Bert earned his bachelor's degree at Vanderbilt University in 2006 and his doctorate of astrophysics in 2012 from Iowa State University under the direction of Dr. Steve Kawaler. For the past 4 years he has been working as a postdoctoral fellow with the BRITE-Constellation (http://www.brite-constellation.at/ ) project at the University of Montreal. Being an astronomer was all he really wanted to do, going so far as to tell anyone who asked from age 12 on that he wanted to be an astrophysicist when grew up. He will further admit that it was another 10 years before he even really understood what the word astrophysicist meant.
Bert's science interests are, unsurprisingly, in the realm of stellar variability in all its various forms. He has worked on spots, wind variability, oscillations, and even a possible planetary transit. However, his main passion has always been binary stars. He believes that binaries are crucial to our understanding of stellar evolution and believes every star should have one. For the most massive stars this is most likely the case, and as such he has brought his focus to these stars in more recent years. He also firmly believes that there can never be too many types of variability in a single star (or star system) and takes disentangling all these signals as a personal challenge. He feels that the more variability a star shows the better our understanding of this star will inevitably be, even if it takes (a lot) longer to analyze.
Apart from science Bert has always enjoyed computers and programming. More recently he has become involved in software development most notably the Physics of Eclipsing Binares (PHOEBE, http://phoebe-project.org/) project. Additionally, he has been involved in pipeline development, and creating data reduction tools for BRITE as well as leading the quality control team in charge of finding and mitigating issues in the photometric data.
As the newest member of AAVSO, Bert is excited for the opportunity, and ready to use his varied experience to help the further the AAVSO's vision. He is looking forward to interacting with the community and staff to determine how this can best be accomplished.