AstroCamp takes pride in hiring the highest quality staff. All of the AstroCamp instructors are required to have at least a Bachelors Degree in Physics or Astronomy, and it is not uncommon for our instructors to have a Masters Degree or PhD. Additionally, many of our staff have research experience with their universities, as well as fellowship and research experience at some of the top science institutions in the US such as NASA, JPL and the NSF.
One of the lasting legacies of Guided Discoveries is our faculty. We serve over 45,000 students every year at our 5 facilities. With safety being one of our primary goals, instructors are also required to have First aid, CPR-PR, and Waterfront Lifeguard certifications, as well as comprehensive on-site training.
The AstroCamp and Guided Discoveries Alumni are far reaching with hundreds teaching in schools throughout the country. Many of our former faculty can also be found in major aquariums, national sanctuaries, and at science centers and museums throughout the US. The growth and development of Guided Discoveries is a direct result of the energy, enthusiasm and contributions of our many faculty over the years.
AstroCamp Director – School Program
“Guided Discoveries has an incredible way of creating environments that are empowering for all. For our students, teachers, staff, and even executives, there are always opportunities for growth and experiences that profoundly affect and change our lives.”
Andy began working for Guided Discoveries in 1998 as a Marine Science Instructor at Fourth of July Cove. Since then, he has held numerous positions within the organization including, Head Aquarist, Assistant Program Director, Director of Educational Outreach, Sea Camp Expeditions Diving Director, and served as the Program Director of all three CIMI programs. Andy has been also been part of two Sea Camp Expeditions to Belize.
He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology/Ecology and minor in Marine Science from Pennsylvania State University. In addition, Andy has a Master’s Degree in Marine Biology.
Contact Andy at firstname.lastname@example.org
Michelle Ferrara Peterson
AstroCamp Program Director
“Guided Discoveries allows me to share my love of science with children and to infuse them with the excitement of learning. There are so many kids who need to know that it is OK to think science is cool and to want to pursue a life in the sciences, especially young girls. It is all about the kids we see every day, but it is also about the relationships we create with like-minded people we work with at Guided Discoveries.”
Encouraged by her parents to “go on adventures” (code for “get out of the house”) Michelle spent her childhood playing in woods, rivers and lakes, discovering new things about the outdoors every day.
Michelle came to work at AstroCamp for what she thought would be six weeks in 1997 but ended up staying through 2002, serving as an instructor and Assistant Program Director. She returned in 2010 as the AstroCamp Program Director.
She earned a Bachelor of Science in fisheries and wildlife, with a minor in physics. She holds certifications CPR, First Aid, lifeguarding, NAUI diving and has her private pilot license, and has worked at more than a half-dozen camps in a variety of capacities.
Contact Michelle at email@example.com
AstroCamp Food Service Director
“After having worked for Guided Discoveries on Catalina Island for 24 years, when the opportunity arose for my family and me to come back to the company, but up on the mountain, I jumped on it. Guided Discoveries is all about service–whether it’s creating the best programs possible, providing comfortable housing, or making a great dining experience–and I wanted to be a part of it again.”
Doug is originally from Minnesota, where he earned his culinary degree and started his camping career working at the YMCA camp in Julian, California. In 1987, Doug came to Guided Discoveries, accepting the position as the Head Chef at Toyon Bay. After raising his family and living on Catalina for 24 years, he decided to change destinations and moved to Austin, Texas, and took a position at Camp Young Judaea as the Kitchen Director.
In April 2014, Doug returned to Guided Discoveries as Food Service Director at AstroCamp, bringing all his culinary expertise and experience with him. He’s enjoying all the new opportunities at AstroCamp, both within the kitchen and without, and is looking forward to all the years on the mountain yet to come.
Contact Doug at firstname.lastname@example.org
“Guided Discoveries is unlike any place I’ve worked before. Everyone works together collectively to fulfill the mission, & to provide a great experience for the children. It’s a privilege to work at a place full of passionate instructors, supportive management, & a dedicated maintenance staff whom all love serving the youth.”
With over a decade of experience in maintenance, Jacob began working for Guided Discoveries in 2017. He was taken back by the beauty and wildlife, which surrounds the 90-acre facility. Some of Jacob’s past experiences include serving as a maintenance director at a private K-12 school, as well as working maintenance at a 400-acre camp in SoCal. Jacob jokes that although he had his hands full working at the 15-acre school that consisted of 80 staff, and over 600 students, that his student workers were the highlight of working there. Jacob said, “Having the opportunity to share my knowledge with the kids, see them develop work ethics, and transform into responsible young adults was a great experience.”
Raised in Crestline, Jacob grew up in the mountains and developed a love for nature. In response to being asked how he likes working at Astro camp, Jacob said, “ It reminds me of my childhood, I’m truly blessed.”
Contact Jake at email@example.com or call 951-659-6062