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Our Team
 

Dr. Bryan Mendez, E/PO Specialist 
Bryan hails from Traverse City, Michigan where the dark sky enthralled him from a very early age and inspired him to study astronomy. He graduated from the University of Michigan in 1997 with degrees in Astronomy, Physics, and Saxophone Performance. Bryan continued his education at the University of California at Berkeley, where he researched the large scale flow of galaxies in the nearby Universe by measuring their distances. He received a Ph.D. in Astrophysics from UC Berkeley in 2002. Bryan now works in the SEGway team to educate and inspire others about the wonder and beauty of the Universe. His work in space science education and public outreach involves developing programs for the public through the Web and museums, developing classroom materials for students in K-12 classrooms, and conducting professional development for science educators.

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Dr. Laura Peticolas, E/PO Specialist 
In sixth grade, a substitute teacher shared the joys of astronomy with Laura Peticolas and her class. With her parents as scientists, it was an easy decision to start studying to be an astronomer. Many years later, in 1994, she received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Oregon Honors College in Math and Physics. In August, 2000, she received a Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Alaska in Fairbanks, after studying how auroral electrons caused the light of a specific type of aurora known as flickering aurora. In addition to performing science research on the aurora, she works to share NASA science with students, teachers, and the public. This work involves many diverse projects from designing lessons around physics concepts important in space physics discoveries to working with the Berkeley music department to map solar wind data to music.

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Darlene Park, CSE@SSL Outreach Coordinator 
An avid Legos player as a tomboy, Darlene unwittingly enjoyed the wonders of science as she took apart her mother’s phones and built strange contraptions that lofted G.I.Joes high up in the air. Despite this early affinity for physics, she graduated from the University of California, Berkeley in 2001 with a Bachelor of Arts in Rhetoric and a minor in English. Yet Fate was kind enough to return Darlene to her youthful awe of figuring out how things work, and opening her mind and lifelong learning to the fields of astronomy, space weather, and solar physics. Now she works in the SEGWay team, helping to pass space science education to K-12 teachers, their students, and the general public, with much of the same enthusiasm inspired by her childhood toys.

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Igor Ruderman, CSE@SSL Programmer Analyst 
Igor hails from Moscow, Russia. After getting the astronomy bug as a kid, hes been an avid amateur astronomer since. Before his arrival in the US hes been on multiple astronomy related trips as part of a club, including one to see a total solar eclipse. While studying astronomy at UC Berkeley, he started working as a programmer for the Center for Science Education at Space Sciences Laboratory. Hes been a member of the team since 1996. In addition to handling all of the computing needs of the group, he enjoys participating in public outreach events. You will usually find him with one of his telescopes at such events. He is also an amateur astrophotographer.

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Dr. Nahide Craig, Founding SEGway Program Director 
Dr. Craig has retired, but as the founding SEGway program director, she was a research astronomer with more than 10 years involvement with the Experimental Astrophysics Group at the Space Sciences Laboratory. Dr. Craig worked for both the EUVE and the ORFEUS missions, specializing in ground-based observations for studies of late-type stars, cataclysmic variables, white dwarfs, and the local interstellar medium. During the last five years of her time at UC Berkeley, she has worked as the Director of the SEGway Project and Lead Education and Public Outreach (E/PO) Scientist for numerous NASA missions, including FAST, RHESSI, CHIPS, STEREO/IMPACT and THEMIS. Dr. Craig was responsible for designing and implementing overarching themes for K-12 science education and contributed to the dissemination and expansion of the E/PO programs at the national level. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Math with a minor in Astronomy from Ankara University, Turkey; a Master of Science from Swarthmore College, Pennsylvania, in Astronomy as a Fulbright scholar; and Dr. of Science from University of Trieste, Italy, in Physics with special focus in Astrophysics.

 

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