In 2013, Dr. Vera Zagainova founded the AstroClub of Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and formed the first ever Canadian team to participate in the 7th IOAA. Every year since then, she has been organizing the Canadian Astronomy Olympiad (CAO) to select team members for the IOAA. Her continuous dedication has helped many students achieve incredible results and expanded the popularity of astronomy.
Although the CAO originated in the GTA, recent popularity of the contest inspired Dr. Zagainova to form a more inclusive organization for members and students across Canada. The new organization is called the Canadian Association of Amateur Astronomers (CAAA).
With the help of former team members and volunteer teachers, Dr. Zaginova hopes to expand the contest and astronomy education to more students.
Dr. Zagainova is currently the Canadian coordinator of the International Astronomy and Astrophysics Olympiads.
Before coming to Canada, Dr. Zagainova headed the children's astronomical observatory in Kazakhstan. She was one of the authors of the “Textbook on physics and astronomy for 11 classes of physical and mathematical direction.”
In 2009, Dr. Zagainova made a presentation on the development of astronomy in additional education at the opening of the UNESCO International Year of Astronomy in Paris.
Since 2005, she also led the national teams of participants at the International Astronomical Olympiads (IAO) and was the organizer of the 16th International Astronomical Olympiad (2011).
Over the years, more than 50 of her students have participated and awarded in the International Astronomical and Astrophysical Olympiads.