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Alumni news: 1999 grad EHT studies at National Radio Astronomy Observatory

Alumni news: 1999 grad EHT studies at National Radio Astronomy Observatory

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Jennifer Donovan Meyer is literally reaching for the stars as a scientist at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Charlottesville, Virginia, with a joint appointment as a research professor in the University of Virginia Department of Astronomy.

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory is a federally funded research and development center of the United States National Science Foundation operated under cooperative agreement by Associated Universities Inc. Radio astronomy is the study of celestial objects that give off radio waves. Scientists like Donovan Meyer study astronomical phenomena that are often invisible or hidden in other portions of the electromagnetic spectrum.

A member of the Egg Harbor Township High School Class of 1999, Donovan Meyer graduated with honors in physics and astronomy from Franklin & Marshall College and received her MA, MPh and PhD in astronomy from Columbia University.

A well-rounded student at Egg Harbor Township High School, Donovan Meyer was a member of the EHTHS marching band/color guard, the Interact Club and the Yearbook Club, and participated in school musicals. She also competed in figure skating.

As an undergraduate student at Franklin & Marshall, Donovan Meyer was a member of the orchestra, dance company, and Physics and Astronomy Club, all while continuing her competitive figure skating aspirations.

Those skating skills paid off when she was a graduate assistant student astronomer at Columbia University by day and a member of the Gotham Girls Roller Derby league by night. During the day, Donovan Meyer listened for and tracked the faintest sounds from atoms in galaxies millions of light-years from Earth. But at night, she was Luna Impact hip-checking and hip-whipping her way around the rink, according to a feature article in the 2007 New York Times.

Donovan Meyer feels that Egg Harbor Township Schools prepared her to work with other people who saw things differently than she did, which is something she does on a daily basis in her current career. She says she still uses the phrase "Even a broken clock is right twice a day," crediting her sophomore EHTHS chemistry teacher Dr. Knobloch for imbedding that famous phrase into her mind.

Donovan Meyer remembers her roots. Over the years, she has donated thousands of dollars to fundraising events that benefit Egg Harbor Township students. "My brother Chip and I were raised knowing that it's important to give back and to try to make a difference in your community. Giving back to the EHT school system has always been a way to continue to support a community that always supported me, as well as to honor the work that my father (Chuck Donovan) did for the EHT School system, and that my brother is currently doing for the students of EHT — not to mention it's where my nieces will grow and thrive," she said.

"Frankly I'm really proud of the work that Chip (past president and current member of the Community Partnership for Egg Harbor Township Schools Inc.) is doing, and this is also a way I can help him achieve his goals for the students of EHT since I'm not there to do more," she added.

Married since 2009 to her former college physics lab partner, Brendan, Jennifer gave birth to their first child, Logan Charles Meyer, in May 2018.

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