Jean Creighton, Director
I have always lived in cities where the lights tend to obscure the stars. 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 understand better how the universe works I studied Physics (University of Athens). My honors thesis was on the planet Neptune, which spurred me to cross the Atlantic to get a masters degree in Astronomy (Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia) and a Ph.D. in Astrophysics (University of Waterloo).
From 1998-1999, I was 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.
In 2014, I was selected by NASA to be an Airborne Astronomy Ambassador and to spend 20 hours in the stratosphere on SOFIA, the largest moving observatory in the world. In 2017, I was chosen for the University of Wisconsin System Regents Academic Staff Excellence Award. I am very proud to have shared the beauty and elegance of the cosmos with over 150,000 members of our community.
Victoria Robison, Assistant Director
It was a teacher’s enthusiasm that sparked my interest in physics and astronomy and led me to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Physics from UW-Milwaukee. I jumped at the chance to work at the UWM Planetarium while I was a student.
After graduating, I entered the field of mathematics and science education as a research coordinator and copyeditor. It is my pleasure to return to the Planetarium in 2018 as Assistant Director to share my passion for supporting exciting, meaningful, and accessible astronomy programs for all.
When I’m not daydreaming about the mysteries of the universe, I’m tending my community garden, playing music, and plotting my next travel destination.
Ellie Balotovsky (Fall 2021 – )
I am a high school senior at Rufus King interning as a communications and social media associate for the planetarium! I have always loved coming to the planetarium and think it is so important for people of all age groups to experience it and make programs at the planetarium and information about the sky accessible. In my spare time I like to go on hikes with friends or try to find the best oat milk iced latte in Milwaukee (Stone Creek on Downer has my current vote).
Sydney Walker (Fall 2021 – )
I am an undergraduate student at UWM in the Journalism, Advertising, and Media Studies program. I’ll be working on the Planetarium team as a Communications Associate, mainly handling social media planning and content creation. In my free time I enjoy reading, thrifting, spending time outside, and cooking. I’m so excited to be a part of the Planetarium team and to learn more about space and the stars!
Rohith Chandra (Fall 2021 – )
I am a Master’s in Computer Science student at UWM. I’ll be working as a Planetarium staff associate at UWM’s Manfred Olson Planetarium. I have always been curious in knowing how things work, which only science can answer, and I believe the most difficult and amazing questions can be asked when we look at the sky. This is what made me interested in Astronomy. I would like to implement the knowledge I gained by working at Planetarium through Computer Science.
Quinn Stephens (Summer 2021 – )
I am currently an undergraduate student at UWM and pursing a degree in Design and Visual Communication. I will be interning as a Design and Production Associate for the planetarium. As a designer, I am super excited about the opportunity to work with the team and learn more about the universe. I am already in love with the endless colors and organic patterns within our solar system. In my free time I enjoy listening to music, working on art, and spending time outside.
Allison Gleesing (Fall 2020 – )
I’m an undergraduate student at UWM pursuing a degree in Design and Visual Communication. I’m super excited to be a part of the Planetarium team, because what designer wouldn’t love to work with the night sky. The stars and planets have such a strong visual pull that I leaped at the chance to be involved. In my free time I love to read, draw, listen to music, and do anything outside.
Sparrow Roch (Winter 2019 – )
Sparrow is majoring in physics and computer science and helps the planetarium behind the scenes with educational content and delivery. Their favorite part of working at the planetarium is learning about how to better communicate astronomical ideas from both scientific and design perspectives. Sparrow enjoys nature activities, D&D and tabletop games, DIY projects, and longsword fencing. They stay positive by getting outside, hanging out and gaming with friends online, and – of course – learning more about science!
Kieran Arnold (Winter 2019 – )
For as long as I can remember I have been fascinated with the universe and everything that makes it up. I am pursuing a degree in business management, however, I enjoy learning about astronomy since business has a tendency to be somewhat boring. I joined the Planetarium Club here at UWM initially because I needed a way to get involved and I was captivated by looking at beautiful night skies that I had never seen before. Soon after I was very lucky to be hired by the Planetarium as a presenter. I love the work that I do here at the Planetarium because I am giving other people the chance to be enthralled the same way that I was when I first visited the Planetarium. I always wake up every day feeling honored to do the work that I do.
Sophia is a Junior Double-majoring in Design and Visual Communications and Photography. She has always been fascinated by the night sky and loves to learn about space and what it holds. In her spare time, she enjoys going on drives around Milwaukee, embroidering and spending time with friends.