The University of Michigan Museum of Natural History is pleased to welcome Jeffery “Buddy” Stark as the new Planetarium Manager. Stark fills the position vacated by the retirement of Matthew Linke who had held the position for 32 years.
Stark has worked in planetaria since he began as a student operator when he was a student at Olivet Nazarene University, Bourbonnais, Illinois. He worked in the planetarium at the Michigan Science Center before serving as the manager of the Longway Planetarium in Flint. Stark has an MA in Science Education and is working on his PhD in the same field from Western Michigan University. He was named a Fellow of the Great Lakes Planetarium Association in 2019.
“It’s a great time for Buddy to be joining the museum,” said Amy Harris, museum director. “He will have the opportunity to rebuild the planetarium program after it has been closed for 18 months due to the pandemic.”
Stark’s first priority will be to hire and train U-M students to operate the planetarium and give star talks, replacing students who graduated during the pandemic. He looks forward to creating partnerships with faculty and community members to expand the scope of what can be discovered under the dome.
“I am passionate about improving science literacy among the public,” said Stark. “There’s so much more to understanding science than what is taught in formal classroom settings. I want to help people of all ages to understand the world around them—and that can be done under the dome and out in the community.”
The University of Michigan Museum of Natural History inspires curiosity with exhibits that explore the natural world from molecules to dinosaurs, a planetarium to discover the Universe, public labs to do hands-on science, and opportunities to chat with scientists. The museum is free for families and individuals. Additional information can be found at ummnh.org.