I am a second-year graduate student with a background in planetary science. I am from Dubai, United Arab Emirates (my parents hail from southern India and I was born there), where I lived for 18 years before moving to Los Angeles for my undergraduate degree. So yeah, I have come a long way to where I am today– 13,718 km more or less. I am interested in high-contrast imaging of circumstellar disks and exoplanets for both science and instrumentation.

My first-year project was with Dr. Jonathan Williams on high contrast multi-wavelength imaging of a debris disk, using data from the Subaru Coronographic Extreme Adaptive Optics (SCEx-AO) instrument, to understand disk structure and features. Currently, I am working with Dr. Michael Bottom on developing a focal-plane wavefront algorithm for Keck to suppress speckle noise in high-contrast imaging of exoplanets using the near-infrared camera (NIRC2).

I was led to my current research through a combination of my classes and various undergraduate research projects that came under an umbrella of fossils of the Solar System. Having mapped meteorite samples and studied their mineral composition (with Prof. Kevin McKeegan, UCLA), constructed and analyzed models of condensation on planetary embryos (with Prof. David Stevenson, Caltech), and reduced cometary images to understand their morphology and study their activity (with Prof. David Jewitt), I indeed developed a greater appreciation of our neighborhood that I wanted to further investigate planetary systems and how they come to be.

When I am not science-ing, I love reading, writing (a mix of blogging on Medium and my social media, as well as story writing), art and photography, music (which currently involves basic ukelele), puzzles (crosswords, jigsaw puzzles, and the like), and some physical activity–from a brisk walk to a long hike, and table tennis.. all of which keep me hale and hearty, besides chocolate and coffee! I am also involved in a lot of outreach and science communication, which you can read about under the “Activities” tab.



  • 699-1: SCEXAO/CHARIS Multi-Wavelength High Contrast Imaging of a Debris Disk (Advisor: Jonathan Williams)
  • 699-2: Focal Plane Speckle Suppression at Keck (Advisor: Michael Bottom)


Classes taught as a TA: ASTR 110- Survey of Astronomy (Fall 2021, Spring 2022): Introductory astronomy course for freshman and general education on what astronomy means, basic laws of physics to understand how the universe works, and closer looks at the major components that make up “space” as we know it. Workshops/Seminars: Intro 2 Astro: An introductory 8-week long cost-free online course for aspiring students, researchers, and enthusiasts to teach the basics and provide rudimentary skills for research and get started on a career in this field.


I am keen on communicating my science– what I do and what I have learned. I have been involved in various outreach projects with schools and the general community, and bringing astronomy to folks of all ages and backgrounds.

Classroom/School Talks:

Skype-a-scientist: A global program to connect the public to scientists, which matches scientists to different groups (mainly classrooms and youth groups) based on requirements and available expertise
Journey Through the Universe: Classroom talks geared towards promoting science education at Hawai’i Island school districts.

Invited talks in schools:

Exploring life and habitability on other bodies– Year 8, Dubai British School
Career Talk– Year 13, Dubai British School
Career Opportunities, Development & Enrichment, Indian High School, Dubai

Outreach in the Community:

Public events in Honolulu– stargazing and astronomy demonstrations
IfA Open House
Astro Day, Hilo and Kona
Girl Scout STEM Fest
UCLA Explore Your Universe
Stargazing night at Marine Corps Base Hawaii

Outreach with Schools:

Noelani School: Arts and Crafts Fair (school wide event)
Pearl Harbour Elementary School: Space Night (school wide event)
Honouliuli Middle School: Astronomy Night (school wide event)
Voyager Public Charter School (Classroom activity)


Maunakea Scholars (Guiding high school students with proposals for telescope time and mentoring some of their subsequent projects)
Hawaii State Science and Engineering Fair (Judge)
Hawaii State Science Olympiad (Event Supervisor)



  • AAS International Travel Grant
  • Graduate Student Organisation, UH Manoa



  • Leesa Takara, Mililani High School-- "Spectroscopic Survey of Biosignatures in Solar System Moons"
  • Jaden Joy Rosabia, Kealakehe High School-- "Designing a Spectrograph to Detect Biosignatures in Exoplanet Atmospheres" (Mauna Kea Scholars)

Maria Vincent

BS Geophysics (highest honors)
BS Astrophysics (highest honors)
(magna cum laude)
University of California, Los Angeles, 2020
MS Astronomy
University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2023
  • SCEXAO/CHARIS Multi-Wavelength High Contrast Imaging of a Debris Disk
  • Focal Plane Speckle Suppression at Keck
IfA Mānoa, C-225