Courtney Dressing

Astronomy 16

I was a teaching fellow for this course in spring 2011 and spring 2012. Astronomy 16 is an introductory astronomy course for future astronomy majors, but it also attracts students from other fields who have a solid background in math and physics. As a teaching fellow, I ran two sections of labs, held office hours, and graded assignments.


I am one of several graduate student bloggers for Astrobites, a daily blog designed to help undergraduates make the transition from completing coursework in their undergraduate classes to conducting research in graduate school. The blog features summaries of interesting papers from the arXiv, descriptions of our experiences in graduate school, and glossaries containing in-depth overviews of specific aspects of astrophysics. I am currently chair of the astrobites hiring committee. A list of my posts on can be found here.

Public Observing Nights

I help with the monthly public observing nights at the Center for Astrophysics (CfA). Each month, a speaker presents a talk about a specific area of astronomy and then the audience is invited up on to the roof to explore the universe through the CfA's telescopes. I was the featured speaker in November 2013. A recording of my presentation about the Quest for Earth-like Planets is available on YouTube. Directions to the CfA and information about upcoming public observatory nights can be found here.

Astronomy Chat

I chat monthly over the internet with visitors at the National Air & Space Museum Observatory in Washington, D.C. During a chat, I will talk with more than 50 visitors about exoplanets, life as a scientist, and astronomy in general.

Communicating Science Conference Series

I was one of the founding organizers of Communicating Science 2013 & 2014, workshops organized by graduate students for graduate students to improve their science communication skills. The workshops were held at the Microsoft NERD Center in Cambridge, MA.


I mentored first-year graduate students through the Harvard Astronomy Graduate Student Peer Mentorship program and undergraduate students through the Women in Science, Technology, and Engineering at Harvard Mentorship program.

Cambridge Science Festival

This annual festival is designed to introduce the Cambridge community and the surrounding area to the fascinating world of science. I spent a day passing out souvenir t-shirts and bags at the Science Carnival in 2011 and taught children about astronomy at Cambridge Explores the Universe at the Center for Astrophysics in both 2011 and 2012.

NASA Academy Reviewer & Interviewer

I particated in the NASA Academy for Space Exploration at Ames Research Center in summer 2008. As a NASA Academy alumna, I reviewed applications and interviewed applicants from 2009 until 2013. I typically score ~30 applications and interview 2-3 students per year.

Interviewer for Princeton University

Since winter 2011, I have interviewed 30 undergraduate applicants for Princeton University. I conduct in-person interviews in the Boston area and telephone interviews with applicants from across the country.