I believe that science and science education can save the world. Why? Science has already delivered a longer human life expectancy, the eradication of many diseases, and many other medical, societal, and technological benefits. Our current technology and communications have advanced our species into a fantastical present, rich with realities once only reserved for science fiction. Currently, our cosmic perspective allows us to see ourselves as tiny inhabitants of a small pale blue dot in the deep abyss of space. This perspective has enriched us with the knowledge that we live within a delicate envelope that requires stewardship on a global scale. In the 4.5-billion-year history of our planet, no other species has come to this stage of technological prowess, harnessing the ability to inadvertently cause planetary change and either the wisdom to intentionally change it for good, or the folly to let its seemingly clever inventions destroy itself. I am working on changing the world through science to save our future, push open new discoveries, and inspire everyone for a better tomorrow.
My name is Daniel Peluso. As a returning non-traditional adult student, I graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in May 2016 and received a B.S. in Natural Sciences (concentration in planetary sciences), a B.A. in Media & Professional Communications, as well as a Certificate in Digital Media. I consider myself a scientist, science educator and communicator, photographer, songwriter, and musician.
This website includes work from my artist portfolio, but also serves to highlight my recent and current pursuits in the sciences, and as a science educator and communicator. My most current CV is also available on this site. Please explore the page, Science, for more information on my recent and future scientific endeavors. The background information on the Science page also includes more detail on my most recent experience and future goals as a scientist and science educator.
Before returning to school in the summer of 2013, I worked professionally at a multitude of jobs. In addition to my recently acquired bachelors' degrees, I also hold an Associate of Applied Science in Music Business with a minor in Songwriting (McNally Smith College of Music, 2005). After completing this degree, I gained experience working in the music industry for several years as a musician and songwriter in independent rock bands, as well as a marketing and communications professional at various major record companies. People often ask me what working in the music industry was like. In response, I enjoy sharing with them this popularly attributed Hunter S. Thompson quote: "The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side." . Needless to say, although I loved (and still do) writing and performing original music, I found that I didn't like working in the music industry very much.
After escaping the "plastic hallway", I worked in education technology as a trainer and regional education technology specialist for the number one interactive whiteboard in education, the SMART Board. Working with K-12 teachers as a SMART Board trainer and Education Solutions Specialist for SMART Technologies exposed me to the many problems facing the American education system, which ultimately led me to return to school at the University of Pittsburgh to pursue a new career in science.
In 2014, I was awarded the Atlantic Coast Conference Inter-Institutional Academic Collaborative (ACCIAC) Creativity & Innovation Fellowship and created the documentary, The Quest for Another Earth, which can be viewed in the Video section of this website. The short documentary briefly explains the science of exoplanets and research done at the University of Pittsburgh (Pitt). My fellowship mentor on the project was Pitt cosmologist and astrophysicist, Dr. Arthur Kosowsky. The video was showcased at the world's largest geophysical science conference, American Geophysical Union (AGU), in San Francisco, CA in December 2016. In the summer of 2015, I was awarded the Mickey Leland Energy Fellowship and conducted geoscience research at the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), which led to an extended placement at NETL through the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE). I contributed to two internal technical papers for this work at NETL. These papers were submitted for official government publication while I held this appointment, but were not ultimately released because of project delays.
In the fall of 2015, under the advisement of martian petrologist, Dr. J. Brian Balta, I was awarded the NASA Pennsylvania Space Grant to support our planetary science research studying martian meteorite chemistry. The research resulted in me achieving a first author published abstract and poster presentation at the 47th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in March 2016. The results from this planetary science research are currently being drafted into a manuscript for submission to a scientific academic journal.
In the spring and early summer of 2016, I also managed to find some time to gain experience working part-time at the Carnegie Science Center's Buhl Planetarium and Observatory, and Science on the Road program. For Science on the Road, I presented interactive science lessons to K-9 students at schools and summer science programs throughout Pennsylvania and neighboring states. At the Buhl Planetarium, I delivered astronomy programs and events and had the pleasure and honor to educate the public about the science and wonders of the cosmos.
In August 2017, I finished graduate school at the University of San Diego. I was a student in their School of Leadership and Education Sciences’ one-year Master Credential Cohort Program, and received a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction and a Single Subject Teaching Credential in Physics and Geosciences. Currently, I am teaching high school physics in the state of California at Mare Island Technology Academy in Vallejo, CA. I am determined to change the face of STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) education and inspire the next generation of astronauts, engineers, astronomers, and scientists of tomorrow. Although I find teaching very valuable, my ultimate career goal is to become a science outreach and communications specialist, where I can make use of both my skills in the media arts, and my new skills in science and science education.
[1.] M. Flynn. Thieves and Pimps. From: http://hstbooks.org/2010/04/01/thieves-and-pimps/. (HST Books, 2010).