About Me

Welcome to my webpage! My name is Malena Rice, and I am a planetary astrophysicist and an Assistant Professor in the Yale Department of Astronomy.

Academic background

I received my PhD at Yale University in 2022, where I was as an NSF Graduate Research Fellow and a P.E.O. Scholar. Before that, I received my Bachelor's degrees in Physics and Astrophysics from UC Berkeley in 2017 as a Regents' and Chancellor's Scholar. I was fortunate to spend one year as a 51 Pegasi b Postdoctoral Fellow at the MIT Kavli Institute before returning to Yale Astronomy as an Assistant Professor in 2023. I received the 2022 IAU PhD Prize for my dissertation, "A Dynamical Synthesis of Planetary Systems". I was also named to the 2023 Forbes 30 Under 30 list and was selected as a 2023 Rising Talent by the Women's Forum for the Economy & Society.

Ph.D. Astronomy, Yale University (2022)
M.Phil. Astronomy, Yale University (2020)
M.A. Astronomy, Yale University (2020)
B.A. Astrophysics, UC Berkeley (2017)
B.A. Physics, UC Berkeley (2017)

General Background

I am originally from Simi Valley, CA (USA). I am mixed-race and come from a multicultural background, with Sino-Vietnamese and American roots. In my free time, I enjoy eating great bread, learning about modern and contemporary art, playing the flute and piano, reading in coffee shops, and getting outdoors. I also love to travel and find new ways to broaden my perspective.

I am an Executive Committee Member in the NASA Exoplanet Exploration Program Analysis Group (ExoPAG), a Steering Committee Member for the NASA ExoExplorers program, a member of the TESS Users Committee (TUC), and an Editorial Board Member at Nature Scientific Reports. I am passionate about research, teaching, and outreach, and I am always looking for ways to support early-career astronomers in both my department and my broader community.