Originally from a somewhat dull town in the North West of England, I’ve been fascinated by space since I can remember. After going to Senior Space School UK (three years in a row!), I did a self-taught GCSE in Astronomy during the last four months of my final year of high school. Two years later, after my A-levels, I left for Scotland to do a degree in Astrophysics at the University of St Andrews!
A Trip to the Seaside
During my degree I had two summer research projects: one in exoplanet atmospheres with Dr. Christiane Helling at St Andrews; the other in exoplanet detection, with Prof. Chas Beichman at Caltech. Then, for my final year Masters project, I worked with Prof. Andrew Collier Cameron and Dr. Raphaëlle Haywood, studying starspot lifetimes from Kepler data.
I graduated in June 2015 with a first class masters degree () in Astrophysics, and shortly after moved to Geneva in Switzerland to start my PhD at the Observatoire de Genève. I continued my starspot work and was responsible for detecting exoplanet transits from K2, and organising the follow-up.
In June 2019 I successfully defended my thesis ‘Know thy Star, Know thy Planet - Disentangling Planet Discovery & Stellar Activity’!
Helen’s Adventures in Data Science
After the COVID pandemic I started working as a Data Science consultant for a consultancy company specialising in hiring and deploying autistic adults in IT. I worked with my first client, a financial institue, for 15 months where I assisted them on developing their Data Science strategy within the company.
The PhD jury and me post-defence! Left to right: Prof. Stéphane Udry, Prof. Aline Vidotto, Dr. Mirka Dessauges, brand new Dr. Helen Giles, Dr. Heather Cegla, Dr. Dan Bayliss & Dr. Christophe Lovis