Lynn Cominsky

Lynn Cominsky
Contact Information
1801 East Cotati Avenue
Rohnert Park, CA 94928
Phone Number:
Email Address:
Social Media:
Twitter @lynnco

Prof. Cominsky founded the Education and Public Outreach group at Sonoma State University in 1999 and is the Project Director, Principal Investigator on over $15 million in grants and final technical reviewer for all products. The mission of the SSU E/PO group is to develop exciting formal and informal educational materials that inspire students in grades 5-14 to pursue STEM careers, to train teachers nation-wide in the classroom use of these materials, and to enhance science literacy for the general public.

The SSU E/PO group’s largest NASA project was the Education and Public Outreach program for the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope mission. Launched on June 11, 2008, Fermi (formerly known as GLAST) is a space mission that uses silicon strip detectors to observe cosmic gamma-radiation from objects such as pulsars and quasars in the energy range 10 MeV - 300 GeV. Cominsky’s group also leads the Education and Public Outreach team for the Swift Gamma-ray burst mission, launched on November 20, 2004. In 2003, Cominsky assumed the lead for the outreach effort for the US portion of the European Space Agency's XMM-Newton satellite. From 1999-2005, Cominsky was also the Principal Investigator and Faculty Advisor for the North Bay Science Project, a California Science Project site located at SSU. Other major projects developed by the SSU E/PO group include an online Cosmology curriculum for undergraduates which is now being marketed by Great River Learning, and a curriculum for secondary students to build small payloads for launch on high-powered rockets and balloons. In 2012, NuSTAR was launched, and Cominsky's group also developed materials to explain this focusing hard x-ray mission to the public. Cominsky is also a scientific co-investigator on the Fermi, Swift and NuSTAR missions. Non-NASA projects include the NSF-funded development of a community college online course entitled LIGO: Waves and Gravity, and the development of a new integrated STEM high school curriculum funded by the US Department of Education.

Cominsky has been a member of many different advisory committees, including the Chandra User's Group, the Structure and Evolution of the Universe Subcommittee of NASA’s Space Sciences Advisory Committee, and the LIGO Program Advisory Committee. She has served on the Executive committees for the High Energy Astrophysics Division of the American Astronomical Society, and for the Division of Astrophysics of the American Physical Society. Currently she is also Chair-Elect of the APS California Section. For a decade, she was the Deputy Press Officer for the American Astronomical Society (AAS), and she continues as the Press Officer for both the Fermi and Swift missions. In these positions, she often interprets astronomical discoveries to the public. In 1993, Dr. Cominsky was named both SSU Outstanding Professor and California Professor of the Year by the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE). In 2008, Cominsky was named a Fellow of the California Council on Science and Technology, in 2009, she was named a Fellow of the American Physical Society (Education) and in 2013, she was named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (Astronomy). In 2014, she received the Aerospace Awareness Award from the Women in Aerospace professional organization. 

Professional Information
Primary Forum:Astrophysics
My SMD Projects:

Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope  (
Swift (
XMM-Newton (

Using the Big Ideas in Cosmology to teach College Students: Curriculum Development - to test this curriculum, please send email to See information at:

S4: Small Satellites for Secondary Students (


Science Meetings and Conferences I Usually Attend Annually:
My Professional Societies:

AAS, APS, AAPT, NCTM, CSTA, Tripoli (Level 2), AWIS

My Publications (journals, blogs, products):

See my resume linked at the bottom of this page: