Alumni (Fellow)

Rachael Beaton

C. Mark Pirrung Family Jefferson Fellow
Gretna, Virginia
B.A. University of Virginia (2007)
M.S. University of Virginia (2009)
Ph.D. University of Virginia (2014)
Graduate School of Arts & Sciences
Professional Sector:


Rachael Beaton is a Hubble Fellow (NASA) and a Carnegie-Princeton Fellow at Princeton University, where she is conducting an expansive research program to measure the expansion rate of the Universe (the Hubble constant). Rachael received her B.A. in astronomy-physics and mathematics (2007), an M.S. in astronomy (2008), and a Ph.D. in astronomy (2014) at the University of Virginia. For three years, she was a postdoctoral associate at the Observatories of the Carnegie Institution for Science in Pasadena, CA. Her Ph.D. thesis earned the prestigious Robert C. Trumpler Award from the Astronomical Society of the Pacific in 2016, which honors dissertation work that is “unusually influential” in Astronomy. Rachael currently serves as the Science Working Group Chair for the Apache Point Observatory Galactic Evolution Experiment (APOGEE) in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, which is a large-scale dual hemisphere observing program aimed at mapping our Galaxy. Rachael is a co-author on 46 peer-reviewed publications in astronomical journals with over 1600 citations and another 60 non-peer reviewed publications.

In addition to her research activities, Rachael is a strong proponent of Education and Public Outreach (E/PO) activities, in particular, those reaching traditionally underserved demographics. She was a founding member of the Dark Skies, Bright Kids program and a high school research mentoring program while at the University of Virginia and helped to establish an educational programming component for the Summer Internship Program at the Carnegie Observatories.

Connect with our community

View Alumni


Distinguished Professorships

Learn more about the Foundation’s Professorship Program.

Read more


The Foundation supports world-class graduate students through Jefferson Fellowships and National Fellowships.

Read more


The Jefferson Scholarship and the Walentas Scholarship are the premier undergraduate scholarships at the University of Virginia.

Read more