UW-Fox Valley Logo

Interim Director Appointed at Barlow Planetarium

Ty Westbrook has been named the Interim Director of the Barlow Planetarium, located on the campus of the University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley. Westbrook, 42, has been affiliated with the Barlow’s operations since 1999, when he served as a volunteer. He has been part of the planetarium’s staff since September 2005.  Ty Westbrook

Westbrook replaces Karen Klamczynski, who was the founding director of the planetarium. Klamczynski left her position in January 2007 to accept a position in the Digital Theatre Group at Evans & Sutherland in Salt Lake City, UT. “Evans & Sutherland produces professional hardware and software to create highly realistic visual images for digital theatre and other applications throughout the world,” Klamczynski said.

Westbrook has been an Appleton resident for the past 13 years. He attended Lake Sumter Community College in Leesburg, FL and UWFox. “I’m very excited to have the opportunity to lead the planetarium toward a new phase in its mission of promoting the fascinating field of astronomy,” he said.

“The community owes Karen a huge debt of gratitude for bringing the planetarium this far,” Westbrook offered. Without Karen’s guidance and example, I wouldn’t be able to fulfill the responsibilities now required of me.”

Klamczynski became the planetarium director in January 1998 and oversaw the final stages of the building of the Barlow as well as the installation of equipment. The planetarium’s first public astronomy shows were presented on March 20, 1998.

Among the highlights that the Barlow and the UWFox campus have enjoyed during the past nine years include hosting three major astronomy conferences; offering more than 50 different star shows and dozens of laser shows; presenting over 8,500 total shows (school groups, public shows, private showings and school groups); showcasing live concerts featuring jazz, rock, new-age music, and an art show; uniting 15 couples in marriage “under the stars” of the Barlow; building a strong relationship with the local astronomy club with a partnership that offered the annual “Astronomy Day” and “Sidewalk Astronomy” events; offering the annual summer Wisconsin Space Academy; and providing many astronomy workshops for the local Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts.

To date, over 320,000 people have visited the Barlow Planetarium.

For more information about the Barlow Planetarium, contact Westbrook at 920-832-2852, email ty.westbrook@uwc.edu, or visit the planetarium’s website, www.uwfox.uwc.edu/barlow.

Posted 02/12/2007