Fraknoi Supporters Award
After 39 years of service and support to the ASP, Andy Fraknoi retired from the organization. Fraknoi serves as chair of the Astronomy Department at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, California. Before coming to Foothill College, Fraknoi served for 14 years as the executive director of the ASP. While here, he created Project ASTRO, a program that trains and links volunteer astronomers with 4th-9th grade teachers in regional centers around the country, and Family ASTRO, which provides games and kits that allows families with children to enjoy astronomy together. He also organized a series of workshops and conferences about the teaching of astronomy, both at the K-12 and college level (Cosmos in the Classroom), and developed a DVD-ROM collection of classroom astronomy activities (The Universe at Your Fingertips), which is used in educational settings around the world. In the realm of publications, Fraknoi served as longtime editor of the ASP’s Astronomy Beat, a popular “insider’s guide” to diverse astronomy subjects, endeavors and professions.
At the ASP 2012 Annual Meeting in Tucson, a new award was inaugurated and presented to Andy, the Andrew Fraknoi Supporters Award. At future Supporters Luncheons (part of the ASP Annual Meeting), ASP staff will identify and honor an individual who has demonstrated exceptional service to and support of the organization. The ASP looks forward to carrying on Andy’s remarkable spirit this way.
The ASP’s 2013 Fraknoi Supporters Award recipient was Katherine Bracher. Kate recently retired after more than 25 years as a prolific volunteer writer for Mercury Magazine.
The ASP’s 2014 Fraknoi Supporters Award recipient was Melita Thorpe of MWT Associates, Inc.
The ASP’s 2015 Fraknoi Supporters Award recipient was Michael Greene, Manager of Public Engagement, NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California.
The ASP’s 2016 Fraknoi Supporters Award recipient is Michael Bennett, former Executive Director of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific. Michael Bennett joined the ASP in 1995 as head of the society’s newly-formed education department and served as ASP’s Executive Director from 2000 to 2007. Under his leadership, the ASP’s education and public outreach initiatives greatly expanded and new initiatives were added. Michael Bennett remains one of the ASP’s most avid and enthusiastic champions. He is a tireless advocate of the society, helping garner the donations and gifts allowing the ASP to support amateurs, professional researchers, science educators, and astronomy enthusiasts of every kind all over the world.