Kepler Planets and Metallicity
We investigated the relationships between planet size, stellar mass, and metallicity using planets with updated planet radii and advanced statistical methods. We looked at all Kepler planets with radii between 1 and 4 Earth radii, which includes so called super-Earths and sub-Neptunes. These two sub-populations likely have one formation mechanism, and then the bimodality of the radius distribution is carved out afterward because of the effects of intense stellar radiation. We found that the size of Kepler planets depends on the size of the star and not the metallicity. This means that planet formation depends more on the size of the protoplanetary disk, and not necessarily the amount of solids within the disk. We also found that super-Earths and sub-Neptunes are hosted by the same types of stars, which is in accordance with their formation scenario. Finally, we found that Kepler planets orbit stars that are significantly somewhat metal rich, and were able to constrain the dependency on metallicity for their occurrence rates. This project was completed under the supervision of Prof. Yanqin Wu at the University of Toronto.

Hydrogen in a Magma Ocean
During the magma ocean phase of planet formation, volatile material in the primordial atmosphere can dissolve into the molten silicate mantle. The primordial atmosphere is composed of mostly carbon dioxide because of it's low solubility in silicate melt. There may also be some volatiles in the primordial atmosphere that originated in the stellar nebula. Stellar nebula elements, like hydrogen and helium, can also dissolve into the magma ocean. Inside the magma ocean, these elements are not inert and hydrogen can react with oxygen to form water. Depending on how much hydrogen is ingassed into the magma ocean, differing amounts of hydrogen can be outgassed into the secondary atmosphere. This mechanism can produce the low density atmopsheres that are thought to be around some observed exoplanets. I was supervised by Prof. Diana Valencia at the University of Toronto and Dr. Dan Bower from the Center for Space and Habitability at the University of Bern in Switzerland.

Follow-up Observations of WASP-36
In 2012, the University of British Columbia acquired a 35cm telescope and established the University Southern Observatory (USO) at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO) under an an agreement with the Assocciation of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA). For my undergraduate thesis I characterized this telescope for follow-up transit searches of hot-Jupiters in the hopes of constraining or uncoverng any transit timing variations that would be indicative of other non-transiting planets. The USO has recently recieved NESRC funding for major upgrades, and will finally be able to complete these observations. This project was completed under the supervision of Prof. Aaron Boley at the University of British Columbia and Prof. Ian Hoffman at Quest University Canada.