Public Outreach Volunteer Opportunities

People in the Texas astronomy program broadly engage in public outreach. In particular, the McDonald Observatory's Education and Outreach Office is one of the country's leaders in astronomy outreach and education. The office manages programs ranging from professional development for teachers, to star parties and facility tours for the 60,000 annual visitors to the observatory in West Texas, to creation and distribution of educational radio programs heard by millions of people each week, and web sites accessed by nearly a million unique visitors each month. StarDate radio, the oldest and most popular radio program of its kind in the country, brings information about the cosmos to an estimated 5 million listeners throughout North America and Europe each week. These diverse programs within the observatory, together with community events supported by astronomy on and off campus, offer students, scientists and faculty a wide variety of opportunities in outreach and education.

Below is a list of volunteer opportunities. To correct or add information here please contact rachelw@astro.as.utexas.edu.

Name

Date

Contact

Description

Website

Austin Astronomical Society

Monthly

Lara Eakins or AAS

Give a talk about your research

http://www.austinastro.org/

Astronomy Students Association

Weekly during the school year

Rachel Walker

Be their grad student liason, give a talk at a meeting, or lead a star party

http://www.as.utexas.edu/~asa/

Career Days

Varies

Lara Eakins

Talk at a school about your career, or let a student shadow you

 

EXES Teacher Associate Program

6 Saturdays throughout the school year

Keely Finkelstein

Give a talk/lead an activity with middle & high school teachers

http://www.as.utexas.edu/astronomy/
research/exes_epo.html

Expanding Your Horizons

March

Sharlym Aquino
(512) 916-4775

Science conference for girls - plan your own workshop or volunteer with the physics department

http://www.expandingyourhorizons.org

http://www.eyhaustin.org

Explore UT

March

Rachel Walker

UT open house - man a table for the astro department

http://www.utexas.edu/events/exploreut

Family Weekend

Oct/Nov

Rachel Walker

UT event - man a table for the astro department

http://www.texasparents.org/
eventsawards_family_weekend.php

Hot Science, Cool Talks

Occasional

Rebecca Johnson

Set up/break down and man booth at astronomy talks

http://www.esi.utexas.edu/
outreach/lectures.html

McDonald Observatory Teacher Workshops

Summer

Keely Finkelstein

Assist with teacher workshops at McDonald

http://mcdonaldobservatory.org/
teachers/profdev/

Mentoring, Astro Dept

Continuous

Rachel Walker

Mentor an undergrad astronomy major

 

Mentoring, CNS

Continuous

 

College of Natural Sciences mentoring of undergrads

http://web4.cns.utexas.edu/
open_mentoring/about.asp

Painter Hall Telescope Public Nights

Each semester

Derek Wills

TA position running the Painter Hall telescope public nights on Fridays and Saturdays

http://outreach.as.utexas.edu/
public/painter.html

School Talks/Science Days

Varies

Lara Eakins

Talk at a school about astronomy

 

Science Fair Judges

Varies

Lara Eakins

Judge school science fair projects

 

Science Olympiad

February

Mary Miller, UTeach

Create and grade astronomy quiz for high school students

 

Star Parties Off-Campus

Varies

Lara Eakins

Lead star parties with portable telescopes

 

StarDate

Continuous

Sandra Preston

McDonald Observatory's radio program and magazine. Do technical editing, science writing

http://stardate.org

Texas State History Museum

Occasional

Rebecca Johnson

Set up/break down and man booth at astronomy space talks

 

UTeach-AISD Earth Science Institute

July

Mary Miller (UTeach)

Lead 2-day workshop on astronomy for 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade

 

Wildflower Center Astronomy Nature Night

2x/year

Rebecca Johnson

Set up/break down and man booth during star party

http://www.wildflower.org/nature/