Project Office

Project Office

The MSE Project Office operates from the the CFHT Headquarters in Hawaii, led by the Project Manager. The Project Office coordinates all engineering and technical work for MSE. The majority of the design and development work is performed within the home institutes of participants and commercial organizations as work packages assigned and directed by the Project Office.

andy sheinis

Director of MSE Programs

Andy Sheinis joins the MSE Project Office as the MSE Program Director as of January 1 2023. He was formerly the interim Executive Director for Canada France Hawaii Telescope (CFHT) where he previously served as the Director of Engineering since returning to Hawaii. Prior to CFHT, Andy was the Head of Instrumentation at the Australian Astronomical Observatory (AAO) where he was Project leader for the Hermes spectrograph at AAT, the GHOST spectrograph for Gemini Observatory as well as the 4MOST fiber positioner that AAO built for ESO. Furthermore, he was one of two Australian representatives on the Science Advisory Committee for the Giant Magellan Telescope. He also held an adjunct appointment as an Associate Professor at University of Sydney and prior to that, he was on the faculty at University of Wisconsin in Madison where he was PI for the Robert Stobie NIR Spectrograph for the SALT telescope.

Andy holds a PhD in astronomy and astrophysics from University of California Santa Cruz, is a fellow of the Astronomical Society of Australia, has seven US patents, over 95 publications and 2200 citations. He is the instructor for the SPIE course “Introduction to Visible and NIR Spectrograph Design and Development for Astronomy (SC906)” and recently wrote the chapter on Medium Resolution Spectrographs for the Volume 3 of the WSPC Handbook of Astronomical Instrumentation. He started his career in Hawaii more than 30 years ago as a senior engineer working for the UH Institute for Astronomy , where he led the site survey for the AEOS telescope on Maui.

Peter Frinchaboy

Project Scientist

Peter Frinchaboy has joined the MSE Project Office as the Project Scientist in April 2023, and is a Professor at Texas Christian University in the Department of Physics & Astronomy. He has served in multiple leadership roles as part of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) -III, -IV, and -V over the 17+ years. In SDSS-III, he served as Survey Operations Scientist for the Apache Point Galactic Evolution Experiment (APOGEE). Peter was significantly involved with the survey planning, review, and execution of all sub-surveys of SDSS-IV (eBOSS, MaNGA, and APOGEE-2 surveys) as the SDSS-IV Survey Coordinator. He has also served as part of the SDSS Management and Collaboration committees, the Change Control Board, and the Committee On INclusion in SDSS (COINS).

Peter’s research focuses on the dynamical and chemical evolution of the Milky Way and its satellites, with a particular focus on star clusters. He currently leads the Open Cluster Chemical Abundances and Mapping (OCCAM) survey that primarily utilizes the ESA Gaia, SDSS/APOGEE, and SDSS-V/Milky Way Mapper (MWM) surveys to measure Galactic abundance gradients and calibrate ‘chemical clocks’, as well as to provide effective survey calibration, currently for SDSS and in the future for MSE . He has also worked on near-field cosmology by studying the extended structures and tidal tails of dwarf spheroidal galaxies around the Milky Way.

Peter earned a BS degree in physics, then moved to the University of Virginia for an MS and PhD in astronomy. After his PhD, he was awarded an NSF Astronomy and Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellow which was conducted at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Samuel C. Barden

Systems Engineer

Sam comes to MSE after serving 6 years with the 4MOST project where he led the development for their wide field corrector, acquisition system, and fiber metrology system. Prior to that, he was project manager of the adaptive optics development for the DKIST telescope. He was previously head of instrumentation at the Anglo-Australian Observatory leading the design studies for the Gemini/Suburu WFMOS concept as well as the design of the HERMES spectrograph.

Sam's early career was as a Scientist at NOAO/KPNO where he developed the DensePak fiber array, Nessie plugboard fiber MOS system, and the WIYN and CTIO Hydra fiber MOS instruments. Additionally, he has participated in early ELT design studies (GSMT engineering study), served on numerous design reviews, and has been an early innovator in both fiber optics technologies and in the introduction of volume-phase holographic gratings to astronomy.

Sam graduated from Indiana University with a Bachelors in Astrophysics and then received both a Masters and Doctorate in Astronomy from the Pennsylvania State University where he helped pioneer the first fiber optically coupled bench mounted spectrograph.

Jennifer Sobeck

System Scientist

Jennifer will join the MSE Project Office as the System Scientist after a 7-year tenure with the Sloan Digital Sky Survey IV (SDSS-IV). She served as the Project Manager for one of its cornerstone projects, the Apache Point Galactic Evolution Experiment 2 (APOGEE-2), and additionally managed SDSS-IV Operations at Las Campanas Observatory (LCO). Jennifer was a member of the team that built the second APOGEE instrument, which acquires multi-object, high-resolution spectral data in the near-infrared.

Jennifer’s research is centered on the chemical composition of stellar populations and galactic chemical evolution. She is also interested in stellar astrophysics and the use of fundamental physics data to improve the derivation of characteristic stellar parameters. As a participant in various large-scale data projects, Jennifer is focused on the development of efficient parameter determination techniques that allow for enhanced data exploitation.

Jennifer pursued studies at the University of Texas at Austin and received BS, MA, and PhD degrees in Physics. She completed postdoctoral positions at the European Southern Observatory, the University of Chicago, and the Observatoire de le Cote d’Azur, before undertaking research scientist roles at the University of Virginia and the University of Washington.

Barbara Small

Project Administrator

With a master’s degree in Computer Science and a bachelor’s degree in journalism, Barbara hails from Memphis, Tennessee, where she spent a decade in Information Technology Project Management at International Paper. After visiting Maunakea in 2014, she moved to Hawaii the following year to become an Interpretive Guide at the Onizuka Center for International Astronomy Visitor Information Station.

Barbara brings her love of the mountain and passion for its stewardship, her scientific curiosity, and her project management and communications skills to the team.

Lisa Wells

SharePoint Administrator

Lisa has been working at CFHT for over 21 years, first as an observing assistant then as a remote observer. Lisa is now joining the MSE Project Office part-time as the Sharepoint Administrator.

Lisa received her Masters degree in Astronomy from the University of Arizona after having worked for NOAO for 7 years, first for 5 years at CTIO in La Serena, Chile, then 2 years at KPNO in Tucson as a data reduction specialist and observing assistant at KP. She has extensive observing experience having observed with the Cerro Calan/Cerro Tololo Supernova search in Chile, contributing to the supernova field having reduced and analysed countless images producing the light curves and spectral evolution of many bright nearby events like SN1987A, SN1989B, SN1991T, and SN 1991bg. She also collaborated with a group from Harvard imaging with the 2.1M at KPNO observing late time type II supernova events and worked in the IR with collaborators at OSU studying the IR light distribution of galaxies.

Mary Beth Laychak

Director of Strategic Communications

Mary Beth Laychak is the Director of Strategic Communications at the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope and serves in the same capacity for the Maunakea Spectroscopic Explorer. She runs the Maunakea Scholars program, CFHT’s flagship outreach program, which provides students from Hawaii public high schools the opportunity to apply for observing time on the Maunakea Observatories. Mary Beth co-chairs the MSE Education and Public Outreach working group, focusing on MSE’s Hawaii impact while developing a robust EPO program for MSE across the partnership.

Mary Beth has an undergraduate degree in astronomy and astrophysics from Penn State University and a masters degree in educational technology from San Diego State.


Project Advisor

Rick has had a varied career spanning a wide range of instrument and observatory projects, from Project Manager of the Gemini Multi-Object Spectrographs through senior roles in the development of the Far Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrograph guider and JSWT Fine Guidance Sensor/Tunable Filter, and ultimately serving as Project Engineer through most of the ALMA construction phase.

Retirement was becoming quite satisfying, until the opportunity arose to work with the MSE team on this exciting new adventure. Hailing from Victoria Canada, he is a valuable resource who the Project Office calls on for advice and help on a regular basis.

Laurie Dale

Office Administrator

Laurie graduated from the University of Cincinnati with an associate degree in Business and has worked for CFHT since October, 2002 in Administration. Laurie currently serves as Administrative Service Manager for CFHT.

Laurie has spent a portion of her time providing administrative support to the MSE Project Office for several years. In her new position, Laurie’s work on MSE will increase to 40% of her time while continuing to work in her previous role in the CFHT Administration team.

Tom Benedict

MSE Engineer

Tom received his Bachelor's degree in Astronomy from the University of Texas. He helped develop the silicon diffrative optics micromachining process used by the University of Texas Silicon Diffractive Optics Group, and worked in the Austin IT industry for over a decade before joining CFHT as an Instrument Specialist in 2002. He currently serves as an Instrument Engineer with the CFHT Instrumentation Group.

Tom has worked on the MSE Observatory Safety System since 2020 and the Observatory Building Facility since 2022.

Marc Baril

MSE Engineer

Dr. Marc Baril (Ph.D. Physics, Simon Fraser University) has been an instrumentation engineer at CFHT since 2005. His expertise spans imaging detector readout electronics, optics, software, and general system modeling. Dr. Baril implemented the readout scheme on the WIRCAM infrared imager that allows its Hawaii-2RG arrays to be simultaneously used for both science and guiding. He has been the CFHT technical manager for SITELLE since early in its inception (2013), leading the in-house fabrication of its CCD cameras and readout system, and resolving SITELLE's many challenging optical problems. Marc Baril joined the MSE project in 2021, working on optical ghost analysis of the MSE baseline conceptual optical design. Pivotally, this ghost analysis prompted ongoing efforts to evaluate alternative telescope designs for MSE.


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