Debra J. Wallace, Ph.D.Debra J. Wallace, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy
228 Science & Technology
One University Boulevard
Bluffton, SC


Ph.D. in Astronomy from Georgia State University
M.A. in Physics from Johns Hopkins University
B.B.A. in International Business from University of Georgia


My background is as varied as my current research interests. Transitioning to science from business, I spent 7 years at the Space Telescope Science Institute helping to use and to do research with the Hubble Space Telescope.

After completing a Ph.D. centered on massive star observations at very high resolution with the Hubble, I spent 3 years at Goddard Space Flight Center on a NASA Fellowship expanding upon this research and supplementing the Hubble data with a variety of ground-based telescopes to provide better spectroscopic coverage and even higher resolution. Higher resolution means greater details in the observation and a better capacity to zoom in and discover the stellar environment. Ultimately, the goal is to understand massive stars, the circumstances of their formation, and their evolution. This is important because massive stars drive the evolution of the Universe. They are responsible for much of the carbon in our bodies, the metals in our jewelry, and spur the formation of stars like our Sun. I am currently on loan from USCB to NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. where I serve in the Astrophysics Division as the Deputy Program Officer for the Hubble Telescope, the Program Scientist for the Named Fellow Postdoctoral Programs, and the Program Executive for the Astrophysical Archives amongst other duties. In my spare time, I continue my research in astrophysics, am a Co-Investigator in an agricultural research project to develop organic pecan production methods, sit on the Board of Directors of a trucking company, and chase around after my two-year old son.