Teaching and Outreach

I have a very strong interest in astronomy education and outreach, and have made a concerted effort throughout my years as both a student and a postdoctoral researcher to involve myself in education, both through formal college classroom education and informal education via public outreach. 

Instructor, Astro 1, PSU
— I was the instructor of record for Astro 1 during the Spring 2016 semester at Penn State. This was an introductory-level lecture-based astronomy class for non-science majors, covering a wide range of astronomy topics. There were about 150 students enrolled in my class. 
Guest/Substitute lecturer, PSU — I have given guest lectures and/or substitute lectures for several introductory astronomy classes at Penn State, as well as some upper-level courses for majors.
Head Teaching Associate, OSU — For three years, I was the head TA in the astronomy department at Ohio State. During this time, I was primarily responsible for training new graduate student TAs and coordinating the department’s outreach efforts, while also acting as a substitute for other TAs when needed.
Teaching Associate, Intro. Astronomy for B.S.majors, OSU (2008-2009) — My TA duties for these courses included running a weekly discussion section with the students, holding office hours, grading, and running review sessions before exams.
Teaching Associate, Intro. Astronomy, General Education, OSU 2008 — My primary TA duties for these introductory courses included grading, holding office hours, and running review sessions. 

From 2008-2014, I presented planetarium shows to visiting groups at the Ohio State planetarium, and was responsible for coordinating all planetarium activity from 2009-2014. At that point, the planetarium had seen better days, so in June of 2012, we closed down the planetarium for a major renovation project. I was heavily involved in the project, contributing to nearly all aspects of the renovation. After completing my dissertation, I began my appointment as joint postdoc+planetarium director, with the task of getting the planetarium back on its feet after the renovation, training presenters, developing programming for the new system, coordinating all shows and presentations, managing our web and social media presence, and facilitating collaboration between other OSU departments in the use of the planetarium’s wide range of capabilities (while also doing research!). For more information on the OSU planetarium, please see the OSU Planetarium website or their facebook page.

In August 2014, I passed on the planetarium torch to OSU’s new planetarium director and moved to Penn State as a postdoctoral researcher. I have continued my planetarium work by presenting planetarium shows to visiting school groups in the Penn State Astronomy Department’s planetarium.

Beyond my planetarium work, I have also taken part in various outreach activities throughout my years studying astronomy.  From 2009-2014, I coordinated many/most of the OSU Astronomy Department’s outreach efforts and organized and recruited volunteers for many types of events. Below are some highlights from some of the outreach programs I have been involved with over the years:

Women in Astronomy — Co-organizer of meetings, Penn State, 2014-2015
AstroFest — Volunteer, Penn State, July 2015
AstroNight — Volunteer, Penn State, October 2014
OSU Star Parties — Volunteer, OSU 2008-present, twice annually (also includes special events)
Ohio State Fair — Physics Booth Volunteer, August 2010
3rd Annual Midwest Women in Physics Conference — Session Chair, January 2010
Astronomy Guest Lecturer (e.g., schools, clubs, cub scout pack meetings) — Many occasions
Girls Reaching to Achieve in Sports and Physics, OSU — Volunteer June 2008, June 2010
Astronomy Guest Lecturer, Junior Stargazers, Champaign, IL, 2007
Girls Engaged in Math and Science Program, UIUC — Volunteer May-June, 2007
President, UIUC Astronomical Society, 2006-2007
Summer Astrocamp at University of Wyoming — Volunteer, July 2006
Vice-President, UIUC Astronomical Society, 2005-2006

Skip to toolbar