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Volunteer

The ASP is a nonprofit organization with diverse programs, workshops, events and public activities — culminating with our Annual Meeting which takes place in a different city each year. We welcome volunteers to help us with logistics, trainings, administration, fundraising, marketing, and outreach. Please send us an email and tell us about your interests, as well as how your background might fit with our needs. Whether you are in the San Francisco Bay Area or another part of the U.S., we are happy to explore potential volunteer opportunities with you.

Michael Greene
Greene is the Manager of Public Engagement at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California where he oversees communications and education programs involving social media, websites, video productions, science festivals, museums and science centers, and school and university outreach. Part of his responsibilities include oversight of the NASA Night Sky Network – an active and growing community of amateur astronomy clubs across the nation that look to the network for support as they engage the public in astronomy activities. The ASP is NASA’s partner in this project, providing member clubs in the Night Sky Network with on-line resources, tools, training, and kits. Michael Greene has been one of the ASP’s most avid and enthusiastic champions and supporters. Since spearheading the establishment of the NASA Night Sky Network over a decade ago, Greene has been a tireless advocate of the ASP – ensuring the society receives the funding required to support over 450 amateur clubs interested in engaging the public in astronomy. Clubs in the network have access to over a dozen highly-tested education outreach toolkits, a wide array of NASA speakers, and an integrated website that is used by tens of thousands of members of the public in addition to the amateur astronomers.  To date, NSN clubs have reached well over 3 million people with their collective outreach efforts, and this number continues to grow.  Over 200,000 follow the Night Sky Network’s Facebook Page.  Greene has also championed the ASP’s Cosmos in the Classroom conference to help instructors who teach introductory astronomy around the country learn how to do a better job. Other honors Greene has received include the 2012 NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal, a 2011 Webby Award, ‘Best Science Site’ for Global Climate Change, a 2009 NASA Explorer Award for Achievement in Earth Science Communications, the 2006 NASA Exceptional Service Medal, and he has shared several NASA Honor Awards (for group achievement in astrophysics public engagement). He is a current and former trustee of several nonprofit boards and is also a MacDowell Colony Fellow. About the Andrew Fraknoi Supporters Award Each year, ASP staff identifies and honors an individual who has demonstrated exceptional service to and support of the organization with the Fraknoi Supporters Award. Andew Fraknoi was the Executive Director of the ASP for 15 years – yet his dedication and service to the Society has continued for almost 40 years. Fraknoi created Project ASTRO, a program that still trains and links volunteer astronomers with K-12 teachers in regional centers around the country. He also spearheaded the development of Family ASTRO providing games and kits to families with children so they can enjoy astronomy together. Today, Andrew Fraknoi organizes workshops and conferences about the teaching of astronomy, both at the K-12 and college level (Cosmos in the Classroom). Fraknoi also served as longtime editor of the ASP’s Astronomy Beat, a popular insider’s guide to diverse astronomy subjects, endeavors and professions. About the ASP Since its humble beginnings over 125 years ago, the ASP has evolved into one of the most recognized and well-respected nonprofit astronomy organizations in the country. Boasting diverse national programs endorsed by NASA and the NSF, publications, and awards designed to serve, empower, and recognize professional and amateur astronomers, as well as formal and informal educators, the ASP is unique in its mission to foster science literacy and share the excitement of exploration and discovery through astronomy. The ASP is headquartered in the Ingleside neighborhood of San Francisco, and is financially supported by donations, grants, corporate sponsorships, subscriptions, member dues, and retail sales.
  • The Astronomical Society of the Pacific (ASP), one of the most innovative and respected astronomy science education organizations in the U.S., is proud to announce the recipients of its 2015 awards for excellence in astronomy research and education. The awards will be formally presented at an ASP Awards Ceremony and Banquet on October 10, 2015 at Chabot Space and Science Center in Oakland, CA as part of ASP’s Annual Meeting and Public Festival (Universe 2015). More information about the ASP’s awards and past recipients can be found here.
    Dr. Stephen A. Shectman
    The Maria and Eric Muhlmann Award for important research results based upon development of groundbreaking instruments and techniques is awarded to astronomer and instrumentation expert Dr. Stephen A. Shectman of the Carnegie Observatories. Dr. Shectman investigates the large-scale structure of the distribution of galaxies, searches for ancient stars, develops novel and creative astronomical instruments, and constructs large telescopes. He was the project scientist for the 6.5-meter Magellan telescopes and is largely responsible for their superb quality. Dr. Shectman served as the project scientist for the Giant Magellan Telescope until 2012 and is actively involved in designing instrumentation and providing consulting advice for the Giant Magellan Telescope planned for completion in 2025. Over the decades, Shectman has developed a variety of specialized instruments for larger and larger optical telescopes at Carnegie’s Las Campanas Observatory in Chile. He created photon-counting detectors for faint-object spectroscopy, copied by observatories throughout the world. He built the high-resolution echelle spectrograph and the multiobject fiber spectrograph for Carnegie’s 2.5-meter (100-inch) du Pont telescope. He also built the high-resolution echelle spectrograph for the 6.5-meter (21.3-feet) Magellan telescopes and he worked on the Magellan echellette spectrograph and the Magellan Planet Finder Spectrograph. Instruments with optics designed by Shectman have produced the data for three quarters of the scientific publications from the Magellan Telescopes. Dr. Shectman was awarded an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship in 1984 and elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1997. In 2005 he received the Joseph Weber Award for Astronomical Instrumentation from the American Astronomical Society, and in 2008 he received the Jackson-Gwilt Medal from the Royal Astronomical Society for his work on telescopes and instrumentation. Last year, Dr. Shectman was elected to the National Academy of Sciences.
    Dr. Robert NemiroffDr. Jerry Bonnell
    The Klumpke-Roberts Award for outstanding contributions to public understanding and appreciation of astronomy is awarded to Dr. Robert Nemiroff (right) and Dr. Jerry Bonnell (far right) for their work on the Astronomy Picture of the Day. Dr. Robert Nemiroff is a Professor in the Physics department at Michigan Technological University. He is an active researcher, teaches undergraduate and graduate physics courses, and supervises graduate students. Dr. Jerry Bonnell is a research scientist with the University of Maryland Astronomy Department on contract to the Astrophysics Science Division at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. They are the co-creators and co-editors of Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD). Since 1995, they have selected and explained one image of our universe every day. Their explanations include links to additional information, deepening the educational value of the site. Each day's image and explanation are archived, forming what is one of the largest annotated archives of diverse astronomy images on the web. APOD's home site is hosted by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center and currently gets an average of 1 million hits per day. Its three major social media sites collectively have over 2 million followers. APOD is translated into 21 languages, including Arabic, Russian, Spanish, Indonesian, and Chinese, and has mirror sites in at least 23 countries.
    Dr. Edward Prather
    The Richard H. Emmons Award for excellence in college astronomy teaching is awarded to Dr. Edward Prather. For the past 20 years Dr. Prather has dedicated himself to conducting research on best practices in teaching general education physics and astronomy at the college level. This work has led to development of a huge number of active learning instructional materials and new tools for assessment of student learning.  Ed and his team use their courses at the University of Arizona (UA) as laboratories where they test and validate the effectiveness of these teaching and assessment materials, which they tirelessly disseminate through the Center for Astronomy Education Teaching Excellence workshops held around the country each year. These workshops have reached over 2500 astronomy educators and had a dramatic impact on the teaching of astronomy in the US and worldwide. Dr. Prather also serves as the Education Officer of the American Astronomical Society, and Executive Director of the Center for Astronomy Education. He has over 60 peer-reviewed publications and given hundreds of talks on issues of astronomy and physics teaching and learning.  His teaching has been recognized at the university-level where, in 2007, he was awarded the UA Provost's General Education Teaching Award, and in 2009 the UA College of Science Innovation in Teaching Award. At the national level, he has been awarded the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) David Halliday and Robert Resnick Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Physics Teaching.
    Ms. Barbel Sepulveda
    The Thomas J. Brennan Award, for exceptional achievement related to the teaching of astronomy at the high school level, is awarded to Ms. Barbel Sepulveda.  Ms. Sepulveda has been a science teacher at Lincoln High School in Stockton, California for 21 years. Her life-long love of astronomy led her to develop a physics-based astronomy class that is one of only a handful of astronomy classes in the state of California approved as a laboratory science. She has participated in numerous professional development opportunities to improve her astronomy teaching, including the National Optical Astronomy Observatory's (NOAO) Teacher Leaders in Research Based Science Education Program where Ms. Sepulveda learned to bring authentic astronomy research into the classroom. Through this program, her science students investigated novae, sunspots, and conducted spectroscopic investigations on active galactic nuclei. Ms. Sepulveda was also one of only twelve teachers selected from NOAO's cadre of trained teachers to participate in an observing program using the Spitzer Space Telescope. She encouraged students to take part in this project and a number of them contributed to projects involving young stars, active galactic nuclei, and tidal dwarf galaxies. Currently she is a participant in the Secondary Integration of Modeling in Math and Science (SIMMS) Project led by the San Joaquin County Office of Education, the University of the Pacific, and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories. She continues to encourage student research with the SOFIA Airborne Astronomy Ambassadors program and the Astronomy Research Seminar. As hard as she works to bring astronomy to her students, Ms. Sepulveda finds time to mentor new teachers so that her knowledge and skills can be passed to the next generation.
    Dr. H. Jabran Zahid
    The Robert J. Trumpler Award for a recent PhD thesis considered unusually important to astronomy is awarded to Dr. H. Jabran Zahid.  Dr. Zahid completed his PhD in June 2014 at the Institute for Astronomy (IFA) of the University of Hawai‘i.  Dr. Zahid's thesis work measured the chemical evolution of galaxies using existing and new data from large extragalactic surveys, and compared that with the predictions of cosmological simulations. Highly motivated to understand his observational results from a theoretical perspective, he extended this work by developing the theoretical links between galactic chemical evolution, dust and star formation in galaxies. IFA Director Guenther Hassinger wrote “Jabran has the strongest proven track record of completing a PhD project from observation to publication than any graduating student in our history of approximately 200 PhDs awarded. Jabran embarked on his PhD thesis with extraordinary drive, innate ability, and independence, culminating in a total of nine first author refereed journal articles over a period of four years. These publications comprehensively span observations and theory, producing a series of seminal papers which have already collected over 250 citations.” About the ASP Since its humble beginnings over 125 years ago, the ASP has evolved into one of the most recognized and well-respected nonprofit astronomy organizations in the country. Boasting diverse national programs endorsed by NASA and the NSF, publications, and awards designed to serve, empower, and recognize professional and amateur astronomers, as well as formal and informal educators, the ASP is unique in its mission to foster science literacy and share the excitement of exploration and discovery through astronomy. The ASP is headquartered in the Ingleside neighborhood of San Francisco, and is financially supported by donations, grants, corporate sponsorships, subscriptions, member dues, and retail sales.
  • The Astronomical Society of the Pacific (ASP), one of the oldest and most respected science education organizations in the U.S., has announced that Dr. Douglas N.C. Lin is the 2015 recipient of its Catherine Wolfe Bruce Gold Medal.
    Dr. Douglas N.C. Lin
    Dr. Lin, Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of California Santa Cruz, is recognized for his significant and seminal achievements in a variety of domains, including the orbital motion of the Magellanic Clouds, the formation and evolution of exoplanets, the physics of cataclysmic variables and accretion disks, and the dynamics, structure, and evolution of Saturn’s Rings. Professor Lin has made major contributions to our understanding of the dynamics of the Magellanic Clouds within our Galaxy’s dark halo – a campaign that Dr. Lin was the driving force on for decades. His writing on the subject remains a classic reference and his study of dark matter in dwarf spheroidal galaxies started a new subfield. Professor Lin has also investigated the evolution of planetary systems and is responsible for the models that help interpret the findings from exoplanet studies. Shortly after the discovery of a “hot Jupiter” in 51 Pegasus, Professor Lin wrote the seminal paper on how these objects could have obtained such close proximity to their host star. As one of Dr. Lin’s distinguished colleagues stated, he is “the leading expert in the world today on the architecture of extrasolar planetary systems – where planets form, how they interact with their parent proto-solar disk of gas, and how far from their parent star they end up.” In addition to being a driving theoretical force in several fields, Professor Lin is also the founding Director of the new Kavli Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics at Peking University where he has a major impact on the scientific advancement of China. Professor Lin was nominated for the Bruce Medal by the National Astronomical Observatories of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. To quote from their nomination letter: “Professor Lin’s experience as a world-leading expert has served as an asset for the Chinese astronomical community, raising the profile and boosting the visibility of astronomy in the country and cultivating the next generation of Chinese astronomers.” Professor Douglas Lin recently was honored with the Brouwer Award from the Division of Dynamical Astronomy of the American Astronomical Society for his achievements and contributions to this field. He received both a Humboldt Fellowship and a Guggenheim Fellowship and has held a number of distinguished academic positions, including Honorary Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, Lecar Lecturer at Harvard University, Rothchild Professor at the Isaac Newton Institute of Cambridge University, and the Carnegie Centenary Professor at the University of St. Andrews. Dr. Lin also served as a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. During his career to date, Dr. Lin has published over 225 peer-reviewed articles and has been cited over 15,600 times. About the Bruce Medal The highest award bestowed by the ASP, the Catherine Wolfe Bruce Gold Medal recognizes a recipient for his or her lifetime of outstanding research in astronomy. Awarded since 1898, the medal has gone to some of the greatest astronomers of the past century. Follow these links to a complete list of past recipients and a Brief History of the Bruce Medal including medalist biographies. About the ASP Since its humble beginnings over 125 years ago, the ASP has evolved into one of the most recognized and well-respected nonprofit astronomy organizations in the country. Boasting diverse national programs endorsed by NASA and the NSF, publications, and awards designed to serve, empower, and recognize professional and amateur astronomers, as well as formal and informal educators, the ASP is unique in its mission to foster science literacy and share the excitement of exploration and discovery through astronomy. The ASP is headquartered in the Ingleside neighborhood of San Francisco, and is financially supported by donations, grants, corporate sponsorships, subscriptions, member dues, and retail sales.