Coming for the Cosmos

We are thrilled to welcome Lizvette Villafaña to Great Basin National Park this spring, as a Foundation supported Scientist in the Parks intern.

Lizvette is a native Californian, who moved from a small rural town to Los Angeles, CA in 2013, to pursue her Bachelor's degree in Astrophysics from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Upon completion, Lizvette worked on nanosatellite control systems while working on her masters degree in Aerospace Engineering across town at the University of Southern California (USC). Passionate about astronomy, she returned to UCLA for her PhD in Astronomy and Astrophysics, focusing her research on supermassive black holes, and is set to graduate in June 2024. 

Lizvette is deeply committed to teaching and serves as a part time Astronomy Professor at Santa Monica College, where she loves teaching students of all ages about stars, planets, and galaxies! 

Having spent nearly a decade in a major city like Los Angeles, where light pollution taints the night sky, Lizvette recognizes the significance of preserving dark skies. She is excited to join us at one of the darkest skies in the lower 48 and can’t wait to see the Milky Way this summer. Lizvette is excited for her role and looks forward to helping the Park with astronomy programs and cave tours, and helping show people that half of Great Basin National Park is after dark!

Great Basin National Park Foundation has funded 1-3 Scientist in the Parks interns at Great Basin for the past four summers. As Lizvette demostrates, this program attracts immense talent to the Park to benefit both Park visitors, Park staff, and the individual who get to spend 12 weeks in one of the most beautiful Dark Sky Parks in our country.