About

Amy Paredes Jackson has been teaching and working with children and the public for over 18 years.  Growing up in Houston with NASA in her backyard, it was almost certain that she would have a career related to space when she grew up. She began working in the formal classroom teaching science and math after graduating with a degree in Physics from the University of Houston.  While at the University of Houston, she reawakened the astronomy club and helped to repair and open up the department’s observatory to the public again.  After graduating, she attended Rice University’s Master of Science Teaching program, concentrating on teaching earth and space science concepts to grades 4-8. During this time, she brought the stars to schools with the Houston Museum of Natural Science inflatable ePlanetarium. After some years teaching 6th-8th grade science, she pursued her lifelong dream and applied to NASA’s educator astronaut program. (No interview this time, but she mercilessly keeps trying and doesn’t mind entering a contest to do so!)

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(click here to watch a video we made for the AXE Apollo contest) 

After getting married, moving to Austin, TX and starting a family, Amy decided to leave formal teaching to stay home to raise her kids but continued teaching about space by starting Starry Sky Austin: night time educational astronomy classes for all ages. For the past 7 years, she has been inspiring kids and adults to learn about space through telling star lore stories, teaching how to use a telescope, guiding students towards truly understanding the reason for the seasons, moon phases, why the north star changes and the scale of the solar system through kinesthetic modeling, and learning how to use star charts to find seasonal constellations. Currently, she is working with Austin ISD and various local organizations to bring this astronomy program to underserved public school students all over Austin.

Some of her past work experience, volunteering and affiliations include: working for LCRA facilitating stargazing at the Hyatt Lost Pines Resort near Bastrop, TX;  volunteering to teach astronomy concepts to 4th graders with Project Astro; volunteering at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center Nature Nights; a member of the Austin Astronomical Society; teaching adult Astronomy classes with University of Texas Informal Classes; co-facilitating Austin’s first Astro-Camp with the Austin Planetarium; working as an educator for school programs at the Austin Nature and Science Center.

Her informal approach to teaching allows for lots of questioning without feeling intimidated by the subject matter.  We are all lifelong learners.  “My intention is to bring people a new perspective through learning about the universe above.  What once seemed important to worry about suddenly loses its steam when you are looking at Saturn’s rings.  My hope is that everyone walks away from our time together with a re-awakened sense of child-like wonder and appreciation for the magnificence and beauty our universe holds.”

Email me at: amy@starryskyaustin.com

Call me at: 713-825-7978

Some of my favorite astronomy links:

Astronomy Picture of the Day

HTTP://ANTWRP.GSFC.NASA.GOV/APOD/ASTROPIX.HTML

Our future Planetarium! Show them your suppport!

HTTP://WWW.AUSTINPLANETARIUM.ORG

Our local Astronomical Club

HTTP://WWW.AUSTINASTRO.ORG

Learn about a new observatory close to Austin at Reimer’s Ranch!

HTTP://HILLCOUNTRYALLIANCE.ORG/NIGHTSKIES

“Saving Hubble”- a documentary about how the public saved the Hubble Space Telescope from becoming obsolete.

HTTP://WWW.SAVINGHUBBLE.COM

A great resource right out of UT’s McDonald Observatory:

HTTP://WWW.STARDATE.ORG

Print out an easy to use planisphere/star map for year round major constellations at:
HTTP://WWW.HANDSONUNIVERSE.ORG/ACTIVITIES/UNCLEAL/

Where you should get a more detailed monthly sky chart:

HTTP://SKYMAPS.COM

Get updates on solar activity as well as astronomical events at:

HTTP://SPACEWEATHER.COM

Listen to astronomy and earth science events and news at:
HTTP://WWW.EARTHSKY.ORG