Cherilynn Morrow: Creativity is Playing at the Interfaces

Dr. Cherilynn Morrow has been a professor of Physics & Astronomy at Georgia State University with a focus on innovative instruction and education research. Her primary roles have been working with colleagues to re-vitalize introductory physics teaching in a collaborative, integrated lecture/lab environment called Studio Physics, and to make physics more accessible and engaging for future educators as well as for pre-professionals in medicine, law, and business. In addition, Cherilynn serves as Principal Investigator for a NASA grant ($500,000) to enhance Global Climate Change education in the state of Georgia.

As of August 1st, 2012, she is leaving her professorship to put greater focus on the pursuit of her artistic dreams. In addition to her passion for developing the minds and hearts of students and teachers in the context of science education, Dr. Morrow is also a singer and budding songwriter. She is a strong advocate and practitioner of integrating music and the arts in service to science education and loves to communicate in ways that transform rather than inform.

“One of the enormous sources of creativity is that interface between realms that seem, at first blush, unrelated. Like science and spirit or art and science. Where such realms weave together…. that’s where my being feels the most creatively activated. I love to explore those interfaces — allowing new possibilities to reveal themselves. This often involves collaborating and co-creating with people from a variety of domains… playing together at the interfaces, and developing new capacities within ourselves in the process.” ~Dr. Cherilynn Morrow

Listen to Cherilynn’s Art as Worship interview on Empower Radio.

Cherilynn invented AstroJazz – a multi-sensory public education program that integrates live jazz music with beautiful imagery and the wonders of astronomy. For AstroJazz, Morrow sings, co-composes songs, writes the lyrics or lyrical parodies, researches the science content, and prepares the animated PowerPoint slides that, along with the songs. She interweaves astronomical commentary and audience interactivity throughout the program.

Atop Maunakea in Hawaii after completing the 7-hour NASA webcast of the Venus Transit. Photo by Ron Beard

In June 2012, the Imiloa Astronomy Center in Hilo, Hawaii hosted AstroJazz in support of NASA-sponsored outreach activities related to the June 5, 2012 Venus Transit of the Sun. Cherilynn also served as a science and education commentator for the NASA webcast of this rare celestial event from atop Hawaii’s 14,000-ft volcano, Maunakea. Part 14 features Cherilynn doing a kinesthetic demonstration.

Cherilynn commented, “I am trained formally as an astronomer and I’m passionate about education. Through AstroJazz, I integrate music, astronomy, visual art, and education. I want the program to inspire people to greater connectivity with their cosmos …to stir their minds and hearts in a way that lets them experience a greater intimacy with our universe.” She goes on to say, “There are more atoms in the tip of your thumb than there are stars in the observable universe. All the quantum physics and relativity is going on in all of us! Human consciousness is a marvelous example of the creative and evolving energies of our universe.”

Cherilynn earned her BS in Physics (with minor equivalent in French) from George Mason University, and her PhD in Astrophysical, Planetary and Atmospheric Sciences from the University of Colorado. She’s worked as a graduate fellow at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), a postdoctoral fellow at Cambridge University, a visiting scientist at NASA Headquarters, an education program director at the Space Science Institute (SSI) and the SETI Institute.

She was the lead developer of the Saturn Educator Guide for NASA’s Cassini Program, and is the originator of a nationally renowned curriculum called Kinesthetic Astronomy (KA) which engages the human body to learn basic astronomy (for grade 6 through adult learners). Cherilynn developed the Family Guide to the Sun and several other interactive educational resources available online, some of which have been translated into other languages.

She says, “The universe is clearly a very creative place and all of us inherit that beautiful story of evolution and creativity. We’ve got to own it. And as we do so, our own creativity and sense of purpose — our soul’s code — will find its expression. We will know what we’re here to contribute because it makes us come alive. I just love Howard Thurman’s idea that what enlivens us is what the world needs.”

Cherilynn’s personal interests include aviation, athletics, and the arts. She loves to sing, dance, fly, dive, climb, write, run trails, and practice yoga. She has trained extensively with pioneering jazz vocalist Rhiannon. In August 2011, Cherilynn completed a 6-month, 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training at Pranakryia Atlanta.

Creative writing samples include her article for, which expresses some humorous perspectives on traditional and modern techniques for observing the Moon.

Find out more about Cherilynn and AstroJazz at

Listen each Wednesday at 9am Eastern on Empower Radio to hear another artist’s story. Share your art and your comments on the Art as Worship Facebook page. Namaste!

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