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Stephen “Steve” Shellman serves as the CEO and chief scientist at Strategic Analysis Enterprise, a national decision-support solutions company headquartered in Williamsburg, Virginia. Outside his professional pursuits, Steve Shellman maintains an interest in astronomy and is a member of the Virginia Peninsula Astronomers and Stargazers. Virginia has a number of ideal locations for stargazing – areas of minimal in light pollution. The following rank among some of Virginia’s top stargazing sites.

-Hungry Mother State Park. Named for a Native American legend, Hungry Mother State Park is known for its woodland views and the 108-acre lake nestled in the heart of the surrounding mountains. Lack of light pollution makes the park a good stargazing location, particularly during new moons when the sky is at its darkest.

-Grayson Highlands State Park. Its position between two of Virginia’s highest mountains makes Grayson Highlands another good site for stargazing. The park offers low humidity, hiking trails to overlooks, and alpine-like peaks over 5,000 feet high. It is also a favorite among astronomy and stargazing clubs.

-Shenandoah National Park. Nights at the Shenandoah Park offer skies with approximately 2,500 stars visible to the naked eye. Moonless and cloud-free nights provide an ideal location for stargazing due to the park’s high elevation and distance from urban areas.

-Fairy Stone State Park. The park takes its name from the legendary fairy stones found throughout it, formed of crystalized staurolite that takes the shape of a cross. Organized evening programs are occasionally hosted along the shore of Fairy Stone’s 168-acre lake, where the stars span across the night sky.

-Brooks Haven. Located a short distance away from Grayson Highlands National Park, the Brooks Haven cabin makes for a reclusive escape from civilization with a clear view of the night sky. Its seclusion prevents light pollution and creates an ideal site for stargazing.

Founded in March 2008 and located in Virginia, Strategic Analysis Enterprises, Inc., (SAE), assists the United States government and commercial clients with decision support analysis. The company creates software applications through in-depth projects where it can extract political behavior and emotions from text. One project to which SAE made significant contributions is the integrated crisis early warning system (ICEWS). As president and CEO of SAE, Dr. Stephen M. Shellman spearheaded the company’s involvement with this program as well as other similar projects.

The ICEWS aims to integrate numerous data feeds and diagnostic models to predict potential outbreaks of violence and unrest across the globe. Three components are used to accomplish this: iTrace, iCast, and iSent. iTrace uses algorithms to transform news reports to determine levels of concern. iCast uses the data from iTrace to forecast possible violent outbursts. iSent peruses blogs and newsfeeds to extract data from a particular region.

In addition to his work with SAE, Dr. Stephen Shellman is a research scientist. He is the creator and director of the Violent Intranational Political Conflict and Terrorism (VICPAT) Research Laboratory located at the College of William and Mary. Additionally, he works with the school’s Institute for the Theory and Practice of International Relations. Also known as Dr. Steve Shellman, he received his PhD in political science from Florida State University.