Lynn Cominsky is an award-winning Professor in the Physics and Astronomy Department at Sonoma State University (SSU), where she has been on the faculty for over 35 years. She received a Ph.D. in Physics from MIT in 1981, and a B.S. magna cum laude in Physics from Brandeis University in 1975. Cominsky is an author on over 225 research papers in refereed journals. She was chair of the physics and astronomy department from 2004 to 2019; she briefly also chaired the department of chemistry from August 2005 to January 2007 and Fall semester 2018.

In 1999, Cominsky founded EdEon STEM Learning, formerly called the Education and Public Outreach group at Sonoma State University. She is EdEon's director and principal or co-investigator on over $43 million in grants from NASA, the National Science Foundation and the US Department of Education. She is also the final technical reviewer for all EdEon educational products. The mission of the SSU EdEon group is to develop exciting formal and informal educational materials to inspire students in grades 5-14 to pursue STEM careers, to train teachers nationwide in the classroom use of these materials, and to enhance science literacy for the general public with a special focus on increasing the numbers of under-represented students.

EdEon's largest NASA-funded project was the Education and Public Outreach program for the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope mission. Launched on June 11, 2008, Fermi (formerly known as GLAST) is a space mission that uses silicon strip detectors to observe cosmic gamma-radiation from objects such as pulsars and quasars in the energy range 10 MeV - 300 GeV. Cominsky's group also led the Education and Public Outreach team for the Swift Gamma-Ray Burst Mission, launched on November 20, 2004. In 2003, Cominsky assumed the lead for the outreach effort for the US portion of the European Space Agency's XMM-Newton satellite. From 1999-2005, Cominsky was also the principal investigator and faculty advisor for the North Bay Science Project, a California Science Project site located at SSU. Other major projects developed by the SSU E/PO group include an online Cosmology curriculum for undergraduates (Big Ideas in Cosmology), and several different projects in which secondary and college students built small payloads for launch on high-powered or model rockets, drones and balloons. Cominsky is also a scientific co-investigator on the Fermi, Swift NuSTAR missions, and a member of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration. From 2012-2014, the SSU E/PO group developed an educator's guide for the NuSTAR mission.

Starting in 2013, and in partnership with SSU's Early Academic Outreach program led by Susan Wandling, Cominsky's group began to develop an integrated CSTEM (Coding + STEM) high school curriculum called “Learning by Making.” During the first five years of the project, the curriculum was piloted with high-needs rural high schools in Mendocino county. The project was extended in 2018, and expanded to include a few non-rural schools and schools in Southern California. In 2024 the project, led by EdEon Associate Director Dr. Laura Peticolas, received expanded funding to continue similar work with rural middle schools in California and Texas.

Cominsky also led an NSF project “Teaching Einstein's Universe to Community College students” which developed two on-line courses aimed at lower-division physics instructors about the science of LIGO. These courses also provide resources for instructors to use in their calculus-based introductory physics classes, an educator's guide for middle-school students and a narrated video explaining the details of the LIGO instrumentation.

From 2015-2020, Cominsky was a co-investigator on NASA's Universe of Learning, one of the first cohort of Science Activation projects chosen by NASA's Science Mission Directorate. In 2021, Cominsky originated NASA's Neurodiversity Network (N3), which was selected as one of SciAct's second cohort of projects. N3's goal is to provide a pathway to NASA participation and STEM employment for neurodiverse learners, with a focus on those on the autism spectrum.

Cominsky has been a member of many different advisory committees, including the Chandra User's Group, the Structure and Evolution of the Universe Subcommittee of NASA's Space Sciences Advisory Committee, and the LIGO Program Advisory Committee. She has served on the executive committees for the High Energy Astrophysics Division of the American Astronomical Society, and for the Division of Astrophysics of the American Physical Society, and chaired the APS California-Nevada Section (now known as the Far West Section). For a decade, she was the deputy press officer for the American Astronomical Society, and she continues as a press officer for both the Fermi and Swift missions. In these positions, she often interprets astronomical discoveries to the public.

In 1993, Prof. Cominsky was named SSU's Outstanding Professor, and the California Professor of the Year by the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education. In 2007, she was named a Fellow of the California Council on Science and Technology, in 2009, a Fellow of the American Physical Society and in 2013, a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Additional awards include the 2016 Education Prize from the American Astronomical Society, the 2016 Wang Family Excellence Award from the California State University and the 2017 Frank J. Malina Education Medal from the International Astronautical Federation. In 2019, she was selected as one of the first 200 Legacy Fellows named by the American Astronomical Society.




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