• IPAC

Summer Visit - 2013 - SHIPs

The summer visit to Caltech is 3-4 days long and is the only time during the year of work when all the participants on the team come together in person to work intensively on the data. Generally, each educator may bring up to two students to the summer visit that are paid for by NITARP, and they may raise funds to bring two more. The teams work at Caltech; the summer visit typically includes a half-day tour of JPL, which is a favorite site for group photos. Reload to see a different set of quotes.

The SHIPs team came to visit in June 2013. The core team educators attended, plus 9 students.


  • The best thing about the trip was simply being on the campus at Caltech as an active participant in a science project. I still feel honored to be able to participate in this program. On top of that, to be able to extend the tendrils of my own learning to a few of my students only adds to the satisfaction I derive in being a teacher.
  • [student:] It is an incredible feeling to be performing revolutionary science and developing new found conclusions, over the traditional student experience of replicating experiments performed by Galileo or Newton. This experience will continue to benefit not only my vocational aspirations, but scientists to come.
  • [student:] The fact that neither the teachers nor the researchers knew all the "answers" to the research we were doing was surprising. Unlike school where the teacher generally knew the answer, the research we participated in this past week was totally new to everyone, including the teachers. That type of situation was a great experience and will prepare me for future experiences in the work world. [Our mentor scientist] said "You don't always have to know the answer; just how to find it." During the trip we were taught how to find answers by analyzing data and using prior knowledge instead of simply memorizing facts and formulas.
  • [student:] I thought [this visit] would be where we sit in formal rows and someone's at the board showing us what to do as we follow along, but it wasn't that at all. We were given help if we needed, but it was largely "Here's the goal, now go." It was good though because it really forced me to learn what I was doing.
  • I was surprised with the speed with which my students increased their proficiency with the tools we are using -- especially Python programming! My students acted very independently and hardly ever needed me to suggest something for them to do next; many times they were already anticipating the next tasks and trying to figure out how to do it!

Summer Visit - 2013 - SHIPs