Informal STEM learning starts close to home

My husband and I just returned from a short trip to Vegas to visit my mother-in-law, sister- and brother-in-law and their kids. They have a 15-year-old son, along with 11-year old quadruplet sons, and two other (grown) children. I thought that my role during this trip would be largely typical, family visiting in nature – hanging out, playing games, watching TV. And for the most part I was right. However, something unexpected happened while I was there that changed the way I think about the informal STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) learning that a lot of scientists talk about (I certainly do).

At the last minute before we got in the car to drive to Vegas I threw some pretty brochures that I’d picked up during a recent visit to the Space Telescope Science Institute (the folks who operate and manage the Hubble Space Telescope) in my bag. I figure kids usually like pretty pictures, and it dawned on me that, seeing as I am in the process of developing an interactive astronomy workshop for young middle-school girls from backgrounds traditionally underrepresented in the sciences as part of my NSF postdoctoral fellowship, my nephews fit that target audience (except they’re male).

But it wasn’t the pretty picture brochures that got their attention. Our visit just happened to coincide with the Geminid meteor shower. I had spent a good part of the day hearing the boys talk about NBA players, football stats, and Xbox games. I thought to myself “if I can get these boys to go outside and look up at the sky, and if there is actually something to see from our location in a suburb of Vegas 20 minutes away, it might really be something special.”

While the kids played poker with my husband, I stepped outside of their house, and walked this way and that, trying to find the best viewing angle that was the least obstructed by the glare of the nearby street light. As I stood by the garage (turned out to be the best view, as a tree semi-blocked out the street lamp), I began to see meteors – bright streaks of debris coming off of asteroid/”rock comet” 3200 Phaethon that Earth was passing through while the asteroid came very close to the Sun. I waited until I’d seen at least five meteors, and then I went back into the house and told everybody that I was watching the meteor shower outside, and it was hitting its peak. Long story short, with some great (and pivotal) encouragement from their parents (so important!), the boys and adults put on parkas, hats and gloves and we piled into three cars and headed to the base of a big hill in a dark area nearby where we could get a better look. I was nervous. I didn’t want to get all the way out there and have the kids look up, see nothing, and think “Boring.” I felt like I held the power to spark or snuff out their interest in astronomy that very night.

Well, after a few minutes of looking up to get our bearings, and me pointing out a few constellations in the sky, we began to see meteors. The boys went wild. “OH MY GOD! I JUST SAW ONE! OOH, THERE’S ANOTHER ONE! WOW!!”

I was so happy and proud. Sure, maybe the next day they went back to looking only at TV and video games. But maybe they did that with the deeper understanding now that there’s a lot more out there than they are used to thinking about on a daily basis. What I realized is that no pretty brochure or amount of telling can replace the experience of getting a kid outside in the brisk night air and getting them to look up at the sky. Suddenly their world opens up. And it’s them that did it. I just asked them to shift the position of their head.

If you have children, nieces, nephews, then informal learning in astronomy and other STEM disciplines can start with them. Just try to make a difference there. Present a new perspective. Use them as a a test bed for what you’re trying to do out in the world. If it works on them, then that’s a good sign that you’re doing something that will work elsewhere with a broader audience. Then let it go, and let them go back to their regular lives. Maybe they’ll ask you to show them more things. Then you’ll know you got through. If I don’t achieve another thing this year, that’s alright. I got my nephews to unplug for a few moments and be part of something much bigger than their tiny corner of this world. That’s accomplishment enough for me.

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By aomawa

Could reality become the stuff that daydreams are made of?

I’m on a plane heading back to LA from Baltimore, where I’ve been for an invited talk at Johns Hopkins University. The talk went fine, aside from a couple of out-of-body experiences and a few flubs, some of which were probably barely imperceptible to my audience. Others maybe not so much. All of them I will re-hash consciously and sub-consciously for the next few days, then try to cling to as they begin to gradually recede from my brain, eventually passing into legend and myth over the next few thousand years.

A common saying states that there are three kinds of talks. There’s the talk that you plan to give, there’s the talk that you actually give, and there’s the talk that you wish you had given. I’ve given a fair amount of talks over the years, and I’ve found that of all three of these stages, the third and final one – where I re-live my talk all over again, this time saying everything I meant to say with perfect emphasis, pauses, inflections, and storytelling genius, and answer every single question like I’d planted the audience members and given them scripts myself – is undeniably the most torturous and worst of them all.

The following morning, as I was working out on my hotel’s elliptical machine (this makes me sound like a very productive young woman, going to the fitness center while on travel, but since I was planning to gorge myself on Baltimore’s delicious fare “when in Rome”, there wasn’t much choice in the matter), I had an epiphany about this re-hashing routine that I do with talks. I realized that what’s really happening is that I am re-writing history in my brain. I daydream in the present about a different past that I wish were mine.

This “ah-ha!” moment came about as I was huffing and puffing because I suddenly realized that I was doing the exact same thing while I was working out. I couldn’t get the TV in the fitness center to work, so I was listening to my iPod, and I started to daydream about something else.

When I daydream to music, I don’t daydream about talks that I’ve given, but about other things. In particular, I daydream about Private Moments, dance recitals, and flash mobs.

In graduate school for Acting, one of the most terrifying assignments I had was in my Method acting class. It was called the “Private Moment”. One by one we had to get up in front of the entire class, and do two things: 1) One thing that we wouldn’t mind other people seeing us doing, and 2) one thing that we would never in a million years want someone to see us do.

Well, that wasn’t exactly how our instructor put it, but that’s how my brain heard it. The instructor said something more along the lines of the private moment having to be something that we would typically only do in…well, private.

Yep. Terrifying.

Some of my classmates took the “shock and awe” approach to this exercise (use your imagination. No one used the bathroom on stage, but you’re not all that far afield). Some played it safe, never quite pushing the envelope far enough into the realm of secret abandon. Few struck the desired chord of making those of us in the audience truly feel as if we were flies on their room wall; as if they really had completely forgotten that we were there.

I was one of the students who didn’t strike that chord.

I remember that I chose flossing my teeth as the thing that I wouldn’t mind other people seeing me do (later, during the “class feedback” portion of the program that followed each of our attempts at the assignment, someone said that they thought my parents were dentists because of how diligently I had flossed. So I guess that’s something. Thought I’m still not sure what.). For my real, seriously private thing to do, I chose to sing “One Song Glory” from the musical “Rent” along with the soundtrack recording, since singing out loud to music and pretending I was in music videos or on stage performing was something I often did in the privacy of my personal Broadway/MTV studios (aka “Aomawa’s bedroom”).

I was told by our instructor that I’d gotten close, but that I’d never truly went for it. Other classmates agreed. They’d been cheering me on silently, and they really wanted me to let loose. They said they were really into what I was doing and into the song, and they would have gone with me to wherever I took them.

This is one of the worst things that someone can say to an actor: You held back.

All of this is to say that even now, 16 years later, when I listen to some great song at home and I’m singing along and dancing my ass off, I often imagine that I’m doing the Private Moment assignment all over again. This time I do let it all out. My classmates and the instructor, they all dissolve in front of me. But I still know that they’re there. I just don’t care. And I don’t try to surprise them, or impress them. I just concentrate on myself and how much fun I’m having more than on them. And I let the song take me away.

When I’m working out to music, I’ll imagine something like this (Private Moment 2.0), or that I’m this amazing dancer and I’m dancing my ass off alone on stage in front of a sea of people I know from grad school and college, even high school (the “dancing my ass off” theme is pretty consistent. I’ll probably give a book I write that title one day). All of my ex-boyfriends are sitting in the audience right up front, with regret curling the corners of their mouths. And I’m a wild magical unicorn up there dancing (yep, you guessed it – my ass off).

Sometimes I’m singing too. And sometimes I’ve got a chorus line of dancers doing Beyoncé-style moves around me, and I weave in and out of them, seamlessly transitioning from dancing in unison with them to striding slowly down the middle of the stage, parting them like Moses parted the Red Sea, staring straight ahead, singing and commanding all eyes to rest on me alone.

This daydream can easily morph into my flash mob daydream, where I’m…well, dancing in a flash mob. You get the picture. It’s on my bucket list.

The common denominator in all of these scenarios is that I am the star and I do everything perfectly. Additionally, I am the envy of all who lay eyes upon me. Also, I am the queen of all I survey. Music allows my mind to wander, and that’s where it usually wanders to – a world where my delusions of grandeur are not delusions, but reality, where my monstrous ego is satiated with an equally gargantuan-sized cupcake.

So I got to thinking this morning while I huffed and puffed while imagining my usual solo “dance of abandon” number to M83’s “Midnight City”, that I was expending a lot of mental energy doing all of this elaborate daydreaming. And the focus of this large amount of mental energy was on something that wasn’t real. It was all a big figment of my imagination. It was fun, and it did make the time on the elliptical fly by (which is certainly a good thing), but when all was said and done (or rather, imagined to have been done), the music would stop, and there I would be, back in my real life. At the end of the “perfect talk” daydreams (which weren’t even fun) I’d be back where I was, in the aftermath of the talk I had actually given, that I was barely conscious of by now. How much of my real life was I missing daydreaming about a different, flashier, better reality?

So I did something I’d never done. I didn’t make a list of my accomplishments. I didn’t make a list of the things I was grateful for, or of the things I had done well in the talk I just gave. I’ve done those things before, and they are useful. But I decided to try altering things at the source. I decided to change the focus of my daydreams.

Right there on that elliptical machine I pushed the arrow pointing to the left on my iPod Nano, and “Midnight City” started again. This time, I decided not to daydream about the dance number on stage with Beyoncé’s dancers and my wistful ex-boyfriends watching in agony. I didn’t daydream about kicking the private moment’s ass with my classmates looking on with envy, awe, and appreciation, unable to keep their toes from tapping along (circa “Flashdance”) as I showed them what it really meant to “dance like no one is watching”. I didn’t daydream about any of it. Instead, I decided to daydream about what really happened yesterday.

As “Midnight City” played, the music video in my head showed me at the front of the auditorium, telling a story about finding planets and thinking about what kind of weather these planets might have. Then in the video there was a flashback to when I was making people laugh with that joke I told at the beginning of my talk about who in the audience was born and wasn’t by the time the first planet was discovered around another star. Then I really was answering some questions like I’d expected them, and offering coherent insights on others. Then there was a scene in the music video where I sat down with one professor, and then another, and then a graduate student, and then another professor, and I told them more things that I know, and answered more questions, and listened to their input, agreed with some of it, and respectfully challenged them on some of it. We talked, and I jumped up to the board and drew figures and pictures, and we talked some more about future ideas, and I was this scientist person who was acting like a confident bad-ass. And things were rolling out of my mouth like I knew they were right, and there was no doubt or anxiety, because this was who I was and what I knew and what I thought. Then at the end of the music video, I was at a great restaurant with people who enjoyed my company and I theirs, and we ate and talked and laughed for almost four hours, till my sides hurt and I had to get up and do a dancer stretch (ok, the dancing had to come in there at some point, but I actually did get up and do that stretch in the restaurant, because my side hurt that much from laughing). Then the song ended.

What had just happened? I had just daydreamed about stuff that really happened, that I really had just done. There was no sadness at the end of this daydream like there usually was with the others when I realized that what I’d been dreaming about hadn’t really happened the way I’d dreamed it, the way I’d wanted it to. This time, I felt full. And I was full of no one’s reality but my own. I was full of myself, in a good way. I felt proud.

Maybe I had something here. Maybe if I made a conscious effort to not just become aware of what I’ve done well during the course of a given day, but to incorporate it into my mind’s regular, home movie routine (which will likely always be there), I could turn wishful thinking into a conscious positive narrative, and I could choose to replay that reality to my favorite tunes, rather than fiction. Could “what rocked” rather than “what if” be the stuff that dreams are really made of?

Networking: Using Science To Grow Your Business

The googled definition of networking is to “interact with other people to exchange information and develop contacts, especially to further one’s career.” This has often been a frightening prospect for many, and certainly for me at first, mainly because the definition itself carries with it a certain vagueness. Just how does one go about finding the right people with whom to exchange that crucial information (and what is that?), and develop those contacts (and who are those?) that are vital to the furthering of one’s career (and how to you know which ones are)? For a scientist, the prospects of networking and marketing oneself are especially harrowing, because there just isn’t one single path from point A to point B. We can’t just sit at our desks and work and write. We have to get out of our chairs and go talk to people or introduce ourselves. That isn’t always the biggest draw for a typical scientist. But this blog is all about NOT being the typical scientist.

I heard this term a lot during my years as a professional actor. I hear it even more now as a postdoc, in that middle place between the intense, transient life of a graduate student and the apparent Valhalla that is life as tenured faculty. The road to such an esteemed future requires perseverance, lots of writing, publishing, and teaching, willingness to be part of a team and engage in service at all levels, and…Networking. It has become clear to me that whether I choose to pursue a career as a professor or as a professional banjo player, the difference between success and missing the target may, in fact, lie in my ability to use networking tools effectively.

I’m no longer afraid of networking the way I once was, a nervous aspiring actress doing one-minute drive by’s of my agent’s offices, trying to appear as if I was “just passing by”:

“Hi! Just passing by and thought I would say hi! Oh, and I’m in this play that opens tonight! Here’s a postcard, hope you can make it! Oh, this old thing? I just found it in the back of my closest, I’m so glad you like it! Oh, ok, well, I’ll condition my hair tonight then, it’s probably just dry. Ok, well, I’m around and ready to audition, gotta go, bye!”

No more of that. I finally get it now. Networking is a science much more than a business. And Science is all about trial and error.

Science, by definition, involves the study of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment. I have put this into practice with networking. Basically, I experiment with different networking tools, and I observe the results. What works for me I keep. What doesn’t I throw away. So here are the Top 5 Networking Tools that have worked for me:

1. Business cards are a must.

As a scientist, I’ve had business cards since graduate school. As an actor before that, I had business cards. And between those two stages in my life, I had business cards for my “day jobs”. I don’t care who says that in the digital age of social media, who needs business cards. You do. They’re that thing you can give to someone at the end of a meaningful conversation. All you have to do is say “Great talking to you! Here’s my card.” Pull it out of your pocket, your purse, the plastic pocket on the back of your conference badge (I picked this tip up at the networking workshop facilitated by Professor Zakiya Luna and Professor Mariam Lam at the PPFP conference earlier this month and immediately put it into practice. It’s great! If you’re at a conference, you’re always wearing your conference badge, whether you’ve got a suit or a dress with no pockets on).

I cannot tell you how many opportunities have come out of my having a business card and giving it to people, particularly people who have spent time talking to me somewhere, or gone out of their way to provide me with helpful information. And I always try to have a picture on my card now. This makes it so much easier for the recipient. Who knows how many people he or she has met that day. Especially at a conference. By the time they get home and finally pull out all of those cards they amassed during the week, they will have forgotten what you look like. Don’t make it hard for them. Make it easy for them to remember who you are. The easier it is for them to remember you, the easier it is for them to get in touch with you, to follow up on that opportunity they mentioned when they met you, or to mention you to someone else. That’s networking. I had my most recent business cards made on moo.com. I must say it was one of the quickest and least painful administrative tasks I’ve ever done. And quite fun too.

2. Never underestimate the value of a hand-written thank you note.

This is the single most productive networking tool that I have put into practice. Say I meet someone at a conference, or I have a job interview for something. Within the next day or two after that experience, I write a card with just a quick note (“Thank you for your time, it was great talking to you… Sincerely, Aomawa”).  Inside the card goes one of my business cards (usually even if I gave that person one when we met, because they may have lost it, who knows?), and then in the mail it goes. I think I’ve sealed the deal on getting job offers in large part because of sending a nice thank you note. That’s how important I think it is.

“But can’t I just send an email?” Sure you can, and that’s nice too. But it isn’t a handwritten thank you note. And it’s just because people DON’T send handwritten letters/notes/cards anymore that this gesture is likely to pay big dividends. Like I said before, the science of networking is about experiment and observation. Just try it out and see if it helps you to cultivate or strengthen a relationship. And in the end, no matter what the result, it makes me feel really good to have gone the extra mile like that to express my gratitude for someone’s time and effort. And in the words of Anthony Robbins, “When you are grateful fear disappears and abundance appears.”

3. Follow up.

This is an easy one to drop the ball on. If you meet someone who says “I know this person who would just LOVE your idea, and they have all of this money they would just LOVE to throw at you. I don’t have their number on me, but if you shoot me an email, I would just LOVE to send you their number, and will do it quite happily. In fact, seeing your email will remind me to call them myself and tell them to expect your call, because they’re going to LOVE hearing from you.” – Send that darn email.

Follow up. It’s not hard. But it isn’t easy either. Because following up resides under the heading of “Not urgent but important” relationship-building things (see Eisenhower’s Decision Matrix) that most of us put absolutely last on our To Do list. I once was told outright by a woman who worked on the TV show “24” (which I was in love with back in its heyday) that if I gave her a call she would find something for me on the show. Sounds like a no brainer, right? Well it was. And as much as I loved that show, somewhere between her trailer and my car (and the rest of my life) I put it on the back burner. And that’s where it stayed, until by the time I thought about it again, I’d forgotten everything about that conversation or what she told me to do afterwards. I could have been Jack Bauer’s sidekick for all I know. Learn – as I did – from my sad mistake. I can tell you one thing. I won’t make it again.

4. Don’t be afraid to cold email someone and ask for help.

This is how I found my dissertation topic, and ended up publishing two papers that led to me being able to actually complete and defend my dissertation. I read a wonderful paper that got me very excited about the subject. So I decided to write to its author, and express my profound appreciation for his writing the paper. Then I asked if he was planning to do any more work on the subject, and if so, could I be a part of it. One thing led to another, and suddenly I had a direction for my graduate school research, a topic that actually made me want to get up in the morning and work on it (this is the key to being able to finish a PhD. You have to pick a topic that you actually like and want to learn more about, day after day. This also might sound like a no brainer, but you’d be amazed at how many graduate students miss that step.), and a collaborator along with it. This led to the aforementioned papers, as well as winning awards at conferences, and invited talks on other continents. And it all started with that first email to a stranger.

Now, contacting someone out of the blue by phone or email is scary for a lot of people. Not so much for me, mainly because of my past. As an actor I was often showing up at parties or script readings where I didn’t know many people, and I had to introduce myself to strangers over and over again. I also once had a job doing outreach for a cultural arts center, and that involved a LOT of cold calling of organizations, school department offices, you name it, asking if I could leave flyers there or if they’d be interested in bringing a group to our program, blah, blah, blah. Enough of that, and talking to a stranger becomes much less frightening.

The thing about this tool is if you start with a complement (“I really liked your paper, thank you for writing it.” “I really enjoyed your performance in BLAH BLAH.”), and then you ask them for their feedback on something (“Could you tell me a little bit about how you approached the work?” “How did you get started doing [XYZ]?” “Would you be willing to take a look at something I’ve written and give me your feedback?”), then you’re pretty much home free. First, you’ve complemented them. And who doesn’t like getting complements? Second, you’ve asked them for their opinion, and to talk about themselves. And few people mind talking about themselves and giving their opinions and feedback. This definitely goes for artists (actors, writers, painters), and is a pretty good bet for scientists too.

5. Website. Website. Website.

Yep, you have to have one. And its address should be given on your business card. A link to it should be on your email signature. At the very least it should have a great picture of you, a way to get in contact with you, and a sentence or two that says who you are and what you’re about. For scientists, links for your Research (describe it and include at least one figure that is the money shot from a recent paper), CV, Publications, recently-given talks, and any Press you’ve gotten on your work are also a must. Artists should include photos of their work and how to find it if people want to buy or see it somewhere. Actors in particular should have links to their past work, preferably in the form of a reel that people can just click on.

I was amazed at how easy and inexpensive it was to set up my website, which is with WordPress. Google Sites I’ve heard is good too. Just pick one and put something up to start. You can fine tune later.

You could probably sum all of my suggested tools up as follows:

Make it easy for people to find you and learn about who you are and what you do well. Then make sure that they do.

Whoever you are, and whatever you do, if you want to do more of it, than you have a business. And you are looking to grow that business. No one is going to be the farmer for you. It’s too much work. You have to do it yourself. Put a little science into it, and it might be easier.

By aomawa

The Sighs stop here.

I just returned from a conference held in celebration of the 30th anniversary of one of my postdoctoral fellowships, the UC President’s Postdoctoral Fellowship Program (PPFP). One of the main goals of this program is to encourage women and minority Ph.D. recipients to pursue careers in academia, and to help facilitate those careers within the UC tenure-track faculty system.

Now, in many ways, this conference could not have come at a worse time. Here I was having just moved to Los Angeles from Seattle less than one month prior, not even finished unpacking, just having started my postdoc at UCLA less than one week before the conference (which was held in Berkeley, CA), and trying desperately to get over the cold that had decided to take hold of me the day before I started work.

Back in Seattle three months ago going to the conference had seemed like a great idea, and I’d checked all of the boxes indicating my interest and plans to attend. That was before my husband and I piled into a car with our two cats, every inch of the car stuffed with our most prized possessions that we weren’t trusting the movers with, and set out on the road. Three days later, sweaty and tired, we arrived at a condo in a different part of LA than we’d lived before we moved to Seattle, and everything felt new again. A week later, the moving company still hadn’t arrived with our stuff, and going to a conference in a couple of weeks had started to seem ludicrous. I discussed the prospect of going with my husband.

Me: “[Big sigh] I don’t think I can go. We just got here. There’s just too much going on.”

My husband offered a different perspective.

Him: “Just a thought…This might be a good thing to do networking-wise. Especially if becoming a faculty member at the University of California is something you are interested in.” (I’m paraphrasing his words, but this is the basic gist)

Me: “Huh. ..Good point. I’ll think about it. [another big sigh]”

So I thought about it. Mostly I sighed some more. A lot more. Inside, my head was saying “I don’t want to network. I’m tired. I want to lay down.” But in reality I knew that my husband was right. I was a new Fellow in this incredible program, and here was an entire conference dedicated to helping me navigate the in’s and out’s of what it meant to be a postdoc – what I should be doing during my first year, and how the heck to begin to go about doing it. As it turns out, I had begun to realize how easy it could be to isolate as a postdoc. You’re not a grad student, nor are you faculty. It felt very much like this in-between stage that was unfamiliar to me. It dawned on me that this conference might be able to help me establish myself and move through those “New kid on the block” FEELINGS and into just “being on the block” ACTIONS. And it did.

This is often what happens when I talk to other people outside of my head (as opposed to the legions of people inside my head, most of whom are screaming wildly “No! No way! You can’t do that! Don’t even think about it! Did you just hear yourself sigh?”. When I talk to other people, I get a different perspective. And that different perspective suggested that in this situation, saying “Yes” might be a better idea than saying “No.”

Now “No” is a perfectly sound and reasonable answer to many questions and requests. I’ve learned how to use the word “No” with aplomb over the years, and must say from experience that it is far better to say “No” than to say “Yes” when I really meant “No” after all (and was just to chicken s*** to say it). Saying “Yes” when I mean “No” is a recipe for disaster, and at the very least, a humongous, angry chip on the shoulder. I’m speaking from experience here.

But this experience felt more like moving from “[sigh] [sigh] [sigh]” to “Well, why not?” I made the choice to remain open to the possibility that something that at the outset seemed inconvenient might actually be perfectly timed given my circumstances (and the feelings of overwhelm that were mounting as a result of those circumstances, hence my serial sighing). And I’m so glad I took that chance and said “Yes”. Tomorrow I might say “No” to the next thing, because I’ve been taking on a lot lately or whatever, and it’s the right thing for me to do. And that’s okay too.

This morning I was rushing to read, edit, sign, and print out an endorsement letter for someone’s proposal. A pretty awesome thing to have to do. My husband asked me what I was working on. The first thing out of my mouth was  – you guessed it – one long sigh. Here I was again, thinking of all that I “have to” do. I heard myself, then stopped, and literally said out loud “Wait. Rewind. I get to be an advisor on this thing [blah blah blah]… and I’m sending them this letter…”

“Cool”, he said.

“Yeah, it is.”

I felt better, less like someone with a heavy weight on my back, and more like someone who is damn lucky.

Thirteen years ago I was pulling staples out of paper for a living. This music publishing company was moving to digital, so all of their paper contracts had to have their staples removed so that they could be scanned. I was one of four long-term temps hired to sit in a room with a long-handled staple remover and rip out staples for eight hours a day, five days a week, for a year and a half. It was work, and it paid my bills while I was a struggling actor. But it hopefully goes without saying that it wasn’t my dream job. My life might be busy now, but compared to those days, it’s Disneyland, Sea World, Knott’s Berry Farm, Christmas AND my birthday all rolled into one. I GET to do these things like write and sign endorsement letters and apply for faculty jobs and write research papers and teach kids about astronomy and come home to an incredible man who loves me (sighs and all). How cool is that?

For today, the sighs stop here.

New website and blog!

Welcome to my new website! I’ve taken a cue from some esteemed colleagues and elected to create my own separate website/blog, where I can wax poetic about my adventures as an African American female astronomer-turned-actor-turned-astronomer/astrobiologist with theater chops. Stay tuned!

By aomawa