Science and astronomy educator Edna DeVore is the Deputy CEO and the Director of Education and Public Outreach (EPO) at the SETI Institute. She’s been a researcher, planetarium director, teacher, and curriculum writer, and currently is busy with projects related to education and SETI. Notable among these are the “Life in the Universe” curriculum materials for students in grades 3-9 and a new high school course, “Voyages Through Time”. Edna also co-directs the education and public outreach programs for two NASA missions: SOFIA and Kepler. SOFIA (Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy) is a modified 747 commercial jet that will carry a large (2.5 m) telescope up to 45,000 feet to observe the universe in infrared wavelengths – a part of the spectrum which cannot be seen from the ground. The Kepler Mission is a space-based telescope that will hunt for Earth-sized planets in orbit about Sun-like stars.
Edna says she was fascinated by the sky in the summers of her childhood near California’s Sierra Nevada mountains. Brilliant stars and the glittering Milky Way shimmered overhead from her front yard, unsullied by street lights. The sky was a part of the evening’s entertainment. Then, as an undergraduate, she took physics and encountered astronomy. That led Edna to work in planetariums, further education, and eventually her current work at the Institute. Now she’s bringing the excitement and knowledge of science to new generations. It’s hard to think of anything more important.