I’ve been an amateur astronomer since I was about eleven years old. At thirteen, I ground an 8 inch mirror in a class with the San Diego Astronomy Association. That mirror went into a simple dobsonian telescope which I used for many years. I frequently set up telescopes at outreach events to show the public the night skies. I’m still quite an active observer, getting out to a dark sky site as often as my life allows and I've begun keeping a blog of my observing sessions over on the Twilight Landscapes Blog.
In that vein, I work with Project PANOPTES, a citizen science project which aims to build a network of low cost, robotic telescopes to be used to detect transiting exoplanets. These PANOPTES units are designed to be simple and use off the shelf hardware, so that they can be built by students and amateur scientists.