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Student Assistants - Biography

Lauren Lippiello

Erika Offerdahl

Chad Kishimoto

Abigail Ross

Paul Rozumski

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Lauren is a student (1999/2000/2001) at the University of Arizona, having transferred from the University of Hawaii after her freshman year. She graduated from Horizon high school in Scottsdale Arizona in 1998. In high school she was actively involved with swimming, teaching swimming lessons and serving as a lifeguard. She is also a marathon runner, having just completed her first marathon. Lauren is also active in theater. Lauren got interested in astronomy by looking through her home telescope at night with her dad, and through her interests in science fiction and fantasy. She is currently an archaeology major, and she intends to pursue graduate school in archaeoastronomy.

Erika Offerdahl (TOPS 2000, 2001) is graduating with highest distinction from Montana State University in May 2001 with a degree in Directed Interdisciplinary Studies (Astrobiology) and a degree in Modern Languages-Spanish. At MSU, Erika worked as a research assistant for the NASA/CERES (Center for Educational Resources) program by developing K-12 astrobiology curriculum. In her spare time, Erika enjoys performing in theatre, working with children and elders in her community, and serving as a student ambassador for MSU. Erika was recently awarded a "Women of Excellence" award from the Women's Center at MSU, recognizing her leadership, academic achievement, and commitment to improving the community as an outstanding senior woman. Erika's interest in astronomy began as a very young girl growing up in the Big Sky Country of Montana where she spent countless summer nights camping underneath the stars.

Chad Kishimoto (2001) is a sophomore (2000/2001) at the California Institute of Technology pursuing his bachelor's degree in physics. He is a graduate of Roosevelt High School and was a participant in the 1999 TOPS workshop. During his spare time, Chad enjoys music and sports. His current music interests include playing the French horn and guitar, and his position as cofounder and music director of the Caltech Pep Band. Chad's interest in astronomy began during his studies for the Hawaii Regional Science Bowl, and was strengthened through his experiences in the TOPS workshop. He continues to take classes in astronomy, and has developed an interest in cosmology and astrophysics.

Abbi is a sophomore (1999/2000) at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. She grew up in Kona and is interested in international communications, astronomy and people. Abbi participated in the TOPS camp in 1995, and then went on to go to Space Camp in Alabama. In high school, she was actively involved in student government, club leadership and swimming. This past year, she was a part of a HEDS-UP team (Human Exploration and Development - University Partners) which won fourth place in a NASA competition for their proposal of a new Mars space suit. In August, Abbi will be working as an intern in Senator Ashcroft's office in Washington DC. Abbi loves relaxing at the beach, hiking and swimming. Abbi was an assistant in 1999.

Paul is a recent (1999) political science graduate from the University of Hawaii and a newly commissioned second lieutenant in the Unites States Air Force. His time at UH was primarily devoted to Air Force ROTC and military events around the island of Oahu. As an undergraduate, he served as a teaching assistant and took astronomy courses, the most recent from TOPS program director Professor Karen Meech, that focused on planetary exogenic and endogenic forces and the possibilities of extraterrestrial life. As a pilot in the Air Force, Paul plans to use this experience in his graduate studies in astronomy to eventually become an astronaut. In his spare time he enjoys photography, sports, and assembling computers. Paul was an assistant in 1999.


Last Updated on April 7, 2001

Karen Meech, Institute for Astronomy, University of Hawaii
meech@.ifa.hawaii.edu