Natalie H. Allen


Born on an island in the Pacific Northwest, I spent my childhood in the outdoors, playing sports and surrounded by friends and family (and dogs!). I have been interested in space as long as I can remember, heavily bolstered by regular visits to Hawaii to visit family during which I could see the faraway observatories on the peak of Mauna Kea. So, when I went to college (and decided to give up my earlier interest in playing D1 softball), it was easy to decide what to study. 

I completed my undergraduate at the University of Rochester in beautiful upstate New York, in an incredibly supportive and wonderful Physics and Astronomy department. While there, I was very involved in our chapter of the Society of Physics Students, and also co-founded our Society of Women in Astronomy and Physics. I started research with Prof. Dan Watson as soon as I was able, focused on studying outflows from young stellar objects and how they affected the star formation process.

When I was a junior, I interned at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (fulfilling a childhood dream of working for NASA) with Dr. Karl Stapelfeldt and was introduced to the world of exoplanets. I was immediately fascinated and knew that this amazing new subfield was what I wanted to research. One of my favorite parts of the study was the wide variety of interdisciplinary studies that were needed, which encouraged me to move out of my comfort zone and begin working with Prof. Miki Nakajima on a planetary science focused project - the formation of terrestrial impact craters, namely Earth's largest, the Vredefort crater. 

As a sophomore, I spent some time visiting the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) to work with Dr. Joel Green, and I immediately loved the environment and the associated Johns Hopkins University (JHU). So I was thrilled to accept an offer to attend graduate school at the institution, especially in the incredibly exciting age of JWST. My interest had focused some, from exoplanets in general to more specifically observations of exoplanets and their atmospheres. JHU and STScI were perfect for this goal, as they were the institutions of two leaders on the subject - Prof. David Sing and Dr. Néstor Espinoza. I currently work with the both of them on observing exoplanetary atmospheres from both the ground and from space using transmission spectroscopy. As we enter the golden age of the study of exoplanet atmospheres with JWST, I'm incredibly excited to push the envelope and find all there is to discover!



Johns Hopkins University                              Expected Graduation: 2025

  • Ph.D. in Astronomy

University of Rochester                                          Graduation: May 2020

  • B.S. in Physics and Astronomy, Minor in Mathematics

    • Cum Laude with Highest Distinction​

  • Senior Thesis: A Study of the Emission Line Structure of HH 7-11 with Hubble and Spitzer​


A Study of the Infrared Emission Line And Extinction Structure of HH 7-11 with Hubble. Allen, N. H. et al. In prep.

ACCESS: Tentative detection of H2O in the ground-based optical transmission spectrum of the low density hot-Saturn HATS-5bAllen, N. H. et al. Submitted to the Astronomical Journal.

A Revision on the Formation Conditions of the Vredefort Crater. Allen, N. H. et al. Accepted in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, 2022.

ACCESS: Confirmation of a Clear Atmosphere for WASP-96b and a Comparison of Light Curve Detrending Techniques. McGruder, C. D. et al. incl. Allen, N. H. Accepted in the Astronomical Journal, 2022.


National Sciece Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship      2020-23

Stoddard Senior Thesis Prize                                                                         2020​

Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship                                                                2019-20

USRA Distinguished Undergraduate Award                                             2019