Caption: This is the picture from an ad in Sky and Telescope Magazine from the late 1960’s. I am the Geekcake model on the left. I think the “observer” is Mitch Ruda.
The telescope is the 16-inh Ferson which was purchased by grant money awarded to Tony Aveni in 1966. We used it to do photographic flare star studies in support of his astronomy research before he went over to the dark side.
In the beginning there was Tony Aveni. I entered Colgate in the fall of 1965 as a potential physics or chemistry major. I took a January independent study project on cosmology with Tony in 1966 and a stellar astronomy class in the spring semester of that year. Over the next four years as a result of his enthusiasm and encouragement I completed a major in astrogeophysics, served as an astronomy lab assistant, a computer programmer for evolutionary stellar models, and an astronomy research assistant in the observatory. Following my graduation in 1969 is was employed at the Colgate Observatory for the summer of '69. Dr. Aveni spent considerable time and effort convincing the faculty at the University of South Florida to give me an assistantship in spite of my mediocre academic record. I completed my MA at USF and PhD at Case-Western Reserve University in observational astronomy and was hired in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Ball State University. During my time as USF he was a visiting professor in one of my classes. In the early years at Ball State he was a visiting colloquium speaker at BSU and was a visitor in our home when our second child was born in 1980. During my early years at BSU I conducted some research in archeoastronomy in the Midwest and actually published a paper in that field before focusing my attention on observational astronomy. In my 35 years at Ball State I was fortunate to be able to pass along his love for astronomy education and research. Although I retired from full-time teaching three years ago, I continue to teach online courses in astronomy. When people ask how I got into astronomy as a career I think fondly of the influence Tony Aveni had on my career choice and success.