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People of the Dome

Contact Directory

Male with dark hair, glasses and a goatee wears a black shirt and stands in front of a starry background.

Jason E. Ybarra


Jason E. Ybarra is a Teaching Assistant Professor and serves as the Director of the   WVU Planetarium & Observatory. Dr. Ybarra’s research interests include galactic star formation, protostellar outflows, physics education, and the history of astronomy. They earned a Ph.D. from the University of Florida where, as a NASA Graduate Student Researchers Program (GSRP) fellow and a NASA Florida Space Grant Consortium fellow, they studied how star formation progresses through the Rosette Molecular Cloud by analyzing the stellar and gas content of embedded clusters. They also earned a M.S. in Physics from San Francisco State University, where as a graduate student, they co-discovered the first observational evidence of a precessing jet carving out a protostellar envelope. Dr. Ybarra's postdoctoral work at the Instituto de Astronomía, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM-Ensenada) involved characterizing mid-infrared emission from star-forming regions, studying protostellar outflow interactions, and developing astro-statistical methods. They also served as the editor of the "This Month in Astronomical History" column (2019-2020) for the Historical Astronomy Division of the American Astronomical Society (HAD-AAS), as well as being a frequent contributing author.

Dr. Ybarra enjoys teaching and mentoring students. Previous to WVU, they taught physics and astronomy at Davidson College, Bridgewater College, and California State University, Sacramento. They have also taught physics to monastics at the Drepung Loseling Monastery in Karnataka, India through the Emory-Tibet Science Initiative. Dr. Ybarra also currently serves as a coordinator for the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS-V) Faculty and Student Team (FAST) program. 

When not teaching or doing science, they write poetry, paint, camp in the woods, and spend time with their wife and cats.

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Holly Legleiter

Public Relations Specialist

(304) 685-5301

Coordinates strategic communications, public relations, digital, traditional and social media including earned, owned and paid media for the Center for Gravitational Waves and Cosmology. Member of the NANOGrav Collaboration.

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Susie Paine

Lead Graduate Assistant

Susie is the Lead Graduate Assistant in the Planetarium. She has been happily giving shows since January 2023. Her favorite part of each show is the question period at the end—many people ask incredible questions! As a graduate student, Susie works on fast radio burst (FRB) research. She is currently searching for FRBs from the local starburst galaxy M82. Because of the conditions in starburst galaxies, astronomers expect them to contain a large number of magnetars. A confirmed burst from M82 would lend credence to the magnetar hypothesis for FRB origins. Susie earned her Bachelor’s degree in Physics with Astronomy Emphasis from Macalester College in St. Paul, MN.
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Joseph Glaser

Scientific Computations Specialist

Dr. Joe Glaser serves as the Scientific Computations Specialist for NANOGrav and the Center of Gravitational Waves and Cosmology. He volunteers a portion of his time to the WVU Planetarium and Observatory, fostering a keen interest in scientific visualization, educational show production, and increasing the public's access to our facilities. His research expertise lies in the fields of planetary formation and exoplanetary sciences. He earned his Ph.D. in Physics from Drexel University in 2020, studying the dynamical evolution of planetary systems within Stellar Open Clusters. He serves on a rotation of multiple scientific and DEI working groups with colleagues across the globe. Being a product of both, he strongly supports initiatives focused on undergraduate research and “open source” projects.
Graham Doskoch headshot from the Green Bank telescope

Graham Doskoch

Graduate Assistant

Graham is a fourth-year graduate student and new Graduate Assistant for the Planetarium, joining the team in January 2024. He loves the night sky and is excited to help others learn to navigate it. Graham's PhD work centers on pulsars, fast-spinning remnants of massive stars. A member of the NANOGrav and IPTA collaborations, he is part of an effort to make the first detection of low-frequency gravitational waves, using millisecond pulsars. Graham received his bachelor's degree in astrophysics and mathematics from Swarthmore College outside Philadelphia and his Master’s degree from WVU.

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Jackson Taylor

Graduate Assistant

Jackson has just recently joined the WVU Planetarium in January and looks forward to sharing his love of astronomy with others. He previously served as a teaching assistant for the lab portion of Astronomy 106. His research interests are in pulsars, which are rapidly rotating stars, and the detection of gravitational waves, having joined the NANOGrav collaboration. Astronomers have recently used the predictability of pulsars to measure gravitational waves sloshing around our galaxy! His favorite planet is Jupiter because it's bigger than all other planets in our solar system combined. Jackson has Bachelor of Science degrees in Physics, Astronomy, and Math from Indiana University.