Aomawa Shields Biography

Aomawa Shields is an associate professor of physics and astronomy at the University of California, Irvine. Her research investigates the climate and habitability of tiny exoplanets using data from observatories such as NASA’s Kepler probe.

Shields was a 2015 TED Fellow and is involved in science communication and outreach. With her background in theatre and her professional experience in astronomy, she creates dynamic seminars to boost confidence and educate students about the universe.

Early Life

Aomawa Shields is 40 years old which means she was born in 1983. She earned her diploma from Phillips Exeter Academy in 1993. As a student there, she and other physics enthusiasts would frequently rise early in the morning to observe Jupiter’s moons. Shields earned his degree in Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).


She initially planned to pursue a Ph.D. in physics but ultimately decided to pursue an MFA in acting at UCLA. She tried her hand at acting and appeared in the movie Nine Lives (2005). However, she was still drawn to space and science.

Shields’ day job was as a help desk operator for the Spitzer Space Telescope at Caltech. In the course of their discussions, she was encouraged to try out for the co-hosting position on Wired Science, a television program produced by PBS and Wired Magazine.

Shields concluded that a Ph.D. was necessary for advancement after considering possibilities as a science-TV personality and as an astronaut trainer. After an eleven-year break from her undergraduate studies, she returned to the University of Washington.

She earned a master’s degree in 2011 and a Ph.D. in Astronomy and Astrobiology in 2014. She was mentored by Victoria Meadows and Cecilia Bitz, and her dissertation was titled “The Effect of Star-Planet Interactions on Planetary Climate.”

Aomawa Shields Career

After finishing her doctorate, Shields was awarded a postdoctoral fellowship by the National Science Foundation to continue her research at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. She was appointed as a Clare Boothe Luce Assistant Professor at UC Irvine in 2016. Shields is currently investigating the habitability of small, Earth-size planets that orbit low-mass stars.

She takes climate models made for modeling the temperature and weather on Earth and changes them so they can be used on exoplanets. Her research involves examining a variety of elements, such as the distance and type of star that a planet circles, the eccentricity and obliquity of that orbit, the planet’s atmosphere, and the rate of spin.

By investigating the range of factors that can affect a planet’s temperature, scientists can exclude those worlds that aren’t suitable for supporting life. Shields has been involved in science communication since before her Ph.D., including her work in Wired Science and an appearance in the documentary The Universe. Shields has been featured on a recent NOVA program.

Rise to Fame

Shields’ postdoctoral fellowship also allowed her to create an outreach program. Shields looked for a way to use her own life experiences to inspire women from underrepresented groups to explore careers in astronomy. A workshop called “Universe: More than Meets the Eye” was created by her.

This workshop is a metaphor-filled interactive session designed for young women in middle school. It gets them thinking about how a planet’s outward look can be deceiving regarding its livability. Girls are urged to consider their own perspectives and those of their peers.

Shields recently established and directed Rising Stargirls, an outreach program that integrates theatre, poetry, and visual arts with astronomy. The group’s mission is to increase the number of diverse women who pursue careers in astronomy. Shields created the Rising Stargirls program in 2015 to inspire young women of all races and backgrounds to learn more about space.

Aomawa Shields Biography

Real Name Aomawa L. Shields
Birth Date 1983
Age (as of 2023) 40 Years
Birth Place United States
Profession Professor
College Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Washington
Qualification Graduate

Physical Statistics

Height in feet inches – 5’ 6” – in Centimeters – 168 cm
Weight in Kilograms – 56 kg  –  in Pounds –  123 lbs
Hair Color Black
Eye Color Dark Brown



Relationship Status

Marital Status Single
Who is her husband?

Personal Life

Shields has managed to keep her personal life away from the public. There might be a possibility that she is married but prefers to keep it a secret as of now. Well, currently she is more focused on her work and investigations.

Aomawa Shields Net Worth

Aomawa’s net worth is not known as of now. Well, we can guess from her bright career that she must be earning well and leading a successful life. In the coming years, she is yet to earn more name and fame and add more to her net worth.

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