Board of Directors


Heidi Jo Newberg, Ph.D.

Heidi Jo Newberg, PhD

Heidi Jo Newberg, Ph.D. serves on the Dudley Observatory Board of Trustees and is a Professor of Physics, Applied Physics, and Astronomy at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. She received her BS in Physics at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and her Ph.D. in Physics at UC Berkeley.  She did her Ph.D. with the Berkeley Automated Supernova Search and the Supernova Cosmology Project (SCP).  As a member of SCP, Heidi shared the Gruber Cosmology Prize and the 2015 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics for the discovery of dark energy, which causes the Universe to expand every more quickly.  As a postdoc she worked on the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS), a highly influential international collaboration that surveyed a quarter of the sky and enabled advances in a wide variety of astronomy disciplines.  Newberg currently heads the US participation in the Chinese LAMOST project, which is undertaking a spectroscopic survey of millions of Milky Way stars, and MilkyWay@home, which harnesses the power of volunteered computers around the world to further our knowledge of the Milky Way galaxy.  She is best known for her pioneering work in understanding the structure of the outer parts of the Milky Way, which appear to be assembled by the cannibalization of smaller galaxies. Newberg joined the board with interest in promoting astronomy in the Capital District, and hopes the connections and resources she brings to the Dudley Observatory will create synergy.

Vice President

Francis P. Wilkin, Ph.D.

Francis P. Wilkin, PhD

Francis P. Wilkin, Ph.D. began as an amateur astronomer and received his Ph.D. in Astronomy from the University of California at Berkeley in 1997. His research has focused on the study of the formation of stars in our galaxy, and includes multiwavelength observations from X-rays through the radio, as well as theoretical modeling. At Union College since 2004, Dr. Wilkin manages the Union College Observatory’s 20-inch telescope and teaches courses in both Astronomy and Physics. Recent studies using the observatory have detected planets around other stars using transits, when a planet passes in front of its star as seen from the Earth, with a noticeable dimming.



Paul Schoch, PhD

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





Joan Wagner

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 BA 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, JD, a graduate of Dartmouth College and 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 life-long interest in the Environment and Civil Rights. Following years 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 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, PhD

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 BA in Mathematics at Grinnell College, and a PhD 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, PhD

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.





Greg Nowell, Ph. D.

Greg Nowell, PhD

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






Cecilia Levy, PhD

Cecilia Levy, Ph.D. is an assistant professor of physics at the University at Albany, SUNY. She is an experimental astroparticle physicist who specializes in the direct search for dark matter, the missing mass of the universe. As such, she is part of the international LUX-ZEPLIN (LZ) collaboration, which encompasses ~250 scientists. She also develops new radiation detector technologies at UAlbany. She is very involved in promoting diversity in physics whether it be at the middle school or college level. Outside of work, she enjoys playing with her three newfoundland dogs, restoring her 19th century farmhouse, and everything nature: from tending her many fruit trees, to bird watching, and fishing.


Mary Crone Odekon, PhD

Mary Crone Odekon is 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 structure 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.