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Fraknoi Supporters Award

The ASP’s 2018 Fraknoi Supporters Award recipient is Mary Marcussen, consultant, grant writer, and project design specialist.

Mary Marcussen is being honored for her tireless efforts in helping the society think through and fund projects that have firmly secured the ASP’s reputation as an international leader in supporting astronomy teaching and learning.

Mary has served as the ASP’s grant developer for over 25 years. Her specialty is helping organizations develop and craft National Science Foundation grants. The first NSF award she helped the ASP secure was in 1993 for Project ASTRO – ASP’s landmark education project that pairs amateur and professional astronomers with classroom science teachers. Project ASTRO continues to this day with a network of active sites across the country.



Andrew Fraknoi

After 39 years of service and support to the ASP, Andy Fraknoi retired from the organization in 2012. Fraknoi, who retired from the Astronomy Department at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, California in May, 2017 also served, prior to Foothill, 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. Each year, the ASP staff will identify and honor an individual who has demonstrated exceptional service to and support of the organization as well as present the awardee with this honor at our Annual Awards Gala. The ASP looks forward to carrying on Andy’s remarkable spirit this way.



The ASP’s 2017 Fraknoi Supporters Award recipient was Rick Fienberg, Press Officer for the American Astronomical Society (AAS).

The ASP’s 2016 Fraknoi Supporters Award recipient was Michael Bennett, former Executive Director of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific.

The ASP’s 2015 Fraknoi Supporters Award recipient was Michael Greene, Manager of Public Engagement, NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California.

The ASP’s 2014 Fraknoi Supporters Award recipient was Melita Thorpe of MWT Associates, Inc.

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.