Meet the Team

Amar Vutha – Principle Investigator

Kristen Cote – Payload Lead

Kristen holds a Bachelor’s in astrophysics from the University of Alberta, a Master’s in earth and space science from York University, and just started her PhD in Physics (specifically experimental quantum optics) at the University of Toronto. She specializes in space-based optical systems. Having designed a balloon-borne x-ray detector, deployable imaging systems, and a laser-based analytical instrument for future Mars rovers, she is now focused on compact, portable optical atomic clocks towards space-based gravitational wave detection, geodesy, and deep-space navigation. In her spare time, Kristen volunteers with the Students for Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS) Canada to organize projects (like parabolic flights and stratospheric balloon launches) for undergraduate students all over Canada.

Shira Jackson – Payload Lead

Shira is a PhD candidate at the University of Toronto studying experimental quantum optics. She’s currently working on the construction of two-photon optical clocks for field-based fundamental physics investigations. Shira received her Bachelor’s in physics at York University where she worked on trapping micro-particles with optical tweezers. When not in the lab playing with lasers, she’s busy with her two little children.

Ryan Zazo – Payload Team

Ryan is a is an Engineering Science Student at the University of Toronto. Having completed his first year, he is hoping to spend his summer learning about optics and applying what he has learnt in school and on his own working on SORCE. He aims to major in robotics and in doing so is spending his time working on SORCE in fields such as communication to and from the optical clock and interfacing the various electronic components with one another to work as one system.

Lucy Ma – Payload Team

Lucy is an undergraduate student pursuing a Bachelors in Engineering Science at the University of Toronto where she hopes to specialize in Biomedical Engineering. After taking a summer course for cosmology at Harvard University she became immensely interested in physics research which is an experience she is excited to explore with this team. Lucy is looking to further engage with the STEM community as she has enjoyed working as national team lead for the Foundation of Student Science and Technology (FSST) to organize conferences and outreach opportunities for youths. In her spare time Lucy is a singer and she composes.