COSAM News Articles 2020 February Physics Students Form Auburn Astronomical Society

Physics Students Form Auburn Astronomical Society

Published: 02/11/2020

By: Carla Nelson

Auburn University students Rachel Fulda and Johannes Allen both share a passion for astronomy. Fulda, a freshman majoring in physics, and Allen, a junior double-majoring in physics and aerospace engineering, met through the Society of Physics Students and bonded over the idea to start an organization centered around space.

“There are more than 400 student organizations on campus,” Fulda said. “I couldn’t believe there wasn’t an astronomy club. I know there are people interested in astronomy and I’d like to share that with them.”

Fulda brought the idea to College of Sciences and Mathematics (COSAM) Academic Advisor Katie Cooper and she encouraged her and Allen to start the student organization.

“Both of them are very ambitious,” Cooper said. “I’m so proud of them for starting this club and I hope they can reach out to other students across campus that are interested.” 

The students recently held an interest meeting for the Auburn Astronomical Society on Feb. 6 and close to 30 students from different majors attended. Fulda and Allen shared with the students their ideas for this “fun” club for which they could possibly visit planetariums, host astrophotography camping trips, showcase astronomy research through colloquiums, and utilize the telescopes on the rooftop terrace of the Leach Science Center.

Grant Horn, an aerospace engineering student, and Sam Sowell, a nursing student, both attended. Horn said he believes everything about space is interesting, so he decided to attend the meeting and liked what he heard.

“Also, you don’t get an opportunity to work with telescopes a lot, so the fact that they’re offering that is pretty darn cool,” he said.

Sowell said joining the club offers him a divergence from his usual focus on campus.

“Every class I have is very dedicated to my nursing major,” he said. “I have liked astronomy since I was a kid and thought the organization sounded interesting.”

Fulda and Allen also spoke at the interest meeting about community outreach being an aspect of the organization and how they feel it is important to expose those in the community to more knowledge about astronomy.

“We don’t really have that many opportunities for astronomy at Auburn, but over the years we’ve gotten more faculty who are interested in astronomy,” Allen said. “I think it would be a really good way for Auburn to grow by expanding its outreach into astronomy.”

The Auburn University Astronomical Society will meet bi-weekly on Thursdays in the Leach Science Center at 7 p.m. It is open to all Auburn University students, faculty and staff. For more information, email


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