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Associate Director for Science and Public Outreach
Joan Schmelz works for Universities Space Research Association (USRA) and currently serves as the SOFIA Associate Director for Science and Public Outreach at NASA Ames. She was honored in 2015 as one of Nature’s top ten people who made a difference in science for her work fighting sexual harassment. Before joining to SOFIA team, she was the deputy director of the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico and a program officer for the National Science Foundation's Division of Astronomical Sciences. She is also the former chair of the American Astronomical Society's Committee on the Status of Women in Astronomy. She was a professor at University of Memphis for over 20 years where she recently resigned her tenured position. During that time, she was a regular visitor to the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, where she worked with multiple colleagues developing observational constraints to test models of solar coronal heating. Schmelz has published papers on a variety of astronomical topics including stars, galaxies, interstellar matter, the cosmic microwave background, and the Sun using data from ground- and space-based telescopes at every band of the electromagnetic spectrum (except gamma rays). She also writes regular posts for the Women in Astronomy BlogSpot on topics such as unconscious bias, stereotype threat, and the gender gap.