The Roger That! Team
Bradley S. Ambrose
Dr. Bradley Ambrose is a professor in the Physics Department at GVSU and a nationally recognized member of the physics education research (PER) community. Dr. Ambrose has long been committed to the enhancement of physics education at all levels. He actively shares of his expertise in workshops for K-12 teachers and university faculty, facilitating professional workshops at regional and national meetings of the American Association of Physics Teachers and the American Physical Society conferences. Through projects supported by NSF and NASA/AAPT he has disseminated results from empirical research on student learning and developed PER-based instructional materials on various physics topics. Dr. Ambrose’s work has also focused on promoting science literacy among K-16 students, including outreach events such as Regional Science Olympiad and previous Roger That! symposia. Dr. Ambrose teaches a wide range of courses at GVSU, including those for introductory-level physics students, upper-level physics majors, non-science majors in the GVSU Honors College, and pre-service K-12 teachers.
Amy Coon is the Public Programs Coordinator at the Grand Rapids Public Museum. She graduated from Cornerstone University with a degree of elementary education and minors in science. She was an elementary teacher for 7 years before transitioning to her role at the museum. Driven by her love for education, Amy is passionate to provide the community with engaging events that spark curiosity. Her hope is that guests walk away from Roger That with a newfound appreciation for space.
Jack Daleske is the manager of the Roger B. Chaffee Planetarium at Grand Rapids Public Museum. Jack graduated from Bradley University with a strong belief in the mission of public education. He is a member of the Grand Rapids Amateur Astronomical Association and the Great Lakes Planetarium Association. Before coming to Grand Rapids, he worked as a planetarium educator at Peoria Riverfront Museum where he created new programs on topics as varied as electromagnetism and art history. Today, his goal is to leverage planetarium technology to create engaging and inspiring educational experiences for everyone.
Dr. Gipson is a professor of physics at GVSU, where she served as department chair for 5 years. Her expertise is in physical acoustics, and she frequently mentors undergraduate physics majors on research projects. As a staunch believer in the transformative power of education, Karen engages in extensive K12 outreach and particularly enjoys teaching conceptual courses on topics such as sound & light, relativity theory, and science & science fiction. She also teaches in the Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies at GVSU, and she sees the interdisciplinary aspects of space exploration as an exciting way to engage diverse learners of all ages.
Dr. Rhodes is the Graduate Program Director in the School of Engineering at Grand Valley State University and her expertise is in biomedical signal modeling and advanced image processing techniques. Her collaborative work includes analysis of EEG and ECoG signals to model mechanisms of epilepsy with neurosurgeons at Spectrum Health and analyzing neural correlates of postural stability from EMG signals with researchers in the Biomechanics Performance Laboratory. Samhita has a deep and abiding love for all things space related and her hope is that Roger That becomes the go-to place for space nerds everywhere.
Rob is the Director of Public Programs at the Grand Rapids Public Museum. He earned a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts from The University of Arizona and has been working with informal education for 16 years. He has worked for Grant Community Education, Newaygo County Council for the Arts, Newaygo County Community Services, Boys and Girls Club of America and Big Brothers/ Big Sisters before coming to the Grand Rapids Public Museum. At the Museum he has overseen curriculum based programs, public programs, special events, summer programs, outreach and the flagship education program, Immerse. With these initiatives, Rob has built partnerships with community organizations, trained staff and volunteers and secured grant funding to build long term success of the Museum and its education mission.
Glen Swanson was that kid who was always thinking about rocketing to other planets. In 1991, he purchased his own printing press, lugged it into his garage, and started producing Quest: The History of Spaceflight Quarterly, which eventually led a job as Chief Historian at NASA's Johnson Space Center, then work running his own space book and memorabilia business, Liftoff Books. Glen has taught physics labs, was a counselor at Space Camp, coordinated programs at the Michigan Space and Science Center and serves as a board member of the Roger B. Chaffee Scholarship Fund, Recent publications include historical pieces in the January/February 2021 Michigan History Magazine and the February/March 2021 issue of Air & Space/Smithsonian.
Dr. Weibel teaches Anthropology and Religious Studies at GVSU. Although her early work focused on pilgrimage and sacred places, she has recently turned to the intersection of religion and space exploration. She has studied the religious lives of "space workers" in various places, including JPL, KSC, JSC, the Mojave Air and Spaceport and the Vatican Observatory. She is a member of the American Anthropological Association, a Fellow of the Explorers Club (FN '20) and currently serves as the Chair of the Explorer's Club's Chicago/Great Lakes chapter. Deana grew up very close to Disneyland and spent many long days in her youth riding Space Mountain, the Jungle Cruise and It's a Small World, not knowing how deeply each ride was molding her as a person.
Deana Weibel, Samhita Rhodes, Sheryl Chaffee (Roger's daughter) and Karen Gipson during the first Roger That! in February 2017.