I can STEM. And so can you.

My goal is to empower my students to be able to analyze the world around them and make informed decisions. I believe astrophysics classes and research augment a well-rounded education by developing life-long critical thinking and reason-based problem solving skills, while providing perspective on environmental issues, astronomical scales, holistic/universal questions, and a broader understanding of the meaning of life. As such, I am motivated to teach the value of the scientific method as a means to achieve three learning objectives: (1) Learn basic science principles and their relevance to every day life, (2) confront misconceptions by developing critical thinking skills, and (3) cultivate an understanding of how we come to know something through the scientific method, and thus an appreciation of the beauty of the physical world.



TBD. Fall 2020.




Formal Coursework

Spring 2014:

  • PHY-170 General Physics II, Gustavus Adolphus College (70+ students)

    • Combined calculus & non-calculus based introductory physics for premeds 

  • PHY-320 Astrophysics, Gustavus Adolphus College (20 students)

    • Project-based astronomy course for physics majors based on archival and observing projects using 12" Celestron telescopes

  • EDU-248 Science Connections, Gustavus Adolphus College (20 students)

    • Physics and astronomy learning methods for grades 5-12 teachers

January Term 2014: 

  • NDL-107 Adventures in Pseudoscience and Skepticism, Gustavus Adolphus College (40)

    • Evidence-based critical-thinking course

Fall 2013: 

  • PHY-120 General Physics I, Gustavus Adolphus College (70+ students)

    • Combined calculus & non-calculus based introductory physics for premeds 

  • PHY-300 Mechanics, Gustavus Adolphus College (20 students)

    • Differential-equations based mechanics for physics majors

January Term 2011

  • PHY-112 Astronomy of the Southern Skies, Gustavus Adolphus College (40)

    • Traveling astronomy course to Australia and New Zealand, including guided observing at Mt John Observatory, NZ and Parkes Radio Telescope, AUS


Guest Lectures

Spring 2014:

  • ASTRON-103 Survey of Astronomy, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee 

Fall 2012 - Spring 2013:

  • AST-1001 Introduction to Astronomy, University of Minnesota

Lab Instructor

Fall 2008 - Spring 2009:

  • AST-1001 Introduction to Astronomy, University of Minnesota


Students Supervised

Graduate Students

Undergraduate Students

Grace Olivier, 3rd year

Ohio State University



Noah Rogers, 3rd year

University of Minnesota



Ness Mayker, 1st year

Ohio State University


Jackie Appel, Senior

Ohio State University


Mara Johnson-Groh

Gustavus Adolphus College 



Sean Dobberstein

University of Minnesota




Lecture Resources

Stellar Astrophysics:

by Richard Townsend - University of Wisconsin

by Debra Fischer - San Fransisco State

Interstellar Medium:

by Richard Pogge - Ohio State University

Astronomical Techniques:

by Adam Myers - University of Wyoming

by Reba Bandyopadhyay - University of Florida


by Ned Wright - UCLA

by Max Pettini - Cambridge

Planets and Telescopes:

by astronomers - Michigan State


Downloadable lesson plans for use in high school science classes