Teaching & Mentoring

Teaching experience

I had the opportunity to gain significant teaching and mentoring experience thanks to my interest in education.

At UC Berkeley, I have taught several guest lectures in a number of classes, including:

At Princeton University, I served as a teaching assistant (TA) for the following undergraduate classes:

Online learning: I have helped to design and develop an online Coursera class, Imagining Other Earths, taught by David Spergel. I served as the first TA, wrote the questions, solutions, assignments, and managed the logistics and the forum.  In the first year we had over 20,000 enrolled students, and in recent years the class typically enrolls more than 40,000 students!

SLAC Summer Institute: I also served as an invited lecturer at the 2023 SLAC Summer Institute with the theme of "Machine Learning across the frontiers". These SSI lectures will introduce methods for Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning and applications across the fundamental physics, targeted for graduate students and postdocs. I taught "Challenges in AI/ML at the Cosmic Frontier".  

Advising and Mentoring

I regularly serve as thesis advisor (or co-advisor), thesis committee member and quals committee member for UC Berkeley graduate students, and I can supervise senior theses too. So far I have supervised over 20 students at all levels (see People's page) on research projects, very often leading to one or more first-author publications for the student. If you are interested in working with me on a research project or on your thesis, see here for information about opportunities and funding, and please get in touch to discuss the details. 

I am also the supervisor of several postdocs in the Berkeley Cosmology group. If you are interested in a postdoctoral position at Berkeley, see here for funding and fellowship information and feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

DEI & Outreach

I care deeply about equity and inclusion in physics and astronomy and strive to make the field more accessible and welcoming to all.  I put thought and effort to try and improve the field.  For example, I am a mentor for the Berkeley Astronomy Scholars program and for the Berkeley Compass Project, both specifically aimed at recruiting, retaining and supporting students who are historically underrepresented in our community.  Moreover, I am a mentor in the Simons-NSBP Summer Program, which provides research experience for undergraduate members of the National Society of Black Physicists.

Communicating science to a broader public and especially to the younger generations is an important part of my job: this is why I regularly participate in outreach activities, give public talks, volunteer at public observing nights, lead lab tours and participate in science festivals.  I am also one of the instructors for the DESI High School outreach program, where we teach the science behind galaxy surveys (and coding skills!) through fun Jupyter notebooks. In the "meet a scientist" part, I tell my story of how I went from a little village in Italy to a professional scientist, and I hope to inspire future generations to do the same.

Please contact me for a list of recent talks, or if you'd like me to speak at your next event!  

Teaching a graduate Cosmology class at UC Berkeley