Jesse Shanahan is an astrophysicist turned science communicator, specializing in public speaking, outreach, and accessibility in STEM. 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. 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.
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.