Outreach and Teaching

I have been fortunate in grad school to have a wealth of experience teaching and doing outreach. While I've spent one full year teaching undergraduate astronomy labs at U. Chicago, I've also focused a lot on k-12 education. I continue to tutor inner-city high school students, and am constantly trying to think of novel ways to bring astronomy and astrophysics to the k-12 community. I've highlighted a few of the outreach programs I'm involved with below.

Space Explorers Program
Brinson Outreach Fellowship
Astronomy Conversations at Adler Space Visualization Lab

Space Explorers

In 2008-2009 I was the lead instructor for Space Explorers (more info here), a KICP-run enrichment program centered on giving inner city k-12 students a chance to explore scientific research. During this time I developed and taught a yearlong curriculum on "Hidden Astronomy: How to Detect Things Indirectly". We covered everything from exoplanets to the expansion of the universe!

I'm still actively involved in the Space Explorers program, but now as a volunteer. Every year I write and teach labs during week-long science camps held every winter and summer at Yerkes Observatory.

One of the camps I led at Yerkes Observatory focused on hidden messages and cryptology. Here students were trying to use frequency filters to find a low frequency hidden message we embedded in a popular Kayne West song!

Brinson Outreach Fellowship

As a recipient of the Brinson Foundation Predoctoral Outreach Fellowship from 2011-2012, my main aim was to do outreach that promoted k-12 engagement in science but still focused on meeting the standards and curriculum goals of Chicago Public Schools (CPS). Particularly I centered my work on a hot science topic related to my own area of expertise -- astrobiology! Throughout the year I developed and taught lessons relating to both astrobiology and the specific CPS class curriculum, mentored students in astrobiology-themed science fair projects, and finally created Astrobio Bloggers , a teen writing internship that was part of the Adler Planetarium's Youth Program.

The internship focused on using student-driven design work (writing blog posts on astrobiology) to promote science standards, specifically the ACT college readiness standards. Almost every post the interns wrote included the explanation of a graph or figure, which simultaneously exposed them to real astrophysical research as well as promoted one of the most important ACT science standards (being able to read/interpret graphs). I'm really proud of the hard work my interns did last spring and summer, you can check out all their wonderfully written posts here:


Adler Planetarium Space Visualization Lab Talks

When I'm not at the Adler Planetarium mentoring the AstroBio Blogger interns, I can often be found giving talks at Adler's Space Visualization Laboratory (more info here). Using cool visualization tools, like the 3D and ultra high resolution displays, I like to talk with Adler guests about my own research regarding planets and protoplanetary disks as well as astronomy in general.