Meet Our Advisory Council

Derrick Pitts (Council Chair)
Senior Scientist, Chief Astronomer, and Planetarium Director at Philadelphia’s Franklin Institute Science Museum
Derrick has developed and implemented a wide variety of internal astronomy and space science programming as well as numerous outreach programs for schools and urban community centers; several programs engaged enormous audiences nationwide through different mainstream media outlets long before the emergence of Twitter and Facebook. His current NASA-funded outreach program, City Skies; Linking Neighborhoods to NASA through Urban Observing, has turned community centers, churches and libraries into neighborhood astronomy resource centers distributing over 900 Galileoscopes, 100 Sunspotters and scores of observing resources to inner-city communities and underserved audiences. Pitts’ most recent planetarium co-production, To Space and Back (2013), is in worldwide distribution and is the recipient of numerous ‘Best of Show’ awards. He served as the US National Spokesperson for the IAU International Year of Astronomy 2009 and currently is a NASA Solar System Ambassador.
Kimberly Kowal Arcand
Visualization Lead for NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, Massachusetts
Arcand is an award-winning producer and director. She is a leading expert in studying the perception and comprehension of high-energy data visualization across the novice-expert spectrum. She has spear-headed the creation, distribution, and evaluation of large-scale science and technology communications projects. As a science data “storyteller” she combines her background in biology and computer science with her current work in the fields of astronomy and physics. She has also co-written three popular science books on astronomy and light.
Farid Char
Research Assistant and EPO International Affairs Officer in the Division of Astronomy at University of Antofagasta (AstroUA)
Farid has over 15 years of experience in astronomy outreach and education. Farid also conducts research at AstroUA, and has collaborated with several external institutions, such as the European Southern Observatory (as member of the E-ELT site testing team and VLT tour escort) and U. Católica del Norte (as instructor for programs at the K-12 and the undergraduate level), to name a few. Currently, he also serves as the coordinator for the National Coordination Office of the Andean Regional Node, which reports to the Office of Astronomy for Development (OAD), and is supervised by the Chilean Astronomy Society (SOCHIAS).
Susana Deustua
Scientist at the Space Science Telescope Institute in Baltimore, MD
Dr. Deustua currently works on the HST Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) team where she is the Photometry Lead for WFC3. Her research interests are observational cosmology, precision spectrophotometric calibration, solar system science and science education and has extensive experience in UV-IR imaging and spectroscopy, instrument calibration and user support. Dr. Deustua is Vice-President of the IAU’s Division on Education, Outreach and Heritage. She is a member of the Supernova Cosmology Project and of one WFIRST Supernova Investigation Teams. She is author or co-author of 108 articles, one astronomy textbook, and PI or CoI on 25+ successful proposals. Dr. Deustua is a strong advocate for STEM education. Prior to joining STSCI she was Director of Education of the American Astronomical Society.
Kevin Govender
Director IAU Office of Astronomy for Development
Kevin began work the IAU Office of Astronomy for Development (OAD) in 2011 as its first Director. During his previous position as the manager of the Southern African Large Telescope’s Collateral Benefits Programme at the South African Astronomical Observatory he worked extensively, especially within the African continent, in the area of “astronomy for development”. Kevin has served the South African education and outreach community in various roles such as Chair of Scifest Africa’s Advisory Committee, board member of the Southern African Association of Science and Technology Centres, member of the Quest Editorial Board and STEM Committee of the Academy of Science of South Africa. Coming from an experimental nuclear physics background and with experience from many community development initiatives in post-apartheid South Africa, Kevin has received several accolades, the most recent being the joint award of the Edinburgh Medal, together with the IAU.
Ardis Herrold
Radio Astronomy Educator
Ardis has taught astronomy for 37 years at the high school level and 15 years at the college/university level. Ardis also has three decades of experience in informal education through her work in planetariums. She has been advisor to a unique high school club, the Radio Astronomy Team, for 27 years. Ardis has continued her relationship with NRAO education and outreach that first began in 1988 through summer workshops and two summers as a teacher-researcher at Green Bank. A former president of both the National and Michigan Earth Science Teachers Associations, Ardis has been involved in educational leadership and outreach throughout her career. She has served as a JPL Solar System Ambassador since 1999, and has been involved in other astronomy teacher training programs such as RBSE, SPICA, NITARP and Hands-On Astrophysics. Ardis has also been an amateur astronomer since childhood, and enjoys observing from her small private observatory north of Tucson, AZ.
Nancy Maryboy
Founding President and Director of Indigenous Education Institute (IEI)
The mission of the IEI is to preserve, protect, and apply indigenous knowledge in contemporary settings. Dr. Maryboy has a PhD in Indigenous Science with an Application of Traditional Knowledge. She was Principal Investigator for NSF funded Cosmic Serpent and currently PI for NSF funded Native Universe, Co-PI for NASA funded Navajo Sky, and Co-PI for NSF funded I-WISE (Indigenous Worldviews in Informal Science Education). She is Co-PI for the Roots of Wisdom exhibit developed by OMSI and IEI. Nancy is Adjunct Professor in Indigenous Astronomy in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Northern Arizona University. She works with Multiverse, Space Sciences Laboratory at UC Berkeley, and with NASA JPL and Goddard Space Flight Center. She is an international speaker and consultant in areas of Traditional Knowledge, Indigenous Astronomy, Indigenous strategic planning and evaluation, and facilitator of the enrichment of collaborations with integrity among traditional communities and western scientists. Dr. Maryboy is Cherokee/Navajo and currently resides in the San Juan Islands, WA.
Stephen Uzzo
Chief Scientist for Connected Worlds at the New York Hall of Science
Connected Worlds is a large-scale immersive digital exhibition on systems thinking and sustainability science being developed at NYSCI’s landmark Great Hall and Network Science for the Next Generation that mentors high school teachers and students in complex network research. His background includes over 20 years of professional experience in teaching and learning in STEM and prior to that, ten years in television and computer graphics systems engineering. Dr. Uzzo’s research interests include network models for learning, collaboration in free-choice learning environments, and the teaching and learning of data driven science. He holds a terminal degree in network theory and environmental studies from the Union Institute and serves on a number of advisory boards for institutions related to his interests. Having never lived very far from the ocean in New York and California, Dr. Uzzo has also been a lifelong advocate for marine conservation.