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.
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.
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.
Patrick is a returning student studying astrophysics with previous degrees and careers in engineering and computers. He volunteers with the Manfred Olson Planetarium at UWM and lead the stargazing programs. We have a 14” telescope on a robotic mount on top of the physics building. The urban location obscures most deep-sky objects but lends itself more to the kind of photometry that is required for exoplanet transit observations. During the day he likes to bike, sail and kayak among other things.
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.
Natalie Starks (Spring 2022 – )
I’m currently a sophomore majoring in Design & Visual Communication here at UWM, and I’m thrilled to be part of the Production & Design team for the planetarium! I thoroughly enjoy stargazing and learning more about our beautiful universe; it is full of color, which I can never get enough of! In my free time, I like to paint, create digital art, and spend lots of time outdoors.
Andreas Beyer-Bowden (Fall 2022 – )
I am currently an undergraduate student at UWM in the film program who is also pursuing a minor in photography and a certificate in digital arts and culture. My interests and abilities exist within the overlap of the arts and technology. As a staff associate at the planetarium, I hope to play a small part in facilitating your interest in the nexus of technology and the arts through helping put on the show.
Autumn Carroll (Fall 2022 – )
Hello my name is Autumn! I am a Junior studying Biological Science at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee! I am one of the Communications Associates for the Manfred Olson Planetarium. I am an Army Veteran where I served active duty as a combat medic from 2015-2018. In my free time I love to do pottery, play with my 3 dogs (and hedgehog), look at the planets with my telescope, and watch Bob’s Burgers with my husband!
Leah Nolte (Fall 2022 – )
I have always loved space and astronomy; I am hoping that this job will allow me to learn more about our wonderful planetarium and the universe! In my free time, I like to paint and bake. I am honored to help educate and inform the community about the planetarium—it is such a neat place!