AAVSO Volunteer Ambassador Program
Ambassador Program Vision:
Our Ambassadors created a united vision for themselves: to be involved, love what you do, and showcase AAVSO.
Ambassador Program Goal:
To get diverse people interested and capable in beginning variable star astronomy with AAVSO. This helps the AAVSO achieve their mission to: enable anyone, anywhere, to participate in scientific discovery through variable star astronomy.
View this short video by our ambassador superstars on their niches, their contributions, and their why
AAVSO Ambassador activities
(In-person activities are on hold while the risk of COVID-19 stands)
Primarily, be involved in outreach and education through:
- Conducting astronomy outreach to schools, clubs, and communities,
- Creating astronomy education videos for online distribution
- Participating in or hosting online astronomy events
- Presenting on variable stars and representing the AAVSO at conferences; and/or
- Participating in or hosting public engagement events such as star parties and sidewalk astronomy
- Maintaining an astro-blog, and/or engaging with AAVSO's social media content
Activities can also include adding value to the AAVSO databases through:
- observing and submitting data to AAVSO databases;
- analyzing AAVSO data;
- and/or mentoring new observers
- Attend one all-ambassador Zoom meeting per month. If you cannot attend, you are expected to touch base with the communications manager
- Discuss your activities and their outcomes
- Contribute to AAVSO's forum--it is a great place to get answers if you have questions on observing, equipment, etc., or to help out others
Qualifications and Expectations: Who are AAVSO Ambassadors?
Superstars today—leaders in the future
AAVSO Ambassadors are undergraduate or graduate students working towards a degree in an astronomy-related field or actively learning about astronomy, or a young professional engaged in astronomy. Each volunteer Ambassador is expected to:
- participate in the "Ambassador Activities" outline above throughout the year
- effectively communicate why they are passionate about astronomy and the benefits of being involved with AAVSO, with the outcome that their audience members become knowledgeable and excited about AAVSO, and engage in AAVSO science
- be self-directed, and take initiative with their own outreach and education projects
- network and collaborate with others, both within and outside the AAVSO community
- commit to help build a diverse community of citizen scientists
- be knowledgeable about astronomy, and passionate about science education
- ensure their work exemplifies AAVSO's mission and values, and is completed as expected
- be at least 18 years old at the time of applying to the program
- read and agree to abide by AAVSO Policies
Perks of volunteering as an Ambassador:
- Volunteering as an ambassador can be done entirely virtually
- Our Ambassadors are a community of young adults who can “geek out” about astronomy together
- Ambassadors further their knowledge and develop valuable presentation and other career skills through educating
- Assignments can be completed at a fairly self-directed pace, as long as deadlines are met
- Additional benefits
YOU can be part of our team—join us!
Please contact Lindsay Ward at Lward@aavso.org for an application or for more information
Meet our Volunteer Ambassador Leaders
I am currently a PhD student in physics at UC Berkeley, with a specific interest in nuclear astrophysics. I got my first telescope in 2015, and after seeing how incredible Saturn was in it, quickly figured out how to do astrophotography so that I could share its beauty with others! From there I dove pretty deep into astrophotography, which has been an ever-evolving adventure of new equipment, software, and techniques. I share those images, and do as much public outreach as I can! I am also a Girl Scout leader for middle school- and high school-age girls, and have been a Girl Scout for over 20 years.
I am a Translational Research Associate Scientist at an oncology company in San Diego, and a part-time community college student pursuing a higher education in Astrophysics. I also spend time attending social/environmental justice movements, art/music camping festivals, and astronomy events. At home, I enjoy cooking/baking vegan food, playing board games with my family and friends, and researching exoplanets. I am currently learning how to compost, be a crew member of a sailboat, and use my personal telescope. I reside in San Diego with my cousin Andrea and our many house plants.
I still see myself as a beginner in amateur astronomy with an interest in astrophysics, theoretical physics, and history; hoping and intending to continue studies in those areas either as an amateur or a student. I began volunteering in the Canadian amateur astronomy community on a local level in Calgary, Alberta in 2013, and later on a national level until the end of 2019. (I served as a National Council Representative for RASC Calgary Centre from 2013–2016, and as RASC National Director from 2015 to the end of 2019. I served on many committees, as well as Chaired the society's first Fundraising Committee.) Other than bombarding my mind with all things related to the Universe, I am a lover of boardgames and cats; I also enjoy painting, writing, reading, photography, hiking, music, and spending time with friends and family.
Meet our Volunteer Ambassadors:
Skylar Larsen--California, United States: My astro jounrey started with the Boyce Astro organization, where I published papers with the Journal of Double Star Observations and the Society for Astronomical Sciences. I have since mentored students at the organization, who have published papers themselves. I am an undergrad at MIT studying planetary science and astronomy. I am interested in astrophotography, exoplanets, double stars, astrochemistry, astrobiology, and all other aspects of astronomy!
Krishna Acharya--Iowa, United States: I am pursuing my BSME at St. Ambrose University in Iowa, and am originally from Nepal. Even though I'm an engineering student, I have been doing research in astronomy for 3 years. I aim to help my community in Nepal learn more about astronomy through public outreach events.
Christopher Colvin--Minnesota, United States: I have been into astronomy since I was 12 years old, and purchased my first telescope at 18. Through astronomical data collection projects, I have contributed over ten thousand data points to scientific research. I have been an AAVSO member since 2016, and began contributing observations via the AAVSONET telescope array while away from home, but will use my own scopes, cameras, and charts when I get back. With my volunteer work, I believe I have an excellent opportunity to tie in AAVSO with NASA science and missions. I am a degreed meteorologist and environmental scientist, but by night I am a passionate amateur astronomer and citizen scientist. I am extremely passionate about the work AAVSO does and believe that as a young(ish) member, I can play a role in securing the future of AAVSO and variable star astronomy for amateurs around the world.
Devanshu Jha--Karnataka, India: I am very passionate about science related to space and radio technology. I am a member of citizen science projects, including NASA and ESA projects. I am also a member of IASC and SOHO project groups, and discovered 16 main-belt asteroids, 2 of which received provisional status. In college, I enjoyed astro club activities.
Christian Singleton--New York, United States: I have been doing astronomy research for two years and definitely want to pursue a PhD in something astro related! I work remotely with the Grand Mesa Observatory to take my own data/measurements, and use the AAVSO Variable Star Index in my current project. I also participate in the astronomical viewings of the SPS chapter that I am a vice president of.
Aakaash Narayan--Telangana, India: I have a strong passion and dedication for astronomy and astrophysics--I have been working in the field for 10 years, and am pursuing my PhD in Stellar Astrophysics and Astronomy. I am a member of the International Astronomical Union (IAU) in translation group for Hindi language. I work for an astronomy outreach program for students who are in financial need. Even I don't have telescope, but I am working towards incorporating them into students' astronomy studies. At night, I gather people and explain about constellations. I have also gathered many stars' information; among one of them is alpha square CVn's.
Want to be involved?
Please contact Lindsay Ward at Lward@aavso.org