Explore Alliance Ambassadors - Prof. Karim Jaffer

 

Montreal, QC Canada

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Karim Jaffer - has been an astronomy enthusiast since early elementary school, leading his first outreach event at the age of 11 in rural Pennsylvania. After moving to Canada during secondary school, Karim graduated with a BSc and MSc in Honours Theoretical Physics from the University of Guelph. Karim withdrew from a PhD program at McMaster University to begin his teaching career -- which was the goal! Karim's academic path kept veering away from space sciences - a frustrating aspect to an otherwise rewarding schooling experience.

After joining the physics faculty at John Abbott College in 2006, Karim finally got the chance to follow his interest in astronomy when the Introductory Astronomy course became available to teach in 2016. Employing a unique student-directed and just-in-time teaching approach, the Introductory Astronomy course has evolved to incorporate current astronomical data and research, including experiential learning opportunities with the local Montreal Centre of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. Many students have had their work published in SkyNews magazine over the past few years, and two groups have won local research awards for their work in the course. This approach has led to the campus embracing astronomy observing activities, outreach, and astronomy-related projects in various disciplines including other science departments and visual arts.

 Karim has been a researcher in physics and science education since the early 2000s, having served and coordinated several provincial projects in math and sience education across the secondary, cegep (general and vocational college) and university levels. Karim has previously taught physics, mathematics education and exercise science at Bishop’s University, and physics at Carleton University and at Marianopolis College. Karim also served as an executive for local community education boards many times during his teaching career.

Outreach

Karim has been the Public Events Coordinator for the RASC Montreal Centre since 2016, helping re-establish the I.K.Williamson Astronomy Library and coordinating both public events and outreach activities throughout the Montreal area. By embracing the partnership with the JAC students, the RASC Montreal Centre now offers a vibrant and engaging outreach program to local libraries, in addition to long-standing support of the Scouts and Guides programs. This outreach approach has also created partnerships with other local institutions including the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium, the Institute for Research on Exoplanets (iREx), the Cosmodome, Student Astronomy clubs from other post-secondary institutions, and other amateur astronomy groups.

Since embracing astronomy into his career, Karim has given conference and outreach presentations on a variety of topics in space sciences and education throughout Canada and the US. In addition to his volunteer position in the RASC Montreal Centre, Karim is a member of the National RASC Education and Public Outreach Committee, pioneering a new program – named Creation Station -- to encourage youth to embrace their imagination and interest in space and astronomy. Karim is also a new member for the Reach Out and Touch Space Panel on AstroRadio UK. Since co-hosting Global Star Party XLV for International Astronomy Day 2021, Karim has continued to present topics at subsequent GSPs and is excited to be an Explore Alliance Ambassador.

 

Activities and Events

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