Teaching & Outreach

The Coit Observatory atop the CAS building at Boston University. Photo credit: BU Observatory Twitter

OUTREACH: In February 2016 I helped organize and judge an art competition hosted by the Boston University Astronomy Department titled: The Art of Astrophysics. We asked members of the BU, Boston (and international) community to create works of art that help us visualize our Universe and how we observe it. The entries were fantastic and the event was a large success. Thank you to all those who contributed their work!

I also frequently assist with Public Open Nights at the Coit Observatory at Boston University. The Coit Observatory is located on top of the CAS building located at 725 Commonwealth Ave in Boston. On most Wednesdays (weather permitting), we offer the community a chance to come observe the night sky through telescopes and binoculars and see things they otherwise might not get to see, and learn some astronomy as well! If you are interested, please click the link above or check out the event’s Twitter feed: BU Observatory

TF award 2017

TEACHING: In the Fall of 2016, I was awarded a Senior Teaching Fellowship by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Boston University to assist Professor Thomas Bania in teaching Astronomy 107: Life Beyond Earth. In October 2016, I was asked to give a guest lecture to the undergraduates of this course regarding the detection, characterization, and history of extrasolar planets. At the end of the year, I was awarded the 2016-2017 Outstanding Teaching Fellow Award for the Astronomy Department at BU!

As a first-year graduate student at Boston University, I was awarded two Teaching Fellowships at Boston University. During the Fall of 2013, I assisted Andrew West in teaching Astronomy 105: Alien Worlds. In the Spring of 2014, I assisted Professor Michael Mendillo in teaching Astronomy 100: Cosmic Controversies.

Participating in these classes and working with the diverse body of undergraduate students at Boston University was a very rewarding process. Here are a few comments included in my teaching evaluations:

  • “Paul was the best TA I’ve had @ BU. Honestly he was extremely helpful, knowledgable, and understanding. He was passionate about the subject and helped me immensely. Gonna be a great professor.”
  • “VERY ENTHUSIASTIC! Great at explaining concepts. Always willing to help.”
  • “He led discussion wonderfully, keeping us on task with good information. He was very helpful during office hours and went above and beyond to help students.”

PAST OUTREACH: While at JPL, I assisted Dr. Bonnie Buratti in teaching a workshop for teachers (grades 3-9) titled: “Teachers Touch the Sky.” This annual, week-long workshop provides teachers with classroom activities designed to teach young students that science is a process of experimentation and discovery versus merely a class based on memorizing facts. I gave a talk on this workshop during an Education and Outreach session at the 44th American Astronomical Society Division for Planetary Sciences conference in Reno, NV in October 2012.

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