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Stars, Planets, Life, and the Universe


Dr. Matthew Bobrowsky
Dr. Matthew Bobrowsky Dr. Matthew Bobrowsky is an astronomer at the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) who works as a science content specialist for the Origins Education Forum-a NASA educational group concerned with the origin of galaxies, stars, planets, and life. He is responsible for collecting and researching scientific information related to NASA's Origins missions and presenting it in a form appropriate to various education and public outreach audiences. Dr. Bobrowsky writes educational material (e.g., K-12 science activities and lessons) and prepares presentations for educational workshops.

In addition, Dr. Bobrowsky has been teaching at the college level for 20 years. He serves on the science advisory committee for his local school district and has been awarded a number of grants for K-12 professional development in science. He has received numerous teaching awards, including the University of Maryland Board of Regents' Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence.

In his astronomical research, Dr. Bobrowsky has made astronomical observations with many telescopes, including the Hubble Space Telescope. His specialty is the study of planetary nebulae, clouds of gas expanding outward from aging stars.

Dr. Natalie Batalha
Dr. Natalie Batalha is currently Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy at San Jose State University. Dr. Natalie Batalha She has been affiliated with NASA Ames Research Center since 2000 where she conducts research on extra-solar planet detection. She is the Principal Investigator of the Vulcan planet search project. The Vulcan team runs and operates a robotic telescope atop Mt. Hamilton at Lick Observatory. Its objective is to identify giant planets orbiting other sun-like stars. She also works as a support scientist for the Kepler mission. Kepler is a NASA Discovery mission whose objective is to identify and characterize earth-like planets orbiting sun-like stars.

Dr. Batalha received her Bachelor's degree is Physics from the University of California, Berkeley and her Ph.D. in Astrophysics from the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Edna DeVore
Edna DeVore is a science/astronomy educator, Deputy CEO, and the Director of Education and Public Outreach (EPO) at SETI Institute. Edna Devore Current EPO projects include NASA Astrobiology Institute team member, NASA's SOFIA, and Co-I for NASA's Kepler Discovery Mission. DeVore was an NSF Co-I for "Voyages Through Time," published in 2003. DeVore serves on the Astronomy Education Board of the American Astronomical Society, an advisory committee for the American Geophysical Institute, and the Education Board for the Foundation for Microbiology, and has served on several advisory boards for NASA and NSF EPO projects. Previously she taught astronomy and directed planetarium programming for grades K-14.

Honors include Women in Aerospace's Public Awareness Award 2005, NASA ARC Contract Employee Award 1995, US DOE Christa McAullife Teaching Fellow 1987, Outstanding Student Researcher, School of Education, San Jose State University and the California State University Student Research Competition, 2nd Place for Education in1989, Association of Science and Technology Centers Honor Roll of Teachers in 1987, and Fellow of the International Planetarium Society.

Professional affiliations include AAS, AAPT, NSTA, planetarium and amateur astronomy organizations. She has published more than 15 papers on science and astronomy education and presented over 200 invited talks, teacher workshops, and short courses at science education conferences. DeVore received her BA from Raymond College, UOP and her teaching credentials and MA in Instructional Technology/Education from San Jose State University. She earned her MS in Astronomy at the University of Arizona.

Pamela Harman
Ms. Harman is the Education and Outreach Manager at the SETI Institute. Harmon has an engineering degree, science teaching credentials, and has taught at the high school level.

Prior to teaching, she was a project manager in the construction industry and mentored engineering students. She began her career at the SETI Institute as a part time tech writer on the Voyages Through Time (VTT) curriculum development project, then piloted part of the curriculum in her classroom. When she moved to the institute full time, she managed a pilot test of infrared astronomy classroom activities and continued work on VTT as curriculum writer, eventually working with the project director to manage the completion and the revision process.

She has also managed conference exhibits, professional development workshops, and short courses, established an educator network, edited a quarterly e-news letter, and given numerous talks.

Dr. Dana Backman
Dr. Dana Backman Dana Backman personifies the SETI Institute’s commitment to integrating science, education, and public outreach. As an astronomer, he uses space and ground based telescopes, usually at infrared wavelengths, to gather evidence about how Earth-like planets form out of the protoplanetary disks of Sun-like stars. “I am particularly interested in finding and examining in detail examples of planetary systems in late stages of formation, called debris disks,” he notes, “at ages of 10 to 100 million years, when the terrestrial planets in our solar system formed.”

As the lead of the Education and Public Outreach program for the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), he recruits and trains educators across the United States to fly on SOFIA as partners with the astronomers doing research. “SOFIA, a flying observatory, is a concept that will be naturally exciting and attractive to educators and students,” Backman explains. “The program will place guest educators into close proximity with front-line research as it is really done, not the sanitized version in textbooks.”

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