Debra Elmegreen to Lead the International Astronomical Union

Debra ElmegreenDebra M. Elmegreen, professor of astronomy and the holder of the Maria Mitchell Chair in the department of physics and astronomy at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York, has been named president-elect of the International Astronomical Union. She had been serving as one of six vice presidents of the association, which is the largest international organization of astronomers in the world. As vice president, she led a group tasked with coordinating international activities on large-scale facilities such as the follow-up to the Hubble Space Telescope and the James Webb Space Telescope, which is scheduled to launch in March 2021.

Dr. Elmegreen has been a Vassar faculty member since 1985. She was the first woman to become a Carnegie Postdoctoral Fellow at the Carnegie Observatories in Pasadena, California. Additionally, she is the co-founder of the Keck Northeast Astronomy Consortium; an alliance of colleges and universities funded by the National Science Foundation that supports summer research projects for students and shares pedagogy and research ideas.

Dr. Elmegreen is a graduate of Princeton University, where she was the first woman to earn a bachelor’s degree in astrophysics. She also holds a master’s degree and Ph.D. both in astronomy from Harvard University.

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