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Isabel Hawkins: Staff Scientist

Isabel Hawkins

Senior Scientist

Dr. Isabel Hawkins

Isabel Hawkins grew up in Córdoba, Argentina, where the beauty of the night sky and a childhood visit to the Planetario charted the course of her career as an astronomer and science educator. Before joining the Exploratorium in 2009, she spent 20 years as an astrophysics researcher and science educator at the University of California, Berkeley, Space Sciences Laboratory.  Isabel’s work at the Exploratorium is focused on NASA, NSF, and museum-funded efforts related to Latinx audience engagement, such as Solar Eclipse, GENIAL: Generating Engagement and New Initiatives for All Latinos, and Cambio, a professional development approach for building Latinx-focused cultural competence in museums. Through cultural astronomy, she fosters science pluralism by making visible The Cultural Roots of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), which has been recently funded by the NSF. The Astronomical Society of the Pacific bestowed on her the prestigious Klumpke-Roberts Award in recognition of her outstanding contributions to the public understanding and appreciation of astronomy, an honor that she shares with fellow awardees Carl Sagan, Isaac Asimov, Julieta Fierro, and Tim Ferris, among others. Isabel is also a consultant for the Smithsonian Institution, a volunteer coordinator for the YAKANAL, Indigenous Youth Cultural Exchange program, and a 2018 to 2022 Fulbright US Global Scholar. Her interests include salsa and bachata dancing, yoga, drawing Maya classic period glyphs, and the study of native languages.