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Alumnus Update: Anna Spitz


Anna Spitz


Anna H. Spitz earned her Ph.D. from Geosciences/LPL in 1991, working with Bill Boynton. The title of her dissertation is “Trace element analysis of ureilite meteorites and implications for their petrogenesis.”


Since completing her Ph.D. in 1991, Anna Spitz has not analyzed one ureilite. Although she never really left planetary science all together---teaching astronomy and writing about astronomical topics over the last twenty years---her interests brought her back full-time to planetary science starting in 2010---this time as a translator of science rather than as a researcher.


As she finished her ureilite research in the early 1990s, Spitz returned to business pursuits in the private sector and became one of the founders of a Tucson-based environmental consulting company and spent the next ten years full-time in the environmental field doing research, business, education and community work. After selling her share of Zenitech Corporation in 1991, she joined a firm specializing in occupational safety and health and then became the Coordinator of the Tucson/Pima County Household Hazardous Waste Program. In 1994 Ann Marie Wolf and she began the Sonora Environmental Research Institute (SERI), where they undertook research (leading to a patent for a cleanser made of recycled glass), education and community outreach. SERI is now well-known for its innovative and community-defined environmental programs in southern Arizona. Spitz remains on the SERI board.


In 2000, Spitz returned to the University of Arizona at Steward Observatory. Working in the Director’s office she participated in management of various projects. As in the private sector, starting new ventures and incorporating research into the public sphere continued to engage Spitz and over the next ten years, she helped launch and establish the Center for Astrobiology, Arizona Water Institute and the Mt. Lemmon SkyCenter programs at the University of Arizona.

In 2010, Spitz joined the OSIRIS-REx asteroid sample return mission team led by Principal Investigator (PI), Michael Drake and Deputy PI (DPI), Dante Lauretta as Education and Public Outreach (E/PO) lead. This is a wonderful fit and she is very happy for the opportunity to be the E/PO Lead for this NASA New Frontiers Mission working with the outstanding team now led by Lauretta with DPI Ed Beshore. “This opportunity allows me to engage in the science, which so captivated me as a student at LPL, while indulging my passion for translating science to the general public and students. It’s great to be back at LPL working with new colleagues and former-now-current colleagues.”

FALL 2012

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