Linda Sparke is a Program Scientist working on the Astrophysics Explorers Program, and Program Executive for the Astrophysics Data Archives. Her first job at NASA HQ was as Astrophysics Research Program Manager. In 2015, with a yearlong detail to MSFC, she gained experience with operating science missions as Principal Investigator for the Gamma-Ray Burst Monitor on the Fermi satellite. In 2020-21, she served a term as Executive for the Agency Program Management Council.
After an undergraduate degree in applied mathematics at Cambridge University (UK), a PhD in Astronomy from the University of California at Berkeley and research positions in the US, Britain and the Netherlands, Dr. Sparke spent two decades as professor of Astronomy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, including a term as Department Chair. With her Madison colleague Prof. Jay Gallagher, she wrote the advanced undergraduate textbook “Galaxies in the Universe: an Introduction”, which won the American Astronomical Society’s 2008 Chambliss Award for Astronomical Writing. She is a Fellow of both the American Physical Society and the American Astronomical Society. Before starting at NASA, she spent two years as a Program Officer in Astronomical Sciences at the National Science Foundation.