Lena Heffern, PhD

2022 AGU SciAct Affiliate

Affiliate Bio

Lena Heffern Bio Photo

Learning new teaching techniques and how to reach different learners is important for allowing people from all backgrounds to make larger impacts on the world.

Lena Heffern, PhD 2022 Awardee

Lena Heffern, PhD

Postdoctoral Researcher

Southwest Research Institute

Lena is currently a postdoctoral researcher, focused on a variety of radiation topics in geoscience and heliophysics. She has an interdisciplinary background in engineering, physics, and geological sciences with extensive hands-on experience in the development of radiation detection systems for planetary science and nuclear nonproliferation. She has served roles from engineer to scientist on various nuclear science payloads for missions such as LunaH-Map (to the Moon), Psyche (to a presumed metallic asteroid), Dragonfly (to Saturn’s icy moon, Titan), the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL, on the surface of Mars), and others; She enjoys exploring strange new worlds. Her current research focuses on the MSL radiation assessment detector (RAD), studying the Mars radiation environment through a space weather and heliophysics lens. She earned her bachelor’s degree in physics and mechanical engineering from Cal State Chico, her master’s degree in nuclear engineering from University of New Mexico, and her PhD in exploration systems design from Arizona State University.