My interests lie outside of our Milky Way galaxy. The enormous scale of the universe and the diversity of the billions of galaxies it contains makes extragalactic astronomy a treasure trove for interesting science that is waiting to be discovered.

Project Overview

Select Publications



Project Overview

My research focuses on the study of active galactic nuclei (AGN), the highly energetic centers of galaxies powered by the accretion of interstellar gas onto supermassive black holes. AGN emit incredible amounts of energy and radiation in many wavelengths, but there is widespread disagreement on how AGN impact their host galaxies. These disagreements stem largely from our lack of understanding of whether or not we see all types of AGN. Some attempts have been made to understand the "missing" AGN population using observations and simulations, but they are limited by biases that are hard to remove and overly complicated models.

I have built a simple model to explore the properties of these missing galaxies and to better understand how selection effects impact what we observe. My model involves a simulation for galaxy evolution with the addition of a straightforward rule for AGN accretion, such that the dark matter is connected to the galaxy, the galaxy is connected to the AGN, the AGN is connected to the knee bone, etc. With this model we can examine how selection effects influence the type of AGN we observe by comparing our simulation to observations of the universe. We can thus learn about the limitations of current surveys as well as cultivate methods to correct for biases due to selection effects.

Select Publications

  • “Do you see what I see? Exploring the Consequences of Luminosity Limits in Black Hole-Galaxy Evolution Studies” Jones, M. L., Hickox, R. C., Mutch, S. J. et al., Accepted to ApJ
  • "The Intrinsic Eddington Ratio Distribution of Active Galactic Nuclei in Star-forming Galaxies from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey", M L Jones, R C Hickox, C S Black, et al., 2016, ApJ, 826, 12
  • "A Tale of Two Narrow-line Regions: Ionization, Kinematics, and Spectral Energy Distributions for a Local Pair of Merging Obscured Active Galaxies", K N Hainline, R C Hickox, C T Chen, et al. (including M L Jones), 2016, ApJ, 823, 42


  • Elusive AGN, 2017, George Mason University
  • Quasars at all Cosmic Epochs, 2017, Padova, Italy
  • Hidden Monsters: Obscured AGN and Connections to Galaxy Evolution Workshop, 2016, Dartmouth College
  • NERQUAM #26, 2016, Brandeis University
  • NuSTAR Science Meeting, 2016, Pasadena, CA
  • AGN: What's in a Name? Workshop, 2016, Garching, Germany
  • AAS HEAD Meeting, 2016, Naples, FL
  • NERQUAM #25, 2015, Dartmouth College
  • AGN vs. Star Formation Workshop, 2014, Durham, UK
  • NERQUAM #24, 2014, CfA


"If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people together to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea."
― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Teaching Assistant

NSF GK-12 Fellowship

Dartmouth FSP

Outreach Activities

Teaching Assistant

Awarded a Dartmouth Graduate Fellowship. Responsibilities as a teaching assistant included: running labs, grading, and lecturing for the following courses.
  • Astronomy 2/3: Introduction to Astronomy
  • Physics 4: General Physics II


Awarded a NSF GK-12 Fellowship for 2013-2014 at Marion Cross Elementary in 5th and 6th grade science.
  • Expanded curriculum on Newton's Laws.
  • Built curriculum on flight and aerodynamics.
  • Incorporated a new lesson on Exoplanet hunting. (Exoplanet Curriculum Guide)

Dartmouth Foreign Study Program

Selected as a Dartmouth Foreign Study Program TA during Winter 2015 in Cape Town, South Africa. Responsibilities included: running labs, grading, and observing for the following courses.
  • Astronomy 15: Stars and the Milky Way
  • Astronomy 61: Observational Techniques in Astronomy
  • Astronomy 81: Special Topics in Astronomy
*Received the Dartmouth Selamawit Tsehaye Teaching Award for this teaching placement.


Outreach activities are very important. By exposing children to the wonder of science at an early age, we build a solid foundation for our future. A selection of outreach activities participated in include:

About Me

My path to astronomy began in high school with the realization that astrophysics was more than numbers on a page;
it was an artistic canvas in space, with a rich and fascinating history.

As an undergraduate at Butler University, I was involved in research as a Butler Scholar and public outreach as a planetarium tour guide. The summer of 2011, I was awarded an NSF REU at Harvard-SAO where I observed transiting exoplanets. In 2012, I recieved my Bachelor of Science in Physics. Since then I have been pursuing my PhD at Dartmouth College.

Outside of academia, I enjoy a variety of activities and travel. I am a children's caregiver at a local church. I love baking delicious treats, painting landscapes, and playing with my adorable puppy Barley.
I am also pround alumni of Pi Beta Phi, Ring Ching!


Office: Wilder Laboratory, 308
Phone: 603-646-3431

Department of Physics and Astronomy
Dartmouth College
Hanover, NH 03784