At the most basic level, the funding for my research comes directly or indirectly from public sources, such as NASA and NSF, so it is my duty to tell you all the great things we are doing with your tax dollars. More broadly, it is crucial for science to be accessible to everyone. Science and technology will advance best in an inclusive environment where everybody has the opportunity to participate. Outreach and engagement between experts and a wide range of audiences is a crucial piece of this endeavor.
I am a trained member of the inaugural cohort of AAS Ambassadors, and I have led many events at NMSU’s Tombaugh Observatory and volunteered at local schools to lead students and families through hands-on activities. I have experience giving planetarium shows and love throwing star parties to tell friends and passersby all about the heavens above. (You can call Pluto whatever you want.) I recently became an Instructor at Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, New Mexico, and regularly lead astronomy-themed retreats.
I also write for Astrobites, occasionally contribute to Astrobetter, was thrilled to participate in the very first ComSciCon, and I stay connected with the larger science community through events such as .Astronomy and Inclusive Astronomy. I recently volunteered in the #DIYSciZone at GeekGirlCon and was invited to be on two panels. My weekend involved making dozens of dry-ice comets and fielding questions about how seasons work in Game of Thrones.
“Astronomy is a gateway drug to a life-long addiction to science.” –Andy Fraknoi