Andrea Kunder, Ph.D.

Photo of Andrea Kunder

Associate Professor, Physics

Area of Expertise

  • Physics


Ph.D., Dartmouth College; B.A., Willamette University

Professor Kunder received her bachelor’s degree from Willamette University and her Ph.D. from Dartmouth College. Her area of expertise is astrophysics, with more than 80 refereed scientific publications, including being an editor of an Astronomy Society of the Pacific Conference Series.  Professor Kunder came to Saint Martin’s University after a postdoctoral fellowship at the Leibniz Institute of Astrophysics (AIP) in Germany, and the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile.  She has been teaching at Saint Martin's University since 2017.

Publications with SMU Undergraduates:

Andrea Kunder, Crabb, R.E., Debattista, V.P., Koch-Hansen, A.J., Huhmann, B.M. (2021) "Spectroscopic Observations of Obscured Populations in the Inner Galaxy: 2MASS-GC02, Terzan 4, and the 200 km/s stellar peak”  The Astronomical Journal, 162, 86

Andrea Kunder & Butler, E. (2020), "Spectroscopic Analysis of the Bulge Globular Cluster ESO 456-SC38" The Astronomical Journal, 160, 241

Andrea Kunder, Pérez-Villegas, A., Rich, R. M., Ogata, J., Murari, E., Boren, E., Johnson, C. I., Nataf, D., and 6 coauthors (2020) "The Bulge Radial Velocity Assay for RR Lyrae Stars (BRAVARR) DR2: A Bimodal Bulge?" The Astronomical Journal, 159, 270

Andrea Kunder, Tilton, A., Maertens, D., Ogata, J., Nataf, D., Rich, R. M., Johnson, C.I., Gilligan, C., Chaboyer, B. (2019) "Are the double-mode bulge RR Lyrae stars with identical period-ratios the relic of a disrupted stellar system?" The Astrophysical Journal Letters, 877, 17

Andrea Kunder, Mills, A., Edgecomb, J., Thomas, M., Schilter, L., Boyle, C., Parker, S., Bellevue, G., Rich, R. M., Koch, A., Johnson, C. I., Nataf, D. M. (2018) "Radial Velocities of RR Lyrae Stars in and around NGC 6441" The Astronomical Journal, 155, 171


Recent Accomplishments:

2021 Lynwood W. Swanson Promise for Scientific Research Award (10,000 USD)

LSST “Kickstarter Grant Partnership Proposal" (30,000 USD)

NSF Astronomy and Astrophysics Research Grant (187,394 USD)

RAISE: Research Across Institutions for Scientific Empowerment Grant (Collaboration with Seattle University, Western Washington University, College of Idaho ($370,066 USD)

Murdock College Research Program for Natural Sciences - Physical Sciences grant (63,000 USD)

2020 best physics and engineering poster at the Murdock College Science Research Conference awarded to Kunder's student 

Research Interests:

Many of Dr. Kunder's scientific projects to date have involved observations of stars over large areas of the sky, acquiring both spectra and images of celestial objects to determine their properties.  She is an expert in using old stars to study the Galactic bulge, and is the principal investigator of the Bulge Radial Velocity Assay for RR Lyrae stars (BRAVA-RR), a survey funded by the National Science Foundation.  Kunder has also had a hand in characterizing several astronomical instruments used by the US National Observatory in Chile.