Katie Carolan

ASTRONOMY SCIENCE COMMUNICATOR

OUTREACH ASTRONOMY & EDUCATION | SCIENCE WRITING | MEDIA DESIGN

Creative, dynamic, mature science communicator with eight years of experience doing astronomy outreach to diverse audiences in a variety of settings. Fan engagement and experience creator at various music festivals over the last nine years. Customer service for newly-launched VIP-experience venture in the live entertainment industry. Marketing designer for several businesses over the past 10 years. Expertise in creating engaging stories, judging audience-appropriateness, and inspiring interest in astronomy. Hard science degree lends itself to a rigorous, data-driven analysis applied to any methodology and any job. Career Objective: to develop innovative public engagement experiences that will engage and inspire the public for generations to come.

Experience

GRIFFITH OBSERVATORY  |  Los Angeles, CA
NOV 2015 – PRESENT
TELESCOPE DEMONSTRATOR  |  SCHOOL PROGRAM PRESENTER  | CONTENT PRODUCER
Nightly authority over the Observatory’s prestigious Zeiss telescope, the most looked-through telescope in human history. Determine object of observation, and simultaneously adjust the dome and telescope while giving continuous presentations throughout the evening observing program.  The Observatory is host to diverse audiences, including international visitors, scientists, stakeholders, donors, celebrities, enthusiasts, fellow-astronomers, and visitors who came for the city view.

  • Educate, engage, and inspire visitors using mastery of communicating the scale and beauty of the universe, complex scientific ideas, and the history of astronomy.
  • Lead telescope operations for the Observatory’s stakeholder, VIP, and private events.
  • Create and deliver captivating stories that continue the school program’s generational legacy to inspire fifth-grade students to be present in the moment and thoroughly engage with science. Targets Title 1 schools.
  • Produced content for the main event of the Observatory’s 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11 (July ’19, video), and Apollo 12 (Nov. ’19, video). Worked with multiple teams to develop one-hour, multimedia presentation, with detailed content outline, presented by Curator Dr. Laura Danly and Astronomical Observer Dr. Tony Cook.

BLACK ROCK OBSERVATORY | Los Angeles, CA & Black Rock City, NV
2016 – PRESENT
LEAD TELESCOPE OPERATOR  |  EVENT LEAD  |  LECTURER
Black Rock Observatory, based out of Burning Man, is an astronomy outreach non-profit that brings expert astronomers and telescopes to cultural festivals and events throughout the West Coast. We provide impactful and educational stargazing experiences to a wide range of audiences. The mission is to bring science where it isn’t expected.

  • Exhibit Lead: manage daily and nightly exhibit engagement as lead telescope operator for events with 500-80,000 attendance. As the astronomer-on-duty, the telescope operators direct all questions to me.
  • Telescope Lead: design training materials and run training sessions for other telescope operators ahead of event. Contribute to event planning, budget building, build, and strike; and exhibit transport, maintenance, and storage.
  • Event Lead: Took project from conception to delivery to bring the Black Rock Observatory experience to two 2,000-person 3-day music and art festivals (2022), and a 30,000-person 2-day music festival (2023). Design bespoke exhibits/souvenirs for each festival, built budget/team/schedule, transported/built/managed exhibit, storage/maintenance post-event. 
  • Lecturer: Researched, developed, designed, and presented a 35-minute multimedia presentation introducing the field of cosmology to curious, intellectual festival participants. Presented at Burning Man, Lucidity, & more.

VIBEE at LIVE NATION ENTERTAINMENT  |  Calabasas, CA
2023 – PRESENT
FAN EXPERIENCE REPRESENTATIVE
Provide customer service email support for VIP-experience provider in the international, live music and festival circuit.

  • Handle various types of requests that require different levels of trouble-shooting while managing many communication channels for internal and external stakeholders (Slack, AirTable, Zoom, FreshDesk, email, etc.)
  • Utilize excellent oral and written communication skills to ensure customer (“fan”) confidence.
  • Maintain a positive attitude, high quality customer service, and efficient problem solving strategies and organization at all times; especially under pressure during fast-paced, high-volume on-sale events.

TRANSFORMATIONAL & COUNTER CULTURE FESTIVALS  |  West Coast, USA
2016 – PRESENT
EXPERIENCE CREATOR | ACTIVATION LEAD | MERCH TEAM
I have worked face-to-face with festival attendees at many festivals in various participant-experience-related roles.

  • Activation Lead for Black Rock Observatory’s Telescopes at Lightning in a Bottle ‘16, Oregon Eclipse Fest ‘17, Desert Daze ‘19, Lucidity ‘22-’24, June Jam ‘22, Burning Man ‘22-’24, Nocturnal Wonderland ‘23, Texas Eclipse Festival ‘24, Shabang SLO ’24, Desert Hearts ’24
  • Experience Creator at EDC Las Vegas ‘21-’22 with the RYNOBUS art car/mobile stage/activation
  • Official Do Lab Merch Team member at Lightning in a Bottle (LiB) ‘23-’24

THE CAROLAN GROUP & INVESTMENT ALCHEMY, INC.  |  Camarillo, CA
2009 – PRESENT
MARKETING MEDIA DESIGNER
Design formats include webpages, graphics & captions, SEO, flyers, postcards, newspaper, magazine, and branding. Industries include real estate investments and retail real estate sales.

  • Create a wide variety of marketing materials for investors, the public, and target groups. Extremely collaborative brainstorming, independently work to develop ideas, reach consensus before publication.
  • Support an environment that encourages creative and collaborative thinking.
  • Improve, update, and refresh an array of print and digital marketing materials, monthly; including direct mailing to 1,200 homes, quarterly.

TAFT ELECTRIC CO.  |  Ventura, CA
MARCH – JULY 2017
COMPLETE WEBSITE DESIGN
Sole developer. Worked with VP of Business Development and CEO of $200MM commercial electrical contractor to design a modern, professional website. Used the WIX platform. See taftelectric.com

Projects

LECTURE: “A Window to the Universe: Space Telescopes and Cosmic Structures”
2022 – PRESENT
SCIENCE WRITER & SPEAKER
This presentation provides a history of cosmology and dark matter, explains the current theories/models of large-scale dark matter structure, and highlights significant contributions from space telescopes by using many pretty pictures from Hubble, Spitzer, and others. This was the first public lecture I made and presented entirely myself. I received great reviews and feedback from the nearly 50 people who attended my lecture, as well as my astronomer and space science communicator Observatory colleagues.

  • Researched, developed, designed, and presented a 35-minute multimedia presentation introducing the field of cosmology to an audience of curious, intellectual festival participants.
  • Emphasized audience-appropriateness, utilized creative storytelling, and drew from exclusively academic sources to maximize understanding, impact, and accuracy. Sources and presentation PDF available upon request.
  • Presented at Black Rock Observatory’s “SPACEtalks” lecture series, 2022 & 2023, and Texas Eclipse Festival 2024 (video, lecture slides).

BLOG: The Celestial Experiences Blog
2022 – PRESENT
SCIENCE WRITER
A space science communication blog that effectively interprets and sparks interest in space-related topics. Curated, audience-appropriate topics in space science and technology bring meaningful messages and information to the attention of the public. Target audience: intellectual, curious, conscientious global citizens.

  • Develop, research, write, proofread/revise, and publish well-researched, eye-catching web content. 
  • In short-form work, focus on presenting an accurate, relevant, digestible, accessible, and engaging article.
  • In long-form work, focus on developing a robust narrative to create more in-depth, strategic, persuasive content.
  • Copyedit for proper grammar, punctuation, style, and standards.
  • Developed on WordPress.

CELESTIAL EXPERIENCES | Los Angeles, CA
2023 – PRESENT
FOUNDER & PRESIDENT
Science communication and astronomy outreach event service inspired by the desire to do more paid work outside Griffith Observatory and Black Rock Observatory. With this company, we can seek out more independent, paid gigs.

Media

Featured in press photos of the Historic Zeiss 12″ Telescope at Griffith Observatory for the New York Times.
Karlamangla, Soumya. “Is Los Angeles Home to the Most Looked-through Telescope in the World?” The New York Times, 24 Aug. 2022 (article link).

Education

University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA
Bachelor of Science – Astronomy, 2022

  • Selected as the inaugural recipient of the Clyde Henry Astronomy Scholarship from USC Dornsife, 2021-2022
  • Dean’s List Spring ’21, Fall ’21
  • Member of SEDS (Students for the Exploration and Development of Space) and Kappa Alpha Theta
Katie, Lead for Black Rock Observatory telescope activation at June Jam 2022. Playa Ponderosa in Flagstaff, AZ.
Katie, Event Lead for Black Rock Observatory telescope activation at June Jam 2022.
Playa Ponderosa in Flagstaff, AZ.