Melissa McGrath

Melissa McGrath
Senior Scientist

Dr. McGrath received her BA in Physics & Astronomy from Mount Holyoke College, and MA and PhD degrees in Astronomy from the University of Virginia, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at Johns Hopkins University. She was hired as a staff scientist at the the Space Telescope Science Institute in 1992, where she stayed for 13 years, working her way through the ranks as an Assistant, Associate (with tenure) and then Full Astronomer. She became a senior manager at STScI in 2002 as head of the Community Missions Office. In 2005 Dr. McGrath moved to NASA, where she was hired as a member of the Senior Executive Service to be the Deputy Director of the Science and Technology Directorate at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center. Later that year she was assigned to a one year detail at NASA Headquarters, where she served as the Deputy Director of the Science Mission Directorate's Planetary Science Division. In 2006 she returned to Marshall, where she served as the Chief Scientist until her retirement from NASA in January 2015. Dr. McGrath has served as the Chair of the American Astronomical Society’s largest Division, the 1500 member Division for Planetary Sciences; as President of the International Astronomical Union’s Commission 16 (Physical Studies of Planets and Satellites); and she is currently a Scientific Editor for both The Astronomical Journal and the Astrophysical Journal Letters. Her research expertise includes planetary and satellites atmospheres and magnetospheres, particularly imaging and spectroscopic studies of Jupiter’s Galilean satellites. She is currently a co-investigator on the Ultraviolet Spectrometer instrument on the ESA JUICE mission to Ganymede, as well as a co-investigator on two proposed instruments for NASA’s Europa Clipper mission.

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