THE GATEKEEPER Astra is Dawn E. Jenkins

I have always been interested in astronomy and space. As a child, my brothers and I rediscovered Saturn using a small telescope. As a young adult, I joined the Astronomy Book Club and subscribed to Astronomy magazine. It was not until 1983, however, that I began to observe the stars through amateur equipment. I had decided borrow a friend's binoculars to observe the moon. In just a few minutes, I was hooked!

Since 1997, I have worked at NASA John H. Glenn Research Center under contract. My current employer is Booz Allen Hamilton . Today, I work in the as a Budget Analyst supporting Science and Technology projects. I've also tracked budgets for Space Operation Project Office for the Shuttle and International Space Station projects. I've also supported thePower and Propulsion Division, the Diversity Office, and the Office of the Chief Engineer. From February 2001 to October 2005, I worked full time on NASA GRC Microgravity Science Division outreach that transitioned into Exploration Systems outreach. My worked covered public, educational, technical and internal outreach and I sometimes staffed exhibits at various conferences and events across the country. Early in 1997, I began work at Glenn, supporting the Microgravity Science Division with my computer skills at graphics, web development and editing as well as assisting with administrative support in the Fluid Physics area. I serve as a volunteer advisor to Explorer Post 633 (Human Space Flight): at NASA Glenn.

Although my busy schedule keeps me from spending lots of time in the field, I can never resist an opposition of Mars so that whenever we start to glide past that pale orange dot, I'm glued to the tube. I keep track of the moon, planets and stars, by looking up every chance I get. And no clear lunar eclipse can ever pass without attracting my attention. I regularly view the International Space Station when it makes passes over Cleveland. As a Girl Scout Volunteer, I support local astronomy and space programs. My last astronomy gambit was in October 2005, when I traveled to the Enchanted Skies Star Party in Sicorro, NM. We observed from 10,000 feet atop Mt. South Baldy and visited the Very Large Array at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory on a tour sponsored by New Mexico Tech Astronomy Club . In 2004, I traveled to New York to get a better glimpse of the transit of Venus than was available from my hometown in Cleveland, OH. My husband and I are saving our pennies so that we can travel to Hawaii for the next transit.

From 1984-2004, I was a member of the Cuyahoga Astronomical Association. What I liked best about the club is that the more experienced observers help newcomers to get involved with the sky. I have held board positions including President and Treasurer. I have also been the Observations Director and the club Historian. I have given various talks and public programs, on the topics of general astronomy, comets, telescopes, Caroline Herschel, women astronomers, orbiting observatories, binocular observing, cold weather gear and Maya astronomy. At the end of 2004, family duties and work obligations caused me to give up my membership of 20 years. If you are interested in the Association, you can click the link here to visit their home page.

From 1985 - 2000, I served on the Three-Member Council that directs the Ohio Turnpike Astronomer's Association. The OTAA is a consortium of amateur astronomy clubs organized to unite the amateur astronomy clubs of Ohio and to support astronomy education. There are currently 12 member clubs. We published a newsletter, "The Asteroid Belt," that served to connect our scattered clubs. I began writing astronomy articles for "The Asteroid Belt" in 1984 and In 1993, became Editor, a position I held until 1998.

In 1987, I completed my first telescope mirror, a 6-inch f/9.6. My husband and I mounted it in a tube and put it on a Celestron equatorial mount. One of the images in my Flash gallery above shows me with this first instrument when I went to the solar eclipse in Baja California in 1991. Of course, all astronomers go barefoot in Baja! I ground a 12-1/2" mirror in 1989 which I mounted in a special type of altazimuth mount, my own modification of a telescope designed by Thane Bopp. There is also an image of me grinding the mirror in the gallery above. This telescope won two awards from the Astronomical League at the 1992 Richland Astronomical Society convention held in Mansfield Ohio.

I have been working for some time on a book describing the accomplishments of women in the field of astronomy. I believe that women have always contributed a vital part in the story of human history as witnessed by the fact that most of our early accomplishments have been attributed to women including agriculture, pottery, weaving and, yes, even toolmaking!

I began to study the ancient astronomers of the New World in the early 80's. I am very much an observational astronomer and I have a great respect for the deep insight the Maya and others in Mesoamerica gained from their centuries of observation.

My interest interest in space exploration began at an early age. As a result I have supported space exploration and development, I have served on conference committees, written articles and helped to put on Space Week activities. As a member of the Midwest Space Development Corporation, I have helped to plan regional space conferences. Unfortunately, this organization was disband in 1998. Our committee brought the National Space Society's 1995 International Space Development Conference to Cleveland in 1995.

For additional information, see my Achievements and Awards page --Don't fall asleep!

All Users are Welcome to Astra's Star Gate on the World Wide Web!

Links to my non-astronomical interests can be found HERE

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Beam me back, Astra!

This page was modified on 11/24/2011