Dr. Keivan Stassun

Stassun holds the Stevenson chair in Physics & Astronomy at Vanderbilt University, where he was previously the recipient of an NSF CAREER award, a Cottrell Scholar award from the Research Corporation for Science Advancement, an HHMI Professor award from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and a Ford Foundation Diversity Fellowship from the National Academies. Stassun is a co-investigator for NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) mission, chairs the executive committee of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, and recently served on the National Academy of Science’s Decadal Steering Committee for Astronomy & Astrophysics. An elected Fellow of the American Physical Society, the American Astronomical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, his research on stars and exoplanets has appeared in more than 500 peer-reviewed journal articles, with an emphasis on developing new data-driven methods for making precise measurements of the fundamental physical properties of stars and planets. From 2004 to 2015, he served as founding director of the Fisk-Vanderbilt Masters-to-PhD Bridge Program, which has become one of the nation’s top producers of PhDs to underrepresented minorities in the physical sciences. Having trained more than 50 PhD students and postdoctoral scholars from diverse backgrounds, Stassun is a leader and advocate for broadening participation in STEM, especially of underrepresented minorities and persons with disabilities. He has served on NSF’s Committee for Equal Opportunity in Science and Engineering, chaired the American Astronomical Society’s Committee on Minorities, is a recipient of the American Physical Society’s Nicholson Medal for Human Outreach, has been named Mentor of the Year by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and has been honored with a Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring. Stassun currently serves as founding director of the Frist Center for Autism & Innovation in Vanderbilt’s School of Engineering, focused on advancing science and engineering through the engagement and workforce development of autistic individuals and those with other forms of neurodiversity. In 2023, Stassun was appointed to a six-year term on the National Science Board by President Joseph R. Biden.