Dr. Updike earned her Ph.D. in Physics from Clemson University in 2010 for her dissertation Gamma Ray Bursts as Probes of Dust in the Evolving Universe. Her Ph.D. adviser was Professor Dieter Hartmann. She spent a year as a postdoctoral researcher in the Observational Cosmology Lab at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center working with Dr. Eli Dwek before accepting a Visiting Professor of Physics and Astronomy position at Dickinson College. She began teaching at Roger Williams University in the fall of 2012 as an Assistant Professor of Physics.
Her research interests are in the field of astrophysics, primarily gamma ray bursts (massive, exploding stars), supernovae (slight smaller exploding stars), classical novae (the entire star didn't explode this time), chemical evolution (dust production and destruction by evolving stars), and dust production in young stars. She works with telescopes to take data (remotely working with telescopes in Arizona and Chile through collaborations with Clemson University and the SARA consortium, working on-site with telescopes in Chile with the Max Planck Institute), does data reduction and analysis, and also writes computer simulations of the systems she studies. She has several RWU students working with her on data analysis and instrumentation.
Dr. Updike teaches PHYS 201 and 202, and will be teaching Modern Physics in the spring of 2014. In the 2014-2015 academic year, she plans to teach Astronomy and Computational Physics in addition to the introductory sequence.
Dr. Updike is the faculty adviser to the Astronomy Club.