Cherilynn Morrow

Aspen Global Change Institute (AGCI)
Sr. Research Fellow
Cherilynn Morrow Image

Cherilynn Morrow earned a BS in Physics (with minor in French) from George Mason University in 1981, and a PhD in Astrophysical, Planetary and Atmospheric Sciences from the University of Colorado in 1988. She spent several years as a solar physicist, including a graduate fellowship at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, High Altitude Observatory, and a post-doctoral appointment at the Institute of Astronomy in Cambridge, England. Her research provided new insights about how the inside of the Sun is rotating and about implications for the solar cycle. In the early nineties, Cherilynn chose to make a transition to science and math education at the University of Colorado. She designed and taught innovative courses in space science and mathematics and led a team of 15 peer learning instructors while serving as Associate Director of the University Math Program and the Assistant Director for Teaching in the Colorado Space Grant College. From 1992-1994, Dr. Morrow served as a Visiting Senior Scientist at NASA Headquarters, where she was responsible for engaging the scientists, research facilities, and data resources of the space science community in support of national education goals. She wrote a 30-page white paper that laid the foundation for the development of the first integrated education strategy for NASA space science research programs, including the incorporation of an education and public outreach component in every space science mission. Dr. Morrow also made one of three NASA presentations at a meeting convened by Carl Sagan on –How NASA Can Better Communicate with the Public,” and enjoyed the privilege of providing an extended one-on-one briefing on NASA Astrophysics for educator-astronaut Barbara Morgan. Dr. Morrow offered countless presentations and workshops for educators on the extraordinary results of the repaired Hubble Space Telescope. In the fall of 1994, Dr. Morrow served as faculty aboard the SS Universe _ a ship carrying 500 undergraduates on a semester-long voyage around the world. She taught introductory courses in astronomy, modern physics, and environmental science, and led student/faculty excursions in Japan, China, Egypt, Israel, and Turkey. From 1995-2007, Dr. Morrow served as Manager (then Director) of Education and Public Outreach at the Space Science Institute (SSI) and as a Project Director with the SETI Institute. She was a leader on several NASA and NSF grants and contracts that: 1) oriented space and earth scientists to more active and effective involvement education, and that 2) brought space and earth science content to educators in both formal and informal settings. During this period, Dr. Morrow designed and implemented more than 100 professional and leadership development experiences for scientists and educators, including programs for NASA and NSF scientists, Navajo educators, National Park rangers, and docents based at science museums and nature centers (e.g. the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies). She also chaired an American Geophysical Union (AGU) committee that pioneered the first K-12 education sessions at AGU conferences. She has served in advisory and reviewer roles for the education and public outreach programs of several NASA space science missions. Cherilynn was the lead developer of the Saturn Educator Guide for NASAês Cassini Program, and is the originator of an internationally renowned curriculum called Kinesthetic Astronomy which engages the human body to learn basic astronomy and earth science topics (for grade 6 through adult learners). She has also invented and performs AstroJazz _ a multi-sensory public education program that integrates live jazz music with beautiful imagery and the wonders of astronomy. Morrow is vocalist , researcher of scientific content, and co-composer of songs and alternative lyrics . She recently began exploring AstroJazz (and GeoJazz) collaborations with the Atlanta Youth Singers of Callanwolde (, and the Atlanta-based Fernbank Planetarium. Since January 2008, Dr. Morrow has been serving as an education-focused Professor of Physics & Astronomy at Georgia State University (GSU) in Atlanta, GA. She is Principal Investigator for a recent NASA award (~$600,000) to enhance Global Climate Change education in the state of Georgia. She continues to serve as advisor to educational programs embedded in major scientific research programs, including the NASA Kepler mission, and two NSF-funded Science & Technology Centers, one at Boston University related to space weather, and the other at Princeton University related to materials science and nanotechnology. Cherilynn is also collaborating with GSU's Center for Teaching and Learning to help build a Fellowship of science and mathematics faculty partnered with faculty in education and social science to conduct research on student learning. She is also working with colleagues to re-vitalize introductory physics teaching in a collaborative, integrated lecture/lab environment called Studio Physics. Cherilynn serves as GSUês STEM director and chief liaison to the University System of Georgiaês STEM Initiative. She is also the GSU Team Leader for the NSF-supported Science & Mathematics Teacher Imperative (SMTI) led by the American Association of Public and Land Grant Colleges (APLU).