A UC Santa Barbara assistant professor was recently awarded a $625,000 grant to help further her work in astrophysics.

The Packard Foundation announced in early October that UCSB physics assistant professor Crystal Martin was among the 20 researchers selected to receive the award.

According to the fellowship’s guidelines, the award is intended “to emphasize support for innovative individual research.”

Martin said she feels honored to be chosen.

“It’s a big boost forward in a challenging time,” Martin said. “There’s a lot of demands to teach well and research well at the same time.”

Martin has only been at UCSB for six months, but has studied physics and astrophysics for more than 15 years. Her research focuses on the formation and destruction of stars and the impact that they have on the galaxies in which they reside.

UCSB’s Physics Dept. nominated Martin for the award.

“The foundation looks for nominees who stand out as promising young researchers,” Physics Dept. Chair Jim Allen said. “Martin’s work is first-rate.”

Martin was selected from among 100 nominees at 50 universities to receive one of the 20 awards this year. She is the sixth Fellowship winner at UCSB and the third to come from the Physics Dept. since the school was accepted as one of the nominating universities in the early 1990s.

Once nominated, Martin went through a screening process by an advisory panel, who then gave its recommendations to the foundation’s board of trustees, which made the final decision. The advisory panel consists of members from top research schools from around the country.

Martin will receive $125,000 per year for five years. She said that she plans to use the money to enhance the research in the Physics Dept. and that she will possibly put it toward hiring more scholars at UCSB.