Wayne State welcomes Dr. Tonima Tasnim Ananna

This semester, we're excited to welcome Dr. Tonima Tasnim Ananna as a new assistant professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy.

Professor Ananna joins us from Dartmouth College where she was a postdoctoral researcher. She did her graduate studies at Yale, obtaining her Ph.D. in 2019. Professor Ananna is an astronomer who applies machine learning techniques to large surveys to understand the population of supermassive black holes in the Universe and the rates at which they grow. She was featured in Science News’ 10 Scientists to Watch in 2020.

Dr. Ananna wearing a scarf
Dr. Ananna

In her first semester at Wayne State, Professor Ananna is teaching AST 2010: Descriptive Astronomy. On teaching, she said “I wanted to start teaching a course right away because there is no better way to get involved in the department and also get to know the student population. I found the students at Wayne State impressively engaged in class and eager to learn.”

Professor Ananna is passionate about supporting underrepresented minorities in STEM. She co-founded the Wi-STEM Bangladesh program to mentor high school and college women in Bangladesh and is on the organizing committee of the Black in Physics group. She is keen to be involved in outreach here at WSU, saying “The planetarium provides innovative methods to captivate students, which I'm keen to explore further. With the type of outreach projects I have done before, I believe there are a lot of ways I can make meaningful contributions to this campus.”

Department Chair, Professor Ed Cackett is thrilled to have Professor Ananna in the department, saying “We are looking to grow our astronomy program and I know Professor Ananna will play a big role in that. Tonima has a world-class research program answering important questions about the evolution of galaxies. It’s fantastic to see how eager students are to get involved in applying the cutting-edge techniques she is using.”

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