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MEET STEFANIE MILAM: DEPUTY PROJECT SCIENTIST FOR PLANETARY SCIENCE

Stefanie Milam

Dr. Stefanie Milam is a Planetary Scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland and serves as the James Webb Space Telescope Deputy Project Scientist for Planetary Science. 

Stefanie is from Houston, Texas, where she first fell in love is Astronomy and NASA through multiple visits to NASA's Johnson Space Center. She obtained her B.S. in Chemistry from Kansas Wesleyan University in Salina, Kansas in 2002, and completed her Ph.D. in Chemistry at the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona in 2007. She then pursued a postdoctoral position at NASA Ames Research Center to conduct laboratory studies of interstellar ice analogs with applications to astrobiology. Stefanie first started at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in 2010 as a research scientist.

Stefanie works in the Astrochemistry Laboratory at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. She is an expert in rotational spectroscopy, observations, and laboratory modeling of astrochemistry and molecular astrophysics of the interstellar medium, evolved stars, star formation regions, protoplanetary disks, and comets with an emphasis on isotopic fractionation and astrobiology of primitive materials. 

Stefanie maintains a renowned observational program with radio telescopes around the world, and with space-based observatories, to routinely observe and characterize comets as part of an international collaboration. Additionally, she conducts high-resolution spectroscopic studies of evolved stars, star forming regions, and the Galactic interstellar medium, specializing in isotopes.

Stefanie also has a laboratory dedicated to simulate interstellar/cometary/planetary ices and detect trace species employing the same techniques used for remote observations to help constrain the chemical complexity of the ices, the amount of processing that occurs, and interpret past, present, and future data from missions that observe ice features, including JWST. 

Finally, in March of 2012, Stefanie was selected as the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) Planetary Science Liaison.  Under this role she helped establish the next generation space telescope as a planetary science resource, engaged the community in future observations and preparations, and assisted the project to ensure the capabilities of the observatory were suitable for solar system observations.

In July 2014, Stefanie was appointed as the JWST Deputy Project Scientist for Planetary Science to continue her role through launch in 2019.  She works through the Project Science Team as an in-house, planetary science expert to evaluate science and operations trades and design decisions that will be required to finalize the JWST solar system observing capabilities.

Stefanie lives in Annapolis, MD with her dog Sirius. She enjoys everything to do with the water and can be found sailing or playing with her dog at the beach. She enjoys hosting a good Texas BBQ for friends and hanging out in the beautiful historic city or traveling when she can.

Follow her on Twitter @SNMilam.