With the billions of resolvable stars in the Milky Way, we can study every aspect of astrophysics, from planet formation and stellar physics, to galaxy evolution and (near-field) cosmology. Current and future photometric and spectroscopic surveys provide endless potential for discovery and advancement of our knowledge about how we got here. In this talk, I will discuss how studying the structural, chemical and dynamical properties of the Milky Way’s stellar populations can constrain the Galaxy’s formation history and our theories of cosmology. Specifically, I will present new constraints on the formation of the first stars and the earliest epochs of the Milky Way’s formation from my work on ancient stars and the inner Milky Way’s chemo-dynamics. With the coming data from SDSS-V, LSST, and the Roman Galactic Bulge Time Domains Survey, we are at the precipice of a revolution in our understanding of the Galaxy, especially in the inner regions. I will present my plans to lead this revolution and improve our understanding of cosmology and galaxy evolution by maximizing the power of these datasets to constrain the structure, chemistry and dynamics of the Milky Way.