Left to Right: Kaitlin Chell (AGU), Joseph Wang (LBNL), Jean-Pierre Williams (UCLA), Howie Spero (UC Davis), and Charlene Sailer (National Geospatial Intelligence Agency).

Washington D.C. – In September, 2009, I joined 57 geoscientists in Washington D.C. for a two-day event hosted by the American Geophysical Union (AGU), the American Geological Institute (AGI), the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG), the Geological Society of America (GSA), and the Seismological Society of America (SSA). A day was spent meeting with members of Congress and their staff to discuss issues in geoscience. Each of my meetings lasted 15-45 minutes and included the offices of Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), and Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA). Details of the event were highlighted in the publication EOS (download PDF) and the Youtube video below.

Los Angeles – I conducted several meetings with staff members of Rep. Henry Waxman, Rep. Adam Schiff, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein in their local district offices in the Los Angeles area along with other members of the planetary science community. Our one page "leave behinds" provides an overview of the discussions including our talking points (download PDF: 2010, 2012).

Editorials and Op-Eds

"Bake sales can't fund the exploration of space" – The Los Angeles Daily News, 30 June 2012

"Space a worthy expense for U.S." – Daily Bruin, 16 January 2004


"Scientists to hold planetary bake sale to protest NASA cuts" – Los Angeles Times, 9 June 2012

"NASA advocates trade baked goods for support" – Pasadena Sun, 13 June 2012

"The AudioPH[i]D on PHDtv!" – PhD Comics, 16 October 2012


As part of a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant I was awarded while working at Caltech, I designed an educational web page on the planet Mercury to fullfil the 'Broader Impact' section of my original proposal. The page continues to grow and has now been included in UCLA's Institute for Planets and Exoplanets (iPLEX) web page in the Earth, Planetary, and Space Sciences (EPSS) department.


In 2011 and 2012 I designed and taught seven science classes for the 2nd and 3rd grades of a local public elementary school with the assistance of Gary Glesener of UCLA (pictured right). We created focused, concise, lesson plans on specific science concepts or topics based on the current California State Science Standards published by the CA Department of Education. The lessons involved demostrations allowing the students to observe and in some cases, participate, in the science. This was an important part of the approach in our design as non-observable, abstract conceptualization is not age appropriate for the level of development at such a young age and can lead to misconceptions that are more difficult to correct as students progress.

Topics covered:

Physical Science


Magnetic Fields




Earth Science

Rocks and Minerals


Gary Glesener using one of his models to teach at a recent public outreach event at UCLA, Exploring Your Universe.

Last year I designed and taught a 9 week class titled "Exploring the Solar System" for middle school students. Topics covered were: (1) Introduction to the solar system (2) The Sun, (3) Solar wind, (4) Mercury and the Moon, (5) Impacts, (6) Earth and Venus (atmospheres, oceans and tectonics), (7, 8) Earth and Mars (clouds, water, polar caps, rock cycle), (9) The Outer Solar system and asteroid and comets.

Science On a Sphere (SOS) – My global temperature maps of the moon are currently being used by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for their Science On a Sphere educational tool to illustrate Earth and planetary science and consists of a room sized, global display system that uses computers and video projectors to display planetary data onto a six foot diameter sphere to create an animated globe. The lunar surface tmperatures for SOS can be found here.


Exploring Your Universe (2013) "Flash! Bang! Cosmic Impacts into Earth"

International Observe the Moon Night (2015) "Exploration of the Moon from Orbit"