Explore Alliance Ambassadors - Connie Walker

Explore Alliance Ambassadors - Connie Walker
Tucson, AZ USA
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Dr. Constance (Connie) E. Walker is an astronomer known around the world for her advocacy of dark skies education. Inspired from an early age by astronauts landing on the Moon and the original Star Trek series, her curiosity for anything astronomy propelled her to be the first in her family to go to college and earn a Ph.D.

Connie has been a Scientist at NSF’s National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory (OIR Lab, basically your national observatory) for almost 20 years, creating innovative programs on dark skies education and sharing them via workshops, talks and events all over the globe.

She holds a Bachelors degree in Physics and Astronomy from Smith College, a Master’s Degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Massachusetts and a Ph.D. in Astronomy from the University of Arizona.

 

Connie Walker conducts a video interview to discuss the Quality Lighting Teaching Kit

Outreach

While at the National OIR Lab, she has enjoyed managing several education outreach programs for the public, students and teachers on hands-on general astronomy, dark skies preservation, optics and solar research. Three highlights of her job are directing the popular international light pollution citizen-science campaign Globe at Night, the high school science café project, the Teen Astronomy Café, and the problem-based learning Quality Lighting Teaching Kit. (The QLT Kit is a dark skies education kit recently manufactured as the Turn on the Night Kit by Laser Classroom!)

Awards and Recognition

She is past-president and member of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific Board of Directors, president of the International Astronomical Union (IAU)’s commission on light pollution, co-chair of the IAU100 Dark Skies for All Global Project, and was recently on the board of directors of the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA). For her efforts in bringing dark skies awareness to the public, the IDA awarded her their Hoag-Robinson award in 2011.

Main-belt asteroid 29292 Conniewalker (1993 KZ1) was named in her honor by discoverers David Levy and Carolyn Shoemaker for Walker's efforts in educational outreach. 

Her amazing astronomer-husband, daughter (24), son (21) and cat (13) thankfully tolerate her interest in the dark side of astronomy.

Activities and Events

  • TBA

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