Astrobiology’s shining star

UCI is fortunate to have some of the most talented, celebrated individuals in their field teach our students. By attracting these brilliant minds to campus, we have built our reputation as a leader of academic and research excellence in a wide variety of subjects – from arts and humanities to physical and biological sciences. One example of an up-and-coming force on the UCI faculty is Aomawa Shields, Clare Boothe Luce Assistant Professor of Physics & Astronomy, who studies the great beyond, looking for planets with climates that could sustain life. She was one of 24 University of California faculty new hires this year to come from the UC President’s Postdoctoral Fellowship Program, which helps prepare outstanding Ph.D. students for fruitful academic careers and has been lauded as a national model for expanding faculty diversity. Professor Shields brings a forward-thinking perspective not just to her research, but to the future of STEM. With a unique background in theater and science, she leads a program that mentors middle school girls by incorporating creative arts into astronomy education. You can learn more about Professor Shields’ work by watching her TED talk here.