Mission & Vision

Reaching for the Stars & Bringing Astronomy Down to Earth

A group of people standing in front of a telescope.

Our Vision

Young Astronomers Discover the Stars
The Dudley Observatory strives to be a nationally recognized center for education and outreach in astronomy.

Our Mission

The Dudley Observatory provides education and outreach programs designed to bring the wonders of science, particularly astronomy, to people of all ages. We cultivate interest and understanding of science, history of science, science careers and scientists, and help non-scientists appreciate science in an approachable and enjoyable way.

All Dudley Observatory programs and events are developed with this mission in mind.

160 Years of Astronomy Research and Education

Board of Directors President

Greg Nowell, Ph.D.
Gregory Nowell, Ph.D., is an associate professor in the Department of Political Science at SUNY Albany. He specializes in international relations and international public economy. His research interests are the political economy of the oil market, economic regulation, and technological transformation.

Publications include articles on the economic history of the oil industry and the introduction of alternative fuels in California, as well as the forthcoming article “Hobson’s Imperialism Revisited.” He is the author of the Mercantile States and the World Oil Cartel (Cornell University Press 1994).

His continuing interest in the oil industry includes the relationship between systems of conflicting property rights, including conflicts among Islamic and tribal systems and the property rights systems of the west. In 2009, he was a fellow of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracy.

Greg is an avid amateur astronomer and also represents the Albany Area Amateur Astronomers (AAAA) on the Dudley Observatory Board.

A man in a hat sitting in front of a desk full of books.
A group of people sitting in a classroom.

Vice President

Mary Crone Odekon, Ph.D.
Mary Crone Odekon, Ph.D., is a Professor of Physics and Kenan Chair of Liberal Arts at Skidmore College, where she served as Chair of the Physics Department for nine years.

Dr. Odekon studies the formation of galaxies and large-scale structures in the universe. She has approached this problem using computer simulations as well as data from a variety of telescopes, including the Hubble Space Telescope and the Arecibo Radio Observatory.

In addition to the Dudley Observatory Board, she is currently serving on the Lever Press Editorial Board, the Education Committee of the American Astronomical Society, and the Board of the New York Astronomical Corporation. She received her B.S. from the College of William and Mary and her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan.


Paul Schoch, Ph.D.

Paul Schoch, Ph.D., is an associate professor in the Department of Electrical, Computer, and Systems Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where his focus areas include plasma diagnostics, instrumentation, and engineering education. He also runs summer robotics camps for children at RPI.

A man wearing glasses and a black shirt.
A woman with curly hair.


Joan Wagner
Joan Wagner has taught middle-level and HS science for 34 years, and today, provides professional development for teachers in addition to writing.

She is the past President of the Science Teachers Association of New York State (STANYS), now organizing its state speakers and grant chairperson. She has been a consultant for the NY State Education Department in several capacities, including the Intermediate Science Core and State assessments.

She has numerous publications in professional journals and is the author of the Big 8 Science Review Book for N&N Publishing and the Learn Science activity book series for DK Publishing.

She received her B.A. in Biology from Syracuse University and her Master’s in Science Education from Teachers College, Columbia University, and holds a School District Certificate (SDA) from NYS. Joan is the recipient of a number of teaching and service awards in science education. She enjoys skiing and tennis.


John Sherman

John S. Sherman, J.D., a graduate of Dartmouth College and the University of Connecticut School of Law, has practiced law in the public interest for more than 35 years. Delo E. Mook, Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Dartmouth, first sparked John’s interest in astronomy, which continues to inform John’s lifelong interest in the environment and civil rights.

Following years of litigating civil and employment rights cases, John served as an Assistant Attorney General for the State of New York under Robert Abrams, where John pioneered the use of computers by lawyers.

.John has also served as a confidential law clerk to several New York State Supreme Court justices. John is active with the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy in preserving open spaces and making them available to the public.

J. Douglass Klein, Ph.D.

J. Douglass Klein, Ph.D., is the Kenneth B. Sharpe Professor of Economics at Union College. Klein joined the Union faculty in 1979 after earning a B.A. in Mathematics at Grinnell College and a Ph.D. in Economics at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

He has written on the economics of auctions, the measurement of economic efficiency, and the intersection of engineering and the liberal arts.

Klein served as the Dean of Interdisciplinary Studies from 2006 to 2011 and has been appointed Director of Union’s Environmental Science, Policy, and Engineering program.

John Moustakas, Ph.D.

John Moustakas, Ph. D., is an Observational Astronomer and Assistant Professor in the
Department of Physics and Astronomy at Siena College. John works on a broad range of outstanding problems in galaxy formation and evolution, with the overarching goal of trying to elucidate the most important physical processes responsible for that evolution over the 14 billion-year history of the universe. He teaches introductory, calculus-based general physics sequence and most of the astrophysics courses offered at Siena College.

Victoria Space has taught Earth Science in the Coxsackie-Athens Central School District since 2006, and in addition to teaching both classes and labs in Regents Earth Science, she also has taught Atmospheric Science and Astronomy. She has served on the Dudley Observatory’s Education Committee for a number of years and initially joined after participating as a teacher intern with the Rising Stars program.

Bernard Forman is a former Associate Attorney with the NYS Office of General Services and a long-term member of the Albany Area Amateur Astronomers (including having served terms on their board as Trustee, Treasurer, and Vice President). Bernard has also served as an Astronomer Volunteer-in-Park for the Natural Park Service.

For over 10 years, Bernard could be found at the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park in western Colorado, offering solar and star parties for visiting public, as well as sharing his knowledge with rangers who didn’t have a background in astronomy.

Lorena Harris, Sc.D.

Lorena Harris is an Educator and CSTEP Director at SUNY Schenectady County Community College. Lorena is a Doctor in Biological Sciences from Bowling Green State University and an Educator with seven years of faculty experience and six years of experience as an Administrator of STEM Programs (CSTEP +LSAMP) at SUNY Schenectady.

She is passionate about astrobiology, and she is part of one of the 25 Webb Telescope Community Host event recipients in the northeast that are unfolding the universe and collaborating with NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and the Science Mission Directorate to bring the joy and love of Space Science to the community at large.