Planetarium Staff

Jean CreightonJean Creighton, Director

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_2Adam 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.

matt-bio-pic-fixedMatthew Blake (Summer 2014 – Fall 2015)

I am an undergraduate majoring in Design and Visual Communication here at UWM. Astronomy has always greatly interested me and if I wasn’t ridiculously bad at math I might very well be in the field. I’m joking, I’m not that bad at math. I just love designing, being creative, and viewing art in all its forms. That’s why I went into the field of Art & Design. I think that’s why astronomy interests me so much, because you can look out and see all the stages of things being created in the universe, all on a tremendous scale. It’s the most beautiful natural art that anyone can see. Working at the Planetarium is giving me a wonderful opportunity to combine both of my main interests in using art and design to promote astronomy. In my free time I like to read and wander around Milwaukee.

Taylor-bio-pic-fixedTaylor Dekker (Summer 2014 – Fall 2015)

I am an undergraduate student at the Peck School of the Arts working towards a major in Graphic Design. I have always been fascinated by space and the vastness that it entails, so working for the Planetarium has been great opportunity.  As an intern at the Planetarium I design posters, update the planetarium’s Facebook and Twitter, and help out with the PR. I hope the experience that I gain from working at the planetarium will benefit my future career. In my free time I enjoy playing sports and playing video games.

sam-bio-pic-fixed-blargasoreousSam 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-bio-pic-fixedAidan 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.

Bio-derekDerek 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-bio-pic-fixedMadeline 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.

bio-pic-fixedJamie 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.

ellieknipferEllie Knipfer (Fall 2012 – Spring 2015)

I am a undergraduate student at the UWM majoring in Biochemistry and minoring in Psychology. Working at the Planetarium, my organization and time management skills have increased tremendously, as well as my knowledge for astronomy. My expanded knowledge and skills I am obtaining from the job will stay with me forever and will help me prepare for my future. After I earn my degree from UWM, I plan to attend medical school to become a plastic surgeon. I have a long journey ahead of me, and I am honored to be a part of the wonderful Planetarium team!

tomlittleTom Little (Fall 2011 – Fall 2015)

I am an undergraduate student majoring in I.T. Management. When I heard about the opportunity to work at the planetarium, I jumped at it. I said that I’d even work for free. I get to combine my creative side by helping produce the shows in the planetarium with my knowledge of computers. When I’m not saving the world from evil space aliens from space, I enjoy creating music, the outdoors, and chillin’ with my friends.

charo-bio-pic-fixedCharo 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-bio-pic-fixedDerek 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-bio-pic-fixedMikaela 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-bio-pic-fixedMaria 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-bio-pic-fixedNikolaus 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.

Jourdan-bio-pic-fixed-copyJourdan Richardson (Fall 2015)

I am an undergraduate student majoring in Journalism, Advertising and Media Studies, with a concentration in Public Relations. During my time interning with the planetarium, I hope to be able to bring students to the planetarium and get them excited about space and astronomy. In my free time I enjoy hanging out with my family and friends, exploring Milwaukee, and practicing my photography.

Mallory-bio-pic-fixedMallory 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.

Nate-bio-pic-fixedNathaniel 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.

Taka-bio-pic-fixedTaka 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.

William-bio-pic-fixedWilliam Warmath-Freemon (Spring 2015)

I am a undergraduate student majoring in Physics with a love for the cosmos. The Planetarium gives me hands on experience with what I love to do. I help run the stargazing opportunities at UWM and I love sharing a passion of space with others who are just as intrigued by the mysteries, the questions, and the exploration. My dream job would be to teach Physics or to work for NASA and the Planetarium gives me a great head start towards this goal. I believe there is life out there. And if there weren’t, it would sure be a waste of space.

Former Staff and Interns