Dr. Rachel Smith is an observational astronomer investigating forming stars in the Galaxy. Through observations using some of the largest telescopes, Rachel explores how planets form and evolve, and the chemical pathways that lead to planets like Earth and the molecules needed for life. Rachel is Head of the Astronomy & Astrophysics Research Lab, and Curator of Meteorites at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. She is jointly appointed as an Associate Professor in the Dept. of Physics & Astronomy at Appalachian State University, and is an Adjunct Professor in the Dept. of Physics & Astronomy at UNC Chapel Hill. Rachel got her PhD from UCLA in 2011, and was a post-doctoral scholar in Planetary Science at Caltech.