Nicole E. Cabrera Salazar, Ph.D.

Science Communicator and STEM Equity Advocate


Nicole E. Cabrera Salazar was born in Santiago, Chile and grew up in Miami, Florida. She is a recipient of the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship and the Chateaubriand Research Fellowship from the Embassy of France. Both awards allowed Dr. Cabrera Salazar to pursue international research for her doctoral dissertation, “Fundamental Properties, Activity, and Planet-Hosting Potential of Young Suns Near Earth,” which she successfully defended in 2016.

As an advocate for equity and inclusion in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), Dr. Cabrera Salazar believes that all people should have access to science regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, disability, or socioeconomic status. She publicly speaks about these issues on platforms such as the Stuff Mom Never Told You podcast, Vanguard: Conversations with Women of Color in STEM, and TEDxGeorgiaStateU. She has also written about subjects that disproportionally affect marginalized people such as depression and sexual harassment.

Throughout her tenure as a graduate student, Dr. Cabrera Salazar created several grassroots programs for minoritized students in her spare time including Astronomy Peer Advising Leaders (AstroPAL), Creative Lessons in Astronomy and Space Science (CLASS), and the Latinx Grad Student Lunch. Read more about her initiatives in her full CV.


A full CV of Dr. Cabrera Salazar’s work is available as a PDF here. See below for an abbreviated selection of her projects.
  • Ph.D in Astronomy, Georgia State University
  • M.S. in Physics, Georgia State University
  • B.S. in Physics, Georgia Institute of Technology
  • A.A. in Physics, Miami Dade College
Properties, Activity, and Planet-Hosting Potential of Young Suns Near Earth
Doctoral Thesis, Georgia State University & Université Joseph Fourier
Obtained simultaneous NIR and optical spectra of young stars in the nearby moving groups AB Doradus, Beta Pictoris, and Tucana Horologium to search for young planets. We used CSHELL at the NASA IRTF (Hawaii) and SOPHIE at the Observatoire de Haute Provence (France) to obtain our data. Our goal is to characterize the stellar activity of our stars and compare the NIR and optical spectra to distinguish planets from stellar spots and to assess the feasibility of multi-wavelength spectroscopic planet search surveys.
Stellar Parameters of Eclipsing Binary Star System ES Librae
Undergraduate Research Project, Georgia Institute of Technology
Solved three light curves, radial velocities, and previously published data on ES Lib, using the Wilson-Devinney program to obtain stellar parameters and the system topology. Determined orbital elements and absolute dimensions including the masses, radii, and temperatures, and investigated period changes based on previously published times of minima.
Astronomy Peer Advising Leaders (AstroPAL)
Founder, President, and Student Liaison
Created, designed a program that provides mentoring relationships to graduate students. Recruited and organized volunteers, provided professional mentor training and monthly meetings to discuss program effectiveness and development. Initiated projects to meet student needs, such as housing maps and a grad school guide.
Imposter Syndrome Workshop
Creator and Facilitator
Developed and led an interactive workshop on Imposter Syndrome for about 40 women, guiding them through educational and empathy-building activities
Creative Lessons in Astronomy and Space Science (CLASS)
Creator and Facilitator
Designed, organized, and implemented a science field trip on a limited budget for 50 students from Cristo Rey, a private school serving low income families of Metro Atlanta. Recruited astronomers to conduct hands-on astronomy activities, ordered materials, partnered with teachers to plan logistics, and supervised graduate student volunteers
Graduate Research Fellowship
National Science Foundation
Chateaubriand Science Research Fellowship
Embassy of France in the United States