Rising Stars 2024

Emily Feehery – SHS Graduate 2011 – Rising Star

Emily Feehery graduated from Springfield High School in 2011. She took many art classes at SHS, including honors, AP, and independent study courses. Her AP Photography portfolio earned a score of 5, the only one to do so that year.  

Emily attended The University of the Arts and graduated in 2015, earning her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography. Following graduation, Emily started her photography career at Paul Morelli Design in Philadelphia. During this time, she honed her jewelry photography and editing skills, creating images that would be used in many print and web publications. With this newfound knowledge and self-taught experience, she expanded her career in fine jewelry photography, exploring antique and estate jewelry, and freelancing for luxury brands. Emily currently works for Lagos, where she continues to enjoy her work as a jewelry photographer. She has been published online and in print by The New York Times, The Daily Front Row, Forbes, Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue India, and Town and Country, among many others.  

In 2016, Emily was named a finalist in the Photographer’s Forum 35th Annual Spring Photography Competition. In 2021, she was named an honorable mention in the nature category of the 17th Julia Margaret Cameron Awards, and one of her awarded photographs was exhibited in Barcelona the following year.  

In recent years, Emily has helped to plan and facilitate the annual Alumni Art Show at Springfield High School. She enjoys bringing together work from alumni across the years to show current students the influence art and art education have, both personally and professionally.

Nicole Melso – SHS Graduate 2011 – Rising Star

Dr. Nicole Melso, a 2011 Springfield High School graduate, is the Alan Bras Prize Postdoctoral Fellow in Instrumentation and Technology Development at the University of Arizona Steward Observatory. Her research focuses on detecting faint, undiscovered gas in the dimmest parts of the sky. To accomplish this, she develops ultra-sensitive ground-based and space-based instruments that revolutionize our modern-day astronomical technology. 

After graduating from Springfield High School, she dual majored in Physics and Astronomy at Penn State University and graduated with high distinction. She received her PhD from Columbia University and commissioned the Circumgalactic H-alpha Spectrograph (CHaS) on Kitt Peak as part of her thesis. 

She is now the Project Scientist for CHaS, leading a campaign to collect the most profound images ever obtained around nearby galaxies. She is a seasoned observer, spending over 150 nights observing on the Hiltner 2.4-meter telescope. She has over 50 nights as the primary telescope operator, training graduate and undergraduate students to run the observatory safely.  She is also a part of multiple NASA projects, including the FIREBall-2 stratospheric balloon mission, and she has worked on the last four FIREBall-2 balloon launch campaigns in Fort Sumner, New Mexico. She currently plays a lead role in the Aspera mission, a NASA-funded small satellite that will be launched into low earth orbit in 2025. She is responsible for testing the flight detectors that Aspera will use to make sensitive UV measurements. Finally, she is working to establish an outreach program through the University of Arizona to involve more deaf and hard-of-hearing students in STEM research, opening pathways for them to pursue academic careers in Astronomy.

Thank you to our 2024 Rising Stars Sponsor