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CEOSE - Member Biography

Keivan Stassun

Dr. Keivan Guadalupe Stassun
Professor of Physics and Astronomy
Vanderbilt University
Department of Physics & Astronomy
VU Station B 1807
Nashville, TN 37235
Term: 09/09/2011-09/08/2015

Dr. Stassun is an astrophysicist at Vanderbilt University. A recipient of a CAREER award from NSF and a Cottrell Scholar Award from the Research Corporation, Stassun's research on the birth of stars and planetary systems has appeared in Nature, has been featured on NPR's Earth & Sky, and has been published in more than 60 peer-reviewed journal articles.

He serves as the founding director of the Vanderbilt Initiative in Data-intensive Astrophysics (VIDA), a $4M pilot program in astro-informatics to enable "big data" science from major astronomical surveys such as the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, for which he serves as chair of the exoplanet science team.

Professor Stassun served as a member of the National Research Council's 2010 Decadal Survey of Astronomy and Astrophysics, as a member of the congressionally mandated Astronomy & Astrophysics Advisory Committee, and for eight years served as chair of the American Astronomical Society's Committee on the Status of Minorities. He currently serves as General Councilor of the American Physical Society.

Professor Stassun is Adjunct Professor of Physics at Fisk University, a Historically Black University, and serves as Co-Director of the Fisk-Vanderbilt Masters-to-PhD Bridge Program for which NSF is co-sponsor. Since 2004, the Fisk-Vanderbilt Bridge Program has attracted 50 students, 44 of them underrepresented minorities, and has shepherded these students to PhD programs at Vanderbilt and other leading institutions with a retention rate of 94%. Already, Fisk has become the top producer of Black U.S. recipients of the master's degree in physics.

Professor Stassun was recognized in 2009 by the Fletcher Foundation for "contributions advancing the spirit of Brown versus Board of Education". Professor Stassun's contributions to society are described by Dr. Richard McCarty, Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at Vanderbilt University, as follows: "Professor Stassun has a profile that [includes] leadership and distinction both as a scientist and as an innovator in the critical area of broadening participation of underrepresented minorities in STEM fields. All of these accolades and awards do not capture what Keivan Stassun means to our university and to those who support diversity in STEM disciplines. His passion and enthusiasm are infectious, and he is a brilliant mentor of students at all levels."

His three-year CEOSE membership tenure began on September 9, 2011.

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