Joanna Levine Astronomy Memorial Fund

Dr. Joanna L. Levine was as graduate student in the Department of Astronomy from 1998. to 2006. She was a vibrant member of our department and an excellent student, researcher and teacher. Joanna was an integral member of the FLAMINGOS research team and carried out an outstanding thesis using FLAMINGOS near-infrared spectroscopy and photometry, entitled, Low mass star and brown dwarf formation in the Orion B molecular cloudIn addition to conducting research, she taught the AST 1022 lab and was a tutor for AST 1002, our introductory course for non-majors. She was a superb communicator and had an excellent rapport with her students. She made every effort for her students to understand the material and enjoy learning about the universe in the process. While at UF, Joanna was also active in outreach, often participating in our Starry Nights, including Make A Comet, Astro Art and was even a puppeteer in our production of Red Star, Blue Star, How I Wonder What You Are!  After graduation, Joanna went on to teach Astronomy at Mount Holyoke for several years and also pursued her passions outside astronomy as a professional ballet dancer, ballet instructor, yoga instructor and artist. Joanna died on July 26, 2023 after a 3-year battle with mesothelioma. She left an indelible mark on all those she interacted with.

Over the years, Joanna kept in close contact with her thesis advisor and showed a keen interest in the well-being of UF ASTRO and especially in our students. She was a great advocate for graduate student mentoring and mental health initiatives. In her honor and memory, we are establishing a fund to support and enhance the lives of graduate students in our department. The Joanna Levine Astronomy Memorial Fund will be used to support the well-being of graduate students in the Department of Astronomy including, but not limited to, support for mental health initiatives, graduate student functions, awards, prizes, scholarships and direct support for students in need.

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