NASA Astrophysicist Dr. Amber Straughn to Speak


The University of Arkansas Community College at Morrilton (UACCM) is excited to bring NASA astrophysicist Dr. Amber Straughn to Morrilton for a special presentation on Friday, April 5, at 9:30 a.m. at Morrilton High School’s Devil Dog Arena. The event co-sponsored by Petit Jean State Bank and is free and open to the public.

UACCM encourages area schools to bring students to this dynamic presentation as anticipation builds for the April 8 total eclipse. Dr. Straughn is a native of Bee Branch, AR, is a graduate of South Side Bee Branch High School, and credits growing up under the dark skies of rural Arkansas to her early interest in astronomy. 

Straughn is an astrophysicist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD, where she serves as the Associate Director of the Astrophysics Science Division and serves as the Deputy Project Scientist for the James Webb Space Telescope Science Communications. She earned her B.S. in Physics from the University of Arkansas in 2002 and went on to obtain a Ph.D. in Physics at Arizona State University in 2008.  

The James Webb Space Telescope is the largest, most complex off-Earth observatory in the world. It lifted off on Christmas Day of 2021 and is now 1 million miles away from Earth where it is capturing and sending back incredible images of the universe.

Staughn is an accomplished public speaker and has appeared on CBS 60 Minutes, PBS NOVA, The Discovery Channel, The Science Channel, NatGeo, and in a segment on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.  She was recently profiled in AY magazine. When she isn't thinking about space, Amber enjoys hiking, yoga, live music, flying her Cessna Skylane with her husband Matt, and playing with her two Great Danes.

School officials who wish to bring groups of students should contact UACCM director of marketing and public relations Mary Clark at (501) 977-2011 or clark@uaccm.edu. UACCM will accommodate groups by developing a seating chart for the individuals from specific schools to sit together.  

More information on this program and other UACCM eclipse-related activities is available at www.uaccm.edu/eclipse.

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