Fireside Devotionals

Fireside Devotionals

Throughout the Worlds Without Number: God’s Infinite Creation exhibit period scientists and educators will provide monthly firesides at the Washington, DC Temple Visitors’ Center. Subjects include the themes of discovery, filters and perspective. Both scientific and religious aspects will be addressed, with Q&A to follow — including a fireside designed especially for youth and their parents introducing NASA STEM education and opportunities at the Goddard Space Flight Center Wallops Flight Facility.

A concluding fireside will specifically address the James Webb Space Telescope images, exoplanets and what’s on the horizon in space telescope technology, capped by personal speaker testimony on faith and belief in a loving Creator and the purpose of a beautiful and eternal universe.

Dr. Mario Perez

For the past 15 years, Dr. Perez has been the Chief Technologist for the Astrophysics Division at NASA’s Headquarters in Washington, D.C. There, his work has helped identify hundreds of potential planets through the NASA Kepler program and has helped develop key technology for NASA flight missions. His journey was fueled by a passion for the cosmos that stretches back to his time as a resident astronomer at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and an observer at the European Southern Observatory. He spent 7 years at Los Alamos National Laboratory focusing on space, astrophysics, and technology.

Dr. Perez reached for the stars in his academic career, earning a BS and MS in electrical engineering, a Ph.D. in physics and astronomy from BYU, and an MBA from the University of New Mexico. This multifaceted knowledge allowed him to pursue his love of studying space.

Dr. Joyce Winterton

Dr. Joyce Winterton serves in Senior Management at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Wallops Flight Facility (WFF) on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. She leads education opportunities for students and educators based on the WFF Suborbital and Special Orbital missions and launches. Dr. Winterton previously served as Associate Administrator for Education at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. In her career she taught at the high school and college level, including as a professor at Brigham Young University, and developed education programs in the private and public sectors. She earned her B.S. and M.S. degrees from Utah State University in Education, and a Ph.D. from Colorado State University in Education Leadership and Career Guidance. 

Dr. Denise Stephens

Dr. Stephens received her bachelors degree from Brigham Young University and her masters and PhD from New Mexico State University. She then went to work at the Space Telescope Science Institute and Johns Hopkins University before coming to BYU. She specializes in the study of brown dwarf atmospheres.

Dr. Jason Steffen

Dr. Steffen received his bachelor’s degree in physics and mathematics from Weber State University, and his Masters and PhD in physics from the University of Washington in Seattle. He worked at the Fermilab Center for Particle Astrophysics and Northwestern University before joining the faculty at UNLV in Las Vegas. He studies the properties of exoplanets, the planets and planetary systems that orbit distant stars.

Dr. Tim Knudson

Dr. Knudson lives in Buena Vista, Virginia. He works at Southern Virginia University where he teaches physics and astronomy mainly to students who did not know they would enjoy science before they took his class. Many of them have been converted.  He earned his bachelor’s degree at Brigham Young University and his doctorate in physics from Utah State University where he studied the interaction of the solar wind with our local planets.