Mary Kay Hemenway Receives National Award for Outstanding Contributions to Public Understanding of Astronomy

San Francisco — The Astronomical Society of the Pacific (ASP) is bestowing its 2013 Klumpke-Roberts Award for outstanding contributions to the public understanding and appreciation of astronomy to Dr. Mary Kay Hemenway of The University of Texas at Austin. Past awardees include Carl Sagan and Isaac Asimov. The award will be presented at the society’s annual meeting in San Francisco on July 23. 

“I’m so pleased to receive this award from a society for which I have great respect, having served as their Board Secretary for eleven and a half years,” Hemenway said. “I’m aware of their great influence on education and outreach not only in North America, but around the world.” 

Hemenway has made contributions to astronomy education and outreach far and wide, beginning in Texas the late 1970s and expanding to the world level in recent years. She currently serves as President of the International Astronomical Union’s (IAU’s) division on Education, Outreach, and Heritage, and was a member of the global planning committee for the IAU’s 2009 International Year of Astronomy. 

Hemenway served as Education Officer for the American Astronomical Society (AAS) for eight years, and on the as Secretary to Board of Directors of the ASP for almost a dozen. For the AAS she directed a national program to involve undergraduates in astronomy research, a teacher professional development program, and a program to bring visiting lecturers to small colleges. 

She began her career at The University of Texas at Austin in 1974, where she has instructed thousands of undergraduates, graduate students, and K-12 teachers. For 30 years, Hemenway headed the astronomy department’s Educational Services Office. She has been a senior lecturer in that department, as well as a research associate at the university’s McDonald Observatory. 

At McDonald Observatory, Hemenway led education programs for K-12 teachers and students. She ran more than 30 summer teacher professional development workshops, developed exhibits for the observatory, writing curriculum for K-12 and undergraduate education, and worked directly with schools and science teacher organizations. 

More information about this award, and a listing of past awardees, is available here.

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Media Contacts:

Rebecca Johnson
Astronomy Program PIO
The University of Texas at Austin
512-475-6763

Kathryn Harper
Director of Development & Communications
Astronomical Society of the Pacific
415-715-1406