Outreach

One of my favorite parts of my job is teaching and talking to people about science. Feel free to contact me for more information about anything below, and/or if you are looking for help in organizing or conducting outreach.

Here is my most recent public talk from the Carnegie Observatories Open House on October 16, 2016. Our open house theme was...spectroscopy! Most of my research relies on spectroscopy, so it was really fun to give this talk to such an engaged audience.

I started a blog last year about women observers, engineers, instrument builders, and operators working at Las Campanas Observatory, called Las Campanas Belles. If you are a female and have worked at Las Campanas (not just Magellan), please let me know if you would like to contribute to the blog!

As a postdoc at Carnegie DTM, I was a regular volunteer at Carnegie First Light, a free Saturday science program for DC middle schools students (grades 6-8). The Carnegie First Light program, part of the larger Carnegie Academy for Science Education (CASE), was founded in 1989 by former Carnegie President Maxine Singer. CASE is housed at Carnegie Headquarters in downtown Washington, DC, within the community it seeks to serve, and is now run by Dr. Julie Edmonds. You can read more about Carnegie's commitment to STEM education here (including a small quote from me on page 23). The First Light Program serves ~25 students per year; enrollment is completely open to any DC student, with preference for students who are continuing participation.

Each school-year session is dedicated to a different theme related to astrobiology, and populated with hands-on science activities, experiments, and field trips. Last year, 2014-15, the theme was robotics. Students designed, built, and programmed their own robotic creations with LEGO Mindstorms kits. By the end of the term, every student was able to navigate their robot through an obstacle course including turning, backing up, recognizing barriers, recognizing colors, and making sounds.

Below: First Light students showing off their robots to their parents on our last day of the spring 2015 semester.

Last year (2015-16), we explored light -- what it is, how it behaves and why, and how it is used in different ways by astronomers to learn about the universe. We also partnered for the first time with Howard University to host four undergraduate Physics majors as workshop facilitators and mentors. They quickly became a vital part of the program.

Above: First Light students, family, and mentors on our end-of-fall hike in Shenandoah National Park. Below: First Light students help me figure out how to make and use a camera obscurae.

In graduate school, I volunteered a lot with Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona, judged science fairs, lead demos and stations at “science day” events, helped with Astronomy Camps (and here) and the bi-annual Expanding Your Horizons Conference. Below are photos of some of these outreach experiences. I am a member of the inaugural class of the AAS Ambassadors, have participated in multiple CAE Workshops (as well some research and some more), and am an occasional blogger for WomenInAstronomy and AstroBetter (and helper with the wiki).

Above: Transit of Venus talk at Biosphere II, June 2012. We put stickers on a picture of Venus as we watched the transit live! Below: Spring 2012 Expanding Your Horizons Conference for middle school girls. Our workshop about the properties and light and how astronomers rely on it was a hit! In the bottom picture, we’re performing the Herschel experiment and “discovering” the infrared.