About Me

Hello! My name is Alyssa, and I have been blogging here since September 2008. Here I am at the top of Machu Picchu:

When I started this blog, I was a PhD student, and much of my writing focused on the ups and downs of that experience. I finished my PhD in Astronomy in July, 2009, which focused on searching for objects called main-belt comets (objects that are in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, but display cometary activity), and studying gas and dust production from active comets.

During my graduate career I was also very involved in science outreach. I was the coordinator of the Let's Talk Science Partnership Program for six years. I also developed and coordinated a new astronomy outreach program called Exploring the Stars.

In June, 2011, I finally got my first real job doing something I truly loved: working as an outreach coordinator for a planetary science program. I got to work with faculty and graduate students, K-12 teachers and students, and community members/groups, to help create a more scientifically-literate world. How can I not love doing that? Now, I'm contemplating the next step in my career, but I hope to be involved in education and outreach/advocacy in some way(s). 

I have a wonderful husband (who I refer to as DH), and we have been married since September 2008. We have two cats (Isaac and Isabella), and live in Ontario. DH works as a research scientist at a local medical research institute. We bought our first house in 2010 and we welcomed our first son, Evan, in October, 2010. We expanded our family in October, 2013, by adding our second son, Carter. We are constantly in awe of them, and just love watching them both learn and develop. It's like having two of our own, 18+ year, biology/sociology/psychology/etc. experiments! I suffered a stroke about a week after Carter was born, which has changed me in more ways than I know.

What else about me? One of my favorite things to do is read, and I've made a concerted effort to fit it into my schedule the past few years, even taking part in a book club. I have also taken up knitting and absolutely love it. Other stuff I like to do is golf, bike, travel when I can, nap, bake, watch NFL, and probably spend too much time in front of the TV or on the internet.

When I started this blog I wasn't sure what I was going to write about. But, after reading some (now favorite) science blogs (see the blogroll) and becoming part of the community, I found my voice in sharing the highs and lows of graduate school. Now I read blogs on all sorts of topics (parenting, fashion, home improvement, education, stroke, and others).

At first I wanted to blog pseudonymously, but after about a year I decided to out myself and write under my own name. Initially, the blog was titled Mrs. Comet Hunter - after the role(s) I saw myself taking at the time (a newly married Astronomer studying comets). Once I finished my PhD and decided to blog under my own name, the title changed to Apple Pie & The Universe. This title derives from the Carl Sagan quote "In order to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe." It represents my wanting to find a balance between my home life (apple pie), work life (the Universe), and my love for education & outreach (of which Carl Sagan was a huge influence). 

After a miscarriage in December 2009, I started writing about more personal things, and have found it to be cathartic as well as gaining support from people from around the world who I have never met. This blog will continue to evolve as my life does - the format, background, title, or topics may change, but I assure you the person will not (much!).

Welcome to the blog. I hope it's as enjoyable for you to read as it is for me to write!

- Alyssa

If you want to contact me, you can send an email to mrscomethunter 'at' rogers 'dot' com