Human beings attain truth by way of reason because, enlightened by faith, they discover the deeper meaning of all things and most especially of their own existence.” Saint Pope John Paul II, Fides et Ratio, No. 20

The Institute begins with the relationship between faith and scientific inquiry in particular and faith and reason in general.  This is a topic of importance for each day of the week, namely, the use of faith and reason to find truth in distinct forms of inquiry and truth to answer “Big Picture Questions.”

Faith and Science Speakers

Thomas Clemmons, PhD

Dr. Thomas Clemmons is Assistant Professor of Church History  at the Catholic University of America and the Faculty Mentor for Light the World! . He teaches in the areas of Latin Patristics, early medieval theology and Augustinian theology. He has a particular research interest in Augustine’s Confessions and his anti Manichaean works and the medieval reception of Augustine.

He received a Phd in the History of Christianity from Notre Dame and also holds an Masters in Early Christianity from Notre Dame and an MTS from Vanderbilt. He lives in Maryland with his wife and four children.



Aaron Dominguez, PhD

Dr. Aaron Dominguez serves as the Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at The Catholic University of America, in this role he oversees 18 different departments across the humanities and sciences.

Dominguez received a B.A. in math and physics from Whitman College, a B.S. in applied physics from the California Institute of Technology, and both his M.S. and Ph.D. in physics from the University of California at San Diego. He teaches in the area of Physics and researches in experimental high energy physics, specifically particles and fields. Originally from New Mexico, he now lives in the DC area with his family.



Dulia de Mello, PhD

Dr. de Mello is an Associate Professor of Astrophysics at The Catholic University of America. In addition she is a Research Associate at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and Visiting Scientist at Johns Hopkins University.

She first became interested in the study of the universe as a little kid who couldn’t stop staring at the Moon during the summer months in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where she grew up.

Dr. De Mello earned a BS in Astronomy from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She then continued pursuing her childhood dream to become a professional astronomer and earned two master’s degrees, one from the Brazilian National Institute for Space Research and another from the University of Alabama, and a PhD from the University of Sao Paulo. Dr. De Mello joined CUA as an Associate Professor in Physics in 2008 where she teaches Astronomy and Physics for non-science majors.

Before joining the faculty at CUA, she spent three years at the Onsala Space Observatory in Sweden as an Assistant Professor. Before going to Sweden she was a post-doc at Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore. She was also a post-doc at Cerro Tololo Interamerican Observatory in Chile and National Observatory in Rio, Brazil.

Most of Dr. De Mello’s research is at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center where she explores how galaxies formed and evolved to become today’s galaxies, like our own Milky Way.One of her latest discoveries, nicknamed ‘blue blobs’, are nursery of stars in the intergalactic medium. She has also discovered a supernova while observing in the mountains of Chile in 1997.

In her free time she flies around in small airplanes with her husband, taking aerial photographs, and fossil hunting on the beaches of Florida, Astronomy is also a hobby for Dr. De Mello; she spends many hours answering kids’ questions online about Astronomy, has a blog and recently published a book trying to inspire Brazilian teens to become scientists and to follow their dreams.


Our son could not stop talking about the NASA trip. He has always been extremely intellectually curious, he is at a time of seeking to learn how build his career, and he appreciates faith stores that inform and motivate; these activities satisfied all three of these things very well!-  Jill, Parent of 2016 Participant