THE TEAM

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Ashley Wimer

Sonification Czar

Ashley is a rising third-year Mathematics and Media Arts major at the University of Chicago who, during the school year, can frequently be found prowling around the university’s makerspace. Ashley first came to GLAS in 2021, when she worked as a Dark Skies office intern. She returned in 2022, to help write a National Science Foundation Grant focusing on bringing together BVI and sighted astronomers to improve astronomy accessibility through improved data sonification. Ashley made her impact at GLAS working on a variety of projects ranging from managing social media, to modernizing lighting ordinances to organizing data sonification conferences through the World Sonification Chat. Ashley’s side interests include chemistry and graphic design, and, in her spare time, she’s been known to learn about trees or solve programming puzzles. Regardless of what she’s working on, she brings creativity and enthusiasm.

Emily Sisco

3D Printer Farmer

Emily first visited Yerkes in the summer of 2016. In 2018 Emily was among the last group of interns at Yerkes, meeting future members of GLAS Education. At GLAS, Emily wore many hats. She was an an IDATA Intern and also Intern Supervisor in 2021. She worked on accessibility projects, such as the Galaxy Dominos and educational tools for the blind and visually impaired. In 2022, Emily returned to GLAS to continue her work on accessible tools in astronomy and she established herself as a whiz at 3D printing. She also managed GLAS’s Dark Skies office. She graduated from the University of Chicago in 2022 with a bachelors degree in Astrophysics and a minor in Germanic Studies. In fall 2022, Emily attended the University of Massachusetts Amherst to pursue a Ph.D. in German language and culture, focusing on Women and technology in the 20th century.
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Ed Sadler

Habitual Volunteer

A retired science teacher, Ed is an expert in setting up and aiming telescopes.

Alex Scerba

LENSS Cofounder and Occasional Tech Support

Alex is a long-time intern at GLAS and has been with the group since he was a McQuown Scholar at Yerkes Observatory. Previously attending Wisconsin’s Milwaukee School of Engineering in 2020 for computer science, he has since transferred to the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, to pursue transportation design. Even with this switch, he still enjoys working with computers and software. As a member of the LENSS team, he helped work on the data collection and sorting system for the project. In 2022, he concentrated on scalability for the project’s software systems.
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Amanda Pagul

Stone Edge Observatory Astronomer

Amanda is a hero of both Yerkes Observatory and GLAS Education. While still an undergraduate at the University of Chicago, she championed the return of undergraduate student classes to Yerkes Observatory after a long absence. When the observatory closed in 2018, Amanda followed Kate Meredith to GLAS Education. After graduating from University of Chicago, Amanda went to the University of California, Riverside, where, in 2022, she earned her Ph.D. in Astrophysics with her thesis: “From Pixels to Cosmology: An End-to-End Analysis of Galaxy Clusters and Their Properties.” Although she has gone on to bigger things, Amanda has not forgotten her friends in Wisconsin. She supports student research with the remotely-operated Stone Edge Observatory telescope and provides design advice for GLAS web pages and publications. She devotes many hours each month leading research projects with GLAS students, traveling to Williams Bay when she can.

Marc Berthoud

Engineer

Our outreach programs wouldn’t be the same without Marc, our engineer. Over the years, both at Yerkes and at GLAS, Marc has been teaching students of all ages how to design, build, and program many of our tech projects. He is the person responsible for wonders such as students flying miniature blimps under the Great Refractor in the great dome at Yerkes Observatory and building radio telescopes to listen to the International Space Station. Marc continues to help GLAS with engineering projects and mentoring high school students.
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Katya Gozman

Astronomer

It’s hard to classify Katya. She’s no longer an intern and she’s here so much that it seems inaccurate to call her a volunteer. Katya has an unbounded enthusiasm for anything related to astronomy/STEAM. She was an intern at Yerkes Observatory for the last two summers prior to its closing and she was involved in making astronomy accessible to blind and low-vision students through IDATA. She was an Intern Supervisor, wrote code to learn about asteroids and ran nighttime viewings through Yerkes’ 40-inch refractor, the largest refracting telescope in the world. A recent graduate of the University of Chicago, she is a Ph.D. student in Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Michigan where she studies galaxy mergers and stellar halos.

Olivia Smithmier-Bohn

Education Contractor

Olivia discovered her love of astronomy when she worked on astronomy accessibility projects in seventh grade. After studying theology and philosophy in college, Olivia worked as a key member of a team developing a successful summer program used each year at St. Ambrose Academy in Madison, Wisconsin. She also tutored students with special needs. She used those skills in assisting GLAS with its Plug Plate Project, which attempts to explain cosmological distances, red shift, field of view and depth of field to persons who are blind or visually impaired. At GLAS Education, Olivia designs focus groups and develops supplementary materials for GLAS products. She is visually impaired and is eager to bring astronomy accessibility to everyone. In her free time, Olivia enjoys baking bread, gardening, and embroidery.
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