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.
Gareth Johnson (Fall 2012 - )
I’m a senior working toward a BFA in Digital Studio Practice focusing on graphic, web, and motion design. I really enjoy designing for the planetarium. The universe is incredibly vast and beautiful and we’ve been born at an incredibly perfect time in history to experience it – right on the brink of becoming a full-blown spacefaring civilization. I think it’ll give us a lot of perspective, and being involved in getting others interested in that goal is pretty rewarding. In my free time, when I have it (and money,) I’m a computer-builder-hobbyist and gamer, photographer, and freelance graphic and web designer.
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.
Alex Maring (Fall 2012 - )
I am a senior at UWM majoring in journalism with a concentration in advertising and public relations. As an intern at the Planetarium I am responsible for writing articles about events and working with social media. I am a huge Minnesota sports fan (I like the Brewers too) and I enjoy playing basketball. I also watch a lot of TV shows and movies. Someday I would like to work for a Minnesota sports team, SKOL Vikings!!!!
I'm majoring in political science and international studies with minors in Chinese and Arabic. I first got involved with the planetarium/physics department at UWM when I was a senior in high school. My AP biology teacher helped me join the Astronomy Club on campus and from there I did pulsar viewing in my free time. I had an interest in astronomy from a young age and as I get older I find myself liking topics involving black holes and string theory. I sometimes wonder why I didn't pursue astrophysics as a major!
Shane Sampo (Fall 2012 - )
I am an undergraduate student studying for Meteorology and Mathematics. After graduation I hope to pursue a career in being an “On Air Meteorologist” for a broadcast station. I am interested in Astronomy and I am very thankful to have been given the opportunity to work for the UWM Planetarium. This experience has been so eye-opening and interesting. I am constantly learning about different astronomical events and phenomenon that occur in space. I really enjoy working here.
I am an undergraduate student at UWM majoring in geophysics. I always found astronomy to be interesting, but it was when a friend of mine showed me "A Brief History of Time"' by Stephen Hawking that I began studying physics and astronomy. When I was a freshman, I went to a few planetarium shows and loved them. My astronomy professor suggested applying and now I am lucky enough to be working here!
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.