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Kadooka Wins National Award

Mary Kadooka
Angular momentum demo
Mary Ann Kadooka organized the Asteroids and Gravity Workshop held on Molokai November 10-11 to teach science teachers and their students in grades 7-12 about astronomy science projects. Top: Kadooka demonstrated the principle of inertia using a raw egg. Middle: UH physics instructor Michael Nassir used a spinning wheel to teach Kendra Hubin and Chelsea Simon about the law of angular momentum. Bottom: Nassir watched as Michael Kikukawa observed the Sun through a Questar telescope equipped with filters necessary to protect the eyes. Photos by Karen Teramura.
Solar observing

IfA Astronomy Research/Education Specialist Mary Ann Kadooka has received the William Tyler Olcott Distinguished Service Award from the American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO) "for her promotion of variable star astronomy through her tireless and inspirational work with educators and students as a leader, a mentor, and a friend to anyone wanting to learn astronomy."

According to AAVSO, "Mary Ann Kadooka is known throughout the physics and astronomy education communities for her tireless efforts in motivating scientific learning and authentic research experiences for teachers and students. . . . She now makes a national impact with her evangelical educational efforts."

Kadooka's involvement with the IfA goes back to the 1999 TOPS (Towards Other Planetary Systems) teacher enhancement program. Then, in 2001, she participated in the Institute's Research Experiences for Teachers program. At that time, she was a physics teacher at McKinley High School in Honolulu. Hooked on astronomy as a means of interesting students in science, Kadooka soon started working at IfA as a curriculum development specialist and staff member for TOPS. Since 2004, she has headed the annual Astrobiology Laboratory Institute for Instructors (ALI I) summer program that introduces secondary school teachers to astrobiology, and she organized a program that enabled high school students to observe the encounter of Comet Tempel 1 with the Deep Impact spacecraft on the Faulkes Telescope North. She currently envisions a program that enables more Hawaii students to work on research projects mentored by IfA astronomers.

Kadooka appreciates the support of TOPS teachers, IfA astronomers, in particular Karen Meech, IfA graduate students, and amateur astronomer James Bedient. She says, "I have received this award only because their contributions promoting astronomy education have led to our successful programs, which all require a team effort."

AAVSO is a nonprofit, worldwide scientific and educational organization of amateur and professional astronomers who are interested in stars that change in brightness.

More information about this national award:

More information about Mary Kadooka's workshops: