About Us

The AAS Sustainability Committee is an ad-hoc committee of the AAS Council, with members appointed by the president of the AAS.  The current membership includes:
James Lowenthal

Bryan Miller

Julia Kregenow

Todd Henry

Bob Blum

Ramin Skibba

Bruce Balick

Geoff Clayton

Katy Garmany

Shawn Domagal-Goldman

Andria Schwortz

Andria Schwortz

James Lowenthal, chair (2014-2017)
Former Chair (2010-2012)
James is professor of Astronomy at Smith College in Northampton, MA, which is part of the Five College Astronomy Department consortium, and a former Councilor of the AAS (2009-2013).  His research centers on galaxy formation and evolution, starburst galaxies both local and high-redshift, and submillimeter galaxies such as those that the UMass/INAOE Large Millimeter Telescope finds.  He formerly chaired the Smith College Committee on Sustainability and is active in local and regional environmental and political issues.  He leads a regional chapter of a statewide bicycle advocacy non-profit organization and gives frequent public talks on the links between climate change, transportation, the economy, public health, and quality of life, as well as light pollution.

Bryan Miller (2010-2015)
Bryan is an astronomer working on software and science operations development for the Gemini Observatory in La Serena, Chile. His research interests include the star formation histories of dwarf galaxies, the formation and evolution of star clusters, galaxy kinematics, and IFU spectroscopy.  He is also interested in sustainable energy issues.

Julia Kregenow (2014-2015)
Julia is a lecturer at Penn State University, specializing in active learning techniques to engage students and improve their learning in both lecture and web settings. She is active in her campus's sustainability efforts, crusading for efforts such as installing paper towel compost bins in her building's restrooms, and instituting battery recycling in the lecture halls across campus to divert thousands of disposable batteries from wireless microphones that were going into landfills each week. She is an eco warrior in her personal life as well, having installed a geothermal heating system at home, and commuting to work via bicycle and bus with two small children in tow.

Todd Henry (2014-2017)
Todd is currently a professor of Astronomy at Georgia State University in Atlanta, and is a Councilor of the AAS (2012-2015).  He directs the REsearch Consortium On Nearby Stars (RECONS), which was established in 1994 to understand the nature of the Sun's nearest stellar neighbors, both individually and as a population, and to explore their environments for planets and dust.  He is an avid runner, recycler, and motivator to others to refuse that styrofoam ...  bring your own plate to lunch instead!

Bob Blum (2014-2015)
Bob is the Deputy Director of NOAO and based in Tucson, AZ. Bob has done research on the Galactic Center and currently works on studies of massive stars/clusters in the Milky Way as well as resolved stellar populations in the Magellanic Clouds and the bulge of the Milky Way. He is also working with the NOAO team on the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI), a dark energy experiment led by LBNL (DOE) that will deploy a multi object spectrograph on the Mayall 4-m telescope at Kitt Peak for a 14000 square degree galaxy survey. Bob is an avid reader of Joe Romm at Climate Progress, a bicycle commuter (as often as possible), and proud of his 10 Kw home solar power system! 

Ramin Skibba (2014-2015)

Bruce Balick (2014-2016)
Bruce Balick (U.Washington) models the stellar flows from AGB and post-AGB stars using hydrodynamic models and using HST, radio, and IR data as guideposts.  He also works on observations of C-N chemical enrichments of planetary nebulae and the x-ray properties of planetary nebulae.  Bruce has been active an a variety of campus sustainability committees on the U.W. campus on developing undergraduate curricular programs and green practices in maintaining facilities and campus transportation. He was recently the faculty adviser for the Campus Sustainability Fund in which undergraduates propose and develop funded campus improvements of their choice. He was awarded the campus green award in 2013 for this work. Bruce has served as Chair of the U.W. Faculty Senate, Chair of the Astronomy Department, Co-Chair of the U.W. Climate Action Plan, and an AAS Councilor.

Geoff Clayton (2014-2016)
Geoff is a professor in Physics & Astronomy at Louisiana State University. He works on dust in a wide variety of environments including the ISM of the Local Group, around R Coronae Borealis stars, and in Type II supernovae. He has previously served on the IAU Working Group on Women in Astronomy, and the Committee on the Status of Women in Astronomy of the AAS. He is presently serving on the AAS Council. 

Katy Garmany (2014-2016)
Katy's scientific interest has focused on massive stars, their evolution and environment. In recent decades she has turned to science education, first at the U. of Colorado, then as Director of an innovative college level astronomy semester run by Colombia University at Biosphere 2 in Arizona, and since 2004 as a science educator at NOAO. She has managed the teacher research-based science education program at NOAO, taught elementary astronomy at Tohono OÕodham Community College in Sells, the nearest community to Kitt Peak National Observatory, and served as the Editor of the NOAO Newsletter. She is currently deputy Press Officer at NOAO. 

Shawn Domagal-Goldman (2014-2017)
Shawn is a Research Space Scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD. His research is on exoplanet characterization lessons from the “pale orange dot” that was the Archean Earth. He has simulated the atmosphere and climate of ancient Earth, ancient Mars, modern Mars, and a variety of hypothesized Earth-like extrasolar planets that might be studied by a future exoplanet spectroscopy mission. He is a member of the Mars Curiosity team, the NASA Astrobiology Institute's Virtual Planetary Laboratory, and the ROCKE3D team in the NASA Exoplanet System Science network. The ROCKE3D team will apply a GCM normally used for anthropogenic climate chance predictions, ModelE, and apply it to other rocky planets in the solar system. In addition to providing new comparative planetology research, this work will help validate the model's tuning for simulations of past, present, and future conditions on Earth.

Andria C. Schwortz (2016-2019)
Andria is a PhD candidate in astronomy at the University of Wyoming and is a Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Quinsigamond Community College in Worcester, MA. Her thesis research is interdisciplinary in education and astronomy. Her astronomy research focuses on using the clustering properties of quasars to probe both the influence of clustering on the duty cycle of radio jets, and their evolution with the age of the universe.  Her education research investigates issues of student engagement and social justice in studio physics and astronomy students learning to work with large data sets.