Education and Public Outreach Personnel

The Education and Public Outreach Team of the Time History of Events and Macroscopic Interactions during Substorms (THEMIS) mission is a community of educators, science museum personnel, and scientists. Our highly collaborative network allows partners to leverage their unique skills. The resultant high quality educational resources benefit teachers, students, the general public, and the science community. We also draw on the science expertise of the THEMIS science team to ensure we are presenting the most up-to-date and accurate science to the public and to teachers.

The Education and Public Outreach (E/PO) Team

Nancy Alima Ali, M.Ed. | Coordinator of Education Program
Nancy is currently a Coordinator of Education Programs at the Center for Science Education at Space Sciences Lab (CSE@SSL) at the University of California, Berkeley. For over 13 years, Ms. Ali has been active in both formal and informal education as a classroom teacher, college instructor, teacher educator, museum educator and program manager. Prior to joining the CSE@SSL team, she served as the Science Education Manager at Bishop Museum in Honolulu, Hawaii. Ms. Ali also managed the planetarium and taught archaeoastronomy at Windward Community College in Kaneohe, Hawaii. A graduate of Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, her Master of Education thesis focused on integrating astronomy and culture in informal education settings.

Vassilis Angelopoulos | Principal Investigator of THEMIS Mission
Dr. Angelopoulos is a scientist with 15 years of experience in space physics, with emphasis in magnetospheric processes. He is the author or co-author of 65 publications in refereed journals on plasma theory and space plasma phenomenology, space technology, space instrumentation and design. He is a co-investigator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA's) Polar Electric Fields Instrument (EFI) experiment and an associate of the Electric Fields and Waves (EFW) Cluster II experiment.

Renee Frappier  | Public Education Specialist/Project Manager
Renee is currently a Public Education Specialist/Project Manager at the Center for Science Education at UC Berkeley’s Space Sciences Laboratory. She has worked in the education field at UC Berkeley for over 20 years and has more than seven years experience working with NASA Education and Public Outreach (E/PO) programs, including Mission E/PO and other projects. Renee has a BA in Anthropology and a Masters in Public Administration.

Kyle Fricke | Coordinator of Public Programs
Before joining the CSE team in August 2010, Kyle spent 3 & 1/2 years as Education Outreach Coordinator for the University of Texas McDonald Observatory. He also has previous employment experience in K-12 classrooms, informal science education centers, as well as a stint as a naturalist/guide in Alaska. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a bachelors degree in Astronomy. Kyle works on a variety of Mission E/PO programs as well as other projects.

Karin Hauck | Communications Manager
Karin has ten years of experience at UC Berkeley working with the NASA E/PO and science museum communities to foster diverse partnerships and collaborations in the context of informal education and public outreach. Her joy is to see others rekindle their sense of wonder at the natural world. Ms. Hauck taps her writing skills to share NASA SMD content through engaging stories for broad audiences. She has led the communication between NASA E/PO and science museums for eclipse webcast programming, and continues to support, promote and engage NASA’s Heliophysics Education Forum through internal and external communication. Since she loves color and finds plain text to be much too plain, she balances a plate of writing/editing with an equal helping of designing for print and web media. Karin has a background in communications, film/video and desktop publishing. She worked as a communications coordinator for the American Association of Variable Star Observers, and as a desktop publisher and writer/editor at the Environmental Protection Agency. Karin graduated with high honors from the University of Massachusetts, where she majored in English.

Laura Peticolas | Director, Center for Science Education
Dr. Peticolas is an educator and scientist with many years of experience in studying the aurora and in teaching physics to undergraduates, teachers, and the public. She creates high school and junior college lessons, in collaboration with teachers and the E/PO team. She also organizes and teaches at professional development workshops. As the lead E/PO personnel of the FAST mission and an E/PO specialist working on the NASA mission, STEREO-IMPACT E/PO efforts, she leverages efforts from multiple NASA missions that are studying everything from the Sun to auroras.

Igor Ruderman | Programmer Analyst
Igor hails from Moscow, Russia. After getting the astronomy bug as a kid, he's been an avid amateur astronomer since. Before his arrival in the US he's 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. He's 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.

Darlene Yan | 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 Center for Science Education, helping to pass space science education to K-12 teachers, their students, and the general public for the past ten years, with much of the same enthusiasm inspired by her childhood toys.


To see the CSE team, click here.