7 May 2021

Welcome New Education Committee Members

The AAS Education Committee is delighted to welcome four new members, who will serve from now until March 2024. They join nine continuing members, for a 13 strong committee working on a variety of activities, guided by the most recent Education Task Force Report.

Please join us in welcoming our new members, Tania Anderson, Chelen Johnson, Dennis Just, and Hyun-chul Lee (see their brief biographies below).

New AAS Education Committee Members
New AAS Education Committee members: from right to left Tania Anderson, Chelen Johnson, Dennis Just, and Hyun-chul Lee.

Tania Anderson has been part of the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) for over 21 years. She founded the Youth for Astronomy & Engineering Program in 2003, which became institutionalized as one of the STEM local initiative programs at STScI. Tania is also the Chair of the STEM Pipeline Outreach Steering Committee at STScI. Tania Anderson has a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and a Master of Business Administration degree, both from the University of Maryland Global Campus in Adelphi, Maryland. In addition, she is a licensed Certified Diversity Professional. Tania Anderson received the AURA Service Award in 2015 for her continued dedication and ability to make a difference in engaging students in STEM. Her passion and experience are grounded in public and community outreach.
Tania Anderson is very excited to be part of the AAS Education Committee and looks forward to working with the American Astronomical Society.

Chelen Johnson is a high school science teacher at Annie Wright Schools in Tacoma, Washington, and a long-time participant in the NITARP program (NASA/IPAC Teacher Archive Research Program) — in fact Chelen has been involved since it was called Spitzer Space Telescope Research Program for Teachers and Students. Chelen and her students have presented over a dozen science and education posters at AAS conferences. Chelen is also an Airborne Astronomy Ambassador for the SOFIA program, in which she has flown on two calibration flights. Long wavelengths are Chelen’s preferred color of light. She has worked on the calibration of the Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope in Green Bank, West Virginia, for many years. 

The Education Committee is delighted to have an active school teacher on board for the perspective Chelen will bring to the group.   

Dennis Just is an astronomy and physics faculty at Pima Community College (PCC), a Hispanic-Serving Institution located in Tucson, Arizona. After receiving his PhD in astronomy at the University of Arizona, Dr. Just completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Toronto from 2012 to 2014, studying galaxy evolution in cluster and group environments, before returning to Tucson to join PCC’s faculty in 2015. As the department head of both the astronomy and physics departments, Dr. Just is proud to serve the community and works to include college students in the many astronomy-related activities that take place in Tucson, from leading Kitt Peak field trips to co-organizing local symposia to being co-I on a grant that places PCC students with local aerospace and planetary science researchers. When not in the classroom, he is a lifelong video gamer and a lifelong learner, who also enjoys karaoke and has three cats.

Dennis Just is grateful and excited for the opportunity to work with the AAS as a member of the Education Committee.

Hyun-chul Lee joined the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV; located right at the US-Mexico border) in 2009. He is an outstanding educator at the undergraduate level, having received the University of Texas System Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award in 2019 and the UTRGV Faculty Excellence Award in 2020. He is also active in research, having published more than 20 research articles, cited more than 1,000 times in peer-refereed journals including Nature, The Astronomical Journal, and The Astrophysical Journal. His main research interests are galaxy evolution using the stellar populations in star clusters and galaxies. He brings experience working and studying all over the world to the committee: he received his MS in Astronomy at the University of Washington in Seattle, his BS and PhD in Astronomy at Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea, and as a postdoc, he worked two years at Swinburne University in Melbourne, Australia, and five years at Washington State University in Pullman, Washington.

Hyun-chul Lee is excited to work with the Education Committee to support AAS members who happily and eagerly want to share the wonders of the universe with everyone here on the Earth.