ACEAP Leadership Team
Tim Spuck (202-462-5285) is PI for the ACEAP project, and is the STEM Education Development Officer for AUI embedded at NRAO. Prior to this role, he spent 25 years teaching high school and college classes in earth and space sciences, and served as a K–12 Science Department Chairperson and Planetarium Manager at Oil City High School. Tim has also been deeply involved in the amateur astronomy community, serving as the co-founder and president for the Oil Region Astronomical Society in NW Pennsylvania. He has led initiatives to construct a community observatory as well as an internationally based robotic telescope in Australia, a variety of student astronomy research projects, teacher enhancement programs, and curriculum development initiatives. His work in science/astronomy outreach has taken him to Chile, Japan, Greenland, and Antarctica. He led the initial amateur astronomy visit to Chile in October 2013 to explore the idea of creating the Ambassador’s Program.
Charles Blue, ACEAP co-PI, is public information officer for the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, publicizing the science results and technology milestones for the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) and the Green Bank Telescope (GBT). He has more than 20 years of strategic communications experience in science, engineering, and technology. Charles has worked as the director of media services at the American Institute of Physics. He also served as the Writer/Editor for the National Science Foundation’s Directorate for Engineering and the media relations specialist for the Thirty Meter Telescope Project. Charles is also the former president of the D.C. Science Writers Association. He has lived in the Costa del Sol in Spain and routinely travels to Chile to serve as a liaison and escort for media representatives visiting the ALMA telescope.
Peter Michaud manages Gemini Observatory’s Public Information and Outreach (PIO) offices (both Hawai‘i and Chile) from the observatory’s headquarters in Hilo, Hawai‘i. Prior to taking the helm of Gemini’s PIO effort almost 16 years ago, Peter managed the Bishop Museum’s planetarium in Honolulu. During his tenure of nearly a decade at Bishop Museum, notable “high-points” included leading a film crew to the summit of Mauna Kea for the 2001 total solar eclipse, followed by a public eclipse tour to South America in 2004. In addition to his admitted eclipse addiction, Peter is passionate about science education and inspiring students to pursue STEM careers. He also enjoys amateur telescope making, climbing unreasonably long hills on his bicycle, and striving for unobtainable perfection as an audiophile. Peter has two children, whom he is proud to say aren’t afraid of their inner-nerds. He dreams that his offspring will follow in his footsteps and earn degrees in one of the STEM fields — like his B.S. degree in meteorology (augmented by secondary teaching certification in physical science education).
Stephen Pompea is an innovative teacher, inventor, and scientist. He did his Ph.D. in astronomy at the University of Arizona. He served as instrument scientist for the NASA NICMOS instrument for the Hubble Space Telescope and as infrared instrument scientist for the Gemini 8-meter telescopes project. He has been a leader of many NSF-funded national science education projects in the areas of instructional materials development, public programs, informal science education, teacher and student research, and teacher professional development. In 2011 Dr. Pompea was awarded the Esther Hoffman Beller Medal from the Optical Society of America for his contributions to optical sciences education and especially for his work in creating the Galileoscope student telescope kit. He is a Fellow of SPIE and the Optical Society of America. He leads education and public outreach programs at the National Optical Astronomy Observatory. He was named as the first NOAO Observatory Scientist in 2014.
Valeria Foncea is the Education and Public Outreach Officer for the ALMA Observatory. She holds a Journalism degree from the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, and a Master’s degree in Strategic Communications from the Universidad Adolfo Ibañez. She has extensive experience in television and was recognized for her reporting related to science, technology and environmental issues for Televisión Nacional de Chile (TVN). She began her career as an international correspondent based in the United States, then moved to Chile where she continued to report international news as well as collaborate with CNN International. She has worked as Communications Officer for the United Nations for Development Program (UNDP), as Press Manager for European Southern Observatory (ESO).
Leonor Opazo is responsible for the administration matters relating the total functioning of the observatory. Since 2006 she has lead the development of the highly acclaimed NOAO’s education and public outreach program in Chile. Responsible for the implementation of a strategic plan for education and public outreach evaluated yearly by a national committee of US science education experts. Responsible for the creation and management of facilities and programs such as “CADIAS” (Centro de Apoyo a la Didáctica de la Astronomía – Astronomy Teaching Support Center), a unique science education center located in the community of Altovalsol, near La Serena. Also responsible for the “CTIO-Visitor Center” functioning in the “Blanco” 4-m telescope since the early 70’s, “Chile Dark Sky Education Program”, serving nearly a hundred schools, and the “Teaching with Galileoscopes Project”, among many other astronomy informal education projects.”
Juan Seguel is the Coordinator of EPO and Engineer & Science Education at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO).
Manual Paredes is a journalist from Chile with a wide experience in documenting and producing visual content about engineering processes and technical milestones related to telescopes and astronomy. Originally based in Santiago as a reporter for agency news and other media agencies, he received a Major in Journalism and a BA in Social Communications at Universidad Nacional Andrés Bello. Also, he was part of the IESL program of the University of Lousville, and other social media management trainings at UC Berkley. Currently he is leading the Public Information Office of Gemini South and, at the same time, is working in the production and writing of the first Chilean book about Astrophotography, financed by the Consejo de la Cultura y las Artes of the Chilean Government.