November 28, 2017

Mesa's Astronomy Program Continues to Succeed through New Collaboration Efforts with BRIEF

By Office of Communications

astronomy research

During the Fall 2017 semester, Irena Stojimirovic, professor of astronomy at Mesa College collaborated with Boyce Research Initiatives & Education Foundation (BRIEF) and together they were awarded 115 hours of remote telescope time at Las Cumbres Observatory. This will increase educational opportunities for students at Mesa.

The newly awarded remote telescope hours will support Stojimirovic’s vision for Mesa’s students, particularly those in astronomy, physics, and geology, to increase opportunities for research of scientific significance.

Currently, there are star parties held throughout the year to view planets, stars, and other deep sky objects for students enrolled in physical sciences courses, and astronomy nights organized for the general Mesa community and public. Stojimirovic finds these kinds of events beneficial for students and the campus community because, “it sparks conversation and inspires people to think about science in a different way.”

She believes much of the success that stems from the astronomy program is due to the inclusive work ethic and team environment that’s developed by her and her students. Current students like Alex Beltzer Sweeney and Naylynn Tañón are benefitting from the program’s success. Sweeney has co-authored multiple peer-reviewed papers regarding the program’s research of astrometry of double stars, and is now creating new opportunities for other astronomy students by mentoring them in astronomical research. Tañón has also worked on published papers, and has just been selected to be a NASA Community College Aerospace Scholar.

Mesa’s effort for this program is focused on helping students obtain and practice transferrable skills so that when they leave Mesa, they have the education and experience needed to succeed in their chosen profession. One student in particular has successfully continued their research work since Mesa; Steven White, a former research student, has transferred to New Mexico Tech and presented research done here at Mesa at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the APS (American Physical Society) Four Corners Section held in Forth Collins, CO on Oct. 20-21.

For more information, visit Mesa’s multidisciplinary Physical Sciences program. If you’d like to learn more about the astronomical research, astronomy events, and/or the astronomy program, please contact Irena Stojimirovic at (619)388-5885 or

Tags: Astronomy, Research at Mesa, Physical Sciences

Additional Information


Jennifer Nichols Kearns
Director of Communications
(619) 388-2759