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Theresa J. Summer

Career Objective:   To educate and inspire people about astronomy and science, through planetarium shows, strong team leadership, dynamic public outreach and experiences.

Brief Career Summary:   I have worked in astronomy education and outreach for over a decade, through tutoring, workshops, teacher trainings and public events, such as star parties and community science days.  I performed thousands of live planetarium shows since 1999. I wrote and produced, or created with collaborators, seven (or more) full length planetarium shows. Prior to this, I was a teacher for eight years.

Work History:

Senior Show Presenter, Morrison Planetarium

California Academy of Sciences (2008 – 2010)

  • Scheduled and trained a team of eight to use planetarium equipment and give all public shows, 363 days each year. Acted as team leader and planned monthly meetings.
  • Performed planetarium shows and gave astronomy presentations. Created new content with Digital Sky, Uniview and World Wide Telescope.
  • Coordinated and assisted with public astronomy events at the museum and elsewhere in collaboration with other science facilities.

Interim Planetarium Curator & Astronomy Educator

San Francisco State University (2006 – 2007)

  • Created and performed planetarium shows, set up reservation system for school shows, trained new presenter, wrote operational manuals.
  • Organized public events, such as transit viewings, solar observing, star parties.
  • Calibrated, maintained and prepared equipment for weekly astronomy labs. Attended weekly planning meeting and resolved curriculum and equipment issues.
  • Assisted in software and hardware installation (East Coast Control Systems). Maintained special effects and technical equipment for shows.

Science Educator

Lawrence Hall of Science at UC Berkeley (2005 – 2006)

  • Planned curriculum, shared ideas and carried out lessons both individually and with teams for visiting school groups.
  • Performed shows in the Holt planetarium, as well as in portables for community outreach.
  • Ran or assisted in outreach sessions for 15-250 kids.

Research Collection Handler

California Academy of Sciences (Transitions in 2004 and 2008)

  • Handled, as a team, the more than 18 million items in the research collections at the California Academy of Science. Prepared specimens; arranged organizational systems and safely transitioned priceless research collections.

Planetarium Presenter (Professional Expert)

Orange Coast College (2001 – 2003)

  • Created and performed planetarium shows for 5 seasons, including public and school shows, as well as private group showings for company brown bag lunches, scouting and neighborhood enrichment programs.
  • Composed content, built effects and did public relations. Effectively ran all planetarium operations.

Laboratory / Science Intern

NASA Ames Research Center (One year internship 2000)

  • Astrobiology Laboratory team member-Research on D. radiodurans, a polyextremophile.
  • Wrote and received grants ($250 K).
  • Exhibit Coordinator of “Astrobiology and the Water Worlds” at the NASA Ames Visitor Center – a study of Earth, Mars and Europa. Designed exhibit and coordinated all aspects, from press and planning, to mounting exhibit, and arranging opening festivities.

Morrison Planetarium Lecturer and Staff

California Academy of Sciences (1999 – 2001)

  • Worked as a planetarium lecturer and floor manager.
  • Performed planetarium shows, answered questions, did demonstrations, supervised staff, and explained floor exhibits.


Bachelor of Arts in Physics and Astronomy

San Francisco State University California 2007

Bachelor of Arts in Theatre, Education and Empowerment

New School for Social Research New York City 1992

Special Training:

Telescope operation, Diversity and Cultural sensitivity, working Spanish, naturalist

education, CPR, first aid, geology, chemistry, astrobiology, and general sciences.

Technology and Visualizations:

Planetarium:  Utilized classical and fulldome presentations. Experienced with Digital Sky, Uniview, World Wide Telescope, etc.  I enjoy working with Audio/Visual equipment and exploring current science visualizations.

Systems: comfortable with Macs, PCs and Unix based computers.

Languages: some IDL, IRAF, Mathmatica and very basic C++.

Software, Databases & Other Skills: Microsoft Office Suite & their Works counterparts, Adobe Photoshop, EndNote and Filemaker Pro, email, internet research.

Posted 10 March, 2012 by tjsummer

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