Kathryn Volk

Associate Staff Scientist
Department of Planetary Sciences/
Lunar and Planetary Laboratory
The University of Arizona
1629 E University Blvd
Tucson, AZ 85721-0092



The University of Arizona
PhD Planetary Sciences -- 2013
Dissertation: Dynamical Studies of the Kuiper belt and the Centaurs

Wittenberg University
BS Physics, Russian Area Studies -- 2006 


see publications page

Positions held

Associate Staff Scientist, The University of Arizona -- 2018 to present

Postdoctoral Researcher, The University of Arizona -- 2015-2018
Supervisor: Renu Malhotra

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, The University of British Columbia -- 2013-2015
Supervisor: Brett Gladman

Graduate Research Associate, The University of Arizona -- 2006-2013
Advisor: Renu Malhotra

Teaching Experience

Instructor, The University of Arizona
PTYS/ASTR 170B2 The Universe and Humanity: Origin and Destiny (Fall 2015)

Graduate Teaching Assistant, The University of Arizona
LASC 297a Teaching Teams Specialty Training Workshop (Instructor, Fall 2012)
LASC 297a Teaching Teams Specialty Training Workshop (Co-Instructor, Spring 2010)
LASC 297a Teaching Teams Specialty Training Workshop (Co-Instructor, Fall 2009)
PTYS 206 Golden Age of Planetary Exploration (TA, Spring 2009)
PTYS 206 Golden Age of Planetary Exploration (TA, Spring 2008)
NATS 101 Earth: Evolution of a Habitable World (TA, Fall 2006)

Grants and Fellowships

PI, "Dynamics of sticky resonances and detached Kuiper belt objects", NASA Solar System Workings (2018-2021)
Co-I, "Distribution of planet masses, planet-planet separations and dynamical lifetimes of planetary systems", NASA Exoplanet Research Program (2018-2021, PI: R. Malhotra)
Co-I, "Kuiper Belt Dynamics with a Distant Unseen Planet", NSF (2018-2021, PI: R. Malhotra)
Co-I, "Current dynamics of Neptune's distant mean motion resonances", NASA Solar System Workings (2015-2018, PI: R. Murray-Clay)
Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics National Fellowship (2013-2015)

Honors and Awards

College of Science Outstanding Scholarship Award, University of Arizona (2013)
Gerard P. Kuiper Memorial Award, Lunar and Planetary Lab, University of Arizona (2013)
Galileo Circle Scholar, University of Arizona (2011)
Department of Planetary Sciences Services Award, University of Arizona (2010)
Galileo Circle Scholar, University of Arizona (2009)
College of Science Graduate Teaching Assistant Award, University of Arizona (2007)
Department of Planetary Sciences Graduate Teaching Excellence Award, University of Arizona (2006)
Departmental Honors in Physics, Wittenberg University (2006)
Award for Excellence in the Russian Studies Program, Wittenberg University (2006)
Weaver Prize for Physics, Wittenberg University (2005)
Presidential Scholar, Wittenberg University

Selected Invited Talks and Seminars

Our Evolving Picture of the Kuiper Belt: Unexpectedly Warped Mean Planes and New Observations of Resonant Populations -- Colloquium, Southwest Research Institute. December 2017, Boulder, CO.
The curiously warped mean plane of the Kuiper belt -- Colloquium, Lunar and Planetary Institute. September 2017, Houston, TX.
Consolidating and crushing exoplanets: dynamical instabilities in tightly packed planetary systems -- invited talk for the Inner Solar Systems meeting-in-a-meeting, AAS meeting, June 2017, Austin, TX.
Resonant dynamics of trans-Neptunian objects -- Colloquium, Las Cumbres Observatory. June 2016, Santa Barbara, CA.
Crushed and Consolidated Exoplanet systems: Did it happen here? --Colloquium, Univ. of Arizona Department of Planetary Sciences. September 2015, Tucson, AZ.
Crushed Exoplanet systems: Did it happen here? -- Seminar, Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics. February 2015, Toronto, ON.
Resonant Trans-Neptunian Objects: observed distribution and dynamical origins -- Invited Talk, Small Body Dynamics Conference. August 2014, Ubatuba, Brazil.
Planet migration and the Kuiper belt: what does our local debris disk tell us about the dynamical history of our Solar System? -- Astronomy Colloquium, Univ. of British Columbia Physics and Astronomy Department. January 2014, Vancouver, BC.

Public Talks/Events

Exoplanet Extravaganza -- Summer Star Party Talk, August 2018, Port Ludlow, WA.
Tales from the Outer Solar System -- Astronomy on Tap Seattle (recording available online here), July 2018, Seattle, WA.
This Just in from Deep Space! -- Science Panel at Phoenix ComicFest, May 2018, Phoenix, AZ.
Are There Unseen Planets Lurking in the Kuiper Belt? -- Evening Public Lecture (recording available online here), Lunar and Planetary Lab, November 2017, Tucson, AZ.
Are we going to find a new Planet 9? -- Space Drafts/Astronomy on Tap, January 2017, Tucson, AZ.
The Kuiper Belt: Revealing the History of the Solar System -- Space Drafts/Astronomy on Tap, September 2015, Tucson, AZ.


2015-2018 volunteer for various Department of Planetary Sciences outreach events in Arizona
2017, 2016 Judge for the Southern Arizona Research, Science and Engineering Foundation Science Fair
2015, 2014 Presenter for 'Girls Excelling in Math and Science' workship at Olympic College, Bremerton, WA
2013 Volunteer for Vancouver Community Science Celebration at Science World, Vancouver, BC
2012 Volunteer at the Arizona Science and Astronomy Expo, Tucson, AZ
2012 Volunteer for Mars + Beyond Exhibit, Science Downtown, Tucson, AZ
2008-2011 Volunteer for departmental outreach events, Lunar and Planetary Lab, University of Arizona
2008-2010 Visited elementary and middle schools for solar observing events, Tucson, AZ
2008 Volunteer for 'Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs', University of Arizona
2004-2006 Volunteer for public observing nights and Girl Scout Science Night, Wittenberg University

Professional Activities and Departmental Service

Division on Dynamical Astronomy committee member (2017-2019)
Member of the Steward Observatory Telescope Allocation Committee (2018-present)
Referee for Icarus, Science, Astronomy & Astrophysics, MNRAS
External reviewer for NASA proposals
Panelist for NASA research program grant reviews
Journal Club Co-organizer, Dept. of Planetary Sciences, University of Arizona (2011-2012)
Grad Student Representative, Dept. of Planetary Sciences, University of Arizona (2010-2011)

Professional Affiliations

Division for Planetary Sciences, American Astronomical Society
Division on Dynamical Astronomy, American Astronomical Society