Space Studies Research Programs


Welcome to the homepage for the American Public University Space Studies Research Program!  


APUS owns and operations a Planewave CDK24 telescope, equipped with a highly sophisticated digital camera.  The telescope is a key technological component in the University’s Space Studies curriculum. This fully remote-controlled telescope is a testament to the University’s dedication to providing innovative online instruction. The telescope is a dedicated resource for both faculty and students in the APUS Department of Space Studies, both of whom have the opportunity to use the telescope regularly to perform original astronomical research and for educational purposes. 

Collected images are used in the classroom as well as for laboratory instruction by faculty. "We're not just going to websites and pulling down images for our astronomy students. We're using the observatory to collect our own research data," says Space Studies Program Director Dr. Edward Albin.

Graduate-level students work with faculty to collect original astronomical data for their own research and thesis projects. Undergraduate students have the opportunity to assist in analyzing the data, thus gaining authentic hands-on observational experience. “We are one of only a few online universities with a Space Studies program that operates such a large telescope. This gives our students a very nice edge when it comes to graduating and entering the career field," states Dr. Albin.


Research Team


Dr. Edward Albin



Dr. Kristen Miller

Head Researcher

Dr. Kristen Miller is an associate professor of Space Studies at APUS.  She received her doctoral degree in theoretical astrophysics from the University of Maryland.  

Currently, Dr. Miller leads the Supernova Search Program at APUS,  the APUS Analog Research group, and the NEO-Orbits group.  Dr. Miller is the co-advisor of the APUS student chapter of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.  She is the section chair for the Women in Space session of the SESA 2021 conference, and also serves on a variety of committees at the university. 


Dr. Miller’s favorite quote:  “I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night”  (Sarah Williams)


Dr. Katelyn Milliman

Assistant Professor


Katelyn Milliman was born and raised in Gainesville, Florida. She graduated from the University of Florida with degrees in Astronomy and Physics, and received her Ph.D. in Astronomy from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Currently she is an Assistant Professor in the Space Studies Department at APUS and lives in Portland, Oregon with her family.


Melanie Crowson



I'm Education Director for PARI, graduated from APU in 2020 with my masters degree in astronomy with honors, former vice chair for SEDS USA and Darrell Cain award recipient of 2017.  I have participated in and  conducted research projects on variable stars, with my passion for astronomy starting when I was 7.  I was homeschooled through high school and built a telescope with my Dad


Salina Peña

Training Coordinator


Salina recently earned her Bachelors of Science in Space Studies with APUS and continues her endeavor working on her Masters of Science with a concentration in Astronomy.  She has over ten years of experience teaching Physics, Astronomy, and Space Science in South Dakota and Arizona.  She has also earned her Masters of Arts in Education with two majors of Curriculum and STEM.  Salina is married with three beautiful daughters, who are ages 21, 14, and 2.  They enjoy camping, hiking, and stargazing as a family in their free time.   


Terry Trevino

Lead Researcher

Trevino is a Masters Candidate in Space Studies with a concentration in Aerospace Science at American Military University, he is also the American Public University System’s Telescope Observatory, Assistant Manager, researching space, and searching for answers to pressing questions. A tinkerer, get it done person. Seeking Kaizen, change for the better and continuous improvement, living in San Francisco, California, where he raises 4 children with his Rock Star wife. they climb big mountains, and they are designing and funding a. water project in the Khumbu Valley, Phortse Village, Nepal.

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Christine Arbizo

Lead Researcher

Christine is a Space Studies Undergraduate with APUS. Christine expects to graduate in the fall and continue pursuing her education with the Masters of Science program with APUS. Christine has worked as a human resources professional for 15 years but decided to chase her passion and curiosity of learning about stars and exploring space. Christine is NASA L'Space Academy Alumni having recently completed the Mission Concept Academy (MCA) and NASA Proposal Writing Experience (NPWEE). Christine’s interests include supernova research, the health impacts of long-term space travel on humans and the geological study of space objects. Christine is married to her best friend Anthony and together they have 2 children, a son- Zyler 10 and a daughter-Aerith 8. Together they enjoy camping with their dogs, fishing, and playing Dungeons and Dragons.


Chris Colvin

Detection Verification Analyst.


Larry E. Harrison

Research Team Member

Website Coordinator

Larry recently earned his Masters of Science in Space Studies with a concentration in Astronomy from American Military University. In 2018, Larry became an employee of the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan at their flagship Subaru Observatory to follow his dream of astronomical research. During his time at Subaru, Larry launched a revolutionary "Observatory Technician" apprenticeship program, which is currently being submitted to the State of Hawaii's apprenticeship board for official recognition. In his free time, he enjoys star gazing, hiking, snorkeling, and reading books of historical non-fiction space exploration (especially fond of the 1957-1972 human space exploration era). 


Erin Stamper


Jason Cushard

Lead Researcher

Algae Researcher

Erin is a marine scientist and a graduate of the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo. She currently resides on the Big Island of Hawaiʻi cultivating and researching various species of algae.

Although she was born and raised in the mountains of Colorado, her true passion is centered on the oceans of the world and the macrocosm of life beneath their waves. In her quest to sate her inquisitive nature of sea life, Erin became an AAUS (American Academy of Underwater Sciences) authorized scientific diver (ASD). Armed with her ASD certification, she earned the Quantitative Underwater Ecological Surveying Techniques (QUEST) 2016 scholarship. The QUEST scholarship opened the door of opportunity, allowing her to lead and train the next cohort of scientific SCUBA divers in regards to coral reef monitoring and underwater research. As a new member of AIAA, her interests have expanded to exploring deep space and what roles micro algae may fulfill for space travel and future Martian settlements.

Back ground image credit: NASA