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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.

Recently Announced!

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.”

  • About Andy Fraknoi
    About Andy Fraknoi

    After 39 years of service and support to the ASP, Andy Fraknoi retired from the organization in 2012. Fraknoi, who retired from the Astronomy Department at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, California, in May, 2017 also served, prior to Foothill, for 14 years as the executive director of the ASP.While here, he created Project ASTRO, a program that trains and links volunteer astronomers with 4th-9th grade teachers in regional centers around the country, and Family ASTRO, which provides games and kits that allows families with children to enjoy astronomy together. He also organized a series of workshops and conferences about the teaching of astronomy, both at the K-12 and college level (Cosmos in the Classroom), and developed a DVD-ROM collection of classroom astronomy activities (The Universe at Your Fingertips), which is used in educational settings around the world. In the realm of publications, Fraknoi served as longtime editor of the ASP’s Astronomy Beat, a popular “insider’s guide” to diverse astronomy subjects, endeavors and professions.

    At the ASP 2012 Annual Meeting in Tucson, a new award was inaugurated and presented to Andy, the Andrew Fraknoi Supporters Award. The ASP staff will identify and honor an individual who has demonstrated exceptional service to and support of the organization as well as present the awardee with this honor at our Annual Awards Gala. The ASP looks forward to carrying on Andy’s remarkable spirit this way.

Please contact the Awards team if you have questions about the nomination process.