Dr. Isabel Hawkins is  an astronomer and educator at the Exploratorium, San Francisco and a competitive salsa dancer.  

We sat down with Dr. Hawkins to find out what triggered her interest in astronomy? How did she decide to become an astronomer? What does an astronomer do and what are the practical implications of studying astronomy? What drew her to science and math and how did her mother influence her?  We explore these questions and more in our conversation with Dr. Hawkins.

Dr. Hawkins got hooked to stars as a young girl in Argentina. It was during her time as a high school exchange student in the San Francisco Bay Area she realized she can become an astronomer. This is when she took her first astronomy class and discovered her future career path. She also fell in love in high school and married her sweetheart at 18 years and they both went on to pursue their higher education and professional careers. She became an astronomer and her husband trained as a doctor.

She studied physics for her undergraduate and got her PhD in astronomy from UCLA. Dr. Hawkins worked at UC Berkeley, NASA and is now with the Exploratorium.

This conversation with Dr. Hawkins  is part of Season 2 of our TV series on #WomeninSTEM and highlights the role of “hidden figures” in Silicon Valley.

This episode is sponsored by Genentech.

This interview aired and continues to air on PBS, Public Media and cable channels in the US.

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