Laura Peticolas

Laura Peticolas
Contact Information
Organization:Education and Public Outreach Group
Phone Number: 707-665-2244
Social Media:
facebook: Laura Peticolas
Twitter: @lauraurora

Dr. Laura Peticolas is Associate Director of the Education and Public Outreach Group at Sonoma State University. She recently joined  Sonoma State University after 17 years at the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Peticolas received her B.A. in mathematics and physics at the University of Oregon Honors College and her Ph.D. in physics studying the aurora at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. She spent 3 years as a post-doctoral fellow at the Space Sciences Laboratory continuing her study of Earth's aurora with some efforts computer models of the Martian aurora before transitioning to primarily the profession of education and outreach. In 2010, she became a Senior Fellow at the Space Sciences Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley, and Director of Multiverse, the Space Sciences Laboratory’s education group. She continues to be involved in scientific research involving the transport of electrons in atmospheric phenomena. She has over 15 years of experience in the education and outreach profession. She has led several NSF and NASA-funded national education programs that provided professional development on physics, earth and space science as well as cross-cultural collaborations to educators who primarily teach in out-of-school settings. Dr. Peticolas was the PI of the NSF-funded Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program at the Space Sciences Laboratory, after Dr. Claire Raftery left. Dr. Peticolas continues to be a part of the Eclipse Megamovie project, a crowd-sourcing effort to collect and share images across the path of totality during the 2017 total eclipse of the Sun in the United States. She also is a team member of several NASA-funded education and communication initiatives.  Dr. Peticolas’ passion for equity and inclusion in all aspects of society and for the knowledge gained through scientific practices influences all the work that she is involved in. ‚Äč

Professional Information
Primary Forum:Heliophysics
My SMD Projects:

SEISE Network

Universe of Learning

MAVEN Mission Communications

My Professional Societies:

American Geophysics Union

My Publications (journals, blogs, products):


Peticolas, L., T. Schwerin, S. Shipp, D. Smith, Science and Science Education Go Hand-in-Hand: The Impact of the NASA Science Mission Directorate Education and Public Outreach Program Astronomical Society of the Pacific’s Conference Series, San Francisco: Astronomical Society of the Pacific, In Press.


Maryboy, Nancy C., David Begay, Laura Peticolas, Jill Stein, and Shelly Valdez. Cosmic Serpent: Collaborating with Integrity, Indigenous Education Institute, Friday Harbor, WA, ISBN 13: 978-098598870-8, 2012


Peticolas, L., N. Maryboy, D. Begay, R. Paglierani, R. Frappier and A. Teren. Lessons Learned from Cosmic Serpent, a professional development project for informal educators on science and native ways of knowing, Earth and Space Science: Making Connections in Education and Public Outreach. Edited by Joseph B. Jensen, James G. Manning, and Michael G. Gibbs. Astronomical Society of the Pacific, p.291, 2011


Peticolas, Laura, Bryan Mendez, Darlene Yan, Lindsay Bartolone, Dianne Robinson, Barbara Maggi, Paul Adams, Allyson Walker, Patricia Reiff, Kerri Beisser and Dawn Turney, A Heliophysics Education and Public Outreach Effort: Training and Supporting the Trainers, Astronomical Society of the Pacific’s Conference Series, 2010.


Lillis, Robert J.; Fillingim, Matthew O.; Peticolas, Laura M.; Brain, David A.; Lin, Robert P.; Bougher, Stephen W., Nightside ionosphere of Mars: Modeling the effects of crustal magnetic fields and electron pitch angle distributions on electron impact ionization, Journal of Geophysical Research, Volume 114, Issue E11, DOI:
10.1029/2009JE003379, 2009.


Peticolas, L. M., N. Craig, S. F. Odenwald, A. Walker, C. T. Russell, V. Angelopoulos, C. Willard, M. B. Larson,W. A. Hiscock, J. M. Stoke, M. B. Moldwin, The Time History of Events and Macroscale Interactions during Substorms (THEMIS) Education and Outreach (E/PO) Program, Space Sci. Rev., ISN 0038-6308 (Print) 1572-9672 (Online), doi: 10.1007/s11214-008-9458-5, 2008.

Peticolas, L. M., B. Mendez, I. Hawkins, C. Whitworth, Effective Strategies for Engaging Latino/Hispanic Audiences in Astronomy during the International Year of Astronomy, Astronomical Society of the Pacific’s Conference Series, Vol. 400, Edited by Michael G. Gibbs, Jonathan Barnes, James G. Manning, and Bruce Partridge. San Francisco: Astronomical Society of the Pacific, p.422, 2008.

Peticolas, L., S. Odenwald, and A. Walker, Aurora and Magnetospheric Teacher Guides: Bringing Data into the Classroom, Proceedings of the “EPO and a Changing World: Creating Linkages and Expanding Partnerships,” Astronomical Society of the Pacific’s Conference Series Volume 389, eds. C. Garmany, M. G. Gibbs, and J. Ward Moody, p.65, 2008.

Quinn, M., L. Peticolas, J. MacCallum, and J. Luhmann, Learning About the Dynamic Sun Through Sounds, Proceedings of the “EPO and a Changing World: Creating Linkages and Expanding Partnerships,” Astronomical Society of the Pacific’s Conference Series Volume 389, eds. C. Garmany, M. G. Gibbs, and J. Ward Moody, p.63, 2008.

Mende, S., S. Harris, H. Frey, V. Angelopoulos, E. Donovan, B. Jackel, M. Greffen, C. Russell, and L. Peticolas, The THEMIS array of ground based observatories for the study of substorms, Space Sci. Rev., doi:10.1007/s11214-008-9380-x, 2008.


Peticolas, L.M., N. Craig, T. Kucera, D. J. Michels, J. Gerulskis, R. J. MacDowall, K. Beisser, C. Chrissotimos, J. G. Luhmann, A. B. Galvin, L. Ratta, E. Drobnes, B. J. Méndez, S. Hill, K. Marren, and R. Howard, The STEREO Education and Public Outreach Program, Space Sci. Rev., ISN 0038-6308 (Print) 1572-9672 (Online), doi: 10.1007/s11214-007-9287-y, 2007

Fillingim, M. O., L. M. Peticolas, R. J. Lillis, D. A. Brain, J. S. Halekas, D. L. Mitchell, R. P. Lin, D. Lummerzheim, S. W. Bougher, and D. L. Kirchner, Model calculations of electron precipitation induced ionization patches on the nightside of Mars, Geophys. Res. Lett, 34, doi:10.1029/2007GL029986, 2007.


Williams, J. D., E. MacDonald, M. McCarthy, L. Peticolas, and G. K. Parks, Parallel electric fields inferred during a pulsating aurora, Ann. Geophys., 24, 1829, 2006.

Donovan, Eric, Stephen Mende, Brian Jackel, Harald Frey, Mikko Syrjsuo, Igor Voronkov, Trond Trondsen, Laura Peticolas, Vassilis Angelopoulos, Stewart Harris, Mike Greffen, and Martin Connors, The THEMIS all-sky imaging array-system design and initial results from the prototype imager, J. Atmos. Space. Phys., 2006

Brain, D. A., J. S. Halekas, L. M Peticolas, R. P. Lin, J. G. Luhmann, D. L. Mitchell, G. T. Delory, S. W. Bougher, M. H. Acuna, and H. Reme, On the origin of aurorae on Mars, Geophys. Res. Lett., 2006.