Department of Physics and Astronomy

Faculty: Jillian Bornak


Distinguished University Lecturer

Ph.D., 2012, New Mexico State University

MH 4008 | (419) 530-2226


Scholars Profile

Research and Teaching Interests

Before coming to UToledo in 2013, she worked at Dona Ana Community College. Her research focused on modeling how much dust formed from gas given off by explosions on white dwarfs, based on limited infrared measurements. Her true passion is undergraduate education, where she has earned a reputation for enthusiasm and engagement even in large lectures. She is particularly focused on improving the entry-level and general education courses that serve as the gateway (or the barrier) to greater appreciation and understanding of science.

areas of expertise

  • Education
  • Crowded field infrared photometry
  • Dust modeling with DIRTY

View Dr. Bornak's NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS) page for bibliography.

My background is in astronomy where I investigated dust formation in classical novae, which are explosions caused by thermonuclear runaway reactions on the surface of a white dwarf.

While I am a researcher by training, I am a teacher by choice. I incorporate active learning in my classrooms to engage students. I teach introduction to astronomy (ASTR 1010), general physics (PHYS 2070, PHYS 1750, PHYS 2100) and freshman orientation (NSM 1000). I am fascinated with long-term collection and analysis of student performance and feedback in my classes; seriously, ask to see my graphs over tea or coffee sometime.

I am honored to have received the 2017 Provost Outstanding Teacher Award and the 2015 March Shining Star Award. In 2022, I was awarded the rank of Distinguished University Lecturer.

Outside of work I enjoy gardening, video games, archery, rock hounding and sharing my house with birds. In college I wrote an informal black holes education site that still stands today.

Last Updated: 5/22/24