Speakers

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BIOGRAPHY PRANVERA HYSENI April 25th, 1995 FOUNDER & DIRECTOR OF ASTRONOMY OUTREACH OF KOSOVO Pranvera Hyseni - 23 years old, known as a science popularizer, is the founder and director of “Astronomy Outreach of Kosovo”. Currently, she is an undergraduate student of Geography at the University of Pristina. Hyseni started showing an interest in astronomy at the early age of three, while Kosovo was still facing the Serbian conflict in the late 90’s. As a young kid, she grew up in a farm, taking advantage of breathtakingly night skies, which captured her attention. She single-handedly brought the science of astronomy to her community, by developing a very powerful astronomy outreach program. Hyseni managed to create a large network with astronomers around the world, who continuously supported her with equipments and other resources, which she used to provide activities in the whole country of Kosovo. Her organization became internationally recognized, after she was invited as a keynote speaker at some of the largest astronomy conventions and gatherings in different countries throughout the world. Her visits to the top world known observatories, universities and NASA centers, helped her to increase the experience in observing and data collecting. Her career with public educating expanded further when she was given access to work in various projects with the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology of Kosovo and other governmental institutions. She is dedicated to rebuild her nation through the stars, along with her organization team, consisting of two hundred volunteers. Hyseni was honored by the International Astronomical Union and the Minor Planet Center with an Asteroid being named after her: 45687 Pranverahyseni. She was awarded by the Municipality Assembly of Vushtrri as a distinguished student and became an award winning of the 24Under24 given by the Mars Generation, as a young leader in STEM. Hyseni recently was selected as one of the five most influential women in Kosovo. Her current efforts, is to develop the first observatory and planetarium in Kosovo. She aims to pursue a Phd in Planetary Sciences and contribute in science with further efforts.
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Dr. Martin Gaskell is an astrophysicist at the University of California at Santa Cruz. His primary research interests are in theoretical and observational studies of what happens around the most bizarre objects in the universe: supermassive black holes in the centers of galaxies. Before moving to Santa Cruz he was a professor at the University of Valparaíso in Chile at University of Texas in Austin and a lecturer at University of Nebraska-Lincoln. His Ph.D. was awarded in 1981 from UC-Santa Cruz. Gaskell is also known for his work with amateur astronomers grinding mirrors for telescopes. Last time he was at NSP he created an "observing challenge" which was very popular. Martin is also a composer of what is popularly called “classical” music.
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Abigail is a 17-year-old home-schooled high school student who joined the Bartlesville Astronomical Society at age 13 as a youth member, and immediately got involved in outreach. Within a year of joining the Bartlesville Astronomical Society (BAS), Bollenbach became a regular contributor for BAS, presenting monthly summaries of current astronomy news and larger topics such as famous rocket crashes, how to make an astrophotography tracking mount, and Northern sky constellations. Through BAS, Abigail began providing programs at multiple outreach events for local schools, festivals and libraries. Abby also set up and maintains her club’s Pinterest page. In addition to the “grown-ups” club, Abigail is a founding member and principal organizer of the Bartian Youth Astronomers, where her duties include covering news items, giving talks, greeting members, and recruiting people to sign up for the club. For her efforts in astronomy outreach and service to her community, Abigail Bollenbach was recognized in 2018 with the Astronomical League’s Horkheimer/Smith Youth Service Award for outstanding participation in her club and astronomy outreach. In addition to Abby’s astronomical activities — she also writes poetry, practices yoga, sings, is involved in photography and astrophotography, and plays the piano. In 2018, her op-editorial, “From Dolls to Dinosaurs,” about women and girls being successful in pursuit of careers in STEAM, was published in the Tulsa World. This January, she organized members of her adult and youth astronomy club to sort through 50,000 donated solar glasses to provide the opportunity for schools and institutions in South America to safely view the total solar eclipse in July 2019. Also, on April 23 of this year, Abigail was selected as one of 24 young students world-wide to be recognized as part of The Mars Generation’s second class of 24 Under 24 Leaders and Innovators in STEAM and Space Award winners. The group is comprised of young people from around the world who are breaking barriers in science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM) fields and bringing the sciences to the public through multidisciplinary interests Oh, and she works in a biochemistry lab as a nano-particulate specialist and experimental research design assistant. Bollenbach recently filed a patent for gamma-ray shielding to make space travel less harmful to biological entities titled “Quantum Locked Fluxing Shielding.” After her higher education is complete, she’s looking forward to one day working for a space-related company as a scientist.