Nathalie Ouellette Ph.D.

Nathalie Ouellette is an astrophysicist, science communicator and lifetime lover of all things space! She obtained her Ph.D. in Physics & Astronomy at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario in 2016. Her research focuses on galaxy formation and evolution, particularly those found in clusters. Nathalie is currently the Coordinator of the Institute for Research on Exoplanets (iREx) at the University of Montréal and is also the Outreach Scientist for the James Webb Space Telescope in Canada collaborating with the Canadian Space Agency. She is a frequent contributor and analyst in Canadian media on everything related to space. She also organises and participates in science outreach events from local to international scales to encourage the interest and participation of youth and the general public in space science and to increase scientific literacy in Canada.

Dr. Sara Seager

Sara Seager is the Class of 1941 Professor of Planetary Science, Professor of Physics, and Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her past research is credited with laying the foundation for the field of exoplanet atmospheres, while her current research focuses on exoplanet atmospheres and the future search for signs of life by way of atmospheric biosignature gases. Professor Seager is involved with a number of space-based exoplanet searches including as the Deputy Science Director for the MIT-led NASA mission TESS, as the PI for the on-orbit JPL/MIT CubeSat ASTERIA, and as a lead for Starshade Rendezvous Mission (a space-based mission concept under technology development for direct imaging discovery and characterization of Earth analogs).

Before joining MIT in 2007, Professor Seager spent four years on the senior research staff at the Carnegie Institution of Washington preceded by three years at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, NJ. Her PhD is from Harvard University, and her BSc from the University of Toronto. Among other accolades, Professor Seager is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a 2013 MacArthur Fellow.

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Dr. Robert Cardinal

Kakatoos’ina (Star Chief), Rob Cardinal is a proud Siksika Astronomer and technologist with the honor of being the STEM Coordinator at the Siksika Board of Education. He is an intergenerational survivor of the trauma of colonization, residential schools and the 60’s scoop. He holds a degree in Astrophysics from the University of Victoria and previously worked for the Canadian Space Agency at the University of Calgary as a Senior Research Associate building massively parallel computers and software to search for asteroids from space with the Canadian microsatellite space telescope called NEOSSat. 

He has discovered two comets and a near-Earth asteroid, there is a main belt asteroid named in his honor, and he was gifted another to name Siksika in honor of his Nation. He currently oversees the development and implementation of an integrated experiential STEAM program called STEAM Works for the Siksika Nation. He also is a co-founding director of the IndigeSTEAM Association not-for-profit organization which advocates for, develops, and delivers indigenous-led STEAM programming and access for indigenous and under-represented youth. He is keenly interested in supporting, mentoring and inspiring our indigenous youth to pursue careers in STEAM related fields and to embrace and preserve their culture and language, and to tell their own story.

Gina Payzant

Gina Payzant holds a MA in Canadian Theatre history, is an educator,  an archivist, a producer, a writer, and more. She has held positions at the University of Alberta as a lecturer for the drama department, taught Canadian history in the public school system, worked as a dramaturge at Edmonton’s Northern Light Theatre, and has had four plays professionally produced by Edmonton regional theatres. After retiring from teaching in 2010, she continued to write plays, poems, essays, and produce short films. In 2019 she won the Outstanding Music Video Award at FAVA (Film and Video Arts Society of Alberta) Fest for “The Hand That Picks the Stones,” which is part of the soundtrack to her short film “Just a Ploughboy.” Throughout her career, Gina has produced numerous short films. She will be premiering one of her latest projects, “An Astronomical Moment,” featuring Canadian Astronaut Robert Thirsk at the GA this year.

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Alan Dyer

Alan Dyer is a long-time member of the RASC, and is one of Canada’s best known astronomy authors and astrophotographers. He is a regular contributor to SkyNews magazine, and is co-author with Terence Dickinson of the new edition of The Backyard Astronomer’s Guide (Firefly Books, 2021). Asteroid #78434 is named for him.

Dr. Jennifer Mather

Dr. Jennifer Mather was born and raised in Victoria, B.C., which fueled her interest in sea animals. She received a B.A. in Biology from the University of British Columbia in 1964, an M.Sc. in Biology from Florida State University in 1972 and a Ph.D. in Psychology from Brandeis University in Boston in 1978. Dr. Mather held a Research Assistant Professor position as a University Research Fellow from 1980 to 1985 at the University of Western Ontario. She came to the University of Lethbridge in her second five-year term as a Fellow Assistant Professor in 1985. Since then, she has been a Professor in the Department of Psychology.

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Chris Vaugan

Chris Vaughan hosts RASC’s “Insider’s Guide to the Galaxy” webcasts, is a contributor to SkyNews, Space.com and several popular astronomy apps, and is also co-author of the book 110 Things to See With a Telescope. He is a senior operator of the 74-inch telescope at David Dunlap Observatory and tours students and adults through the universe in his portable AstroGeo planetarium.