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

Michael Fitzgerald


I am an ARC DECRA 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 ( 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.


EPOC Immediate Past 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


Jerry Skinner


Jerry Skinner is an experienced science communicator working in the Australian Square Kilometre Array Office. His team manages the Australian SKA project’s engagement with Australian scientists, industry and regional (Mid West WA) stakeholders as well as more traditional communications for the SKA project, including the website, social media channels and engagement with the media. Jerry is Chair of the Australian and New Zealand SKA Communications Committee and a member of the international SKA Communications and Outreach Steering Committee.

Jerry’s background is in event management and science communications. He spent five years in the international event management sector working in the UK, New Zealand and Australia, and a further five years promoting biological sciences at the Australian National University. He has worked in astronomy-related communications for the last ten years.

Renae Sayers
renae TEDxperth fireablls interview crop
Renae Sayers is an international Science Communicator, energised by empowering people through scientific literacy and believes great science goes hand in hand with great communication. Based at Curtin University in Western Australia, Renae works with the NASA Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute [SSERVI] to grow the capacity of Australian planetary science, enhancing collaborations with the global community and raising the profile here in Australia. Renae is also the coordinator of the award-winning program Fireballs in the Sky – the outreach arm of the Desert Fireball Network – extending the reach of this innovative research around the world.
Angel Lopez-Sanchez
Dr. Ángel R. López-Sánchez is an astrophysicist and science communicator working at the Australian Astronomical Observatory (AAO) and the Department of Physics and Astronomy, Macquarie University (MQU) in Sydney (NSW, Australia). His research is focused in the analysis of star formation phenomena in galaxies of the Local Universe, especially in dwarf starbursts and spiral galaxies, using multi-wavelength (UV, optical, IR, radio) data. He presented his PhD Thesis at University of La Laguna & Instituto Astrofisica de Canarias (Spain) in 2006. In 2007 he joined CSIRO Astronomy & Space Science (Sydney) with a postdoctoral position. He then joined the AAO/MQU in 2011. Part of his work is providing observational support to the Anglo-Australian Telescope (AAT, Siding Spring Observatory, NSW). He is now the KOALA Integral Field Unit (IFU) Instrument Scientists. He has large experience teaching undergraduate and PhD students and giving lectures and classes about Astronomy. Dr. López-Sánchez is passionate science communicator who continuously gives talks and public lectures, writes popular science articles and organizes science communication events and stargazing activities. He is very active in social media, his Twitter feed is @El_Lobo_Rayado.
Nyssa Lonsdale
Nyssa Lonsdale is the Outreach Coordinator for The Planetary Society in Australia, working to foster students’ interest in astrophysics and to support activities and events for the public. She is also a mentor in the Global STEM Alliance and a representative in the AMOS Education and Outreach committee. Her interest in outreach began early in the eight years she dedicated to tutoring primary and secondary students. Nyssa currently works as an aviation weather forecaster for the Bureau of Meteorology having specialised in astrophysics and meteorology over the course of her studies.
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.
Kirsten Gottschalk


Kirsten is the Astronomy Ambassador at the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research, which means she gets to do a lot of fun things like talk about the Square Kilometre Array, run big public events like the Perth Astrofest and share her excitement and enthusiasm for all things astronomy. She studied astronomy first, but then quickly realised she preferred talking about it rather than doing it, so she moved on to study a masters in science communication and is now also a qualified secondary physics and maths teacher.

Student Member – 1-year position


Saeed Salimpour
Saeed Salimpour has a background in Physics focusing on Astronomy/Astrophysics & Fluid physics, Design, Photography & Multimedia, and currently a PhD candidate researching Astronomy Education, with a focus on Cosmology Education, Data Visualisation, VR/AR and the interface between Science and Art. Saeed has spent the better part of a decade making fundamental physics and astronomy accessible to everyone, irrespective of their background. His goal has been to find new ways of simplifying some of the complex concepts in science and presenting current research to a non-technical audience, whilst working at the interface of science, art and education. He believes in “being curious for the sake of finding things out!”.


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.


  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.


  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.


  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.