Gotta learn about space? He knows just the place
Andy Shaner joined the Lunar and Planetary Institute's education team in July 2009.
He attended the institute's annual science conference while pursuing a graduate degree in science education and planetary science at the University of Arizona — and thought it would be a great place to work. After spending a year as a high school teacher and discovering that it wasn't the career path for him, a friend showed him an online posting for a job opening at the Lunar and Planetary Institute and encouraged him to apply.
Now, as an education and public outreach specialist at the NASA-funded LPI, Shaner coordinates the institute's various education programs, including its online lunar education portal, My Moon.
"My favorite thing about working here is that planetary science is such a changing and evolving field, and we're learning so much all the time," Shaner said. "It's really exciting to work at a place where you hear about all these things and can be at the forefront of these discoveries."
Shaner also coordinates the institute's free Cosmic Explorations speaker series, which brings in scientists from Earth and space science fields -- such as planetary science, geology and astronomy — to discuss the latest space science-related research developments. This year's Cosmic Explorations series, titled "A User's Guide to the Universe: You Live Here — Here's What You Need to Know," focuses on developments in Earth's solar system.
"(The lecture series addresses) what's the latest research in these fields and what does that tell us about the universe and the history of it," Shaner said. "This lecture series is geared toward adults, but we do invite everyone to come; we certainly don't turn people away."
The LPI will hold its next lecture in the Cosmic Explorations series — "Biography of the Milky Way" by Dr. James Bullock of the University of California-Irvine — at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 28. The free event will feature a light reception following the lecture, as well as an opportunity to meet the speaker.
When he's not busy organizing lectures to inform the public on the latest research in space science, Shaner enjoys running, playing Frisbee golf and going to the movies.
For more information on the Lunar and Planetary Institute, or its Cosmic Explorations speaker series, call 281-486-2163, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.lpi.usra.edu. You can also connect with the Lunar and Planetary Institute on Facebook.
ABOUT Andy Shaner
OCCUPATION: Education and public outreach specialist at the LPI
COMMUNITY CONNECTION: Clear Lake resident
FAST FACT: Previously served as the education and public outreach coordinator for the Mars Phoenix Mission
Megan Mattingly-Arthur is a freelance writer. She can be reached at email@example.com.
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