Jesse Shanahan is a graduate researcher in astrophysics, an accessibility coordinator, and a science communicator, specializing in public speaking, outreach, and consulting. She began her career as an Echols Scholar at the University of Virginia and was a dedicated researcher of North African linguistics. Despite switching careers to pursue her love of science, she remains a polyglot and language lover who translates Arabic, French, and Latin for fun. At Wesleyan University, she researched intermediate mass black holes and active galactic nuclei with Dr. Edward Moran. Currently, she is working with Dr. Brooke Simmons at the University of California, San Diego where she analyzes the multiwavelength photometry and spectroscopy of bulgeless galaxies. She is also working with Dr. Chris Lintott and the Galaxy Zoo team from Oxford University on a project that focuses on galaxy morphology and the analytics of large datasets. In her spare time, she organizes public outreach events at local schools, specializing in special needs and at-risk classrooms. In her first year of graduate school, she founded an astronomy outreach program for kids, which has received attention from press and remains a popular bi-monthly event at Van Vleck Observatory. In addition to teaching classes for the public at local museums and schools, she gives talks on improving accessibility for disabled scientists and writes for Forbes Magazine as a contributor specializing in astronomy and linguistics.
Throughout her career, Jesse has advocated staunchly for intersectional equity and is a founding member of the Astronomy Anti-Racism Group (AARG!). She continues to be a dedicated disability rights activist and was a co-founder of the Working Group in Accessibility and Disability in the American Astronomical Society. She is also serving on the Society's Early Career Advisory Board and on the leadership board of 500 Women Scientists.