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BS, Michigan Astro ’95 | Public Affairs Officer, Chandra X-ray Observatory
Photo credit: Adeline & Grace Photography
Her Story: Megan Watzke decided to study astronomy at U-M for both the challenge and the prospect of frequent new discoveries. After a few research experiences, she realized she preferred “big-picture astronomy” to the detailed focus on a particular object or result. So she complemented her astronomy bachelor’s with a master’s from Boston University’s science journalism program. She now handles public affairs for NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory.
Favorite Undergrad Experience: Getting a solid foundation in all aspects of astrophysics and learning to work collaboratively on scientific problems.
“My coursework at U-M covered the full range of astrophysics and created a foundation that I still fall back on when I'm trying to explain a difficult topic.”
— Megan Watzke
Current Work: The theme of Megan’s career has been “bringing science to people who wouldn’t otherwise seek it out.” This includes everything from landing a new discovery on the front page of the New York Times to engaging people through podcasts, blogs, and the award-winning exhibition series she co-developed for the 2009 International Year of Astronomy, “From Earth to the Universe.” Unprecedented in scope, this program used open-source educational materials to catalyze hundreds of exhibits around the world that reached millions of people. She’s now co-authoring an astronomical travel guide, “Your Ticket to the Universe: A Guide to Exploring the Cosmos,” which will be released by Smithsonian Books in Spring 2013.