Under The Domes

Branched Oak Observatory is supported by science education professionals and astronomy enthusiasts who give of their valuable time and expertise to the growing facility. Our goal is simple: to share the wonders of the night sky with Eastern Nebraska. If you would like to become a member of our volunteer team, please check out our Get Involved page!

Executive Director

Matthew Anderson
Co-Founder of Branched Oak Observatory

Stewardship Director, Child Evangelism Fellowship of Nebraska.

Section Manager ARRL Nebraska.

Former Facility Manager Strategic Air Command Museum.

Director of Education

Michael Sibbernsen
Co-Founder of Branched Oak Observatory

Michael is a Professor of Astronomy, former Lecturer of Astronomy & Physics with UNL, a museum educator, and a planetarium director. He is currently a NASA / JPL Solar System Ambassador for Nebraska.

Board Of Directors

David Dickinson

David is the President of Banker’s Compliance Consulting and travels the U.S. as a motivational speaker and banking educator.

Bob Finke

In 1986 Bob Finke started his career at Duncan Aviation in their aircraft propeller repair/overhaul shop before he and a co-worker started International Propeller Service. Bob was introduced to Branched Oak Observatory in 2018 and immediately saw its potential, and became a supporter of its programming. When Bob was asked to join the Board of Directors he immediately accepted the position and now looks forward to helping the facility grow and prosper.

Doug Buhrman

Doug has been interested in space since just before July 20th, 1969. Up to now his star gazing has been limited to binoculars but would like to learn more about telescopes and astronomy.

Brian Sivill

Brian is a former President of the Prairie Astronomy Club, a board member and supervisor of Lincoln’s Hyde Observatory, and a life-time board member of the Nebraska Star Party, Inc.

Holly Hladik

Holly works in the field of Special Education for Lincoln Public Schools and is the Market Manager at Sunday Farmers’ Market at College View.

Brett Boller

Brett is the current Vice President of the Prairie Astronomy Club and on the planning committee for the Nebraska Star Party. Brett is a Radiology Tech. for Friend Community Healthcare System.

Scott Allen

Owner – Scott Web Design
Crafting captivating digital experiences that marry aesthetics with functionality. With over 10 years of experience in the dynamic world of web design, I specialize in translating ideas into visually stunning and user-friendly websites.

Carol Wells

Advisory Committee

Lisa Workman
Director- Mortgage Lending Operations at Security First Bank/Board Chair
Lisa Workman has been in mortgage lending for over 25 years and is passionate about the world of finance. The mortgage industry can be very challenging and Lisa has the dedication and critical eye for detail necessary to stay informed with the ever-changing rules and regulations. Lisa brings her contacts within the business community, deep understanding of banking and finance, and devotion to the customer/visitor experience to the Branched Oak Observatory Board.

Steve Ducharme
Professor – Condensed Matter Physics at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln
Steve Ducharme is a scientist, scholar, educator, and science advocate. He has an abiding commitment to improving the human condition through applied research and training future generations of scientists. Steve is active in teaching Physics, Optics, and Astronomy, as well as advancing the science of teaching science. Steve is also an avid sports-car enthusiast and amateur racer and currently serves as Executive Director and a member of the Board of Governors of the Nebraska Region of the Sports Car Club of America. Steve is thrilled to join the Branched Oak Observatory Board of Directors.

Elsbeth Magilton
Executive Director – Space, Cyber, Telecommunications Law Program – UNL
Executive Director – Nebraska Governance and Technology Center – UNL
An attorney, researcher, and academic leader, Elsbeth Magilton speaks internationally on space law, science fiction as a learning tool, and representation in technology. Elsbeth is a member of the American Society of International Law and served as the Co-Chair for the Space Law Interest Group. In 2018, Elsbeth received a NASA Space Law pilot-program grant to create a nationwide network of students, faculty, and practitioners interested in space law and policy. Elsbeth is part of the U.S. State Department Speaker’s Program under the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and sits on the editorial board for the U.S. Air Force Academy Eisenhower Center for Space and Defense Studies Journal. Additionally, Elsbeth serves as the board president for Girls Code Lincoln, a nonprofit organization striving to ignite passion for technology and leadership in 4th-9th grade girls.

Tricia Nangkalaphivath (Nangkal)
Owner – The Hungry Husker Video Productions

Tricia Nangkalaphivath is a multi-media producer, who is delighted to delve into new and inspiring creative projects. Whether she is producing, writing, directing, filming or in front of the camera, her steadfast determination and strong work ethic propels her to set her sights high and achieve all that she pursues. This determination led her to complete her first master’s degree within one year, graduate Summa Cum Laude and earn a highly accomplished career in the field of education as a Dean of Students for Johns Hopkins University.

A respected tech entrepreneur and an advocate for higher education, she lives by her motto, “If you don’t know how to do something, find a way to learn how!” This ambition led her to complete her second master’s degree in Professional Journalism and Mass Communications and has built an extensive portfolio in television, film, radio, and new media productions.

When not working on a project, Tricia can be found zipping around a racetrack as she is an avid race car enthusiast. When not on the track, Tricia is more than likely catching some rays on a beach, having fun in a Zumba class, or enjoying some carne asada tacos.

Jeff Maul
Executive Director – Lincoln Convention and Visitors Bureau
Vice President – Lincoln Chamber of Commerce
For 20 years Jeff Maul has advocated for and has been a part of, an amazing community that has built Lincoln to be one of the Midwest’s most beloved destinations. Alongside his sales and support team at the Convention and Visitors Bureau, he enjoys working with new clients across the country and bringing them to Lincoln to host their events. In addition, Jeff builds awareness in the local community of Lincoln’s many great attractions via social media, the bureau’s website and his weekly appearances on local radio and television. Jeff looks forward to helping promote Branched Oak Observatory and its programming.

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Join Our Observatory

We are looking for volunteers who would like to not only be willing to help at star parties, but to also help behind the scenes with program development and facility construction. Whenever we get together to work on a project at Branched Oak, we send you a quick email and see if you are available.

There is no obligation. All Observatory Associates will be listed on the About Us page, and receive a free Branched Oak Observatory t-shirt. If you would like to be an Observatory Associate, please fill in the form below and we will be in touch soon.