Dr. Dan Peluso, Director of Strategic Engagement

Dr. Dan Peluso joined LSST Discovery Alliance (LSST-DA) on May 20, 2024 as the Director of Strategic Engagement. He brings considerable expertise in astronomy, education, and science communications. Dr. Peluso will focus on ensuring effective collaboration with and support for LSST-DA’s mission and initiatives from the Alliance’s key participants.

He will develop, implement, and assess programs to initiate, build, and nurture meaningful relationships with individual and organizational partners, advisors, scientists, friends, and contributors. Furthermore, Peluso will enhance fundraising capacity, serve as media liaison, and facilitate external communications. In addition to his primary focus on these engagements, he will also pursue his own independent research to enhance Alliance efforts and contribute to their shared goal of democratizing science with the Rubin Observatory’s Legacy Survey of Space and Time.

Peluso served as a researcher with the University of Southern Queensland (UniSQ), the SETI Institute, and the American Modeling Teachers Association (AMTA), where he studied the intersection of exoplanets, citizen science, and astronomy education. His Astronomy PhD thesis (2024), from UniSQ, was titled Democratizing & Enhancing Exoplanet Research with the Unistellar Citizen Science Network & Astronomy Modeling Instruction, and led to groundbreaking work that advances the field of exoplanet detection through mostly citizen scientist observed transits. This resulted in peer-reviewed scientific papers that included contributions from over 200 citizen astronomers worldwide, 16 of them US high school students involved as co-authors in the discovery and confirmation of the exoplanet TIC 139270665 b. Peluso is also an accomplished astronomy teacher at the high school, community college, and graduate level.

Peluso holds an Associate of Applied Science in Music Business & Songwriting from McNally Smith College of Music, a B.A. in Media & Professional Communications and a B.S. in Natural Sciences (Planetary Science) from the University of Pittsburgh, a M.Ed. in Science Curriculum & Instruction and Single-Subject Teaching Credential from the University of San Diego, and a PhD in Astrophysics from the University of Southern Queensland.

Before turning to astronomy and education, Peluso served as a promotions and artist development professional in the music industry, working with major music companies, such as Warner Music Distribution, Universal Music, Lost Highway, and Island Def Jam, individual artists like Fall Out Boy, Wolfmother, The Bravery, Bon Jovi, and Robert Plant and Alison Krauss. Peluso is also an accomplished singer-songwriter and, with the indie pop rock group Falling Andes, has performed with nationally touring artists, achieved national press and AAA radio play, and most recently had his music featured on SiriusXM satellite radio under the pseudonym Conner Eko.