I have always lived in big cities where the city lights tend to obscure the stars of the night. This may be why I appreciate a Planetarium theater. I was born in Toronto, Ontario and I grew up in Athens, Greece where my mother claims I showed a great interest in how stars form from the age of five. To me, Physics was the gateway to Astronomy, and so I studied (in the Physics Department) at the University of Athens, graduating in 1991. My honors thesis was on the planet Neptune. Researching and writing about this great planet caused me to realize that I really wanted more Astronomy in my life; and so much so that I was willing to cross the Atlantic to get a masters degree from Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. With that, I was on a roll, and attended the University of Waterloo, graduating with a Ph.D. in Astrophysics in 1998. After that, I was fortunate enough to be involved in an infrared satellite called WIRE as a postdoctoral researcher at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). Since September 1999, I have been teaching Astronomy at various levels at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and, in 2007, I became director of the UWM Manfred Olson Planetarium. It’s great fun to share my excitement with my audience as well as with my own two boys.
Adam Bailey (Spring 2012 – )
I am an undergraduate student majoring in journalism with a concentration in strategic communications. I’m also minoring in political science and getting my digital arts certificate. I am currently an intern at the planetarium to help promote and make it more visible on campus and in the community. I hope the experience I gain interning at the planetarium will help me in my future career. In my free time I enjoy watching the Packers and Brewers.
John “Jack” Fennimore (Spring 2016 – )
Jack has lived all his life on the edge of Milwaukee in Greendale, WI but he has come to view the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the city that surrounds it as his second home. He is currently studying Journalism (with an emphasis on media studies) and psychology at UWM. He feels very blessed to have the opportunity to work directly with the UWM Planetarium promoting all of the wonderful events it has to offer. He also enjoys writing video game, movie, and theater reviews for the entertainment section of the UWM Post (aka The Fringe) as well as biking around the beautiful parks in and around the Milwaukee area.
Sam Gallagher (Fall 2015 – )
I am an undergraduate student here at UWM working towards a BA in Psychology. I’m a huge nerd and lover of science, and working here at the planetarium brings me childlike joy. My focus is on production and website design, making pretty space images for others to enjoy. The size of space is astronomically huge, so huge that we will probably never stop asking questions about it. I’m excited to join the planetarium team here at UWM and plunge into the unknown of space, telescope in hand.
Aidan Hunter (Spring 2015 – )
I’m currently an undergraduate here at UWM majoring in film. I help with production at the planetarium, which is great because I get to do something related to my major. Visiting the planetarium was always my favorite field trip in elementary school, so getting to work at one is awesome for me. I enjoy helping with stargazing, and I hope to make the planetarium a fun place.
Derek Jaschob (Summer 2013 – )
I graduated in Spring 2015 with a B.S. in Information Science Technologies and a minor in both Architecture and Business. I’m involved with co-running the stargazing events at the physics building. I’ve had a huge interest in space since I was a kid so it’s always great to see so many people show up that share that interest. I’ve also done a small amount of graphic work for stargazing that compliments my architectural and design studies. An architecture degree may be far from anything related to astronomy, but it helps give me the knowledge of how to design and improve the way stargazing events work. Mixed with a love and fascination with space, it creates a job that is not only enjoyable, but very rewarding.
Madeline Jordan (Fall 2015 – )
I am an undergraduate student going into mechanical engineering. In addition to a love of building, designing and drawing, I also find astronomy fascinating. It is always exciting to me to talk about things that the human race doesn’t understand yet. The planetarium will always inspire my sense of wonder.
Jamie Kelling (Summer 2013 – )
In Fall 2014 I graduated with a B.A. in Journalism, Advertising and Media Studies with an emphasis in Advertising and Public Relations while minoring in Business. Working at the Planetarium has helped me to get some real world experience in both designing and writing for publicity purposes. I have even gotten to work on both campaigns and event panning with the staff. When I find myself with some free time I enjoy reading or playing tennis.
Charo Martin-Kingsby (Summer 2013 – )
I am an undergraduate student majoring in Physics/Astronomy, however I wish it were just an astronomy major then I could possibly finish sooner. I have always been fascinated with the skies and beyond. For me working at the planetarium is one step closer to my dream of becoming an Astronomer. This opportunity will give me the chance to learn as many things. I love It! I also have a BA in Anthropology, which is my second love. I enjoy other things that take me to far out places like, watching anime, and reading fantasy/sci-fi novels. This is my first step to the worlds greatest advantage.
Derek Palecek (Fall 2015 – )
I’m currently an undergraduate at UWM majoring in Physics with an Astronomy emphasis. My fascination for the stars has traveled with me throughout my life and is the reason I decided to work at the planetarium. Helping invigorate curious minds about the wonders of the cosmos is my dream. Being employed here is an amazing opportunity and I can’t wait to help spread my love of astronomy to others. If I’m not already busy learning more about astronomy, I enjoy playing video games and socializing with friends.
Mikaela Perry (Summer 2015 – )
My name is Mikaela Perry and I am an undergrad at UWM majoring in JAMS with a concentration in Public Relations. I am interning with the Planetarium and will be putting my Public Relations skills to use by spreading awareness about the Planetarium and it’s events through creating flyers and assisting with social media outlets. I also hope to contribute a few new ideas of my own. I have always loved looking at the stars, and I was excited to hear about this internship opportunity. When I am not working or at school, I enjoy taking care of my toddler at home. If there is time after that, I indulge myself in reading, dancing and singing karaoke.
Maria Pretzl (Summer 2014 – )
Maria graduated from UWM in Spring 2014 with a BFA in Film and BA in Theatre Studies. A spring 2014 SURF grant recipient, her previous experience includes assistant directing Ruined at UWM, Projections Assistant on the Milwaukee Chamber Theatre’s production of The Detective’s Wife, working on the documentary Healing Hearts and Transformers: Dark of the Moon and directing the Midwest premiere of Songs of Love: A Theatrical Mixtape. In her free time, she likes to watch movies/Doctor Who, go on adventures with her boyfriend and write things. She’s excited to work at the planetarium and expand her knowledge of Astronomy.
Nikolaus Prusinski (Fall 2015 – )
Stargazing’s youngest team member is from Saint Francis High School’s Gifted and Talented Program. Nik is in a three year HS program, anticipating UWM matriculation fall 2017 in physics, emphasis in astronomy. Since Nik’s youth, he’s demonstrated an acute appreciation of Mathematics, Physics, Robotics Programming and Music. His interest in astronomy started here at the Manfred Olson Planetarium with Dr. Creighton’s Friday Night Shows. Nik’s ambition is to perpetuate this team’s enthusiasm of astronomy to our visitors.
Mallory Sawyer (Spring 2015 – )
I am currently an undergraduate student at UWM majoring in Journalism, Advertising and Media Studies with a concentration in Advertising and Public Relations. During my time as an intern at the UWM Manfred Olson Planetarium, I will be assisting in planning events for the Planetarium’s 50th anniversary at UWM, as well as public relations that promotes visibility of it to students and the community. While working with the Planetarium, I am looking forward to valuable experience outside of the classroom and improving my PR writing. After my time here, I hope to continue working in public relations and event planning in the Milwaukee community.
Nathaniel Schardin (Winter 2014 – )
Nathaniel Schardin graduated from Milwaukee Area Technical College with a degree in Television & Video Production and a certification in Advanced Video Post Production. He has been nominated for 4 different Chicago/Midwest Chapter Emmy’s in the student category and has won 5 Wisconsin Broadcasters Association Awards for Excellence. In his free time he enjoys visiting and camping at National and State Parks as well as teaching himself all that there is to know about landscape and astrophotography. He is very excited for this opportunity to work at the Manfred Olson Planetarium as he hopes it will expand his knowledge of and further ignite his passion for the universe in which we all live.
Melissa Sears (Spring 2016 – )
Melissa Sears is a UWM undergrad student studying Journalism, Advertising and Media Studies (JAMS) with her concentration in Advertising and PR. She is the Strategic Communications Intern at the Planetarium, she will be: planning events, activities and increasing student participation in the Planetarium. Melissa first fell in love with the stars in Sterling, IL where she had never seen so many in a night sky before. In her free time she enjoys reading things that inspire her, finding new music to listen to and volunteering in her community.
Taka Suzuki (Spring 2015 – )
Takahiro Suzuki is currently pursuing a MFA in Film, Video, Animation, and New Genres from UWM. He received his BA in Studio Art, concentrating in photography and cinematography from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. His works have screened nationally and internationally, with recent screenings/exhibitions at ACRE TV in Chicago, IL; Blue Sky Gallery in Portland, OR; Montreal Underground Film Festival in Montreal, Canada; and the Berlin International Director’s Lounge in Berlin, Germany. He comes to the Manfred Olson Planetarium with a contemplation for the sky.