Who is he?
This week, we are taking a look at our youngest staff member, Nikolaus Prusinski. He is currently a junior, after skipping a grade, at the St. Francis High School. Having finished his high school curriculum in two years, Nik joined the Youth Options Program which allows students to come to campus and take classes. Along with being a full time college student, he has taught introductory programming classes to varying ages of students from middle school to the collegiate level. Additionally, Nik participates as a mentor in autonomous robotics competitions. With other interests including music, flying aircraft, and sailing, Nik has quickly become the Wesley Crusher of the planetarium team.
What does he do at the Planetarium?
Nik has been coming to the planetarium since he was very young. Dr. Creighton inspired his interest in the field of astrophysics. He now is one of the main leaders of the Stargazing group that observes the night sky with telescopes on the roof of the physics building each Wednesday. Working with people with different levels of knowledge in the area is one of his favorite parts of the job.
“No matter your background or experiences, you can come to Stargazing, enjoy a welcoming atmosphere, and learn about the cosmos.”
Nik’s goal for stargazing is to make the shows more relatable to the public via social media and positive publicity. The science can become intimidating for people who are not familiar with telescopes or astronomy, but he hopes that the program and experience will make it more relatable to everyone. He is currently working on getting some more powerful telescopes operational to show off at stargazing events.
Where Is He Going From Here?
Nik continues to roll on and hopes to eventually get into research in the field of astrophysics. He expresses interest in gravitational waves, SETI research, and quantum mechanics and is currently participating in pulsar research with the UWM Astronomy Group using the Arecibo Radio Telescope in Puerto Rico and the Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia. After the completion of his undergraduate degree, he hopes to pursue a Ph.D. in astrophysics involving postdoctoral research. Along with his interest in astrophysics, Nik plays three different musical instruments to keep each hemisphere of his brain balanced. French Horn is his favorite because it complements his personality, but he also plays trumpet and piano. He hopes to continue on developing his musical education in the future and hone his skills in the quantitative and qualitative areas of his life.