Astronomy master’s student Eric Bratton has pursued many paths to find what satisfies his plethora of passions.

“Be open to the opportunities that are afforded to you. Don’t shut anything down immediately,” Bratton said. “You might be able to mix things about different hobbies that you like.”

Originally interested in black holes, he now researches a different outcome of dying stars called neutron stars. He is analyzing how the size, temperature and spinning speed of these stars affects when they emit gravitational waves.

“This helps us understand the age of certain regions and the age of the universe as a whole,” Bratton said. “We can use neutron stars to understand how other objects work and how they relate to general relativity.”

Outside of his research, Bratton started His and Hers LA, a clothing brand promoting equality through creativity, with his cousin just before the peak of Black Lives Matter protests in summer 2020. He flexes his design muscles – hoping to make astronomy seem cool – while also using his mathematical expertise for accounting and operations.

But the most rewarding and memorable moments of Bratton’s time at SDSU were when he served as a Graduate Assistant for the Black Resource Center. He organized events, mentored students and prepared incoming freshmen for chemistry and math classes.

“I feel like I became more congenial and improved my networking and people skills,” Bratton said. “One reason I came back to school was to expand my network.”

He’ll expand his network even further after his upcoming thesis defense. He plans to work in data science, applying his coding prowess, before eventually earning his PhD.

Story originally published in the SDSU College of Sciences newsletter.