The team of dedicated people who lead Keck’s outreach activities include scientists, engineers, and technicians. You can learn more about their backgrounds below.
Jim Lyke hails from the outskirts of Rochester, Minnesota where he first observed the northern lights and comet Halley. While at the University of Minnesota, an Introduction to Astrophysics class re-ignited his interest in the night sky. He stayed at Minnesota for grad school and his interest turned from comets to classical novae—a star that explodes! During his 10 years of college, Jim learned how to break telescopes and instruments. More importantly, he also learned how to fix them! Jim has been a support astronomer at Keck since 2003 and enjoys the beach, music, and sports.
Julie Rivera was born the youngest of seven children in Alhambrea, California. While at Alhambra High School she became involved in Biomed, a program promoting scientific research. By her senior year, she was studying comets Hale-Bopp and Hyukatake at California State University, Los Angeles. After graduation, she continued her studies in astronomy and garnered more telescope experience at Pomona College. The next stop in her personal astronomical journey was the W. M. Keck Observatorty, where she currently serves as an Observing Assistant, a position which requires her to operate the Keck telescopes and aid researchers in obtaining scientific data. She has always been interested in sharing her knowlege with others through tutoring, teaching, or just plain talk story. Julie has made numerous classroom visits through the Journey Through the Univervse outreach program and looks forward to meeting your class!
Marc Kassis is currently a support astronomer at the W. M. Keck Observatory where he works to keep both the observers and astronomical instruments running as efficiently as possible. He became interested in astronomy while participating in a Research Experience for Undergraduate astronomy program which was sponsored by the National Science Foundation and hosted at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in La Serena, Chile. He was raised in Idaho and graduated from Twin Falls High School before enrolling at Willamette University in Salem, Oregon. In between his sophomore and junior years at Willamette, he decided to take a year off to explore what physics had to offer by interning at the Brookhaven National Laboratory and at Cerro Tololo. Eventually, he graduated from Willamette after studying physics and mathematics. He then earned a Ph.D. in Astronomy from Boston University where he studied for six years and built an instrument for the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility, on Mauna Kea. Marc lives in Waimea with his wife and two daughters, and when not working, he can be seen around the big island running, hiking, playing frisbee, or at the beach.
Al Honey is a modern-day Renaissance man who works as a software engineer at the W. M. Keck Observatory. Originally from western Canada, Al enjoys playing tennis, sailing, leading his Boy Scouts troop, and lending his expertise to students competing in various robotics competitions. Al is one of the observatory’s longest-serving employees.
Al Conrad uses adaptive optics (AO) to study asteroids. He observes those main belt asteroids large enough to resolve with AO and then analyzes their shape and rotation. Al is also the instrument master for the Keck near-infrared camera, NIRC2. He enjoys sharing the results of his research and his work at Keck Observatory in general through outreach, including public lectures and classroom visits. Although Al applies the majority of his research time to asteroid studies, he also collaborates with visiting observers who study comets and the outer planets, in particular Jupiter. Al received his PhD in Computer Science from the University of California at Santa Cruz in 1994. He has worked as a software engineer and support astronomer at both the Lick and Keck Observatories since 1991. He enjoys life in Hawaii especially cycling, running, and outrigger canoe paddling.
Randy Campbell’s interest in astronomy began as young boy growing up in rural Colorado while camping in the mountains and playing hide and seek on dark nights. Randy would gaze up at the night sky and wonder about the universe. His astronomy studies took a detour as he studied electronic engineering earning a bachelor’s degree from South Dakota Tech. He worked as an engineer for several years until Halley’s Comet returned for its latest close passage, rekindling his curiosity in the cosmos. After returning to graduate school for a few more years at San Diego State University, Randy became an instrument scientist/support astronomer for the W. M. Keck Observatory in 1994. During his time at Keck he has volunteered his time in the field of education in the Waimea area by participating in various school events and serving as a trustee at the Waimea Country School. Randy is active in the outreach group at Keck and is very keen to visit classrooms to share his interest and experience in astronomy with students.