Darsa DonelanBoard of Directors - At Large Early Career Representative

Darsa Donelan

Darsa Donelan is a triplet and a senior continuing assistant professor at Gustavus Adolphus College. They have a strong background in physics and mathematics, having earned an A.A. in fine arts from Berkshire Community College in 2006, a B.S. in Physics and B.A. in Math from Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in 2009, and both their M.S. (2011) and Ph.D. (2016) from the University of Florida. Their Ph.D. thesis focused on the atmosphere of Saturn's largest moon, Titan.

While a graduate student at the University of Florida, Dr. Donelan received several awards for their teaching, including the Wayne Bomstad II Memorial Award for Teaching Assistants and the Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant award. They also received an HHMI summer teaching fellowship to develop and assess cross-disciplinary laboratory modules that combined physics and chemistry through biomedical applications.

Since joining the faculty at Gustavus Adolphus College in 2016, Dr. Donelan has received several awards for their teaching and contributions to diversity and inclusion, including the Mark H. Anderson Faculty Diversity Award in 2021 and 2022, and the Swenson-Bunn Memorial Award for Teaching Excellence in 2022. They are the faculty advisor for several student organizations and have conducted research with students on topics such as planetary atmospheres, radio astronomy, and physics education.

Dr. Donelan is also involved in several professional organizations, including NASA's Heliophysics Education Activation Team (HEAT), where they help lead the development of research-based instructional materials for astrophysics taught in introductory and upper-division physics and astronomy courses. They have also participated in and served as a workshop leader for several AAPT New Faculty Workshops and Faculty Online Learning Communities. They are part of an AAPT e-Alliance peer mentoring group of other womxn physicists/astronomers and serve as the Chair of the AAPT's Committee on Space Science and Astronomy.

Dr. Donelan's hobbies include cosplay, drinking tea, playing with their cats, and doing jigsaw puzzles. They have also been recognized for their early career contributions to the AAPT and physics education, receiving the AAPT 2023 Doc Brown Futures Award, which recognizes early-career members who demonstrate excellence in their contributions to AAPT and physics education and exhibit the potential to serve in an AAPT leadership role.