watching sci-fi, and studying physics at A-levels made me take the final push. Along the way I’ve had so much support from friends, family and teachers that doing a PhD felt inevitable.
“As a kid, I never stopped asking questions, and spouting off random ‘cool facts’ I had learnt.”Dr. Ashley Nova
What makes you a #UniqueScientist?
In no particular order, I am: Queer, Trans, a Woman, Polyam, Demi, Pan and from a Working Class background.
What’s something cool you do outside of work?
I do so much! I stream video games on twitch, I make an actual play podcast about games that make us feel, I’m writing a fantasy novel about a victorian alchemist, and I’m an amateur model.
If you had one wish and could change anything in science, what would it be?
I think we need to start thinking about dismantling the hierarchies that are present in research institutions. Science is very top down, and a restructuring of that power can open up more innovation, bring in more people with new ideas, and protect us from those who might abuse the system.
“I think we need to start thinking about dismantling the hierarchies that are present in research institutions.”Dr. Ashley Nova
Who has inspired you the most in your journey to where you are now?
So many people. Beth Montague-Hellen inspired me to reach out to my fellow queer scientists, Alfredo Carpineti taught me to to be raging to make a difference. Karen Masters showed me what success can look like.
Let’s end on a high note! What’s something you’ve done this week that you’re proud of?
I gave a talk at my old university and was told it was the clearest explanation of machine learning the audience had heard.
#WomenInSTEM, #QueerInSTEM, TransInSTEM