Kate Meredith is the former Director of Yerkes Education Outreach (YEO) at Yerkes Observatory. She is passionate about making astronomy and STEAM accessible to everyone, regardless of ability or background, and keeping the Geneva Lakes community engaged in former YEO programs. She brings two key former YEO programs with her to GLAS Education: Innovators Developing Accessible Tools for Astronomy (IDATA) and Sloan Digital Sky Survey outreach. Kate is the lead educator for the IDATA project, a software development grant to develop accessible astronomy image processing software. Recently recognized by the Geneva Lake branch of the American Association of University Women for her leadership in astronomy education and a winner of the National Federation for the Blind Bolotin Award, she is very excited to share her passion and experience with others through the future efforts of GLAS.
Deb Kaelbli is the former Financial Manager at Yerkes Observatory. She brings that expertise, and much more, to GLAS. Deb is knowledgeable and creative, with diverse areas of expertise. She is a powerful problem-solver, taking on the challenges of launching GLAS using a range of skills from building shelves to negotiating national contracts. GLAS can count on her to keep us on budget. Deb also has a passion for empowering other women. Outside of GLAS, Deb teaches self defense and martial arts. She is a fourth dan black belt in Kimudo. She brings that same discipline and determination to her new position at GLAS where she is helping build accessible science displays for our blind and low vision students and jumping into the challenge of coding with the IDATA project.
You might not have seen Adam around Yerkes Observatory very much because he truly worked astronomer’s hours. Adam joined the outreach staff in 2017 as the lead educator for the Live Show to the Tokyo Science Museum and an operator of the 24 inch telescope. Adam studied physics at Carthage College where he developed a strong interest in planetarium program design and management. He also works part time for the Horwitz DeRemer Planetarium. Adam is putting this interest and experience to good use at GLAS leading planetarium programs with the Starlab recently donated to GLAS by the Door Peninsula Astronomical Society. Adam helps out with almost every program at GLAS. Look for Adam under the dome and out in the community at star parties, summer classes and special events.
The addition of Christy to the GLAS Education Staff is more a homecoming than a hire. Christy grew up on the grounds of Yerkes Observatory and was about to become Kate Meredith’s first full-time hire for Yerkes Education Outreach when the observatory closed in 2018. So instead of starting her new job when she graduated from UW Madison in May 2018, Christy joined the team that created GLAS Education. Life next took her on an adventure that included relocating to Chicago, marriage, and a year in California. Family and friends were thrilled to welcome her back to the area in June 2020. We barely gave her enough time to unpack before including her once again in star party planning and grant writing. Christy is taking on office manager’s responsibilities and is helping GLAS step confidently into 2021 as we take on a more significant role in national and international projects. Welcome, Christy!
It’s hard to decide where to put Katya; she’s here so much that it seems inaccurate to call her a volunteer. Katya has infinite enthusiasm for anything related to astronomy/STEAM. She was an intern at Yerkes Observatory for the last two summers prior to the closing, involved in accessibilizing astronomy for blind and low-vision students through IDATA, being Intern Supervisor, writing code to learn about asteroids, and running nighttime viewings through the largest refracting telescope in the world. A recent graduate of the University of Chicago, she is a 1st year PhD student in astronomy & astrophysics at the University of Michigan studying galaxy mergers and stellar halos.
Yerkes Observatory was almost a second home for Alex. After having spent multiple summers as an intern he then came back for a third summer with GLAS after the closing. He has worked on numerous projects over the course of three years including the IDATA project, LENSS, and the GLAS website. Alex continues his involvement with GLAS by volunteering at events and managing the site you are using right now!
Amanda is one of the unsung heroes of both Yerkes Observatory and GLAS Education. While still an undergraduate at the University of Chicago, she championed the return of students to Yerkes Observatory after a very long absence.
Amanda went on to graduate school at the University of California, Riverside, where she began her work in galaxy lensing using Hubble Frontiers Fields data but never forgot her friends in Wisconsin. She supports student research with the remotely operated Stone Edge Observatory telescope and provides design advice for all our web pages and publications.
Recently she has returned to the area as a Visiting Scholar at Fermilab National Accelerator Laboratory, collaborating with Dr. Brian Nord. She devotes many hours each month leading research projects with GLAS students, traveling to Williams Bay when she can.
Our outreach programs wouldn’t be the same without our engineers. Marc has been teaching students of all ages how to design, build, and program many of our tech projects over the past seven years. He is the person responsible for wonders such as students flying blimps under the Great Refractor and building radio telescopes to listen to the Space Station. Marc continues to help GLAS with engineering projects and mentoring high school students.
The very fortunate day when Chris walked into the GLAS office last fall has grown in significance and importance as the months have gone on. Having grown up in South Africa, he will claim that his motivation was to have a distraction from his second winter in Wisconsin, but in reality, the benefit appears to have been all ours. A project manager by training and experience, Chris brought a new perspective and structure to LENSS. He speaks engineering too! Chris has also proven himself to be a natural teacher. He thinks about the important elements of the projects we do and designs scaffolded experiences to engage new students in the work.
Those of you who know Chris Schultz from his nine years at Lake Geneva Regional News and forty years of journalistic experience, won’t be surprised to hear that we rely on Chris to create much of the text that appears on our websites and social media posts. You can see him at almost every star party or public event with his traditional notepad and camera, making sure that everyone who contributes to GLAS programs receives the attention they deserve, including members of the public who continue to attend events and support our outreach efforts. He has become an increasingly important presence at the office in the past months, helping with everything from star parties to web page creation and cleaning and organizing. His consistency and good humor earned him the additional designation of “ habitual volunteer.”
Board of Directors
Connie Gartner is a long-time Williams Bay resident, the Directorof Instruction at the Wisconsin School for the Deaf, and one of the most active volunteers in astronomy education. She has a passion for bringing STEAM programs to the deaf and hard of hearing (DHH) community. In the past ten years, she has been part of two National Science Foundation grants at Yerkes Observatory, was the lead organizer for our first Deaf Community Star Party in 2016, and has flown on the Stratospheric Observatory For Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) aircraft. Dr. Gartner received her Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and continues to advocate for deaf student access to quality STEM experiences. We asked Connie to join the board of GLAS Education to ensure that we will continue to be a welcoming place for our DHH community members.
Dr. Kyle Cudworth is a former Director of Yerkes Observatory and has lived in Williams Bay for over forty years. He has been an active contributor to GLAS Education since the very beginning, through welcome advice, a quick explanation of binary star system dynamics, or showing up with a jigsaw in our hour of need.
With 20 patents to his credit and over 45 years experience in direct product development, Larry Happ is now extending his love of challenges and engineering to serve on the GLAS Board. After living and working in Illinois, he has returned to his roots in the Geneva Lake area and has graciously drawn on his expertise to mentor students in engineering and design projects. It was Larry’s connection to Acme Design that prompted the creation of 3D molds of the architectural images in the Yerkes Observatory rotunda and entrance columns. These molds were invaluable in providing blind and low vision students with aids to enhance their observatory experience and will continue to be accessible aids in understanding the history of Yerkes.
It is difficult to find a picture of Tim where he is not surrounded by students. For nearly ten years, Yerkes Education Outreach has relied on Tim's dedication as a teacher of the blind and visually impaired with a focus in science and math. Tim is a creative thinker when it comes to ways to apply the latest technology in helping people with visual disabilities overcome barriers. He has been a teacher at the Wisconsin School for the Blind for eight years. He is a great advocate for his students and has contributed his time and talent to two National Science Foundation grants awarded to Yerkes Education Outreach, now GLAS.