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The AAVSO Director search results are in!

Hello Members, Observers, Colleagues, and Friends,

As you may know, Dr. Arne A. Henden is retiring as Director of the AAVSO at the end of January 2015 after ten years of devoted service to the Association.

We have some very exciting news! After a careful search that yielded a number of outstanding candidates, the AAVSO Council has chosen as the Association’s next Director Dr. Styliani (Stella) Kafka. Dr. Kafka is presently Journal Manager for the American Institute of Physics and a Visiting Investigator in the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism at the Carnegie Institution of Washington.

Stella will become Director of the AAVSO on February 1, 2015. However, she will overlap with Arne for the last two weeks in January in order to facilitate a smooth transition.

Stella comes to the AAVSO highly qualified both in scientific and managerial matters. With her Ph.D. from Indiana University in Astronomy, Physics, and Geophysical Sciences, her research interests include investigating multiple aspects of variability and magnetic activity in binary systems and studying Type-Ia supernova progenitors, utilizing multiwavelength short- and long-term photometric and spectroscopic data. Also, in addition to teaching physics and astronomy and serving as mentor for undergraduate and graduate students, for three years she served as Director of the Research Experiences for Undergraduates and Practicas de Investigacion en Astronomia Programs at Cerro Tololo Interamerican Observatory. Her role at the American Institute of Physics requires excellent managerial skills. She is responsible for most aspects of the AIP journals, including defining editorial direction, developing marketing strategies, and evaluating business plans for their future development. She also serves as liaison to the scientific community for the journals.

Stella is dedicated to expanding the AAVSO, both in terms of increasing its numbers of members and observers and broadening its presence in the professional community. She well understands the importance of educating professional astronomers as to how the AAVSO can be relevant to them and their research. She is also committed to educating the next generation of both professional and amateur astronomers. She will not only represent the Association exceedingly well but will go further to forge new partnerships between the AAVSO and international amateur and professional organizations.  

She will bring her management experience of journals such as Review of Scientific Instruments and APL Materials to the AAVSO’s publications to enable them better to serve their respective readerships.

Deeply respectful of the AAVSO’s past, Stella is excited to build on our historical strengths and help us to develop new ones. She is eager to become part of the AAVSO’s dedicated community of members and observers around the world who share her lifelong love of the night sky.

Stella will be attending the AAVSO Annual membership meeting on Saturday morning, November 8, 2014, where she will make some brief remarks to all of us. If you will not be there to meet her in person, you may participate in the meeting via webcast; please visit the AAVSO website (www.aavso.org/meetings) for details.

A press release on this subject has also been issued.

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