Stars, Planets, Life, and the Universe
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
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.
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
Edna DeVore is a science/astronomy educator, Deputy CEO, and the Director of Education
and Public Outreach (EPO) at SETI Institute.
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.
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
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
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.”
For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org
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