Science Background: Research on planetary atmospheres at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Public Outreach Experience: Astronomy outreach involving social media, image processing, outreach events, and digital news media
University of Maryland, College Park, MD
2007 - 2011
Scholars Program – Science, Discovery, and the Universe
EMPLOYMENT & SCIENCE BACKGROUND
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center 2009 – 2012
Research Assistant under Drs. Conor Nixon and Tilak Hewagama, worked on the project: “Analysis of High Resolution Laboratory Propane Spectra (v21, 922 cm-1) and the Interpretation of Titan’s Infrared Spectra”
Analyzed high-resolution propane spectra taken from the McMath-Pierce 1-meter Fourier Transform Spectrometer at Kitt Peak National Observatory. Developed data analysis codes to interpret the propane spectral data and extract model parameters that characterized the data using IDL. The parameters were converted to standardized archival products in the form of molecular spectral-line atlases (HITRAN, GEISA) usable by the general scientific community. This effort involved the identification of underlying parasitic signals that would otherwise constrain the accuracy and precision of the derived data products.
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center 2008 – 2009
Research Assistant under Dr. Paul Romani, worked on the project: “Atmospheric Photochemical Modeling: Jupiter and Titan”
Modeled Jupiter’s and Titan’s atmospheres using FORTRAN programs. Also made visualizations and calculations using SigmaPlot and MathCAD. A model Jupiter atmosphere program was run which created a model atmosphere, evenly stepped in altitude. With the output, a CH4 photochemical program produced an output of ten different species’ mixing ratios including ethylene. A model Titan atmosphere program was also run which created an evenly stepped model atmosphere. The program output mixing ratios of various species including ethane, hydrogen cyanide (HCN), and cyanoacetylene (HC3N) with the corresponding altitude, temperature, and pressure in the atmosphere.
In Saturn’s Rings 2012 – Present
Co-Producer of In Saturn’s Rings, a non-profit giant screen film, in production. Film is composed of over 2 million images from NASA’s Earth and space missions: www.insaturnsrings.com
• Image Processor: Calibrate raw (untouched, monochrome) images from the Cassini and New Horizons spacecraft to come to life in color composites using Adobe Photoshop.
Personal portfolio: www.flickr.com/photos/valerieklavans
• Social Media Leader: Manage the film’s social media sites and team members. Post and produce graphics for the film’s social media sites.
Astronomy Outreach 2009 – Present
Volunteer public outreach on astronomy (primarily planetary science) through social media
“Titan Saturn’s Moon”: Created and maintain a Facebook, Twitter, and Wordpress blog to spread awareness of this extremely Earth-like moon and the Cassini mission, studying Titan and the entire Saturn system.
• Facebook & Twitter: Posts focus on rarely seen and newly released images from the Cassini mission.
• Wordpress: Blog entries focus on the latest images and science from the latest Cassini flybys.
Public Outreach Events
• Selected to attend the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) launch NASA Social, NASA Wallops Flight Facility, September 2013
• Presented at Maryland’s Place in Space representing the University of Maryland Observatory, Baltimore Convention Center, May 2009
• Composed and presented a slide presentation of the Cassini-Huygens mission for Launchfest, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, September 2008
IMAGE PROCESSING COVERED BY DIGITAL NEWS MEDIA
Produced color composite of Saturn, originally taken by the Cassini spacecraft, May 2014
• The Washington Post: Lured by the rings: See Saturn in opposition Saturday
• Gizmodo: A beautiful photo of Saturn taken last Monday
• EarthSky: (1) Give me five minutes and I’ll give you Saturn in 2014, (2) Rainbow rings of Saturn, (3) Happy anniversary, Cassini spacecraft
Co-authored an article and assembled images of the Cassini spacecraft’s first view of Uranus, April 2014
• The Planetary Society: Another Pale Blue Dot — Uranus Spied By Cassini
• NBC News: Saturn Orbiter Spots Another 'Pale Blue Dot': Uranus
Produced color composites of Saturn and its hexagonal jet, originally taken by Cassini, October 2013
• NBC News: Saturn's mysterious hexagon shows its true colors
• Discover Magazine: These Are the Most Epic Pictures of Saturn You’ve Ever Seen
• io9: This stunning view of Saturn will restore your sense of wonder
• Gizmodo: (1) New images show the true color of Saturn's mysterious hexagon, (2) The Most Beautiful Photo of Saturn You've Ever Seen
• Daily Mail Online: (1) From Saturn's hexagonal storm to the penguin-shaped nebula: MailOnline showcases the most stunning space images of 2013, (2) Saturn's bizarre HEXAGONAL storm system is revealed in true colour for the first time
Produced color composites of Earth and Saturn, originally taken by the Cassini spacecraft, July 2013
• NBC News: Did you smile for the camera? Earth glitters in a new view from Saturn
• FOX News: (1) Cassini spacecraft photographs Earth from 900 million miles away, (2) Stunning pictures of Earth from 900 million miles away (video)
• Business Insider: NASA Releases The First Images From Cassini And Messenger's Glimpse Of Earth Last Week
• io9: Behold the Earth and Moon – as seen from Saturn
• Yahoo! News UK & Ireland: NASA probe snaps Earth from 900 million miles away
• Daily Mail Online: Just one small dot on the landscape: The spectacular images of Earth taken from Saturn, 900 million miles away
• Gizmodo: (1) Impressive new image of Saturn from above the ecliptic plane (December 2014), (2) NASA's smell-o-scope experiment sniffs Saturn's moon Titan (June 2014), (3) Did you know that you can fly in Titan by flapping your (winged) arms? (November 2013)
• The Planetary Society: (1) Pretty Cassini pictures: animation of Iapetus' north pole, and other fun (April 2015), (2) Terra Cognita (July 2013)
• Microsoft Office Applications
• Programming: IDL, FORTRAN, C, JAVA, MATLAB
• Operating Systems: Windows, Mac OS X, Linux
• Adobe Photoshop
• Social Media: Facebook, Twitter, Wordpress, Flickr, LinkedIn, Google+, Tumblr, Instagram
• Klavans, V.; Nixon, C.; Hewagama, T.; Jennings, D. E. “Update from the Analysis of High Resolution Propane Spectra and the Interpretation of Titan's Infrared Spectra.” Titan Through Time; Unlocking Titan's Past, Present and Future, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, April 3th - 5th, 2012, 83.
• Hewagama, T.; Nixon, C.; Jennings, D. E.; Klavans, V. “Analysis of High-Resolution Mid-Infrared Laboratory Allene Spectra and the Interpretation of Titan's Infrared Spectra.” Titan Through Time; Unlocking Titan's Past, Present and Future, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, April 3th - 5th, 2012, 79.
• Klavans, V.; Nixon, C.; Hewagama, T.; Jennings, D. E. “Analysis of High Resolution Laboratory Propane Spectra (ν 21, 922 cm-1) and the Interpretation of Titan’s Infrared Spectra.” Presented at International Symposium On Molecular Spectroscopy, 65th Meeting, Ohio State University, June 21-25, 2010.
• Hewagama, T.; Kostiuk, T.; Nixon, C.; Livengood, T. A.; Jennings, D. E.; Fast, K. E.; Delgado, J. D.; Klavans, V.; Blass, W. E. “Spectroscopic blending and biased abundance retrievals in the 12µm band of ethane in Titan.” Titan Through Time; A Workshop On Titan's Past, Present and Future, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, April 6th - 8th, 2010, 71.
• Klavans, V.; Nixon, C.; Hewagama, T.; Jennings, D. E. “Analysis of High Resolution Laboratory Propane Spectra (ν 21, 922 cm-1) and the Interpretation of Titan’s Infrared Spectra.” Titan Through Time; A Workshop On Titan's Past, Present and Future, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, April 6th - 8th, 2010, 61.
AstroTerps 2009 - 2011
President of AstroTerps (the Astronomy student organization at the University of Maryland) during Junior and Senior years of college. Duties included:
• Planned trips to NASA Goddard Space Flight Center to attend colloquia on Earth and space science.
• Invited speakers from Goddard and UMD's Astronomy department to discuss their research.
• Planned and coordinated AstroTerps' event for Maryland Day 2010 & 2011: “Pondering Planets.” Designed activities aimed at all age groups including explaining planetary bodies and discovering a definition for planets.
• Received a Student Travel Grant from the Dr. Gerald A. Soffen Memorial Fund for the Advancement of Space Science Education (for the 65th International Symposium on Molecular Spectroscopy), April 2010
• Received the Nancy and Ira Shapiro Excellence in Undergraduate Research Award, for research with Dr. Paul Romani on “Atmospheric Photochemical Modeling: Jupiter and Titan,” October 2009