Postdoctoral scholar Aomawa Shields has been named to the 2015 class of TED fellows. Shields is a National Science Foundation Astronomy and Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellow and a UC President’s Postdoctoral Program Fellow in the UCLA Department of Physics and Astronomy and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

The announcement on the TED Blog noted, “These 21 game-changing thinkers represent 15 countries. They work across disciplines, at the forefront of their fields.”

Shields will join her fellow fellows at the “TED2015: Truth and Dare” conference, March 16-20 in Vancouver, B.C., where she will give a TED Talk about her approach to research as well as effective ways of approaching social issues that everyday people struggle with. She conducts research on the climate and habitability of planets — called extrasolar planets – that orbit stars other than the Earth’s sun. She is the founder of Rising Stargirls, which offers interactive astronomy workshops for middle-school girls from groups traditionally underrepresented in the sciences.

Shields earned an Sc.B. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Earth, atmospheric and planetary sciences in 1997, and a Ph.D. in astronomy and astrobiology from the University of Washington, Seattle, in 2014. She also earned an M.F.A. in acting from UCLA in 2001. Learn more at her blog.