Current Group Members

  • Sarah Stewart, Professor
  • Dylan Spaulding, Project Scientist
  • Zach Zentner, Staff Research Associate
  • Kaitlyn Amodeo, Graduate Student
  • Megan Harwell, Graduate Student
  • Adriana Postema, Graduate Student

Our group regularly interacts with Sujoy Mukhopadhyay’s group and Qing-zhu Yin’s group at UC Davis and collaborates with scientists at the LLNL Center for High Energy Density Science and Sandia’s Z Machine.

Former Group Members

  • Robert Citron, Postdoctoral researcher (2020-2022). Now a postdoc at MIT/NASA Goddard.
  • Jill Eymann, Staff Research Associate (2016-2021). Now a student at Cal Poly Humboldt.
  • Philip Carter, Postdoctoral Researcher and Project Scientist (2017-2021). Now a Research Associate at U. Bristol.
  • Bethany Chidester, Postdoctoral researcher (2018-2021). Now a Director’s Postdoctoral Fellow at Los Alamos National Laboratory.
  • Andrew Pepper, 2020 B.S., UC Davis.
  • Erik Davies, 2020 Ph.D., UC Davis. Now a postdoctoral researcher at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
  • Gigja Hollyday, 2020 M.S., UC Davis. See
  • Megan Duncan, Postdoctoral researcher (2018-2019). Now a professor at Virginia Tech.
  • Meral Basit, Undergraduate Lab Assistant (2018-2019).
  • Simon Lock, 2018 Ph.D., EPS, Harvard. Now a NERC Independent Research Fellow at U. Bristol.
  • Markos Hankin, Shock Compression Laboratory Manager, Harvard. Now He recovery engineer at Harvard.
  • Lee Wizda, Lab Technician, Harvard.
  • Gal Sarid, Postdoctoral Research Associate, Harvard (2012-2014). Now a senior research scientist at Science Systems and Applications, Inc.
  • Richard Kraus, 2013 Ph.D., EPS. A Lawrence Fellow at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Now a staff scientist at LLNL.
  • Matthew Newman, Undergraduate, Engineering (B.A. 2013). 2018 Ph.D. Caltech. Now working at Northrop Grumman.
  • Will Steinhardt, Graduate Student, EPS. Now a Postdoctoral Researcher at UC Santa Cruz.
  • Matija Ćuk, Daly-Clay Postdoctoral Fellow in EPS and Astronomy (2008-2012). Urey Prize winner. Now a research scientist at SETI.
  • Zoe Leinhardt, Postdoc in EPS (2005-2007). Now a Lecturer at U. of Bristol
  • Karin Louzada, Graduate student, EPS (Ph.D. 2009). Now the science attachè for the Netherlands.
  • Laurel Senft, Graduate student, EPS (Ph.D. 2009), now a faculty member in the Physical Sciences department, Westchester Community College
  • Rachel Zucker, Graduate Student, EPS (2010), 2015 Ph.D. MIT, Now a Miller Fellow at UC Berkeley.
  • Wade Henning, Graduate Student, EPS (Ph.D. 2011). Now a research scientist at NASA Goddard.
  • Robert Marcus, Graduate Student, Astrophysics (Ph.D. 2011). Now a software engineer at Uber.
  • Gregory Kennedy, Shock Compression Laboratory Manager (2006), now a research scientist at Georgia Tech’s Impact Facility
  • Lee Farina, Shock Compression Laboratory Manager (2010).
  • Benjamin Black, Undergraduate Student, EPS (2005), former Fulbright Fellow. Now an assistant professor at the City College of New York.
  • Gregory Valiant, Undergraduate Student, Math (2007). Now an assistant professor at Stanford.
  • Kate Scheider, Research Assistant in EPS
  • Andrea Peterson, Undergraduate, Chemistry and Physics
  • Firth McEachern, Undergraduate, Earth and Planetary Sciences and Astronomy and Astrophysics (2009)
  • Peter Hedman, Undergraduate, Earth and Planetary Sciences (2010)
  • Sonya Mollinger, Undergraduate, Physics (2011)

Research Opportunites

  • Individuals interested in research opportunities should contact Sarah for more information.

Dylan Spaulding, Project Scientist

Markos Hankin, Former Lab manager


Karin Louzada, Sarah’s first graduate student

Simon Lock and Erik Davies @ AGU 2017

Sarah’s Biography

Sarah T. Stewart is a Professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at U. California, Davis. She joined the faculty at Davis in 2014 after 11 years as a Professor at Harvard University.

Sarah is a planetary scientist who specializes in the study of collisions in the solar system. Her research encompasses the formation and destruction of planets, planetary geology, and materials science. She is best known for proposing a new model for the origin of the Moon, where the Moon grows within a new type of planetary object known as a synestia. Sarah’s experimental program on planetary materials focuses on measurements of thermodynamic properties and calculating the mass of melt and vapor produced during planetary impact events. Sarah directs the Shock Compression Laboratory, which uses light gas guns to study shock waves in planetary materials, and also conducts shock experiments on laser and pulsed power platforms.

Sarah received her AB in Astrophysics and Physics from Harvard in 1995 and her PhD in Planetary Science from the California Institute of Technology in 2002. She has won awards and honors for her scholarship, including a MacArthur Fellowship, the Urey Prize from the American Astronomical Society’s Division for Planetary Sciences and a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. Sarah was President of the Planetary Sciences Section of the American Geophysical Union from 2016-2018. Sarah is dedicated to public outreach in planetary sciences and is featured as one of Popular Science’s Brilliant 10 of 2010 and Astronomy Magazine’s Rising Stars of 2013. Sarah is a 2018 MacArthur Fellow and 2019 AAAS Fellow.

More about Sarah

Learn more about Sarah Stewart and check out all of our one-of-a-kind stories at

Group Contact Information

Mailing address:
Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences
University of California Davis
One Shields Avenue
Davis, CA 95616
Main office 530.752.0350

Sarah Stewart 530.754.6021 ststewart at ucdavis dot edu
Dylan Spaulding 530.754.7014 dkspaulding at ucdavis dot edu
Zach Zentner 530.754.7014 zszentner at ucdavis dot edu
Kaitlyn Amodeo kamodeo at ucdavis dot edu
Megan Harwell megharwell at ucdavis dot edu
Adriana Postema anpostema at ucdavis dot edu