Rachel is an astronomy graduate student at Penn State, doing research in the areas of planetary dynamics and astrobiology. Past research projects include studies of lithopanspermia, the transfer of life through the Solar System on bits of rock ejected by large meteor impacts. She is currently working on dynamical simulations of triple star systems, and is also interested in the dynamics of planetary systems and planet formation.

She received a B.S. in 2009 from the University of Wisconsin, majoring in Physics, Astronomy-Physics, and Music Performance. Her undergraduate research was on the evolution of galaxies, analyzing H I images of the nearby dwarf galaxies Sextans A and B.