Attila Elteto has been hired as a new full-time faculty member in the Science & Technology Division. He will teach astronomy and physics.
Most recently, Elteto has been teaching astronomy at the University of Connecticut and Naugatuck Valley Community College. He completed his Bachelor’s Degree in Astronomy at Cornell University and earned a PhD in Astrophysical and Planetary Science at the University of Colorado at Boulder. After deciding his real passion was in education, Elteto returned to school and earned a Master’s Degree in Education from the University of New Haven.
Elteto said he’s been passionate about teaching astronomy for over a decade, much of it in public outreach, but in recent years has also started teaching formal astronomy classes at the collegiate level.
“I am especially excited when I have some powerful tools I can use, because most of the public gets very excited and awed when they look through a telescope, even just a small one, or see the ‘sky’ rotate in a planetarium,” he said.
Elteto said he was attracted to the job at Cañada because it emphasized the need for teaching astronomy labs. “I’m very excited about the opportunity to teach astronomy hands-on,” he said. “In addition, (Cañada College) President (Larry) Buckley assured me that the college is looking to expand its STEM disciplines in coming years, and he was excited to learn my interest in expanding on the astronomy curriculum, and possibly conducting astronomy outreach at the college.”
Buckley said Elteto’s approach to teaching will make him an asset to Cañada’s faculty. “Attila went back to school to earn a master’s degree to become a better teacher,” Buckley said. “He understands that students today learn differently than they did even 10 years ago. They are going to enjoy his classes.”
Elteto said that even at the 101 level, astronomy is an exciting way to draw students towards science. “Many students enter my classes thinking it may just be straight lectures with lots of pretty pictures,” he said. “Instead, my mission is to use the context of astronomy to teach student the skills and tools of science in general. I expect active participation from my students, and encourage peer-to-peer learning. By the end of the semester, I expect students to be able to formulate their own questions, use the tools they’ve learned to seek the answers for themselves, and present what they have learned in a thorough, professional manner.” Outside of teaching, Elteto said he enjoys singing and is usually a member of a choir. He also enjoys hiking.