Pranvera Hyseni is a graduate student from the Republic of Kosovo, currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Earth and Planetary Science at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She is the founder of Astronomy Outreach of Kosovo (AOK), which is recognized as the largest astronomy outreach program in Eastern Europe. Additionally, she manages the Kosovo Chapter of the Charlie Bates Solar Astronomy Project.
Ms. Hyseni's interest in astronomy began at an early age of three, during the late 1990s when Kosovo was affected by the Serbian conflict. She was raised in a family of eight on a remote farm, where economic conditions were challenging. Despite these circumstances, the farm's location provided her with access to clear night skies, igniting her early passion for astronomy.
She single-handedly brought science to her community by establishing the non-profit organization "Astronomy Outreach of Kosovo" in 2015, which has grown into a significant entity with a global network of professional and amateur astronomers supporting her outreach initiatives across Kosovo. Through these extensive outreach activities, AOK has had a substantial impact, reaching and engaging with over 25,000 individuals annually. Her extraordinary commitment has earned her recognition as one of the five most influential women in Kosovo.
Her impact extended beyond AOK through collaborations with the Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology of Kosovo, as well as other governmental institutions. Highly regarded for her expertise, she is in high demand as a speaker at universities and international astronomy conferences worldwide. In 2022, she made history by establishing the first International Astronomy and Planetary Sciences Convention in Kosovo, featuring esteemed astronomers and scientists.
Currently based in San Jose, California, Pranvera Hyseni's research focuses on understanding the formation histories of asteroids, comets, and meteorites through spectroscopy analysis. In 2017, her contributions to the field received recognition from the International Astronomical Union and the Minor Planet Center, resulting in the naming of an asteroid in her name, 45687 Pranverahyseni. The Mars Generation organization honored her with the "24Under24" award for her leadership in STEM education. She received the "Master Outreach Award” from the Astronomical League in 2019 and the "Michael Reynolds Astronomy Award" from the Association of Lunar & Planetary Observers in 2020.
Pranvera Hyseni's research achievements extend to her provisional discovery of a Main Belt asteroid, 2020 SS13, utilizing data provided by Pan-STARRS in collaboration with the International Asteroid Search Collaboration. Her research endeavors received financial support with an amount of $5,000 through the "Casey J. Moore Fund Award" from her department at UC Santa Cruz.
Beyond her academic pursuits, Ms. Hyseni is actively involved in establishing Kosovo's first observatory and planetarium. She envisions this science center as a crucial resource accessible to the public, furthering science and technology education. Anticipated to open in the summer of 2024, the facility will accommodate a Celestron C14 Edge HD telescope with a CGX-L equatorial mount generously donated by Corey Lee, the CEO of Celestron – making it the largest telescope in the entire Republic of Kosovo.
Pranvera Hyseni's unwavering dedication to advancing science education, outreach, and astronomical research marks her as a notable figure in the scientific community, leaving an enduring impact on generations to come. As a testament to her profound impact, she proudly serves as an Official Brand Ambassador for Celestron, inspiring countless individuals with the wonders of the universe.