ASP Staff Bios
San Francisco Office
Throughout my career, I have been passionate about improving public understanding of science, and most especially astronomy. So I am very proud and honored to serve as the Executive Director of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific. I am a native San Franciscan who has spent most of my life in the Bay Area. I hold a master’s degree in physics and astronomy from San Francisco State University and an Ed D in science education from Boston University. Before coming to the ASP, I was a Staff Scientist and Director of the Teacher Institute at the Exploratorium – San Francisco’s renowned science museum. During my 21-year tenure at the Exploratorium, I led the development and implementation of an internationally acclaimed science teacher professional development program, including an innovative beginning science teacher program and a teacher leadership program. I have co-authored several science activity books for children and written numerous popular science articles. I have also conducted research on student astronomy learning, science teacher induction and retention, and gender equity in science. My other passions include writing science fiction short stories, knitting, and spending time with my husband and two rescue greyhounds.
Chief Financial Officer
As an international business and finance leader passionate about science and education, with a long history of helping organizations across the world support their mission through changing markets and evolving landscapes, I have been an advisor and strategic partner to numerous for-profit and non-profit organizations in America, Europe and Asia, helping them to navigate the intricacies of new market ventures, abnormal growth environments, revenue diversification, initial public offerings (IPOs), mergers and acquisitions, as well as restructuring, divestitures and strategic realignments.
I was also the founder of several start-ups in the high-technology and service industries where I enjoyed complementing my business and finance background with an entrepreneurial spirit that has been a defining trait of my career.
Director, Membership, Marketing & Communications
I feel fortunate to be back at the ASP, a place I once called home for seven years. I then took a seven year hiatus from the ASP and directed a team of artists, scientists, and exhibit developers at the San Francisco science and art institution, the Exploratorium, to move the museum to its new home on Pier 15 in 2013. My first job out of High School was as an usher at the Morrison Planetarium in San Francisco that led to my appreciation of the night sky! The first 15 years of my professional career however were spent on the creative side of Bay Area specialty retailing, licensed merchandising, and brand management all with high profile retail and manufacturing companies. The work, along with the next 13 years of non-profit sector work with the ASP & Exploratorium, developed my skills as a management leader directing grant-funded projects and project managers and teams, government grant & foundation budgets, and administrative processes. Now back at the ASP, I’m excited to be working with the Board of Directors and Executive Director to strategically rebuild a robust membership structure and improve communications with the member and donor base who continue to support the ASPs work. In my spare time, I love to travel with my family, bake, toot my flute, garden and am an avid foodie.
Director of Technology & Citizen Science, CosmoQuest, St. Louis
I am an astronomer, writer, and podcaster focused on using new media to engage people in science and technology. I’m the Director of Technology and Citizen Science at the Astronomical Society of the Pacific. Through CosmoQuest.org, I work to engage people in both learning and doing science. Join me as we map our Solar System in unprecedented detail through our citizen science projects, and learn astronomy through media productions like Astronomy Cast. Through this weekly podcast, Fraser Cain and I take you on a facts-based journey through our Cosmos, exploring not only what we know, but how we know it. In addition to podcasting and getting people doing science, I am a researcher in Big Data, and I work with social scientists to understand the motivations and behaviors of people engaging in science for fun. I also work to communicate astronomy to the public through frequent public talks, and through popular articles. My writing has appeared in Astronomy, Sky and Telescope, and Lightspeed magazines, and I’ve had the chance to appear on TV shows like The Universe.
Director of Museum, Parks & Library Programs
I am the Director of Museum, Park, & Library Programs at the Astronomical Society of the Pacific. I have worked at the ASP since 2005, creating professional development and hands-on educational materials for museum educators and park rangers. Since 2012, I’ve been the lead educator on the ASP’s My Sky Tonight program, bringing the excitement of astronomy to pre-K children and their families at museums across the U.S.
Director, Teacher Learning Center and Formal Education Programs
A veteran classroom teacher, I have taught middle school earth science and physical science, and high school physics, earth science, physical science and integrated science. For three years I served as a coordinator for the NASA Explorer Schools project at NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California. I hold a B.S. in Geology from Whitworth University in Spokane, Washington, and a M.S. in Aviation and Space Science from Oklahoma State University, as well as a California Clear Single Subject Teaching Credential in Physics, Geosciences, and Biological Sciences. I am particularly interested in how people learn and creating opportunities for teachers to identify their own misconceptions, and incorporate more inquiry-based learning in their classrooms.
In my role at the ASP I bring a diverse background as a science educator, geologist, astronomer, birder, photographer, and poet. In addition to managing ASP programs such as Project ASTRO, and the Summer Astronomy Institute, I edit the online newsletter for teachers The Universe in the Classroom, and write the Education Matters column for Mercury magazine, a quarterly publication of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific.
Currently, I am serving as the Region F Director for NSELA, the National Science Education Leadership Association, and on the Board of Directors for the San Francisco Amateur Astronomers. When not working I am often found hiking, birding, or looking through my telescopes at the night sky. You can read my periodic musings and see some of my photography on my blog: musingsontheplanet.com
Senior Scientist and Educator
I came to the ASP in 2009 as Director of Education, and currently serve as Senior Scientist & Educator. This followed 10 years at UC Berkeley’s Center for Science Education at the Space Sciences Lab. I have been involved in more than 20 NASA and NSF education and public outreach (EPO) grants and projects, and each year chair the Program Committees for the ASP’s Annual Meeting. I earned my PhD in 1999 from UCLA Astronomy & Astrophysics, and was an NSF Postdoctoral Fellow in Science, Mathematics, Engineering and Technology Education at UC Berkeley for 3 years. My primary professional interests have been teacher professional development, teacher education, undergraduate teaching, curriculum development, informal education, early childhood education, and developing and managing EPO projects and conferences — all in astronomy, space science, physics, earth science, and related fields. I served four years on the Board of Directors of the California Science Teachers Association, and for six years on the Board of Directors for Habitot Children’s Museum in Berkeley.
Director of Free Choice Learning
I volunteered with Project ASTRO more than a decade ago and fell hard for astronomy education while finishing my degree in physics. I am currently the Director of Free Choice Learning, administering the NASA Night Sky Network (NSN). A community of more than 425 amateur astronomy clubs across the country, NSN supports club outreach and events with an interactive website and webinars. I design astronomy activities and demos specifically for informal settings, working with citizen scientists, Girl Scouts, Tibetan monks, and many others to expand the ways we learn astronomy out of school. Beyond the night sky, my passions include pottery, poetry, and social justice. I can often be found on rambling adventures in creeks and tide pools with my young child.
Education and Administration
Customer Service and Operations Manager
I am the Customer Service and Operations Manager at the Astronomical Society of the Pacific (ASP). I’ve been with the ASP since July 1989. My main responsibility is to make sure that the ASP’s online/retail operation and that of the fulfillment of Conference Series Publication orders and subscriptions run smoothly.
The longevity of my stay is attributed in my belief of good quality programs that the ASP has provided educators and amateur enthusiasts alike. Through the years, I have seen how ASP has evolved from a small organization to a big-time player in the field of astronomy.
Although my education background has nothing to do with astronomy, I am an avid fan of science fiction shows and movies like Star Trek, Star Wars and Japanime such as Gundam Mobile Suits and Mecha. I have a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Santo Tomas in Manila, Philippines. I also finished my CMT (Citizen Military Training) with a rank of Cadet Captain and extended my training with the COCC (Cadet Officer Candidate Course) program at Camp Gen Emilio Aguinaldo in Quezon City.
Outside of work, I play and collect Lego. As such, I am known as an AFOL (adult fan of Lego). I attend Lego conventions across the country each year, with some of my MOCs (My Own Creation) in tow winning several awards with a few of my work being featured in Lego-related magazines, such as Creator based in South Korea, Brick Journal and Beyond the Brick in the US.
As the Program Coordinator here at the ASP I am proud to work with the directors, educators and the population that the ASP serves with a focus on such programs as My Sky Tonight, early childhood education materials for museum’s focusing on astronomy, and the AAS Ambassadors, a program dedicated to helping graduate students in their transition into educators. I often collaborate with other departments in order to effectively serve teachers, students, and amateurs and to serve the ASP’s mission. I am also an attorney with a JD from Suffolk University Law School in Boston, MA and a member of the Massachusetts Bar Association.
Helping pilot Spanish versions of classic Family ASTRO activities in 2005. That’s how my involvement with the ASP began. For several years, I was the Project Coordinator for Astronomy from the Ground Up’s various programs, and now I happily serve as the Office Administrator, bringing my people skills and attention to detail to my various roles regarding membership, customer service, event support, and office management.
I’ve been engaged with science and/or outdoor education for three decades, using my knowledge of Spanish and graduate degree in environmental education in settings varying from a summer camp in central Spain, to team-building expeditions with St. Louis (MO) youth, to bilingual outdoor programs just north of the Golden Gate Bridge. Although not my forte, astronomy education has been a constant in my career.
As a proud gay person – albeit a white man – who was raised by a family profoundly committed to social justice, I am particularly inspired by the many ways in which the ASP strives to cultivate an inclusive community. For what it’s worth, I also work in the visual arts, dabble with wordplay and popular music history, and bicycle everywhere…under the stars, or do you say las estrellas?
Night Sky Network Administrator
I began watching the skies as a young kid in Northern New York State. My interest in astronomy was deepened while attending St. John’s College in Annapolis, MD, where I became fascinated by historical astronomy, and in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where I witnessed the wonders of the heavens from clear expansive mountain tops. I joined the Eastbay Astronomical Society while volunteering at the Chabot Space and Science Center and have been very involved with amateur astronomy ever since. I currently work on the NASA Night Sky Network program, providing support to astronomy clubs performing public outreach across the United States.
I love being an Astronomy Educator for the ASP. I have worked in science education since 1998, mainly creating programs in planetariums and museums, but also in high school classrooms, teacher trainings and tutoring. I have two Bachelor’s degrees: one in Astronomy and Physics from San Francisco State University; and one in Theater, Education and Empowerment from Eugene Lang College, the New School for Social Research. My astronomical journey led from being the department tutor at City College of San Francisco, to interning at NASA Ames Research Center. I rose from ushering to lecturing at California Academy of Science’s Morrison Planetarium, before directing the programming at the planetarium at Orange Coast College. I had important time at Lawrence Hall of Science and San Francisco State University, before returning to the revamped Morrison Planetarium, where I was involved with opening the new museum and leading the planetarium presenter team. I then taught astronomy, physics, calculus and algebra for English language learners in an International high school for three years, before heading to the ASP.
Here, I have worked on citizen science projects (CosmoQuest), girl scouts (with SETI Institute’s “Reaching for the Stars: NASA Science for Girl Scouts”); amateur astronomers through the Night Sky Network and the Megamovie, and now with very young children through “My Sky Tonight” I totally enjoy meeting all the teachers, librarians, park rangers and all the wonderful people my job enables me to meet. My secret mission in life is to help people to understand that science is not just for crazed geniuses in lab coats, but is for everyone, and is an important part of being an active citizen in today’s world.
I am the Accounting Manager of the ASP since Feb. 1995 and an employee since Nov. 1992 I have an undergraduate degree in Accounting at the Golden Gate University and a Business Administration degree at the University of San Francisco. I also have a M.B.A. from California State University, East Bay.
I am lucky to be working here at the ASP, since I am interested in Astronomy and Science. I like learning new ideas and discoveries made in the world of science and am amazed at the pace and ingenuity of mankind’s progress in science in my time here at the ASP.
Ian O’Neill (Astroengine.com)
My passion has always been space exploration and, upon completing my PhD in solar physics in 2006 at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, I assumed my future would be finding a postdoc research position so I could continue my work. Instead, after meeting my incredible wife and moving to the US, my life took an exciting turn. Without realizing it, I’d fallen out of active research and into science communication, writing about a multitude of space science topics until I embarked on a nine-year adventure with Discovery Channel’s science news website Discovery News (now Seeker.com) as space producer, online editor, writer and video host. I’m now Editor for the ASP’s Mercury Magazine and freelance science writer for major outlets such as Space.com and HowStuffWorks.com, with the mission of communicating this “golden age” of astronomy and astrophysics to as wide an audience as possible. I also maintain my own space news website Astroengine.com. The exploration of space is our biggest adventure; it’s my job to chronicle our journey.
Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific (PASP)
Jeff Mangum (National Radio Astronomy Observatory)
I was born and grew up in the small farming community (population ~4000) of Orland California (which was in the path of totality during the total solar eclipse of January 1, 1889…I was not home at the time, unfortunately…). Interest in astronomy came at an early age, where I found material to feed my appetite for the wonders of the cosmos in my local public library, including Mercury magazine and PASP. After graduating from UC Berkeley with a Bachelor’s degree in Astronomy I went to graduate school at the University of Virginia. I finished my Masters (1988) and PhD degrees (1990) in Astronomy, working primarily as a Junior Research Associate with Al Wootten at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) in a relatively new yet growing field of millimeter wavelength astronomy. After several postdoctoral and scientific staff positions I moved to the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Tucson Arizona in 1995, working as the Deputy Assistant Director and Resident Astronomer for the NRAO 12m Telescope on Kitt Peak. In 2004 I moved to NRAO headquarters in Charlottesville Virginia as a Scientist working on the new Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) project. I was appointed Editor-in-Chief of PASP in 2013.
My research revolves around a desire to understand how stars form both in our Galaxy and external galaxies. I use molecular spectral line and continuum measurements, made mainly at radio through submillimeter wavelengths, to study the physical, dynamical, and chemical environment in regions were stars are forming. I also have an interest in radio astronomical observing techniques and instrumentation, and have helped to develop and characterize the telescope and other components of several radio telescope observatories. I also have an interest in education and public outreach, including serving in various capacities organizing and leading NRAO’s undergraduate and graduate research program and working closely with NRAO’s EPO division on its outreach efforts.
Editorial Office – Conference Series
I am an astronomer and educator enthusiastic about sharing the wonders of the universe with my students. As a teenager, I enjoyed showing my family and friends interesting objects in the night sky like Halley’s Comet with my 14″ Newtonian reflector. When I went to college at Caltech, I studied astronomy and got a taste for observing with large telescopes at the Palomar Observatory 200″ Hale Telescope. I attended graduate school at the University of Hawaii and got my Ph.D. in observational infrared astronomy, working at many of the large telescopes located at 14,000 feet on Mauna Kea. When I finished, I started a job at the Gemini Observatory, which at the time was still under construction. I spent 12 years at Gemini, commissioning new instruments, helping observers, and traveling around the world to promote international collaboration in astronomy. Today I am a professor of physics and astronomy at Utah Valley University, where I share those experiences with hundreds of undergraduate students every year. My astronomy research centers around the extragalactic distance scale, trying to understand the size of the universe so we can understand where we came from and predict how it will evolve in the future. I also enjoy studying how stars evolve in the oldest, most massive galaxies in the universe. It is my privilege to contribute to the ASP’s mission by publishing many of the latest astronomical results in the ASP’s Conference Series, which attempts to capture and communicate the most recent advances in astronomy and share them with the professional astronomical community around the world.
Publications Manager, ASP Conference Series
I have been with the ASP Conference Series since for the last 9 years, first as the Editorial Assistant and now as Publication Manager. I work out of our Utah-based office in Orem, Utah. I am proud to say that I have been involved in producing almost 130 CS Volumes.
I was born and raised in California; first on a horse ranch in the San Joaquin Valley and then in the S. F. Bay Area, in the city of Orinda. I have a Bachelor of Science degree from Brigham Young University in Communication Disorders/Elementary Education. I spent the first 28 years of my marriage to Dr. J. Ward Moody as a stay-at-home Mom, taking care of our 6 children. In 2005 I went to work as an Elementary School Teacher, teaching 4th and 5th grades. I was also the school Math Specialist and Asst. Professional Development Representative. This involved acting as a liaison between the District and our school, helping to choose school math curriculum, as well as training other teachers in current teaching methods. In 2008, I left teaching and came to work for the Conference Series. In my spare time I enjoy serving in my church, spending time with my husband, travelling, and being a Grandma to my 10 beautiful grandchildren.
Illinois Office, CosmoQuest
Web Content Manager, CosmoQuest
I earned my Bachelor of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering from Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY, but by the late 1980s, I had transitioned into Technical Writing. This was a natural fit since it blended my technical background with a natural writing ability. But, having grown up as an Apollo Baby during the 1960s, my first love had always been, and continues to be, astronomy and space exploration. When I discovered “Astronomy Cast” and the “Weekly Space Hangout,” I volunteered to be admin of the AC Facebook group. This led me to my current position at the ASP as Web Content Manager, as well as being an Executive Producer for the Weekly Space Hangout where I schedule special guests on the show.
I currently reside in New Jersey with my husband and two rescue dogs, Missy and Caleb. We hope to retire to the Finger Lakes Region of Western New York State. I’ve been a fan of the New York Mets since 1970, and my greatest memory (aside from having my picture taken with Mike Piazza during Spring Training,) is being in Shea Stadium for Game 7 of the ’86 World Series when my Mets won it all. I am also a life-long Minnesota Vikings fan having grown up in Duluth, MN, and have recently started supporting the Minnesota United Football Club.
Senior Developer, CosmoQuest
While studying Computer Science at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, I was hired as a programmer by Dr Pamela Gay to manage the International Year of Astronomy website. Upon graduating, I was hired full time, and together we implemented the first CosmoQuest website and mapping interface. Since then, I’ve managed a team of developers to maintain and improve the CosmoQuest website and all technical aspects of the CosmoQuest community, including interface design, system design, server development, and data mining.
Community Coordinator, CosmoQuest
I handle social media and community involvement for CosmoQuest. I also produce the Astronomy Cast and the Weekly Space Hangout weekly video podcasts. Previously, I hosted my own podcast for 6 years, and then produced the Parsec Award-winning Guide To Space video podcast with Fraser Cain for 3 years for Universe Today. I live just outside Atlanta, GA, with my husband, our two teenage children, and my rescued Australian Shepard mix mutt, Jake.
Curriculum Developer, CosmosQuest
As the curriculum developer for CosmoQuest, I have the enviable task of writing curriculum to help teachers and students better understand the scientific ideas and understandings that undergird CosmoQuest’s citizen science projects. In addition to my work at CosmoQuest, I am a PhD candidate at the University of Arizona, where I am currently writing my dissertation. Over the years, I have worked in both nonformal and informal education, teaching in museums, environmental education centers, middle school science classrooms, and in preservice teacher education. In these positions, I have conducted and developed classroom outreach, curriculum, teacher workshops, summer camps, and professional and research presentations. My research focuses on developing ways to better support preservice teaching in implementing STEM topics, specifically environmental education, in their future classrooms, and understanding the factors that influence a person’s environmental choices and actions. I am also the proud spouse to an Air Force pilot and mom to a rambunctious one-year-old.