Marni Berendsen, employed with the Astronomical Society of the Pacific (ASP), is the lead project manager and developer of the NASA Night Sky Network (http://nightsky.jpl.nasa.gov/), a nationwide coalition of over 200 amateur astronomy clubs dedicated to astronomy outreach. The Night Sky Network is an ASP and NASA-funded program to create and disseminate informal outreach materials and training specifically tailored for use by amateur astronomers.
An amateur astronomer for many years, Marni is a Project ASTRO partner and a member of the Mount Diablo Astronomical Society in Concord, California, participating regularly in the club’s outreach programs and conducting club member workshops.
She received her Masters in Astronomy through the University of Western Sydney. Her master’s thesis involved research into outreach and knowledge of astronomy concepts among amateur astronomers, publishing the primary findings in the journal, Astronomy Education Review. She contributed to and co-edited the book, Science Educators Under the Stars: Amateur Astronomers Engaged in Education and Public Outreach, published by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific in 2007.
Her interest in astronomy was sparked as a young Girl Scout camping out in a high Sierra meadow while Scout leaders told stories of the Greek gods illustrated by the tapestry of constellations over their heads.