Kate Dellenbusch stands in front of an image of a solar eclipse.
Dr. Kate Dellenbusch said teaching astronomy is enjoyable because it has "so many cool, interesting things that capture people’s imaginations." (BGSU photo / Craig Bell)

Meet the BGSU eclipse experts: Dr. Kate Dellenbusch

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Dellenbusch turns lifelong love of learning about astronomy into career teaching others

For most children, the answer to what they want to be when they grow up will likely change over and over.

Dr. Kate Dellenbusch, a teaching professor at Bowling Green State University, was the polar opposite — she had decided her path well before she ever stepped foot on a college campus. 

Dellenbusch was one of the students who knew exactly which path she would take as a professional, and she is doing almost exactly what she set out to do as a child.

Now a teaching professor in the BGSU Department of Physics and Astronomy, Dellenbusch turned a lifelong passion for astronomy into a career that includes sharing her love with others on a near daily basis.

“Since middle school, I knew I wanted to be an astronomer,” she said. “I wrote a note to myself that I think I still have that says, ‘I will be a cosmologist,’ which studies the origin of the universe.

“In grad school, I didn’t quite do cosmology, but I did get pretty close — so that’s not bad for a middle schooler saying what they want to be when they grow up.”

Dellenbusch has been at the forefront of the BGSU effort for the April 8 total solar eclipse, organizing a Thursday night speaker series at the University's planetarium to educate the public about the many aspects of eclipses, broadening from astronomy to culture, music and art. 

In the months leading up to the eclipse, Dellenbusch visited several local school districts in and around Wood County to help teachers with professional development sessions and to speak to students about eclipses. 

Teaching others about astronomy has been something that comes naturally to Dellenbusch, who has been showing off the sky to others since a young age.

“When I was really young, in elementary school, my parents took me to an amateur astronomy club that had a two-domed observatory and some other telescopes outside,” she said. “They had regular open house nights, and I just fell in love with it at that point and became active in that club. I was helping show the sky to the public with my little 8-inch telescope.”

As a professor at BGSU, Dellenbusch said teaching others how to learn about astronomy can help stimulate curiosity about the topic.

“In terms of teaching science, one of the important things I and my colleagues try to do is show how we learn,” she said. “When you see science-related things on YouTube or on TV, a lot of it is that ‘gee whiz’ element, and that’s the great thing about astronomy: We have so many cool, interesting things that capture people’s imaginations.”

On April 8, the University will play host a watch party for the learning and greater community that includes telescope viewing, activities, scientific demonstrations, games and more.

With Bowling Green in the path of totality and thousands of visitors expected across northwestern Ohio, the wonders of astronomy will be on full display for the general public as the sun briefly disappears behind the moon. 

The event naturally has sparked curiosity about astronomy, which Dellenbusch said is one of the most rewarding parts about teaching the subject to others. 

“It’s a normal human thing to be curious about the things around us and understand them better, and I think astronomy and cosmology is that on the grandest scales,” Dellenbusch said. “On some level, it’s a mystery. In a lot of ways, it’s like a detective story that’s really fun to bring to other people.”

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Media Contact | Michael Bratton | mbratto@bgsu.edu | 419-372-6349

Updated: 06/26/2024 02:07PM