Our Volunteer Academic Members

Space Consortium academic members are space researchers who volunteer(ed) their time to help bring together the space community and share multi and transdisciplinary space knowledge, through free and open to all events organized by the Consortium, such as Space Week, Space Night and the Space Film Festival.


Kimberly Kowal Arcand


Kimberly Kowal Arcand, Ph.D., is the Visualization scientist & Emerging tech lead for NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, which has its headquarters at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She is a leading expert in studying the perception and comprehension of high-energy data visualization across the novice-expert spectrum.

Allyson Bieryla


Allyson Bieryla manages the Astronomy Lab and Telescope at the Science Center which is used for undergraduate teaching. She also runs the Harvard Observing Project (HOP) which is designed to give students opportunities in observational astronomy. Bieryla’s research interest is in observational astronomy with a specific interest in the detection and characterization of exoplanets. Bieryla received a BA from the University of Colorado Boulder and an MA from the Harvard Extension School.

Martin Elvis


Dr. Martin Elvis is a Senior Astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics where he has worked on a series of space X-ray telescopes, culminating with the Chandra X-ray Observatory. Dr. Elvis obtained his Ph.D. in X-ray astronomy in 1978 at the University of Leicester.

Josh Grindlay

Harvard Astronomy and CfA

Josh Grindlay is the Robert Treat Paine Professor of Practical Astronomy at Harvard University. He earned his Ph.D. in Astrophysics from Harvard University.

Mercedes Lopez-Morales


Dr. Mercedes Lopez-Morales is an Astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts. López-Morales leads the Exoplanet Spectroscopy Survey (ACCESS) project where she investigates optical properties of exoplanet atmospheres using spectroscopy techniques. López-Morales studied physics during her undergraduate program at Universidad de La Laguna, in the Canary Islands, Spain. She received her PhD in astronomy from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2004.

Jonathan McDowell


Dr. Jonathan McDowell is an Astrophysicist and CXC Science Data Systems Group Lead at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Dr. McDowell has a B.A. in Mathematics (1981) and a Ph.D. in Astrophysics (1987) from the University of Cambridge.

Max Mulhern


Max Mulhern is the head teaching assistant for two courses at Harvard University: ‘Astronomy 2: Celestial Navigation’ and ‘GENED 1037: Great Experiments That Changed Our World.’ He is also a research assistant in the Science Education Department. Mulhern is the creator of “Aqua Dice,” an art project that proposed an extremely low carbon emission maritime shipping solution and he is interested in incorporating the study of celestial navigation into the Fine Arts curriculum. Mulhern received his BA in English Literature from Swarthmore College and a Masters in Fine Arts from Beaux-Arts de Paris.

Dimitar Sasselov

Harvard Astronomy and CfA; Origins Initiative

Dr. Dimitar Sasselov is the Phillips Professor of Astronomy at Harvard University and the Director of Harvard’s Origins of Life Initiative. He is an astronomer who explores the interaction between light and matter. 

Gerhard Sonnert


Gerhard Sonnert is a sociologist of science. He is a Research Associate and Lecturer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and an Education Specialist and Lecturer on Astronomy at Harvard University. He received a doctorate in sociology from the University of Erlangen in Germany and an M.A. in public administration from Harvard University.

Peter Vereš


Peter Vereš is an Astronomer at both the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and the Minor Planet Center. He graduated from Comenius University in Slovakia.

Planetary Sciences and Economics

Roger Fu

Dept of Earth and Planetary Sciences

Roger Fu is the Assistant Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences and Head Tutor at Harvard University. For his Ph.D. work at MIT, he worked on meteorites. Most recently, Roger has been measuring carbonates and thinking about climate in the last five thousand years.

Robert Neugeboren

Harvard Economics Dept.

Robert Neugeboren is Dean of Student and Alumni Affairs for the Division of Continuing Education and a lecturer on economics at Harvard University. He holds an AB in economics from Harvard and an MPhil and Ph.D. degrees in economics from the University of Cambridge.

Space Law & Policy

Joan Johnson-Freese

Harvard Extension School

Dr. Joan Johnson-Freese is an Adjunct Professor at the Harvard Extension School and Summer School. She served as Chair of the National Security Affairs Department from 2002-2010. Dr. Johnson-Freese received a B.A. from Bowling Green State University, an M.A. from Case Western Reserve University, and a Ph.D. from Kent State University.

Alissa J. Haddaji

The Space Consortium

Alissa J. Haddaji is an Adjunct Professor in Space Law, Policy and Ethics and the coordinator of the UN-Mandated Space Mission Planning Advisory Group (SMPAG) Legal Working Group on Planetary Defense. Faculty Advisor of the Harvard Law School Space Law Society (2017- 2022), she has been teaching a free Space Law, Policy and Ethics Consortium graduate seminar since 2021.

Frank White

Harvard Extension School

Frank White is a Communications Consultant at Harvard University and has been teaching at the Harvard Extension School since 1995. White received a BA in social studies from Harvard College in 1962 and was selected as a Rhodes Scholar, earning an MPhil in politics from Oxford University in 1969.

Space Economics

Matthew Weinzierl


Matt Weinzierl is the Joseph and Jacqueline Elbling Professor of Business Administration in the Business, Government, and the International Economy Unit at Harvard Business School and a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. Before completing his Ph.D. in economics at Harvard University in 2008, Professor Weinzierl served as the Staff Economist for Macroeconomics on the President’s Council of Economic Advisers and worked in the New York office of McKinsey & Company. 

Space Genetics

George Church


George Church leads Synthetic Biology at the Wyss Institute. Church is the Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School and the Professor of Health Sciences and Technology at Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He completed his undergraduate degree at Duke University and his Ph.D. at Harvard University.

Ting Wu


Ting Wu is a Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School, Director of the Consortium for Space Genetics, and Director of the Personal Genetics Education Project (pgEd). She received her B.A. from Harvard University in Biology and her Ph.D. from Harvard Medical School in Genetics.

Space Engineering

Keith Karasek


Keith R. Karasek is the Director of Experiential and Career Development in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

Julia Lee


Julia Lee joined the Dean’s office at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences as the Executive Director for Education and Research in July 2014. Lee holds a Ph.D. in Astrophysics from Cambridge University, U.K. (1996-2000) and B.S. degrees in Mathematics and Astrophysics (1990-1994) from UCLA.

Prineha Narang


Prineha Narang is an Assistant Professor at the John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard University. Prineha received her Sc.B. in Materials Science from Drexel University and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Applied Physics from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). 

Robin Wordsworth


Robin Wordsworth is the Gordon McKay Professor of Environmental Science and Engineering and the Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Harvard University. He completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Birmingham and his Ph.D. at the University of Oxford.

At the Department of Aeronautics
and Astronautics

Jeffrey Hoffman

MIT Aero/Astro

Jeffrey Hoffman is the Professor of the Practice of Aerospace Engineering at MIT. Hoffman flew five missions aboard the Space Shuttle, logging more than 1,211 hours and 21.5 million miles in space, including the first mission to repair the Hubble Telescope in 1993. He received his B.A. from Amherst College, his Ph.D. from Harvard University, and his M.S. from Rice University.

Sara Seager

MIT EAPS & Aero/Astro

Sara Seager is the Class of 1941 Professor of Planetary Science, Professor of Physics, and Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She received her B.Sc. in mathematics and physics from the University of Toronto in 1994 and her Ph.D. in astronomy from Harvard University in 1999.

At the Observatory

Anthea Coster

MIT Haystack Observatory

Anthea Coster is the Assistant Director and Principal Research Scientist at the MIT Haystack Observatory. Coster finished her Ph.D. at Rice University in 1983 while working at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico.

photo of moon

Nancy Wolfe Kotary

MIT Haystack Observatory

Nancy Wolfe Kotary is the Communications Officer at the MIT Haystack Observatory. Originally from New Hampshire, she attended Union College for her undergraduate and Indiana University for her graduate degree.

Michael Hecht

MIT Haystack Observatory

Michael Hecht is Associate Director at the MIT Haystack Observatory. His current focus is on the Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration, where he is Deputy Project Director, and on MOXIE, as principal investigator.

At the Media Lab

Dava Newman

MIT Media Lab

Dr. Dava Newman is a Professor in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics and Engineering Systems at MIT and affiliate faculty in the Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology Program. Newman earned her Ph.D. in aerospace biomedical engineering, Master of Science degrees in aerospace engineering and technology and policy all from MIT, and her Bachelor of Science degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Notre Dame.

Ariel Ekblaw

MIT Media Lab, Space Exploration Initiative

Ariel Ekblaw is the founder and Director of the MIT Space Exploration Initiative. Ariel brings a humanist approach to her research at MIT, with undergraduate degrees in Physics, Mathematics, and Philosophy from Yale University, and a master’s in distributed systems from the MIT Media Lab

Danielle Wood

MIT Media Lab

Professor Danielle Wood serves as an Assistant Professor in the Program in Media Arts & Sciences and holds a joint appointment in the Department of Aeronautics & Astronautics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Wood studied at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she earned a Ph.D. in engineering systems, SM in aeronautics and astronautics, SM in technology policy, and SB in aerospace engineering.

At the Museum

Deborah Douglas

MIT Museum

Deborah G. Douglas is Curator of Science and Technology at the MIT Museum. She received her A.B. in history from Wellesley College and holds A.M. and Ph.D. degrees in the History and Sociology of Science from the University of Pennsylvania.

At Framingham

Irene Porro

Framingham University

Dr. Irene Porro is the Direc­tor of the Christa Corrigan McAuliffe Center for Inte­grated Science Learning at Framingham State Univer­sity. A professional scientist with a deep commitment to social justice, in her work Dr. Porro combines research skills in physics and astro­physics with an interdisci­plinary approach to educa­tion to promote equity and diversity in STEM fields.

Vandana Singh

Framingham University

Vandana Singh is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Physics and Earth Science at Framingham State University. She is a science fiction writer with a Ph.D. in particle physics.

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