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Edna DeVore receives the ASP's 2023 Fraknoi Supporters Award

San Francisco, California – October 16, 2023 – The recipient of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific's 2023 Andrew Fraknoi Supporters Award is longtime friend, advisor, and supporter of the ASP Edna DeVore, former Director of Education and Public Outreach and CEO for the SETI Institute. Edna DeVore has also served on the ASP’s Board of Directors 2007-2013 and currently serves as Board Secretary, a position she has held since 2017.

DeVore will be honored for her decades of support and dedication to the Society’s mission, including helping the ASP build a national reputation for supporting astronomy education. Working closely with Michael Bennett (ASP’s Executive Director, 2002-2007), DeVore helped the ASP forge a successful

10-year partnership between NASA and the SETI Institute to develop and implement the education and public outreach component for the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) mission. Placed on a retrofitted Boeing 747 jet, the SOFIA telescope collected data above the water vapor in the atmosphere that blocks infrared wavelengths from reaching ground-based telescopes.  As part of this NASA project, over 160 teachers observed its research operations while flying for ten hours at the edge of Earth’s atmosphere. In turn, their students participated in the excitement of these voyages of scientific discovery.

Subsequently, DeVore included the ASP in another landmark NASA initiative designed to engaged young girls in astronomy. The ASP was invited to be a partner in Reach for the Stars: NASA Science for Girl Scouts. Spearheaded and lead by DeVore, the principal investigator, this initiative created NASA space science badges for Girl Scouts in grades K-12. The ASP developed training and resources designed to help amateur astronomers and other volunteers interact with young girls in ways that are inclusive, encouraging, and promote future engagement in astronomy specifically and science more generally. The materials and approaches developed for NASA Reach for the Stars are now part of almost all the ASP’s programs and critical to ensuring that astronomy is equally accessible to all regardless of background or ability.

DeVore is also being honored for the many decades of mentorship she has provided to ASP staff, and especially to women in the organization.  Her advice was especially invaluable to many of ASP’s Executive Directors, including Andrew Fraknoi for whom this award is named who stated, “Not only has Edna been an ally, supporter, and advocate for the ASP, but I have over the years personally valued her advice on many matters related to education, NASA, and much else.”  

Join us in celebration of Edna DeVore’s achievements at the in-person ASP Awards Gala on Saturday, November 11, 2023 at the Grand Bay Hotel San Francisco in Redwood City, California.

About Andrew Fraknoi Supporters Award

Named in honor of Andrew Fraknoi, former ASP Executive Director who shaped the Society’s educational mission and left an enduring mark and profound impact on the organization, the award recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions towards ASP’s mission of advancing public understanding of science through astronomy.

About the ASP

The Astronomical Society of the Pacific (ASP), established in 1889, is a 501c3 nonprofit organization whose mission is to use astronomy to increase the understanding and appreciation of science and to advance science and science literacy. The ASP connects scientists, educators, amateur astronomers and the public together to learn about astronomical research, improve astronomy education, and share resources that engage learners of all kinds in the excitement and adventure of scientific discovery. Current ASP programs and initiatives support college faculty, K-12 science teachers, amateur astronomy clubs, science museums, libraries, park rangers, and girl scouts to name a few.

Through its annual awards, ASP recognizes achievement in research, technology, education, and public outreach. The awards include the ASP’s highest honor, the Catherine Wolfe Bruce Gold Medal awarded since 1898 for a lifetime of outstanding research in astronomy. The Bruce Medal has gone to some of the greatest astronomers of the past century, including Arthur Eddington, Edwin P. Hubble, Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, and Vera Rubin. The ASP also presents the Klumpke-Roberts Award for outstanding contributions to the public understanding and appreciation of astronomy. Awardees include Carl Sagan, Isaac Asimov, and the Hubble Heritage Project.