Meet the Team
Emily Rice and Summer Ash co-founded STARtorialist as an astro-fashion blog in late 2013. After three years and two conference posters about the blog, we featured a showcase booth in the exhibit hall at a research conference in January 2017. Partnering with ScienceBetter Consulting in January 2018 we launched the first pop-up retail BOOTHtique. After ten conference BOOTHtiques in 2.5 years, we are finally live with our online shop! Read about Our Mission.
Emily Rice is an associate professor of astrophysics at the Macaulay Honors College of the City University of New York (CUNY), faculty in Physics at the CUNY Graduate Center, member of CUNY Astro, and resident research associate in Astrophysics at the American Museum of Natural History. She is co-PI of the BDNYC research group, which studies low-mass stars, brown dwarfs, and gas giant exoplanets. Emily also runs Astronomy on Tap HQ, gives public presentations, including at the Hayden Planetarium, makes silly videos, and is co-author of a lab manual for college-level astronomy courses, published by Pearson.
Summer Ash is the Senior STEAM Education Specialist for the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) - home of the Very Large Array (VLA). Formally trained in both rocket scientist and radio astronomy, she’s now harnessing her powers for education and outreach in astronomy and advocating for equity and inclusion across all STEM fields. Summer is also a freelance science communicator. Her written work has been published online in The Atlantic, Smithsonian, Scientific American, Sky & Telescope, Gizmodo, Syfy.com, Slate, Nautilus, and Now.Space. She has hosted and appeared in science and STEM educational videos for NBC News, Disney Junior, and Macaulay Honors College of the City of New York University (CUNY).She is a consultant for the Science & Entertainment Exchange arm of the National Academies of Science and for five years she was the "In-House Astrophysicist" for The Rachel Maddow Show.
Debbie Kovalsky is an engineering graduate from the University of Maryland and started working at NASA Goddard right out of school. One of her first projects was a collaboration with several astronomical institutions to bring refereed scientific literature online. It didn't take long to fall in love with the astrophysics community. For the next several decades the majority of her career has been in the support of the American Astronomical Society, both in technology and meetings. In 2016 Debbie approached Emily and Summer to see if they would like to develop an exhibit booth for the AAS meeting that was themed on their fashion and science blog. It wasn't long before she was helping out with logistics and joining their business endeavor.
Kelle Cruz is an Associate Professor at Hunter College in New York and a research associate at AMNH. She studies low-mass stars and brown dwarfs mostly using kinematics along with optical and infrared spectroscopy. Kelle is also the founder of ScienceBetter Consulting, LLC. Building on the success of AstroBetter blog and wiki, this consulting business extends the mission to include one-on-one consulting services to scientists and institutions on topics such as open science methods, software development, documentation and tutorials, statistical analysis, data management, mentoring and project management, communication, and outreach. Clients have included the Space Telescope Science Institute and the Flatiron Institute.