• IPAC

Summer Visit - 2013 - C-CWEL

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 "C-CWEL" team came to visit in August 2013. The core team educators attended, plus 11 students.


  • Real astronomy is very exciting! I was not expecting to have to solve problems in excel the way we did. We were asked to answer simple questions or develop simple graphs at times but in order to get correct results (as far as we can tell) our team had to parse our skills and play with logic. I remember creating my first SED: I became so excited I could not sit down anymore. Another teacher was so thrilled they raised their hands and yelled in excitement. It was the first time we had results; it was a thrill.
  • [student: The most surprising thing] is that I am learning to use these complex tools and programs.
  • [student: This experience changed the way I thought about astronomy.] Very much so – I figured out it is a competitive field, it really is fun, it is very different than the science we do in school (in a good way).
  • [student:] The best thing about the trip was meeting people from across the country and from different walks of life. I also thoroughly enjoyed being able to apply my knowledge of astronomy, mathematics, and computers.
  • For students, I think they need to understand that the project is ultimately ad investigation into something brand new – there is not right or wrong, clear end point, or place to check your work. They also need to remember that this is real research – not a basic lab or pull out session – there is real work that lasts longer than 55 min at a stretch and takes dedicated brain effort. Also not to be upset if wrong from time to time – it is all part of the process and a great learning opportunity.

Summer Visit - 2013 - C-CWEL