Kirsten Tollefson is an Associate Dean in the Graduate School and a Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Michigan State University. Tollefson is a high-energy physicist whose research focuses on studying the fundamental particle nature of the universe. She was part of the team on the Collider Detector at Fermilab (CDF) experiment that discovered the top quark and then spent many years studying its unique properties with CDF as well as on the ATLAS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva, Switzerland. She is currently involved in particle astrophysics and works on the High-Altitude Water Cherenkov (HAWC) Gamma Ray Observatory in Mexico and the IceCube Neutrino Observatory at the South Pole. In her previous role as Graduate Program Director she focused on improving diversity within the Physics and Astronomy’s graduate program and as Associate Dean is now focusing on improving mentoring for all graduate students at MSU. She was recently named a 2020-21 Big Ten Academic Alliance Leadership Program Fellow.