Planetarium Staff and Interns
Jean Creighton, Director
I have always lived in big cities where the city lights tend to obscure the stars of the night. This may be why I appreciate a Planetarium theater. I was born in Toronto, Ontario and I grew up in Athens, Greece where my mother claims I showed a great interest in how stars form from the age of five. To me, Physics was the gateway to Astronomy, and so I studied (in the Physics Department) at the University of Athens, graduating in 1991. My honors thesis was on the planet Neptune. Researching and writing about this great planet caused me to realize that I really wanted more Astronomy in my life; and so much so that I was willing to cross the Atlantic to get a masters degree from Saint Mary's University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. With that, I was on a roll, and attended the University of Waterloo, graduating with a Ph.D. in Astrophysics in 1998. After that, I was fortunate enough to be involved in an infrared satellite called WIRE as a postdoctoral researcher at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). Since September 1999, I have been teaching Astronomy at various levels at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and, in 2007, I became director of the UWM Manfred Olson Planetarium. It's great fun to share my excitement with my audience as well as with my own two boys.
Adam Bailey (Spring 2012 - )
I am an undergraduate student majoring in journalism with a concentration in strategic communications. I'm also minoring in political science and getting my digital arts certificate. I am currently an intern at the planetarium to help promote and make it more visible on campus and in the community. I hope the experience I gain interning at the planetarium will help me in my future career. In my free time I enjoy watching the Packers and Brewers.
Matthew Blake (Summer 2014 - )
I am an undergraduate majoring in Design and Visual Communication here at UWM. Astronomy has always greatly interested me and if I wasn’t ridiculously bad at math I might very well be in the field. I’m joking, I’m not that bad at math. I just love designing, being creative, and viewing art in all its forms. That’s why I went into the field of Art & Design. I think that’s why astronomy interests me so much, because you can look out and see all the stages of things being created in the universe, all on a tremendous scale. It’s the most beautiful natural art that anyone can see. Working at the Planetarium is giving me a wonderful opportunity to combine both of my main interests in using art
and design to promote astronomy. In my free time I like to read and wander around Milwaukee.
Taylor Dekker (Summer 2014 - )
I am an undergraduate student at the Peck School of the Arts working towards a major in Graphic Design. I have always been fascinated by space and the vastness that it entails, so working for the Planetarium has been great opportunity. As an intern at the Planetarium I design posters, update the planetarium’s Facebook and Twitter, and help out with the PR. I hope the experience that I gain from working at the planetarium will benefit my future career. In my free time I enjoy playing sports and playing video games.
Derek Jaschob (Summer 2013 - )
I'm an undergraduate student working towards a major in Architecture and a minor in business. I'm involved with co-running the stargazing events at the physics building. I've had a huge interest in space since I was a kid so it's always great to see so many people show up that share that interest. I've also done a small amount of graphic work for stargazing that compliments my architectural and design studies. An architecture degree may be far from anything related to astronomy, but it helps give me the knowledge of how to design and improve the way stargazing events work. Mixed with a love and fascination with space, it creates a job that is not only enjoyable, but very rewarding.
Jamie Kelling (Summer 2013 - )
I'm working on a degree towards Journalism, Advertising and Media Studies with an emphasis on Advertising and Public Relations while minoring in Business. Working at the Planetarium has helped me to get some real world experience in both designing and writing for publicity purposes. I have even gotten to work on some event panning with the staff. When I find myself with some free time I enjoy reading or playing tennis.
Ellie Knipfer (Fall 2012 - )
I am a undergraduate student at the UWM majoring in Biochemistry and minoring in Psychology. Working at the Planetarium, my organization and time management skills have increased tremendously, as well as my knowledge for astronomy. My expanded knowledge and skills I am obtaining from the job will stay with me forever and will help me prepare for my future. After I earn my degree from UWM, I plan to attend medical school to become a plastic surgeon. I have a long journey ahead of me, and I am honored to be a part of the wonderful Planetarium team!
Tom Little (Fall 2011 - )
I am an undergraduate student majoring in I.T. Management. When I heard about the opportunity to work at the planetarium, I jumped at it. I said that I'd even work for free. I get to combine my creative side by helping produce the shows in the planetarium with my knowledge of computers. When I'm not saving the world from evil space aliens from space, I enjoy creating music, the outdoors, and chillin' with my friends.
Charo Martin-Kingsby (Summer 2013 - )
I am an undergraduate student majoring in Physics/Astronomy, however I wish it were just an astronomy major then I could possibly finish sooner. I have always been fascinated with the skies and beyond. For me working at the planetarium is one step closer to my dream of becoming an Astronomer. This opportunity will give me the chance to learn as many things. I love It! I also have a BA in Anthropology, which is my second love. I enjoy other things that take me to far out places like, watching anime, and reading fantasy/sci-fi novels. This is my first step to the worlds greatest advantage.
Vanessa Nicholas (Fall 2014 - )
I am a journalism major with a focus in media studies, and I am the publicity intern here. Originally I am from Illinois, but after a college visit to Milwaukee I knew this was the place I wanted to be. With only a year or so left of college, I am both nervous and excited for what the future holds. No matter what happens I am glad I chose UWM and proud to have done my internship at Manfred Olson!
Maria Pretzl (Summer 2014 - )
Maria graduated from UWM in Spring 2014 with a BFA in Film and BA in Theatre Studies. A spring 2014 SURF grant recipient, her previous experience includes assistant directing Ruined at UWM, Projections Assistant on the Milwaukee Chamber Theatre’s production of The Detective’s Wife, working on the documentary Healing Hearts and Transformers: Dark of the Moon and directing the Midwest premiere of Songs of Love: A Theatrical Mixtape. In her free time, she likes to watch movies/Doctor Who, go on adventures with her boyfriend and write things. She’s excited to work at the planetarium and expand her knowledge of Astronomy.
Ashley Schur (Summer 2014 - )
I am an undergraduate student at UWM pursuing a degree in Public Relations. I am originally from a suburb of Chicago and when I visited UWM, I absolutely fell in love with the city of Milwaukee and I've had a fantastic experience here so far. I hope to one day pursue a career in PR by working in an agency or corporate PR. For the planetarium, I have specialized in coordinating the fundraising events, specifically the one coming up in the Spring of 2015! I have also helped with some designing of flyers and other PR related work. While I am interning I hope to sharpen my writing/design skills as well as expand my knowledge of PR for the work place, and also in astronomy. In my free time I
enjoy watching movies, shopping and hanging out with my friends. I am also a member of the Gamma Phi Beta sorority
here on campus where I serve as the Public Relations Vice President and it is a lot of fun! I am thrilled to be a part of the
UWM Manfred Olson Planetarium Team and can't wait for what lies ahead!
Jackie Smethurst (Fall 2014 - )
I am a senior this year, and am finally graduating in May. I am majoring in Journalism, Advertising and Media Studies, with an emphasis in advertising and public relations. I am also obtaining my DAC certificate, and a minor in political science. This is my third internship so far, and I am hoping to expand my knowledge of astronomy, while sharpening my design and PR skills. I am a strategic communications intern for the Planetarium, and am working on an effort to reach out to all the departments on campus that might benefit from using the Planetarium in one way or another. I also hope to contribute to the 50 year celebration, and help out wherever I can. I am from Door County,
and have an Associate of Applied Science degree in Paralegal. I am very excited about this internship opportunity and hope to make the best of it!
Guy Thomas (Fall 2011 - )
I am an undergraduate film student here at UWM. After graduating, I hope to pursue a career in the film industry as a director and cinematographer. I have always had an interest in astronomy and am very excited to be given this opportunity to work for the planetarium and learn more about the subject. I am the founder and president of Bam! Pow!, UWM's comic book club. I enjoy any and all kinds of art, both what I can and cannot create myself.