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Science Visitor and Colloquium Program
Information for Visiting Speakers
Astrophysics Luncheon Seminar

Interactive Discussion of Diversity Issues in Astrophysics
Presented by Jarita Holbrook
University of the Western Cape, South Africa

Monday, July 30, 2018
12:00 noon in 169-336


JPL Contact: Vanessa Bailey (4-2034)

About the Speaker
Jarita Holbrook is an Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy at the University of the Western Cape, South Africa. Her doctorate is in Astronomy and Astrophysics from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her BS is in Physics from the California Institute of Technology and her MS is in Astronomy from San Diego State University. She is a returned Peace Corps Volunteer: she taught high school in the Fiji Islands. She was a NSF postdoctoral fellow at the Center for the Cultural Studies of Science, Technology, and Medicine, and at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science. Holbrook works at the intersection of astronomy, indigenous knowledge, culture, and society in Africa including gender and diversity in STEM. She founded the Astronomy and Society group at UWC. In 2006, she organized the first international conference focused on African Indigenous Astronomy at the Cape Coast University, Ghana. In 2014 she held the first Oxford international Archaeoastronomy conference in Africa (Oxford X) at the South African Astronomical Observatory, Cape Town. Holbrook has been recognized as a leader being the first African American to lead a division of the AAS when she became chair of the Historical Astronomy Division, she led the Cultural Astronomy and Storytelling Group for IYA2009USA, she was the president of the Association of Women Faculty at the University of Arizona; currently she is president elect of the International Society of Archaeoastronomy and Astronomy in Culture, and previously was vice-president of the Société Européenne pour l'Astronomie dans la Culture. Holbrook was at the National Science Foundation (NSF) in the Office of International Science and Engineering (OISE) as a Science and Technology Policy Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science 2016-17. She runs the Oral History Project of the American Astronomical Society and another for South African astronomers. Holbrook is an award winning filmmaker - her films emphasize diversity and science, often astronomy. Recent media projects are SKA≥Karoo Radio Telescope, Inside A Scientist's Suitcase, the Science Tourist, and the award winning Black Suns: An Astrophysics Adventure. Holbrook was at JPL as one of the log takers for testing the Hubble Space Telescope (while in the vacuum chamber) while she was an undergraduate at Caltech.

SVCP Astrophysics

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