Craig Niemi, Executive Director

I was introduced to astronomy by my grandfather when I was just knee-high to his telescope. I still remember that remarkable view of Jupiter. My wife Valerie and I joined the Observatory nearly 10 years ago and became active with the Friends of Observatory as board members and history presenters. It's been a privilege to work with so many who are committed to the mission of the Observatory.


Dean Regas, Outreach Astronomer, Assistant Director

Dean Regas, Outreach Astronomer

The stars captured me in 1998 while working at Cincinnati's Wolff Planetarium in Burnet Woods. It was there that I discovered a passion for astronomy and have since become a local expert in observational astronomy, star identification and mythology. I have written over 60 astronomy articles for the Cincinnati Enquirer and Community Press and have been featured on local television and radio. I have been the Outreach Astronomer for the Cincinnati Observatory since 2000.


Click here to learn more about Dean

Anna Hehman, Director of Development

I was drawn to the Cincinnati Observatory because of the educational and historical gem it is to our region. Not only is the entire setting beautiful, but the learning that goes in within the walls of our buildings is truly incredible. Over 30,000 people of all ages visit the Cincinnati Observatory ever year and I’m excited to put my 12 years of fundraising experience to work on behalf of this amazing institution. My duties include pursuing funding avenues to financially secure this gem as well as promoting the Cincinnati Observatory to all those that have not yet discovered this treasure.

Email me to make a donation or to set up a time to come visit!


Kelsey Stryffe, Docent & Admin. Assistant

My fascination with the stars began at a very young age when my mom received a telescope for Christmas one year. To this day I will never forget the image of the moon through that small lens. I have been a stargazer ever since. The Cincinnati Observatory allows me to bring both my love of history and the cosmos together in very unique ways. As a graduate from Miami University with a degree in Art History, and a career built on interpretation, I understand the importance that tangible history experiences bring to the public. The Cincinnati Observatory makes history and the cosmos come alive and I feel very fortunate to be a part of a team that can make this magic happen.


Samantha Pepper, Education Curriculum Coordinator

One of my earliest experiences with astronomy was seeing a picture of Earth from the Moon. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen and instilled in me a deep curiosity about our planet and its solar system. Growing up I was obsessed with all things space and science fiction. As I got older my interests broadened to include all of the branches of science, which lead me to pursue a degree in science education. I have taught science-based lessons at many different institutions, including nature centers, museums and zoo. I was drawn to the Cincinnati Observatory because of the many things it has to offer, from science education to a rich and deep history. I am so excited to teach at the Cincinnati Observatory because it gives me the opportunity to inspire others to love space and science as much as I do. 


Natalia Tooley, Educator

My interest in the night sky began with my father taking my brothers and me camping as children. There was nothing better to me than traveling far enough away from civilization that you could look up and see thousands of stars in the sky. Not only has working for the Cincinnati Observatory given me the opportunity to educate the public on the night sky, but it has taught me so much about the history of my hometown. I am very happy that my environmental studies degree and my experience in nature and history education has brought me here.

Nicole Capella, Educator

My interest in astronomy began as a child at science camp. I saw the models of spaceships and learned how to make bottle rockets. The vastness of outer space is what fascinated me the most. Wonder at the intangible became my true fascination which led me to get my Master of Arts in Philosophy. I now teach philosophy at Thomas More University and Gateway Technical and Community College. At the Cincinnati Observatory, I try to bring the wonder of the vastness of space to the students we encounter in schools and libraries around Cincinnati.

John Ventre, Historian

John Ventre, Volunteer Historian

My first exposure to the Cincinnati Observatory was in the late 1940s when I visited it while on a Boy Scout field trip--this trip triggered a passion for the Observatory that never ended. I taught astronomy at the University of Cincinnati, I served as the Cincinnati Observatory Center's (COC's) first administrator/director, and I am currently helping to restore the COC to a working 19th Century astronomical observatory. I am also the resident “Luna-tic;” everything about the Moon fascinates me and often present lectures on the subject.