Committee

Steering Committee:

EPOC activities are overseen by a Steering Committee comprising the following members/roles:

  1. Chair.
  2. An immediate past Chair (when relevant).
  3. An ASA Council Member chosen by the ASA Council as an ex-officio EPOC Steering Committee Member (unless an EPOC Steering Committee Member is already a member of the ASA Council).
  4. A broadly representative Steering Committee of up to six people, elected by full members of the ASA.
  5. A Student Representative elected by the student members of the ASA.
  6. A Secretary appointed from the Steering Committee (responsible for minutes of the meetings, circulation of the minutes to the membership, and organization of the elections).
  7. A Treasurer appointed from the Steering Committee (responsible for managing the income and expenditure of EPOC and for providing an annual report of such activity to the membership).

EPOC Chair – 2-year position

Robert Hollow
I’ve been involved in public outreach and education in astronomy since Halley’s Comet in 1986. Much of my focus has been in formal education at the school level though this has broadened since taking up my current role as education and outreach specialist at CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science where I have been for 10 years. I run teacher workshops across Australia with the aim is increasing their confidence and knowledge in the effective teaching of astronomy. An increasing focus is on supporting primary school teachers develop the skills needed to successfully teach the new Australian Curriculum. I also run the PULSE@Parkes program that gives high school students the opportunity to observe pulsars with the Parkes radio telescope and do extensive engagement in the Mid West region of WA to support ASKAP and the SKA. I am a member of the IAU Office of Astronomy for Development’s Task Force for Children and Schools and on the Editorial Board of AstroEDU.

ASA Council Representative

Michael BrownMichael Brown

Associate Professor Michael Brown (@mjibrown) is an observational astronomer at Monash University’s School of Physics and Astronomy. He was inspired by astronomy as a child, when Voyager visited the outer planets and when he used his grandfather’s small telescope to look at the Moon. He now studies how galaxies form, grow and evolve over billions of years, using large-telescopes on the Earth and satellites in orbit. Michael is interested in communicating the wonders of astronomy to a broad audience, and discussing how science is relevant to more Earthly matters. Michael is a regular writer for The Conversation, and he has also written for other media including the Sydney Morning Herald and CNN online.

Steering Committee Member – 2-year positions

Minh Huynh
minhhuynh
I have a strong interest in promoting science to the general community. In my role as Deputy International SKA Project Scientist over 2010 – 2013 I gained extensive experience with outreach and public talks, and interacted with many non-scientists, including politicians, journalists, and the general public. I am passionate about engaging young students in science, and being a role model or mentor for the next generation of scientists. I give a yearly address to gifted students at my old high school, talking to them about the importance of science and maths, and how science and astronomy can be an exciting career. I was a keynote speaker for the 2014 ASA Women in Astronomy meeting where I was asked by the organisers to tell my personal story. As part of EPOC I would be looking for more opportunities to promote STEM as a career, especially for women and minorities.
Amanda Bauer
Amanda Bauer is a Research Astronomer and Outreach Officer for the Australian Astronomical Observatory. She uses Earth-based and orbiting telescopes to explore variations in how galaxies formed, how they lived their lives, and how they evolved into the diverse array of galaxy species we see today. She’s also passionate about communicating the fascinating science and technology that Australian astronomers produce. She’d like to see the ASA’s EPOC become a more visible and useful resource, for all Australians, from educators to amateur and professional astronomers.
Jacinta den Besten

Jacinta den Besten

I have had 20 years of Physics education experience both as a teacher in secondary schools and now in outreach with the University of Melbourne. I currently coordinate the Telescopes in Schools program which has been operating for over 3 years and has reached well over 3000 students in this time. The program consists of regular observing sessions at schools, with now a total of over 200 sessions having been held at the eleven schools. Teachers, students and parents are able to take part in learning to use the telescopes, astrophotography, professional development, visits from astrophysicists and much more. My role in the school of Physics also includes organising a work experience program for Year 10 students, providing demonstrations and shows for visiting schools, organising programs and events for the Women in Physics and Diversity groups and I am currently investigating the number of females undertaking secondary and tertiary Physics for the department.In addition to the Laby Fellow role, I was working for CAASTRO as an outreach officer in the second half of 2014. Social Media, web editing, outreach program support and multimedia displays consisted of the workload I undertook in this six months. This year I will be the Uluru Astronomer in Restidence for two weeks as a part of CAASTRO’s Partnership Program and I am leading of a number of groups (including the Mount Burnett Observatory, Scienceworks and University of Melbourne scientists) organising large public events for the International Year of Light.
Wiebke Ebeling
Wiebke Ebeling
I am the national coordinator of the Education & Outreach program of CAASTRO, the ARC Centre of Excellence for All-sky Astrophysics. I started in this role in mid 2011 after completing my PhD in neuroscience at the ANU in Canberra and a 12-month employment as Outreach Officer of the Australian Ocean Data Network at the University of Tasmania in Hobart. CAASTRO has just passed its mid-term review with flying colours, with its Education & Outreach program highlighted as one major success. Working with Prof Steven Tingay at the Curtin Institute of Radio Astronomy, my focus in designing and implementing this program has always been a smart use of our (human) resources by adapting activities to the highly distributed nature of CAASTRO and maximising re-use and longevity of materials and efforts. Hence, the CAASTRO Education & Outreach program heavily leverages social and digital media and collaborative event management.
Michael Fitzgerald
MFitzMugshot
I am a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Edith Cowan Institute for Education Research at Edith Cowan University, Perth. My research actively examines how external projects, such as those focused on creating educational change in the science classroom, fail or succeed and investigates the reasons why.  I also focus on the creation, design and evaluation of educational approaches, materials and projects. In support of this, I am Chief Editor of the IAU astroEDU activity repository. I am Director of a high‐school level astronomy education program (“Our Solar Siblings”) providing training, materials and support to teachers and students accessing the LCOGT network (lcogt.net). This project explores how students’ beliefs, attitudes and understandings of the nature of science can potentially be shifted positively through inquiry‐based interdisciplinary and authentic in‐class experiences. I also undertake my own astronomy research surrounding stellar clusters and variable stars, usually partnered with students. I enjoy collaborating with a number of artists on projects on the intersection of art and astronomy.
Brad Tucker
Brad Tucker
I am an Astronomer and run the outreach programs at Mt. Stromlo Observatory at the ANU and also at the University of California, Berkeley. I’ve been involved in outreach and education in the US and Australia for over 10 years, and have been running the programs at Mt. Stromlo for the past few years. I love giving talks to school groups and the general public about Astronomy and I have regular segments on various radio stations talking about Astronomy news and events. Among other things,I have developed a series of Astronomy coins in conjunction with the Australian Mint, consulted on science fiction movies, and advised on Astronomy-themed art projects and has been featured on the National Geographic Channel. I also won the May 2013 “I’m a Scientist, Get Me Out of Here’ competition.

Student Member – 1-year position

Michael Cowley
MichaelCowley
I’m a third year PhD student jointly supervised by Macquarie University and the Australian Astronomical Observatory. I work with collaborators on a number of extragalactic surveys tasked with studying the physical processes related to the formation and evolution of galaxies. My research interests are related to supermassive black holes and how they affect their host galaxies. In addition to my research, I have a keen interest in teaching and outreach. I have prepared and delivered a number of lectures and activities in physics to undergraduate and high school students, and performed numerous public talks on astronomy related topics. I’m currently a sessional academic at Macquarie University, a member of the IAU Working Group on Theory and Methods in Astronomy Education, and a science liaison for the CSIRO’s Scientists and Mathematicians in Schools program. As a strong advocate of public outreach, I believe the position of EPOC student representative will help me maximise outreach opportunities along with contributing towards the wider goal of promoting the teaching of astronomy to students and the public..

Election of Steering Committee Members:

  1. The Chair holds office for two years.
  2. Steering Committee Members will hold office for two years with staggered tenure (in the first year of operation, three Members will be elected for 1-year periods, and three Members will elected for 2-year periods).
  3. Three Members of the Steering Committee will be elected annually.
  4. The Student Representative will be elected annually.
  5. There is no limit on the number of consecutive appointments of the Chair, Steering Committee Members or Student Representative.
  6. By 1 March each year, the Chair will call for nominations for relevant Steering Committee positions.
  7. Only full members are entitled to vote in all ballots and elections of  EPOC. Student members are entitled to vote for a student representative on the steering committee. Elections will be conducted by March 15 and the result declared in time for the new Chair and Steering Committee to take up their appointments by 1 April.
  8. Election of all Steering Committee Members will be determined by the direct count of the number of votes obtained by each candidate for a given position. In the event of a tied vote the President of the ASA following consultation with the ASA Council, will have a casting vote. In the event of the President of the ASA being involved as a candidate in the tied vote, the casting vote will pass to another member of the ASA Executive, as per the ASA constitution.

Activities

  1. The Steering Committee will maintain an e-mail list of the current EPOC members.
  2. The Steering Committee undertakes to organize and run an annual open lunchtime Meeting during the ASA Annual Scientific Meeting, and other meetings when appropriate.
  3. EPOC will establish and maintain a website that encourages dissemination of relevant information relating to astronomy education and public outreach opportunities, including the publication of Members Reports.
  4. From time to time, EPOC will produce Factsheets on topics of current astronomical interest of particular relevance to Australia.  The Steering Committee will appoint one of its members to coordinate the development of Factsheets, which encompasses collating submissions and sending out for comments, additions, and amendments as required. Topics for Factsheets will be invited from the EPOC membership, under the proviso that a Member proposing a Factsheet is also able to write the Factsheet or can nominate an appropriate author.
    Follow this link for the Factsheets.
  5. EPOC will run other activities as approved by the Steering Committee.

Meetings:

  1. The Steering Committee will hold a minimum of two meetings per year, ideally in Feb/Mar and Nov/Dec.
  2. It is the role of the Chair (or nominated representative) to organize the date of each meeting and to request agenda items.
  3. At least two working days prior to the Meeting the Chair (or nominated representative) will distribute the Agenda to Steering Committee members.
  4. Minutes will be taken by a nominated representative and provided to Steering Committee Members as soon as possible following the Meeting.  A copy of the Minutes will be provided to the ASA Council, and will be made available to EPOC members via the EPOC e-mail list and on the EPOC website.
  5. The Chair will normally act as Chair of the Steering Committee Meeting, however, if the Chair is not able to attend in person, a nominated representative may act as Chair.
  6. Whenever possible, Steering Committee Meetings will be held at a location in a capital city that has teleconference facilities, however, virtual involvement (via Skype, teleconference, or other method) will be accepted and encouraged.

Reporting:

  1. The Chair will provide a brief report describing EPOC activities to Secretary of ASA Council, if possible, at least one week before each Council meeting.
  2. The Steering Committee will solicit regular Reports from Members, which will be published on the EPOC website.