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Jason Ybarra

Jason E. Ybarra

Teaching Assistant Professor; Director, WVU Planetarium and Observatory

Astronomy & Astrophysics


Jason E. Ybarra is a Teaching Assistant Professor and serves as the Director of the WVU Planetarium & Observatory. Dr. Ybarra’s research interests include galactic star formation, protostellar outflows, physics education, and the history of astronomy. They earned a Ph.D. from the University of Florida where, as a NASA Graduate Student Researchers Program (GSRP) fellow and a NASA Florida Space Grant Consortium fellow, they studied how star formation progresses through the Rosette Molecular Cloud by analyzing the stellar and gas content of embedded clusters. They also earned a M.S. in Physics from San Francisco State University, where as a graduate student, they co-discovered the first observational evidence of a precessing jet carving out a protostellar envelope. Dr. Ybarra's postdoctoral work at the Instituto de Astronomía, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM-Ensenada) involved characterizing mid-infrared emission from star-forming regions, studying protostellar outflow interactions, and developing astro-statistical methods. They also served as the editor of the "This Month in Astronomical History" column (2019-2020) for the Historical Astronomy Division of the American Astronomical Society (HAD-AAS), as well as being a frequent contributing author.

Dr. Ybarra enjoys teaching and mentoring students. Previous to WVU, they taught physics and astronomy at Davidson College, Bridgewater College, and California State University, Sacramento. They have also taught physics to monastics at the Drepung Loseling Monastery in Karnataka, India through the Emory-Tibet Science Initiative. Dr. Ybarra also currently serves as a coordinator for the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS-V) Faculty and Student Team (FAST) program.

When not teaching or doing science, they write poetry, paint, camp in the woods, and spend time with their wife and cats.

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