Astronomy Camp Counselors
Dr. McCarthy and his staff work with the Campers full-time, and everyone (students, staff, Director) works together as a team. Serving as Camp counselors are students (undergrad and grad), postdoctoral fellows, faculty members, and former adult Campers. Many counselors are former Campers from a wide range of colleges and universities and share their educational experiences in a "College and Career Seminar" at each Camp. The following list of past and present Astronomy Camp staff members describes their backgrounds and interests.


Silvana Ayala received her Masters Degree in Creative Writing at the University of Texas (El Paso). She is also interested in Circus Arts!

Vanessa Bailey is a graduate student in astronomy at The University of Arizona. She is developing instrumentation for interferometry and adaptive optics at the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT). She is also working to directly image extrasolar planets to learn more about their environments and formation.

Kayla Barnett received her MBA in accounting (2011) from The University of Arizona's Eller School of Management after her undergraduate degree in 2010.

Dr. Susan Benecchi (Kern) is an Associate Research Scientist at the Planetary Science Institute and a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Carnegie Institution of Washington. She received her PhD in planetary science at MIT in 2006 and has worked at the Space Telescope Science Institute. She is a frequent observer on the 6.5 meter Magellan telescope in Chile. She graduated from the University of Arizona in 2000, majoring in physics/astronomy and religious studies. Her research characterizes the icy surfaces, and binary, of Kuiper Belt Objects.

Dr. Ana Biscaya received her PhD in astronomy at The University of Arizona. She and husband now live in Boston where she works for a software company.

Tim Bowers is a graduate student in Astronomy at the University of Colorado - Boulder. He taught high school physics in Flagstaff, Arizona. Married in Spring 2004!

Yvette Cendes: Finished her Master's degree in Physics at Case Western Reserve University and has been accepted to a PhD program in astronomy at the University of Amsterdam. She graduated in Jan. 2009 from Case Western Reserve University with a physics degree and history minor. After graduation she traveled around the globe visiting 25 countries on four continents for six months. Her research interests center on active galaxies and gravitational lensing. As an undergraduate she did an REU research experience at the SETI Institute.

Kate (Brutlag) Follette is a graduate student in Astronomy at The University of Arizona. She is working on instrumentation for adaptive optics with the 6.5-meter Magellan telescope and science involving extrasolar planets.

AJ Carver is an economist for a real estate information company. He is also working as a lab assistant for a Columbia University physics group that is studying mosquitos. The group hopes to build a light wall through which the mosquitos will not pass. AJ completed his master's degree in quantitative economics from the Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne. In 2006 he graduated from the University of Wisconsin - Madison majoring in physics and astronomy-physics.

Steve Conner graduated from The University of Arizona in May 1997 with a degree in Electrical Engineering. He received his Masters degree and now works for Intel in Portland, OR.

Jennifer (Dannemiller) Maynard is a seminary student. Taught middle school math and science at the Accelerated Learning Laboratory.

Ewan Douglas: is a graduate student in Astronomy at Boston University. Graduated from Tufts and worked as a Telescope Operator at the LIGO gravitational wave detector.

Kim Dow received her Masters Degree in astronomy from The University of Arizona. She later enrolled in a PhD program in science education at Harvard.

Kara Farnsworth: is a graduate student in physics at the University of California (Davis), specializing in particle physics. She graduated from The University of Arizona in 2010.

Jason Fields: now works at the Aerospace Corporation in Los Angeles. He is finishing his Masters degree in physics. Married Debbie McCarthy in August 2004.

Dr. Rose Finn is an Associate Professor of Physics & Astronomy at Siena College in Loudonville, NY. She studies galaxy evolution, specifically how a galaxy's environment affects its evolution. Rose received her PhD from U. Arizona in 2003, where she worked with Don McCarthy to help build and use a wide-field near-infrared camera. The most exciting events of her graduate career were the arrivals of her two children, James and Caitlin, who are now 11 and 9. As a former high school teacher, Rose most enjoyed being a counselor for the Astronomy Camp for Educators, and she is still involved in professional development for teachers at Siena (but these are not nearly as fun as Astronomy Camp!).

Anne (Foster) Bachmann: received her Juris Doctor degree in 2009. Graduated from the University of Virginia. Interested in environmental law. An amazing singer, she participated in a very selective women's chorale group at UVA.

Dr. Becky Fox is an Assistant Professor of Biology at Transylvania University in Lexington, KY. Received her PhD in Animal Behavior from UC Davis in May 2007. She completed postdoctoral research in ornithology at Univ. Nevada - Reno. Received her M.S. (2002) in Avian Studies at UC Davis with research relating to the behavioral development in parrot chicks. Graduated in 2000 summa cum laude from Arizona State University in 2000, majoring in biology. Did an honor's thesis on Comet Hyakutake.

Lucia Galvan is the Program Director for the Bachelor Degree in Entrepreneurship at Tecnológico de Monterrey, Campus Sonora Norte She has developed an Astronomy Camp on Mt. Lemmon for talented students from her school. She has recently taking on running and is now training for her first marathon!

Melissa Giovanni is a field geologist and instructor at the University of Calgary in Alberta. Her research involves an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the mechanisms and rates by which the mountains in Peru have grown over the past 5 million years. She teaches a variety of junior and senior-level geology courses and a field camp in the Canadian Rockies around Banff. She received her PhD in Geology at UCLA in 2007 and her B.S. in Geology from The University of Arizona in 2002.

Leisa (Glennie) Litz graduated from The University of Arizona in 1996 with a BS in Physics and Astronomy and earned her teaching certificate for High School Physics in 1998. She moved to Phoenix in 1998 and worked for 8 years as a semiconductor engineer at ASML. She married Brian in 2001, and they now live in Tucson with their two young boys.

Chris Gottbrath develops computer software used by astronomers and other scientists. Received his M.S. in astronomy at Steward Observatory. He continues to do amateur astronomy and astrophotography, when the skies in Mississippi permit.

Dr. Chris Groppi a Professor at the School Of Earth & Space Exploration at Arizona State University. Received his PhD in astronomy at Steward Observatory. He got to pursue his PhD research in Antarctica!

Dr. Todd Henry is Professor of Astronomy at Georgia State University and continues his research to characterize the Sun's nearest stellar neighbors both individually and as a population. For this purpose he established the Research Consortium on Nearby Stars (RECONS) and is the "go-to" person on the planet to learn the census of our Solar Neighborhood, including multiple star systems, red/white/brown dwarfs, and their associated extra-solar planets. A gifted marathon runner, he has completed 40 marathons, twenty of them at Boston! In 1996, he set a PR of 2:35 in the Chicago marathon. With Dr. Ray White, Todd organized our very first Astronomy Camp!

Dr. Joannah Hinz finished her PhD astronomy at Steward Observatory and is a member of the Spitzer Space Telescope team associated with Arizona's MIPS instrument.

Dr. Phil Hinz is an Associate Professor of Astronomy at Steward Observatory. He received his astronomy PhD in 2001, specializing in a new technique (nulling interferometry) for directly imaging extra-solar planets in the infrared. Phil is the Principal Investigator of the University's Large Binocular Telescope Interferometer (LBTI) and directs the Center for Astronomical Adaptive Optics (CAAO).

Carolyn Hollis attended the first Girl Scout Leader Camp in April 2003, and is now a trainer at the biannual astronomy camps for Girl Scout Leaders. My Girl Scouts grew up and after 14 years as a troop leader, I have left that arena. I continue to teach gifted 5th graders at White Elementary school in Tucson. One of the pleasures of this job is the opportunity to integrate math and science with other subjects. Gifted students bring a special enthusiasm into the classroom, which makes teaching exciting.

Susan Hollis is a mapping specialist for the United States Geological Survey and volunteering for the UofA's Campus Arboretum. She's working on her degree in Environmental Science.

Dr. Eric Hooper is an astronomer and science educator at the University of Wisconsin (Madison). He is a former Steward graduate student, interested in topics relating to quasars and science education.

Janet Howard: has continued to pursue her astronomy education through course work and traveling across the globe. She has become a Solar System Ambassador for NASA. She has also been a data analyst for the Stardust mission.

Sarah Jaeggli: is an astronomy graduate student at the Institute for Astronomy in Hawaii, specializing in solar astronomy and instrumentation. Elected to Phi Beta Kappa. She graduated from The University of Arizona in 2005, with a degree in Physics and Astronomy.

Diana (Johnson) Coppenbarger: received her Masters in Physics and Astronomy from the University of Rochester. She now works as Lead Programmer/Analyst and is the only woman Shot Director at the Laboratory for Laser Energetics in Rochester, NY. She and husband Matt have three wonderful children, one of whom is almost ready for Astronomy Camp! She graduated from The University of Arizona in 1992.

Amy Jordan: received a master's degree in astrophysics at the University of Colorado - Boulder. She taught high school for four years, worked in environmental consulting for a year, and now works at Los Alamos National Laboratory modeling contaminant transport in the subsurface. Amy enjoys rock climbing, backcountry skiing, and home construction; pictures of her latest adventures are up on her Web site. Future plans include graduate school soon.

Emily Joseph: graduated from Case Western Reserve University in 2010 with a BS in Astronomy. She's now a Research Assistant at the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson.

Julie (Kane) Akhter: is a patent attorney at Morrison Foerster in Palo Alto, CA. She works with inventors who want to obtain patents on their inventions: writing patent applications and corresponding with the Patent Office. She also assists them in protecting and enforcing their intellectual property rights. She graduated from Stanford University with a joint law degree and masters in computer science in 2010. She graduated from MIT in 2004, majoring in math with computer science, and in 2006 with a masters in planetary science.

Lindsey Kennard: is a junior at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Albany, New York with a double major in Physics and Computer Science.

Dr. Davy Kirkpatrick is an astronomer at IPAC/Caltech where he continues to research brown dwarfs and nearby stars. He has received widespread recognition for establishing a new spectral class for low luminosity stars.

Karen Knierman: is an astronomy graduate student at Arizona State University and works as a science educator with Mars missions at Arizona State University. She has also researched the effects of minor mergers among galaxies.

Courtney Lemon: is an undergraduate physics major at the California Polytechnic University (Pomona).

Dr. Joanna Levine: Now teaching astronomy at Mt. Holyoke. Also a yoga instructor. Received her PhD in Astronomy from the University of Florida in 2006. Graduated in Physics & Astronomy at Univ. of Massachusetts.

Dr. Wilson Liu is a postdoctoral fellow an the Image Processing and Analysis Center at Caltech. He received his PhD (2007) in astronomy at Steward Observatory. He uses "nulling interferometry" to image circumstellar material which may accrete into planetary systems.

Dr. Craig Kulesa, the Astronomy Camp Spectroscopist!, received his PhD research in astronomy and works at Steward Obseravtory doing infrared and submillimeter astronomy. He will soon begin his seventh (?!) research trip to the South Pole. He continues to fly model airplanes and run road races.

Teresa (Longazo) Jiles is an Outreach and Volunteer Coordinator at the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere at Colorado State University under a cooperative agreement for the National Park Service Night Sky Program. As a Research Associate II, she takes inventories of the night sky to study the effects of light pollution in the national parks and wildlife preserves and is active in educational outreach. She is also the Vice President on the Board of Directors for the Soaring Eagle Ecology Center at Red Feather Lake (SEEC); a non-profit community center for the promotion of sustainable living and understanding of our unique Rocky Mountain ecology. Our motto "Education Through Nature". Married Martin in December 2004. Graduated from ASU May 2000 with a B.S. in Geology (emphasis in planetary geology). She interned with Lunar and Planetary Institute working with microbial weathering. Worked as the Martian Meteorite Data Coordinator for the Johnson Space Center Astrobiology Group, which is part of a group at NASA called ARES.

David McCarthy works as an accountant for KPMG in Amsterdam. He finished his MBA degree at the Eller School of Management at The University of Arizona. Also worked for KPMG in the United Arab Emirates. He also has a Masters degree in Biblical Archaeology from Wheaton College.

Dr. Debbie (McCarthy) Fields received her PhD in Education from UCLA (2010) and is now a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania. She researches ways to teach young people computational thinking through creative programming and electronic projects. Graduated in 1998 from Wheaton College in Christian Education and Bible. Obtained her Masters Degree in Curriculum and Instruction in the Education Dept. at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and her Ph.D. in Education from UCLA in 2010. Married Jason Fields in August 2004.

Dr. Don McCarthy remains an Astronomer at The University of Arizona. He continues to build infrared equipment for imaging/ spectroscopy, and adaptive optics, and is involved in the Large Binocular telescope project. He is the director of the education/outreach aspects of the near-infrared camera (NIRCam) for NASA's Next Generation Space Telescope. He has taken up long distance biking.

Nicole Miklus Now works at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center as a science educator. Worked as a Hydrologist at the Delaware Department of Natural Resources. She received her Masters degree in Geosciences in Syracuse in Fall 2006. Her research focused on seasonal changes in the Eocene time period. She received her undergraduate degree from Kent State University.

Jackie Monkiewicz She is pursuing extragalactic research as a graduate student in astronomy at Arizona State University. She remains a very avid hiker.

Katie Moore Is a science educator at the National Air & Space Museum in Washington. She earned a Masters degree in Museum Education at George Washington University and, earlier, taught high school physics in Georgia.

Dr. John Moustakas is a Postdoctoral Scholar at UC-San Diego. He received his PhD in astronomy at Steward Observatory in 2006 and was postdoctoral fellow at New York University.

Sarah O'Brien Sarah O'Brien graduated from The University of Arizona in 1997 cum laude with a BS in Astronomy & Physics. She worked for a DOD company in Tucson for several years after graduation. Currently she works as a Senior Software Engineer in Seattle, WA for a company specializing in metrology equipment. She's married with two children and two cats. In addition to teaching her children about science and mathematics, she also teaches them about eating organically grown food and being conscious of the environment.

Dr. Sally Oey is an Associate Professor of Astronomy at the University of Michigan. She received her PhD in astronomy in 1996 and was a postdoc at the Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge University, England and at the Space Telescope Science Institute. She was awarded the Annie Cannon award for her research on massive stars and their interaction with the interstellar medium. Sally was also a staff astronomer at Lowell Observatory for three years.

Diana Perry graduated with a degree in Chemical Engineering. She is taking premed classes at The University of Arizona while performing imaging for the Southern Arizona Limb Salvage Alliance at the University Medical Center. Just earned my 4th degree Black Belt and continues to work part time for Jessica Cox, a woman born without arms who flies airplanes and speaks internationally. Diana plans to go to medical school by August of 2013.

Dr. Tim Pickering is a staff scientist at the Multiple Mirror Telescope Observatory in Tucson. He obtained his PhD research in astronomy in 1998 and was a postdoc at the Kapetyn Institute in Groningen. He now works as Assistant Staff Scientist at the MMT observatory at the University of Arizona.

Paul Readly: is Assistant Flower Breeder for the American Takii seed company in Salinas, CA. He graduated from Penn State University in 2003 with a degree in horticulture.

Jeff Regester is a Physics Educator at Greensboro High School in North Carolina. Formerly, he was a lab instructor and engineer in the Astronomy Dept. at Wellesley College in MA. He proposed to his future wife, Martha, at Astronomy Camp in 1995. They have two children. Jeff leads the Astronomy Camp for Educators. He serves in the Naval Reserve.

Martha Regester is a science educator and Curator of Museum Programs at the Natural Science Center of Greensboro, NC.

Dr. Greg Rudnick is an Assistant Professor at the University of Kansas in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. He was a Leo Goldberg Fellow at the National Optical Astronomy Observatory in Tucson, AZ and a postdoctoral researcher at the Max-Planck-Institute for Astrophysics in Garching, Germany. He received his PhD in astronomy in 2001 at the University of Arizona.

Hector Saldivar: is an undergraduate physics major at the California Polytechnic University (Pomona).

Ann Schlingman is a veterinarian with a practice in CO. She and Wyatt are amateur astronomers who enjoy getting other people interested in science and astronomy.

Wayne Schlingman is a graduate student in astronomy at Steward Observatory. He is currently working toward his PhD with specialities in radio astronomy and science education. He also works in science education as a planetarium operator at the Flandrau Science Center and with our education/outreach efforts to the Girl Scouts for the Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam) project with the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST).

Wyatt Schlingman is a retired Air Traffic Control Specialist. He and Ann are amateur astronomers who enjoy getting other people interested in science and astronomy.

Gail (Schneller) Proudfoot Now working with Microsoft in Seattle and married Jared in Fall 2007. She is working towards a Masters Degree in Medical Engineering. Gail graduated from The University of Arizona in 1997 with a degree in Astronomy with emphasis in Electrical Engineering. She continues to explore a great variety of interests including camping, photography, ballet, graphic art design, etc.!

Dr. Yancey Shirley: is an Assistant Professor of Astronomy at The University of Arizona. Has been a Bok Fellow at the UofA and a Jansky Fellow at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory. He received undergraduate degrees in Astronomy and Physics and Applied Mathematics from The University of Arizona.

Elise Stefanik graduated from Harvard University in 2006 majoring in Political Science. She was a student leader in the Institute of Politics at the JFK School of Government.

Nathan Stock is a graduate student in Astronomy at The University of Arizona. He is working on instrumentation for interferometry with the 6.5-meter Multiple Mirror Telescope (MMT) and the 22.8-meter Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) involving the science of extrasolar planets. He also works in science education as a planetarium operator at the Flandrau Science Center and with our education/outreach efforts to the Girl Scouts for the Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam) project with the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST).

Brandon Swift is a graduate student in Astronomy at The University of Arizona.

Michael Terenzoni: is a Senior Telescope Operator at the 2.3-meter Bok telescope on Kitt Peak. He is also an avid amateur astronomer and photographer. A former long-term employee of the UA's Flandrau Science Center, Mike continues to do some work for Flandrau and handles the Astronomy section of Flandrau's Web site. He also still works with the Mount Lemmon SkyCenter as a Program Leader.

Mark Vitale: earned his PhD in Organizational Management & Leadership from Capella University in 2008, and is currently the Director of Academic Affairs for the University of Phoenix Southern Arizona campus managing all faculty, and academic/instructional quality, for programs in Tucson, Sierra Vista, Nogales and Yuma. He is also a full-time faculty member for the University's School of Business, as well as a curriculum reviewer and subject matter expert for the University's marketing programs (graduate and undergraduate programs). Mark also earned his private pilot's license in 2009 and has about 100 hours of flight time logged.

Elizabeth Waterhouse: is rumored to be part of a dance company touring in Germany. She received her Masters in Fine Arts at Ohio State University. Graduated in 2001 from Harvard in physics and astronomy.

Matthew Whitehouse: is a PhD student in Organ and Composition. He serves as Director of Music and Organist at Christ the King Episcopal Church, Tucson. Matthew has appeared in recitals throughout the United States. His compositions have been performed in the United States and Europe. One of his major artistic interests is exploring connections between music and astronomy, an interest frequently reflected in his work as a composer and performer. He received his Masters degree (2007) in Organ Performance from the UofA.

Dr. Patrick Young: is an Assistant Professor at Arizona State University. He finished his PhD in astronomy at Steward Observatory in the area of stellar evolution.

Abby Youngblood: is passionate about all things related to food (growing, distributing, environment, health, governmental policy). She lives in Brooklyn, NY and works for the NYC non-profit Just Food. She graduated from Bryn Mawr College in 2001 with a physics degree after learning about Bryn Mawr College's physics program from astronomy camp counselor Salley Oey. On September 4, 2011 Abby married Daniel Murphy after a long friendship and romance that began back in 1997...at Astronomy Camp!