Zarah Brown Awarded Leif Andersson Award for Service and Outreach

The LPL Andersson Award for Service and Outreach is awarded annually to a PTYS graduate student in recognition for attention to broader impacts and involvement in activities outside of academic responsibilities that benefit the department, university, and the larger community. The award is named for Dr. Leif Andersson, a scientist who worked at LPL in the 1970s.


2021 Andersson Award to Zarah Brown

This year's Leif Andersson Award for Service and Outreach was presented to Zarah Brown. Zarah was also the recipient of the 2021 LPL College of Science Graduate Student Service Award.

Zarah has been active in service and outreach throughout her career as a graduate student and the Andersson award recognizes her many service and mentoring activities and dedication to communicating planetary science to the public.

Zarah is a frequent volunteer for events like Science City at the Tucson Festival of Books and STEAM Room at SpaceFest. She has participated in multiple outreach efforts to local schools, including Sahuarita Middle School, where she was part of an LPL graduate student effort to gather and design activities for the Math in Science program, with a goal of inspiring students about space science studies and applying themselves in math classes.

But Zarah's passion for education and communicating science goes beyond volunteering. She completed a Graduate Certificate in Science Communication, which included an independent study course to study and suggest methods of communicating effectively to a range of audiences (e.g., experts, grad students, K-12, general public) in order to make space science more accessible. Zarah put her studies into practice by sharing her experience with others through outreach events and a blog and reaching out to varied audiences---from working on a terraforming project with San Diego grade school students to lecturing about her own research to the Tucson Amateur Astronomy Association.

This year, The Art of Planetary Science (TAPS) will feature a children's art component, thanks to Zarah's leadership and coordination. Zarah, a long-time TAPS volunteer, is collaborating with a local 6th grade teacher to engage local students with the artwork and writing themes of TAPS, specifically the topic of space travel, and encourage submissions to the exhibit.

Zarah’s dedication to accessible outreach for the broader public is perhaps best evidenced by her project as an Arizona NASA Space Grant Graduate Fellow---a fellowship that has just been renewed for a second year. Zarah is developing a scale model of our solar system on the University of Arizona’s campus. Zarah’s scale model solar system will communicate the roles that LPL and the university have played in space exploration and will have a lasting physical legacy that educators on campus and in the community can use for years to come,