Passion to Profession


Rachel Freed is making an impact in astronomy and education. Rachel describes her journey from a high school teacher with a passionate fascination with astronomy to a more-than-full-time professional astronomer. She is now a leader in double star astrometry research programs and edits the Journal of Double Star Observations (JDSO). “I have been interested in both astronomy and education for more than two decades. I’m fortunate to get to work in the intersection of these two interests,” Rachel says. In this presentation, she also details the research underway by people in her research programs, and the new research opportunities created for students by the growth of access to global telescope networks (Las Cumbres Observatory and Skynet).

Rachel Freed is a co-founder and the President of the Institute for Student Astronomical Research with a goal of incorporating scientific research into high school and undergraduate education. She is currently working on a PhD in astronomy education at Edith Cowan University, Australia and is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, working in Astronomy Education and Evaluation.

Rachel has a B.S. degree in Biology and an M.S. in Neuroscience. Rachel taught high school chemistry and astronomy for 10 years and has conducted research on chemistry and astronomy education. She has been an amateur astronomer for over 20 years and is very involved in public outreach. She has been a volunteer docent at the Robert Ferguson Observatory in Sonoma County, CA for 14 years. Rachel’s current work focuses on promoting changes in education that build on students’ intrinsic motivations and interests.


Help the Martz-Kohl Observatory bring lectures, movies and other events to the observatory and online. Please donate via PayPal.