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 Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2005 IssueFaculty/Staff E-Newsletter

IN THE SPOTLIGHT


In the Spotlight with Francisco "Tito" Salas, Operations Manager for Fiske Planetarium

The architectural beauty of the Boulder campus is world-renowned and our buildings often are viewed as the face of the university. In this series, "In the Spotlight," we ask CU Boulder building directors to give us a behind the scenes look at the facilities and programs they manage — along with a glimpse into their personalities. Part four of this series features Francisco "Tito" Salas, Operations Manager for Fiske Planetarium.

What is one thing you would like people to know about your building or your job?

Our Fiske Planetarium's theater is not just a circular room, it is an environment that takes our audience to places they may never visit such as faraway stars, extrasolar planets or a trip inside a black hole. The dome is our spacecraft and we educators are the guides. There are so many aspects of my job that make it colorful. For example, the everyday opportunity to work with young minds who bring a fresh new perspective on how to present the universe to the public.

Our work force is exceptionally diverse. We count on undergraduate work-study and hourly students who help run the planetarium on a daily basis while developing technical and public speaking skills. We also benefit from an enthusiastic crew of middle and high school students who spend hours at Fiske after their school day. Volunteers from the Boulder community and surrounding areas also help with public outreach and after-hours programs. It is a pleasure to coordinate and supervise Fiske's student and volunteer staff.

Our staff members are the pillars that support our planetarium. They maintain existing programs while navigating new directions for exploration. Fiske's full-time staff are dedicated to providing the university and the public with high-quality up-to-date astronomy education.

We appreciate the opportunity to work with world-renowned scientists and professors. CU faculty are great to work with and we are pleased to help them communicate their research to the larger community.

Last, but not least, one of the best rewards of my work is watching the audience and seeing their pupils enlarge and hearing "WOW, I got it!" as someone learned a new concept of space science.

If you could control the lens of a satellite for one hour, so that you could watch any spot on earth, where would you point it?

There are so many wonderful places on our planet that it is impossible to pick just one. The jungles and the countless interactions happening underneath its canopy. The deep blue ocean and the mysteries that still holds. How long Old Faithful is going to last? Looking at the San Andres fault to see if California is going to become an island. I want to point the lens to the budgeting office of NASA because I just don't know how they get their numbers.


In the Spotlight with Francisco "Tito" Salas, Operations Manager for Fiske Planetarium

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