Philip J. Sakimoto
Director of the Program in Academic Excellence
Faculty Rank: Professional Specialist
Philip J. Sakimoto is director of the Program in Academic Excellence in the University of Notre Dame’s First Year of Studies (FYS) and holds the rank of professional specialist. Drawing upon his experience in science education, he teaches strategies for effective learning to students who wish to improve their academic performance and reduce the time they spend on academic tasks.
Sakimoto received his B.A. in physics from Pomona College and his M.A. and Ph.D. in astronomy from UCLA. He spent close to 15 years at NASA, most recently as program manager and acting director of the NASA Space Science Education and Public Outreach Program. He managed a wide variety of educational programs at all levels, including overseeing initiatives aimed at improving the diversity of NASA’s science and education communities.
In 2005, Sakimoto joined the Notre Dame faculty as an education and outreach specialist for the Department of Physics. Among other projects, he partnered with Notre Dame’s Robinson Community Learning Center to develop the highly successful Supernova Club aimed at encouraging minority youths to pursue careers in science.
Sakimoto is also very active in creating and presenting science outreach programming in Notre Dame’s Digital Visualization Theater. With Leonard DeLorenzo of Notre Dame’s Institute for Church Life, he co-created and co-presents All Creation Gives Praise, a digital planetarium experience that invites viewers to meditate on the meaning of faith in the context of our current understanding of the universe. In response to the current crisis facing our planet, he is involved in a number of outreach activities and public lecture programs on climate change, as well.