Abstract Details

Title: Using Telescopic Observations to Mentor High School Students in STEM

Authors: K. M. Mclin, L. R. Cominsky

Abstract Submitted by: Kevin Mclin

Institute/Affiliation: NASA EPO Group at Sonoma State University

Abstract Type: poster

Abstract Information:

Over the past two summers (2009/2010) the NASA E/PO Group at Sonoma State University has sponsored local high school students in a summer science internship program at the University. The students, chosen from Sonoma County high schools in a competitive selection process, work in various STEM fields throughout the School of Science and Technology at SSU. The two interns sponsored by the E/PO Group each summer use GORT, the NASA/Fermi-sponsored robotic observatory operated by the Group, to monitor active galaxies. They are mentored in their projects by E/PO Group personnel and by SSU undergraduates who have experience with the telescope. The students learn about the sky, telescopes and the active galaxies they observe. They also learn how to make telescopic observations and how to reduce the CCD images obtained. Interns also participate in weekly meetings with other interns working on different projects around campus. At the end of the summer all the interns present their research results at a symposium held on campus.The symposium is attended by the interns themselves, their parents and sponsoring high school science teachers, and university faculty and administrators.The program has had a positive impact on how our interns view science, as reported by themselves, and specifically on their view of astronomy, in the first year of the program.