Photo: Hubble Space Telescope

Our Executive

The UBC Astronomy Club — "We hear there are stars behind the clouds"

Steffani Grondin — Co-President

Steffani is combining her passion for physics, astronomy and commerce in the Bachelor of Science and Master of Management Dual Degree program. Originally wanting to pursue a career in medicine, Steffani’s interest in astronomy was sparked after reading Stephen Hawking’s ‘A Brief History of Time’ the summer before university. Since then, she has become infatuated with neutron stars, black holes, and the search for life outside of our solar system. When she is not gazing into the cosmos, you can find Steffani eating tacos, playing guitar, and vibing out to David Bowie tunes.

Katie Rink — Co-President

This is Katie's fourth year with the Astro club. She is a physics major hoping to pursue a research career in the field of cosmology. Originally from Michigan, she moved to Vancouver in hopes of seeing the mountains everyday (something the rain fights her on). Katie loves all things nature, as well as yoga, traveling, and Lord of the Rings.

Aashish Karna — VP Observational

Aashish is a 4th year engineering physics student at UBC. Born in India and raised in Dubai, Aashish moved to Vancouver in 2014 for further studies. His interest in astronomy began at a young age through watching Science Fiction movies. The movies led to documentaries, which led to books, and from that point on, asking all the right questions led him to finding out more about the mysteries of our universe. He has never looked back since, always questioning the existence of everything. He hopes to study and understand the cosmos and hopes to resolve its mystery forever.

Ronan Kerr — VP Observational

Ronan has been enthralled by the wonder of the universe for most of his life, and that interest has led him to UBC’s Physics and Astronomy program. He is fascinated by the fundamental nature of astronomy’s questions, and loves astronomy’s ability to provide insight into the origins of the universe around us. When not stargazing or astro-imaging, you can find Ronan doing schoolwork in the physics building, staying updated on current events and politics, or playing DnD. This is his fourth year with the Astronomy Club executive, having previously served as President for two terms, and he hopes to continue to expand the presence of astronomy at UBC and beyond.

Mia Kramer — VP Promotions

Originally from Minnesota, Mia has been living in Vancouver for two full years now. She's in her third year at UBC studying Astronomy. She hopes to study the early universe. She has been involved with the club since first year and hopes to be until she leaves! Mia does promotions, web management and photography with the club. She also enjoys hiking, composing, and drinking coffee.

Jessica Ma — Treasurer

Jessica Ma is a second-year Engineering Physics student who aspires to develop technology for the medical industry. She also really likes mathematics, neurology, and, well, astronomy. Outside of school, she is incredibly social and outgoing, spending most of her time at home making unneccesary spreadsheets and watching Blue Planet.

Paniz Radjaee — VP Social

Paniz is from Iran and she loves (almost) everything about the stars! She super likes the fact that they're always there. They super also really show how arbitrary our problems (our existence?) are (is), but she doesn't like this bit. There are big equations that describe the stars' spin and mass, sadly she doesn't know what those are. What about you? Wanna learn about the stars and see them too? Hang with the Astronomy Club!

Maryum Sayeed — VP External

Maryum is a 3rd year Combined Honours Physics & Astronomy student. Originally from Calgary, Alberta, she has an obsession with solving the universes' mysteries and finding our unique place in the universe. Specifically, she's holds a great fascination for cosmology, planetary sciences and space exploration. Maryum is excited for the upcoming year and the club's efforts to develop ties with elementary students to spread the word of astronomy. When not in her classes or doing homework, you can find Maryum reading, taking naps or watching science-fiction movies.

Javiera Taquias — VP Academic

Javi is from Chile, the land with the best skies in the world… can you see why she likes Astronomy? She is going in to her fourth, and hopefully last year, of Astronomy, with a special focus on Exoplanets. Even though Javi’s interest is to study Exoplanets, Black Holes will be forever her obsession. (Like everybody) Favourite space-related movie: Interstellar.

Samantha Cibere — Secretary

Sam is a second year combined honours Astronomy and Physics student. She loves Star Wars, Stargate and Star Trek, and basically everything with the word 'Star' in it. Her favourite astronomical object is the Magnetar! She is a passionate individual with an eidetic memory, who is always up for a challenge.

Jawad Sakarchi — Advisor

Jawad is in his final year of his biology degree with a focus on evolution. As a senior member of the club having been both club co-president (2016-2017) and vice president observational (2015-2016) while working at the H.R. Southam Observatory, the question looms, why study evolutionary biology? To him they are surprisingly similar; to him they ask the big questions. Questions such as: ‘who are we?’ and ‘where did we come from?’ Astronomy has been a hobby for Jawad since he got his first telescope at 16. Other than that, some hobbies of his include debate, video games, and overthinking coffee.

Kevin Anderson — Observational Coordinator

Kevin is a second year student studying physics and math. Born in Vancouver and raised in Ottawa, Kevin first got interested in space through no fault of his own. Like any normal kid, he was exposed to a healthy dose of Star Wars and UFO mysteries growing up. Nowadays, Kevin's primary astronomy-related interests are general relativity, cosmology, and making mind-bending psychedelic space rock playlists. When he's not too busy learning about the universe and marvelling at its beauty, he can often be found playing music, practising martial arts, or going for road trips.

Mark Andruk — Observational Coordinator

Mark is a fourth year Civil Engineering Undergrad and hails from nearby Mission B.C. He gained his interest in astronomy from his mother, a long time member of the Fraser Valley Astronomical Society. Mark enjoys helping others to observe the wonders of the night sky and is trying to get better at capturing it in photos. His favourite constellation is Delphinus.

Brittany Crooks — Academic Coordinator

Brittany is a third year physics major with an astronomy minor; she came to UBC in 2016 after spending her first year at her hometown university, UBCO. Her dream after her Ph.D. is to work for the CSA as an astronaut. Hobbies include listening to podcasts, bagpiping, chilling out to Oh Wonder and Glass Animals, and staring through her telescope instead of doing her homework. This year in the UBC Astronomy Club, Brittany helps the VP Academic – Javiera Taquias – in organizing and conducting the lecture series as well as setting up tutoring and help sessions for undergraduate astronomy classes.

Andrej Petrovic — Equipment and Communications Coordinator

Andrej is a third-year computer science student who has been with the club for two years. He fell in love with astronomy and stargazing as a child, and has been watching the skies ever since. Planetary sciences are of particular interest to him. He also enjoys reading and writing science fiction books and movies, especially those that deal with space travel. Andrej looks forward to exploring the universe with the UBC Astronomy Club!

Marley Leacock — General Officer

Marley is from Calgary and is going into her second year at UBC. She hopes to major in Astronomy with a possible minor in Computer Science. When she's not studying or looking at the sky, Marley is usually reading or dog-spotting. She hopes to see you at future Astronomy Club events!