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My name is Bea (Beatriz) Gallardo-Lacourt and I’m a southern hemisphere native. I am originally from Chile, the long and skinny country in South America. I was born and raised in Santiago, the capital of Chile.

I did my undergraduate studies at the University of Santiago in Chile, where I obtained a bachelor degree in Applied Physics and Physics Engineering degree, with emphasis in instrumentation. My undergraduate advisor was Dr. Marina Stepanova.


In 2010 I moved to Los Angeles, California, to start my PhD in Space Physics in the department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at UCLA. My advisors were professor Larry Lyons and Dr. Toshi Nishimura. In my thesis work, I focused on magnetosphere-ionosphere coupling, more specifically plasma transport by mesoscale structures at auroral and sub-auroral latitudes. 

After finishing my PhD, I moved to Canada for a  postdoc position in the Physics Department at the University of Calgary working in the Auroral Imaging Group lead by professor Eric Donovan. My work there focused on STEVE, a new an exciting atmospheric phenomenon first discovered by amateur auroral photographers, members of a Facebook group: Alberta Aurora Chasers

After two years of successful and exhilarating postdoctoral experience at the University of Calgary, I was awarded a highly competitive NASA Postdoctoral Program (NPP) Fellowship. This opportunity led me to relocate to Maryland, where I joined the Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC). Under the mentorship of Dr. Larry Kepko, I focus on utilizing the optical flow technique to analyze the motion of auroral structures.

Following the conclusion of my NPP fellowship, I continued my research journey at GSFC, where I am researcher on mesoscale structures and their influence on magnetosphere-ionosphere coupling. In addition to my research responsibilities, I also took the role of Ground-based Coordination Lead for the NASA mission Geospace Dynamics Constellation (GDC). Through my involvement with GDC, I have the opportunity to collaborate with the global geospace community, expanding my network and fostering valuable connections.

In addition to my research work, I am deeply committed to volunteering within the magnetosphere and aeronomy community. Since 2022, I have taken on the role of Chair for one of the NSF-funded Focus Groups, "Mesoscale Drivers of the Nightside Transition Region," contributing to advancements in this field. Furthermore, I am one of the organizer for the STEVE Workshops, fostering collaboration and knowledge exchange between the professional scientists and citizen scientists. Furthermore, I serve on various boards, including the AGU SPA Early Career Leadership Advisory Committee, the National Society of Hispanic Physicists, and the AGU International Award Committee. Lastly, I am also honored to serve as the Geospace Editor for AGU Books, where I have the privilege of shaping and contributing to the publication of cutting-edge research in the field.



Ph.D. in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, UCLA, 2016

Advisors: Dr. Larry Lyons and Dr. Toshi Nishimura

Morris Neiburger Award (For excellence in teaching) | AOS UCLA, November 2015

M.Sc., Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, UCLA, 2012

Advisors: Dr. Larry Lyons and Dr. Toshi Nishimura

B.Sc., Engenieering Physics, University of Santiago, Chile

Advisor: Dr. Marina Stepanova

B.Sc., Applied physics, University of Santiago, Chile, 2008 

Advisor: Dr. Marina Stepanova

Student Award on Ionosphere-Thermosphere (1st place) | CEDAR workshop, July 2014

Outstanding Student Paper Award (OSPA) | AGU-Fall Meeting, December 2014

National Student Tavel Grant | AGU-Fall Meeting, December 2010

Bosart Award (For unselfish service to fellow students and positive contributions to department life while demonstrating a firm commitment to academics) |

AOS UCLA, November 2016

International Student Tavel Grant (Undergraduate) | AGU-Fall Meeting, December 2010

NASA Postdoctoral Program (NPP) Fellowship  | Universities Space Research Association, 2019

Editor's Citation for Excellence in Refereeing  | Journal of Geophysical Research - AGU, 2019

NASA Group Achievement Award   | STEVE Team, 2019

NASA Robert H. Goddard Exceptional Achievement for Science Award  | STEVE Team, 2019


AGU Global Engagement Committee

North American Representative since 2018

Magnetosphere & Aeronomy Editor since 2020

AGU Books Editorial Board

Equity Task Force Member since 2020

NASA Goddard Heliophysics Division

UCLA Dissertation Year Fellowship 2016

To support outstanding PhD candidates within a year of finishing their degree 

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