• NASA
  • IPAC

Quotes


AAS - 2017
[student:] I feel like I’m able to [now] more effectively work for long periods of time, as that has usually been a bit of a challenge. This experience gave me practice in working for a long time and how to work through it. said at AAS - 2017

AAS - 2017
The NITARP model of mentorship deserves to be replicated by other programs and agencies. said at AAS - 2017

AAS - 2017
While it is widely reported that students entering STEM fields in college feel like they hit a brick wall when science and engineering courses shift from the typically conceptual level of high school to the quantitative modelling of college, NITARP students arrive on campus having already seen firsthand that “doing” science means doing math – and that as intricate and occasionally tedious as this may be, it makes sense. NITARP students learn in their bones that math and the tools of math comprise the most natural way to talk substantively about science. NITARP students are ready for science in college. said at AAS - 2017

AAS - 2017
As for its impact on the next generation of American scientists, NITARP is the Johnny Appleseed of STEM. said at AAS - 2017

AAS - 2017
Teachers are energized and inspired by the program[..] Working on real questions of Astronomy, and using quantitative tools to understand truly awesome phenomenae reminds us of what excited us as undergrads, back at the beginning of our professional journeys. And spending a week working side by side with our most motivated students reminds of the true joy of teaching, which is to share the wonder of this world with a new generation. said at AAS - 2017

AAS - 2017
NITARP 1) improved my classroom teaching and 2) by expanding my understanding of astronomy, astronomical research and science in general, gave me so much more to work with as I continue to broaden my students’ experience of mathematics. said at AAS - 2017

AAS - 2017
I plan to develop more problems of a statistical nature. Gross data from astronomy and other realms leads to insight; this is a side of scientific inquiry that I’d never really thought about before. If I’m going to be about modeling, I’m going to have to learn to be about statistics. said at AAS - 2017

AAS - 2017
Because NITARP turns teachers and students into colleagues at the same academic level, I got to experience what it’s like to be a student struggling with exciting new material. This has increased my functional empathy with students. Specifically, (1) I am more aware of assumptions I’m making about student prior knowledge; (2) I take more time with each step; (3) I get confirmation from more students before moving on. said at AAS - 2017

AAS - 2017
[..]one of the greatest joys of NITARP was the enthusiasm with which questions were encouraged, and the way you [..] answered them – always with respect, regardless of the level of the question; always taking time to fill in gaps, and always at the right depth (“as simple as possible but not simpler”). And so I asked a lot of questions and very much enjoyed the answers and discussions. said at AAS - 2017

AAS - 2017
My understanding of both is much deeper and more nuanced; informed at this point by direct experience. said at AAS - 2017

AAS - 2017
I hate to admit this, but I’d never done a poster session before. So making and presenting a poster was an enormous delight of learning for me. said at AAS - 2017

AAS - 2017
The AAS conference was my first true science conference and everything I’d longed to be a part of since I started reading science and science fiction in junior high. From the first briefing with Luisa to the plenaries to the smaller sessions, I felt I was mainlining whatever drug it is that geeks get addicted to. said at AAS - 2017

AAS - 2017
[student:] NITARP gives students unbelievable confidence in their abilities; of course, in their abilities to do meaningful research and understand complex scientific topics, but also in their abilities to collaborate with adults and express their valuable opinions. I learned so much about interacting with other scientists and tackling seemingly-incomprehensible projects in front of me. Students also gain perspective from meeting other students all around the country who are similarly interested in astronomy and dedicated to research (not common in most schools). said at AAS - 2017

AAS - 2017
[student:] If I had to tell Congress what people who experience this learn is to express their love for information and learning. There is a constant need of learning to understand the many mysteries to us. You develop this new feeling of always wanting to continue your understanding. You might understand the basics of something, but there is something more. No matter what field you are going into, you are able to take back a lot from this. Whether you want to go into math, physics, astronomy or even art, there is something in this program that will help you with that. said at AAS - 2017

AAS - 2017
[student:] I did not expect the astronomy community to come together so well. Everyone seemed to be having a lot of fun, both young and old. They talked to each other with so much respect and experienced a lot of enjoyment while listening and explaining information. said at AAS - 2017

AAS - 2017
[student:] A year ago, I would never have dreamed of applying to an Ivy League college. Now, I’ve applied to three. A year ago, I was teetering between art and science. Now, I am looking ahead to a college major and eventual career in astrophysics with the utmost confidence. I am about to embark on a journey into a heavily male-dominated science field with some of the hardest mathematics courses in existence, but I am no longer afraid. I am simply impatient. said at AAS - 2017

AAS - 2017
[student:] I plan to attend college and major in astrophysics. I hope to someday work for NASA or a private research facility. This experience gave me the confidence I needed to solidify these career goals, transforming my fear into impatience. said at AAS - 2017

AAS - 2017
[student:] I learned one very important thing about astronomy. I’d always had this romanticised picture in my head of astronomers gazing through telescopes at the night sky and making revolutionary discoveries left and right. Thus, this trip was a bit of a wake up call for me; I now know that astronomy involves a lot more spreadsheet work and data analysis before any life-changing discoveries can be made. said at AAS - 2017

AAS - 2017
[student:] I did not think I would impress anyone. I thought I would struggle through presentations and hopefully hold my own, but I never expected I would do any more than that. However, I ended up knowing the information better than I realized, and that really showed through when I presented. And people were impressed. said at AAS - 2017

AAS - 2017
[student:] Prior to this research experience, I’ve always felt as if the odds were stacked against me becoming an astrophysicist. I once doubted my mathematical aptitude, my ability to thrive in a male-dominated field, and my capacity to overcome the adversity of applying to prestigious universities while living in a rural community. However, through this program I’ve learned that I have the potential to be truly successful in the astronomical disciplines. It is imperative that these program remain accessible to all students in order to build a generation that is scientifically literate and prepared to take on even the most daunting global problems. said at AAS - 2017

AAS - 2017
[student:] This program has given me the courage to apply to numerous ivy league schools and pursue a major in astrophysics. My academic pursuits are far from over, but through my participation with NITARP I feel confident knowing that I have some background understanding of the types of astronomical research I will experience in college. said at AAS - 2017

AAS - 2017
[student:] This program gave me the confidence I needed to apply to schools for a major in astrophysics. I always doubted my mathematical capabilities, but I’ve realized that if I truly want to pursue research in astronomy I need to study astrophysics. It is my dream to work in public relations for observatories, universities, or NASA. I want to make science accessible and easy to understand for the general public, so I want to have a strong background in research and experience. said at AAS - 2017

AAS - 2017
[student:] I’ve learned to be less critical of myself. I’ve realized that the actual learning process is much more valuable than always getting the correct answer. I’ve been less discouraged when I get confused because I know understand that it is good to be confused, and that even the greatest astronomers get confused by problems. said at AAS - 2017

AAS - 2017
[student:] I was frustrated with being unable to check my answers with some outside source. But it was helpful to know that in astronomy there are no answers in the back of the book, and that’s what made our job so important. said at AAS - 2017

AAS - 2017
[student:] I once thought that being an astronomer was an intangible career. I thought it was only reserved for the Stephen Hawkings and Neil Degrasse Tysons of the world. But what NITARP made me realize is that not only could “regular” people become astronomers, but that I could become an astronomer. Learning the process of conducting our research was surprisingly feasible and made me feel much more confident in my ability to become an astronomer. said at AAS - 2017

AAS - 2017
[student:] I did not anticipate the work dynamic between the teachers and students. I anticipated to simply be a participant in the research progress while the teachers would relay the “actual” work to the students. I was pleasantly surprised, and in fact elated, that I was just as vital to the project as my teachers. I felt truly valued, and I am eternally grateful for the level of respect that I received. Although it was not anticipated, the interactions between students and mentors was my favorite part of the program. said at AAS - 2017

AAS - 2017
The NITARP program has opened my eyes to a whole new world—it has had a enormous impact on what I do, how I do it, and what my students are exposed to. I really cannot imagine what I would be doing now if I had not gotten involved with this program—the difference that it has made in my life is truly amazing. said at AAS - 2017

AAS - 2017
My NITARP experiences have changed how I work in the classroom—my research class is a direct outcome of my participation in the program. I also incorporate some of the methods of the NITARP program into this class—the students are required to produce posters, display them, and use them as part of a presentation that they give at the regional science fair and other venues. said at AAS - 2017

AAS - 2017
I wish I’d been aware of this opportunity years ago. said at AAS - 2017

AAS - 2017
In our research course at school, I am pushing to change some of the parts of it that need updating and that don’t really reflect the reality of scientific work. For instance, assembling a complete research proposal, which now seems so obvious, was not a requirement at school. I am also planning on providing students with opportunities to conduct research where they do not need to collect their own data. Why not? There’s so much already out there. said at AAS - 2017

AAS - 2017
I was not aware of just how much archived data is available. That was stunning to me. said at AAS - 2017

AAS - 2017
I really feel that NITARP is a model that needs to be replicated in some fashion for teachers (in any field, really) everywhere. How can teachers effectively teach STEM, particularly, in this new environment without really having done research themselves? Most STEM programs are good at introducing teachers to engineering. What we need now are programs, like NITARP, that get teachers involved in real science. said at AAS - 2017

AAS - 2017
Thanks, again and again, for such a great opportunity and experience. I am serious - I really want to find a way to make this kind of thing more available. Teachers need this...badly. When I think about the challenges that I often had with my science teacher peers at my former school, it was because my way of looking at things was so different. NITARP explains why - science and research are the focus for me, rather than covering content. The skills this program provides are critical for student preparation and most teachers have not been given these. How can they then be expected to teach them? said at AAS - 2017

AAS - 2017
[student:] I thought that astronomers only looked at the stars and plotted them and their data. There is lots more information about a star in an image than I thought and lots more computers look through the telescopes than astronomers! said at AAS - 2017

AAS - 2017
[student:] There are so many parts and places and people working on the same thing but in lots of different ways. I better understand why adults go to conferences and why they are important – so many ideas and people talking about their work. said at AAS - 2017

AAS - 2017
[student:] [this experience] did change the way I thought about astronomy and astronomers. There is a lot of time and effort put into the research the astronomers do. Astronomers also have to have pretty good social skills to be able to present their findings to other people. said at AAS - 2017

AAS - 2017
[student:] Presenting a poster around so many other hard working individuals really drove home that this was real work and not just some school project. said at AAS - 2017

AAS - 2017
[student:] After this experience I find astronomy more interesting and I see it as a bigger field than what i thought it was before. said at AAS - 2017

AAS - 2017
[student:] I did not anticipate having to speak with and meet so many new people but that was fine. I did not expect to learn so much and get so interested at the actual AAS meeting. said at AAS - 2017

AAS - 2017
[student:] This overall experience has taught me be to be diligent and to not procrastinate with my work and homework, it has taught me to thoroughly answer everything and ask for help when I need it. said at AAS - 2017

AAS - 2017
[student:] Astronomy and astronomer work in ways that I didn’t know until this. I am pretty sure that I have changed how I think about all scientists now. said at AAS - 2017

AAS - 2017
[student:] My expectations were minimalistic to the reality of the convention as a whole, the convention towered my expectations and in a good way. said at AAS - 2017

AAS - 2017
[student:] I would say that I learned how to do research, understand space and the formation of stars, how data from telescopes is used, how to be more confident, how to ask more questions, and how to work better in a team. I experienced the joy of discovering my passion, and I started on a path to my dream job. said at AAS - 2017

AAS - 2017
[student:] At the beginning of the program I wanted to be a medical examiner. Then throughout the year I learned more about astronomy and the processes that astronomers go through and I just want to do more of that. I still want to be a medical examiner, but astronomy, discovering exoplanets, whether or not they could potentially sustain life, how stars, planetary systems, galaxies are formed, that is what really sparks my curiosity. At the conference I got excited about everything there that I forgot to eat and even got up early. I basically ran on excitement because everything was so fun to learn about that, and I want to always feel like that. said at AAS - 2017

AAS - 2017
[student:] I didn’t anticipate loving it all so much. said at AAS - 2017

AAS - 2017
[student:] Presenting the poster was also great because the people that I talked to had such great advice and ideas. One of the best things that I learned about was all the different places to learn astronomy. I got free magazines, and website names that are absolute gold mines of information and I’m really excited to explore those and learn from them. Learning about the formation of stars through the program and how astronomers take and interpret data was interesting to me. It helped me get a taste of astronomy and it’s what made me decide that I want to go into astronomy. said at AAS - 2017

AAS - 2017
[student:] Without NITARP I wouldn't have been able to learn to push myself when work becomes frustrating and it gave me a bigger aspiration to become an astronomer. said at AAS - 2017

AAS - 2017
[student:] My goal for my future career was to most likely become a doctor or biologist but now because of NITARP, I have been motivated to delve deeper and look for an area of astronomy to pursue. said at AAS - 2017

AAS - 2017
[student:] This experience showed me that there are even more fields of astronomy than I originally thought as well as how different they can be. said at AAS - 2017

AAS - 2017
If it were possible to speak to congress (or others) about the impact NITARP has had on myself and my students, I would have to start with it being life changing. For myself the experience has been a needed confirmation that the traditional process of science education in primary and secondary education in ineffective and that there are far better methods. The first and foremost being to have students participate in real authentic research work and learn the needed knowledge in a context of its use and application. I have seen students that would never have considered science a favorite subject excel and push themselves harder because it is ‘real’. I have completely changed my teaching style to reflect this and include real research in all my classes. Student participate, motivations, and enthusiasm have increased across the board. For students I can point to several that have had a complete change in their future prospects and ambitions due to exposure to the NITARP program. Directly or indirectly, they have seen themselves as having a real attainable part of science or technology based career. For some this will push them to be the first in their family to attend college of any kind, for others the first to look at a career outside the trades, for others an encouraging push to continue their efforts and look at what will be. Programs like NITARP provide teachers and students opportunities that really get to the core of STEM education and what STEM should be. They should be supported and encouraged. said at AAS - 2017

AAS - 2017
NITARP has changed how I teach and the focus of my classroom time. After this experience I have included more long term research work and scientist/student partnering into the classroom. I have reached out to local professionals to act as mentors for student work and to develop partnerships I hope can continue in the far future. I show students more use of technology and integrate more coding, use of databases, and online research tools to aid student work and support topic curriculum. I have felt I really need to find more ways to get more students the change to do work like this because of the incredibly high interest I have form the whole area. said at AAS - 2017

AAS - 2017
I have always loved astronomy and have had great interactions with many great people in the field so my thoughts on them are just as positive as ever. I have thought and watched and think that as a whole the astronomy community has a great opportunity to catch the attention and interest of youth if they really continue to promote the great work they do with the public. The stars and planets are attention grabbing and there is always something great to share with all ability and skill levels. said at AAS - 2017

AAS - 2017
I really enjoyed watching the ways that the older members of our team supported and interacted with the younger students. They really bonded together better than I expected given the range of ages and skills. I was also impressed by the number of people that came to talk with the students and really engaged with them in conversations about the science and process related to their poster and talked with them about their experience. Astronomy is a wonderfully supportive community. said at AAS - 2017

AAS - 2017
This is an authentic scientific experience that provides students the opportunity to do real science, build professional relationships, practice 21st century skills, work with many different individuals and speak publicly about their work. It is everything a science program plans to teach students in a typical 4-year high school program, all in one experience. said at AAS - 2017

AAS - 2017
I especially value the NITARP experience for putting me in the position of being a novice trying to master content that was over my head. I gained a much greater understanding of how some of my students must feel sitting in my or another’s class. It has helped me be a more empathetic educator while also helping me to better understand how to reach and motivate those students. said at AAS - 2017

AAS - 2017
I was challenged to stay on top of my understanding and ask more questions than I’m used to asking. Usually things are pretty easy for me, but not this. said at AAS - 2017

AAS - 2017
This experience will be hard to top. I may try to create a partnership with staff at a local university or community college to do more research projects. I also want to get better at programming. That is a valuable skill to share with students. NITARP helped me to see these opportunities. said at AAS - 2017

AAS - 2017
Having real data to show students and being able to show them how/why math is used in ‘real life’ as well as being able to share the ongoing process of science to students (versus a 2 day lab) is invaluable to me. said at AAS - 2017

AAS - 2017
I had expected that we would learn the material and processes, and then guide the students in a watered down version of the research, but am excited that we all are involved at a higher level in the investigation. said at AAS - 2017

AAS - 2017
I was encouraged by the level of respect among astronomers – it was more than I could have imagined. They would listen to each others’ models with a level of support hanging in the air. It seemed like a community where most, if not everyone, had the same goal of better understanding. said at AAS - 2017

AAS - 2017
I cannot imagine a better opportunity for students to use actual data and work with a professional astronomer. Regardless of what kind of science a student wishes to pursue in the future, working with REAL scientists and REAL data will give them experiences that will prepare them for college and beyond. said at AAS - 2017

AAS - 2017
Before attending AAS, I didn’t realize astronomy was so “specialized.” I thought about astronomy in general terms, but didn’t realize how narrowly focused astronomy can be (stellar astronomy, cosmology, astrobiology, etc.). said at AAS - 2017

AAS - 2017
I knew I would like attending AAS, but even though I didn’t understand all the information presented in the various talks, I really, really, liked listening to them. said at AAS - 2017

AAS - 2017
I was expecting professional astronomers to be much more aloof, but everyone that a I engaged with was very open to the interaction and more than willing to talk and share their knowledge. said at AAS - 2017

AAS - 2017
In a very short period of time, members of my research team became bonded, and I’m sure, a very close working unit. said at AAS - 2017

AAS - 2017
NITARP should be a model for the type of education that our high school students should be able to experience, and the model that would most benefit them. said at AAS - 2017

AAS - 2017
I have realized how many different things there are to study in the universe and the different roles that people in the community can take on. Astronomy research can be complex, involve multiple layers of investigation, and play out over long time scales. said at AAS - 2017

AAS - 2017
I did not anticipate how friendly everyone was. I could go up to anybody, it seemed, and talk to them and they gave me their undivided attention. said at AAS - 2017

AAS - 2017
I got to re-experience what it's like to be a student faced with a difficult challenge; the wondering whether or not to ask a question; the struggle to make sense of the work being done by others around me.. I think these experiences will make me a more empathetic and effective teacher. said at AAS - 2017

AAS - 2017
The students often bring a new perspective to things that maybe we as teachers might not have any longer. said at AAS - 2017

AAS - 2017
It was interesting to see [students] struggle with the same things I did. It truly humanized them, and I think it strengthened both my relationship with them and my respect for them. said at AAS - 2017

AAS - 2017
NITARP felt different than previous research I conducted in that I felt what I was doing was actually something new and important. said at AAS - 2017

AAS - 2017
[student:] I didn't expect that we would grow so close after connecting during just 5 days. said at AAS - 2017

AAS - 2017
Coming through NITARP allowed me to realize that being passionate about science is a beautiful thing. I'm much more likely to be open to rambling on about space[...] NITARP reignited the "nerdy passion." said at AAS - 2017

AAS - 2017
I think I'm talking about science a little differently, with more focus on the scientific process than just the topics. said at AAS - 2017

AAS - 2017
[student:] I have sparked more scientific conversations with people in classes. I speak differently in these conversations because now I am more confident with what I talk about. said at AAS - 2017

AAS - 2017
The process [of science] is focused but open to react and respond to learned outcomes -- very circular. said at AAS - 2017

AAS - 2017
The scientific method cannot be narrowed down to 6 simple steps. The process is very much ingrained in trial and error and coming up with new solutions to problems. said at AAS - 2017

AAS - 2017
The scientific method, more than anything, must be open and flexible. said at AAS - 2017

Richard Sanchez
I feel the NITARP experience will be a major influence for me here on out. said Richard Sanchez

Garrison Hall
Thank you for a life changing experience. said Garrison Hall

Lynn Powers
Our students, over the past few years since I participated in NITARP, have directly benefited from my being accepted into the program. You are a great asset and I appreciate all that you do! said Lynn Powers

Summer Visit - 2016 - LLAMMa
[student:] . Something that I did not know to be a part of scientific research was the team aspect of it. I expected it to be more solo than teamwork. I always thought that scientist did things all on their own and never worked with anyone. said at Summer Visit - 2016 - LLAMMa

Summer Visit - 2016 - LLAMMa
[student:] Yes. I really like [astronomy]. I had an idea of what [astronomers] did but, actually doing it made me realize how much i actually liked astronomy. And as for astronomers… I realized that there is a large team of people from various backgrounds that contributed in their own ways. said at Summer Visit - 2016 - LLAMMa

Summer Visit - 2016 - LLAMMa
[student:] I think seeing the images and comparing them to the SED graphs was surprising. I sort of tied everything we were learning together. said at Summer Visit - 2016 - LLAMMa

Summer Visit - 2016 - LLAMMa
[student:] I didn't anticipate the amount of work we were going to be doing and learning in that amount of time. said at Summer Visit - 2016 - LLAMMa

Summer Visit - 2016 - LLAMMa
[student:] I think that patience and dedication are important for an astronomer because astronomy is a long process. I think that being able to communicate and ask for help are also extremely important because astronomy includes a lot of people looking at the same thing and seeing different details that need to be shared. said at Summer Visit - 2016 - LLAMMa

Summer Visit - 2016 - LLAMMa
[student:] Real astronomy is a lot of numbers and a lot of work. I didn’t realize quite how interactive it was with the engineering, I thought they were more separated. said at Summer Visit - 2016 - LLAMMa

Summer Visit - 2016 - LLAMMa
[student:] I think it was way better that we did everything in person because we got to meet everybody and it was much easier to ask questions and learn from the questions of others. The group changed as we got to know each other and we all became friends. said at Summer Visit - 2016 - LLAMMa

Summer Visit - 2016 - LLAMMa
[student:] The most surprising thing to me was how relaxed it was. I was expecting a “cookbook” experience and instead we were given the tools and then figured it out ourselves. I really liked that and I think I understood everything better because of it. said at Summer Visit - 2016 - LLAMMa

Summer Visit - 2016 - LLAMMa
[student:] When the group of people came in and talked to us about how they got there I was pretty excited. It was really cool to see the different ways a person could practice astronomy. said at Summer Visit - 2016 - LLAMMa

Summer Visit - 2016 - LLAMMa
[student:] I think all astronomers must be curious, not afraid of work, hardworking, and must care about what they do. said at Summer Visit - 2016 - LLAMMa

Summer Visit - 2016 - LLAMMa
[student:] Until last year, I thought astronomy was confined to learning about our Solar System. I thought astronomers didn’t work in the day and stood at a telescope all night taking notes. After all, my only astronomy unit was in third grade, when we learned about the planets. After all of our research, work, and speakers, I understand that there are many branches of astronomy. said at Summer Visit - 2016 - LLAMMa

Summer Visit - 2016 - LLAMMa
[student:] I don’t think our work at Caltech would have been possible online. While in the room, we were able to ask questions, collaborate, and work in groups. We also got a chance to meet the rest of our team in person. All of this would be very difficult to do online. said at Summer Visit - 2016 - LLAMMa

Summer Visit - 2016 - LLAMMa
[student:] I think patience and determination are two of the most important qualities for an astronomer to have because in astronomy there is typically a wait time for certain data to be collected and observed. It also takes a lot of determination to be able to go through so many sheets of data that may or may not be what you're looking for. said at Summer Visit - 2016 - LLAMMa

Summer Visit - 2016 - LLAMMa
[student:] This experience most definitely changed the way that I think about astronomy. It allowed me to see that not all the data that is received is the most accurate due to the limitations of the instruments and many other objects in space. said at Summer Visit - 2016 - LLAMMa

Summer Visit - 2016 - LLAMMa
[student:] The most surprising thing that I learned and did not anticipate was the amount of diversity that was present. I would have never guessed that you didn’t need some sort of astronomical background to be a part of the astronomical community. said at Summer Visit - 2016 - LLAMMa

Summer Visit - 2016 - LLAMMa
The use of large data bases of information like IRSA are a great tool and I have come to understand that large databases are a more important source of astronomy and science research than I believed before or believe the general population understands. I like getting to understand how to use these tools. said at Summer Visit - 2016 - LLAMMa

Summer Visit - 2016 - LLAMMa
I do not think that the work done at Caltech as a team could be done online as effectively as it is in person. The work takes time with team members face to face as we learn and start the processes that make up the bulk of the work. I believe that that time together is very valuable. said at Summer Visit - 2016 - LLAMMa

Summer Visit - 2016 - LLAMMa
The most important thing I saw from the meeting was the growth in the students – not just in understanding the subject and science behind the project but in the levels of confidence and belief they were developing in their abilities and understanding of the real process of science. said at Summer Visit - 2016 - LLAMMa

Summer Visit - 2016 - LLAMMa
Overall, *all* of my experiences with real scientists, especially those who work in the field to collect data, contradict the simple model of the hypothesis-experiment-conclusion that textbooks taught me and (attempt) to teach students even to this day. said at Summer Visit - 2016 - LLAMMa

Summer Visit - 2016 - LLAMMa
I wasn’t sure exactly what else, besides looking through telescopes, astronomers really did. I see now that a lot of astronomy can be done without being near any instruments that collect the data! said at Summer Visit - 2016 - LLAMMa

Summer Visit - 2016 - LLAMMa
The best thing about the trip was getting to spend time together working. I enjoyed watching the kids get to know each other and the other adults. I watched them grow in confidence and it made me feel very accomplished. Even though I was exhausted at the end of every day, it was well spent time and that face-to-face block of time was necessary for making sure my students and I understood everything. said at Summer Visit - 2016 - LLAMMa

Summer Visit - 2016 - LLAMMa
Astronomers need to be independently motivated (be able to work alone with a strong drive) and to also work well in teams (and not just with other scientists). They are problem solvers and love a good mystery. Also, they need to have the patience to stick with a project for years. And they should be able to juggle more than one project at once. said at Summer Visit - 2016 - LLAMMa

Summer Visit - 2016 - LLAMMa
‘Real’ astronomy is not the myth of staying up all night looking through a telescope. It is more so working with data to ask and solve questions. A lot of computer skill is needed. said at Summer Visit - 2016 - LLAMMa

Summer Visit - 2016 - LLAMMa
It was a real team spirit amongst all three schools. My students were really proud of the work they did and all they learned. said at Summer Visit - 2016 - LLAMMa

Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN
Real astronomy is done in data analysis. This is not what the public sees or imagines. I think that this is one of the great values of the program, particularly for students, but for teachers as well. Participating in research projects is always eye-opening and exciting, but it involves a great deal of hard work and creativity. This last aspect, creativity, is an area where scientists typically receive little credit, but it is where they truly excel. Science, including astronomy, seems like a stodgy and non-creative endeavor on the outside, particularly with the focus on STEM as separate from the arts, which are considered creative. said at Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN

Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN
Astronomy has some of the kindest and most passionate scientists around. They are great fun to work with. said at Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN

Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN
I don’t feel that this work could have been completed online. The teachers did come up with a procedure, but we abandoned it once we were all together and working because we could communicate more effectively in real-time. We could read one another’s body language and quickly play off of others’ ideas. We could also work on different sub-projects concurrently with others and thus get more work done in a shorter time period. said at Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN

Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN
Our team worked so well together. We came in as strangers, we left as friends, we worked collegially as scientists, and we all grew together, both teachers and students. said at Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN

Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN
There are lots of qualities that are important to an astronomer, but two that come to mind are persistence and diligence. Sometimes, the apparent path to solving a problem turns out to lead somewhere else (or not lead anywhere at all). The astronomer has to be aware of this and know when to change course and try another approach—sometimes, this has to be done over and over again before the research problem starts to show results. said at Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN

Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN
“Real astronomy” is trying to figure out what makes the universe tick—it involves lots of people, working in teams, reducing data and trying to figure out what it means. Sometimes the data comes from a large database and sometimes the astronomer collects it himself (or herself). Regardless of how the data was collected, that was the easy part—the real challenge is analyzing it and deciphering what it means. said at Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN

Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN
It would have been really difficult to do this online. The group was able to get through a lot of material in only a week—it would have taken many weeks to have done this using some sort of online method. We even discovered that one of our techniques was not going to give us enough sources and so we changed our procedure then and there—it would have taken much longer to have come to that conclusion and have reacted to it had we not been talking things over together as we went. said at Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN

Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN
[student:] This experience significantly changed the way I think of astronomers. Before going to Caltech and meeting Varoujan and Luisa, I believed astronomers needed to know everything and could not get anything wrong. However, after listening to many astronomers discuss their jobs, I learned that many times this is not the case. Astronomers often do not know the answers to some of their biggest questions and will sometimes think of theories that are incorrect. However, after realizing this, my respect for astronomers has only increased. Astronomers need to have the willpower to continue to try to solve a problem and the intelligence to discover what they do not know. said at Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN

Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN
[student:] The most surprising thing I learned is that astronomers need to be willing to feel stupid often. said at Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN

Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN
[student:] Don’t be afraid to ask an ungodly amount of questions. And don’t be afraid to be wrong. I certainly was at first—like, pretty much all the time—but when I finally stopped worrying about it so much, I found I had all this extra room in my brain that I could devote entirely to learning why I was wrong, and how to be less wrong (because no one is ever really right—that’s just not how astronomy works). said at Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN

Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN
[student:] I think the two most important qualities in any astronomer are hard work and passion. Hard work is necessary in constantly building the knowledge base required to succeed, and passion is necessary in providing the intrinsic motivation required to succeed. said at Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN

Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN
[student:] I now understand that astronomers don’t send spacecrafts to Jupiter simply to blow the minds of children—that’s just a side effect of the greater purpose. said at Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN

Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN
[student:] A good deal of the information was difficult to process despite relearning it each day. However, it was extremely rewarding when I finally did begin to understand—which was another thing that surprised me. *I* understood college-level astronomy. said at Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN

Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN
[student:] Though I don’t like to admit it, I had certain expectations regarding the teachers and students on this trip. To be entirely honest, I was expecting them to be a bunch of socially awkward nerds. Therefore, I was quite surprised to find that everyone was actually very normal—funny, talkative, and knowledgeable on a wide range of topics spanning past simply astronomy. It was certainly refreshing, and it made me realize that I’d fallen victim to an unfortunate stereotype. said at Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN

Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN
[student:] I learned one very important thing about astronomy. I’d always had this romanticised picture in my head of astronomers gazing through telescopes at the night sky and making revolutionary discoveries left and right. Thus, this trip was a bit of a wake up call for me; I now know that astronomy involves a lot more spreadsheet work and data analysis before any life-changing discoveries can be made. said at Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN

Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN
[student: This experience] made me love the subject more than I ever thought I would have. said at Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN

Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN
[student:] Messing up is a huge part of being anything in the sciences. There might be times where you will get it the first time, but that only means you are lucky. said at Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN

Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN
[student:] Even though I had to redo my work over 10 times, this still strengthened my skills and provided me extreme happiness in my efforts. I did receive a lot of help from both the students and the teachers. I also provided this same amount of health back to team members. Everyone was a big help rather than just one person. said at Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN

Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN
[student:] We understand that our work will not always work out, but giving up or becoming completely frustrated won’t change anything. said at Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN

Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN
[student:] The most surprising part of this experience was how easily everyone connected with each other. We are all different, but we somehow were able to become good friends and team members in a short amount of time. This same connection happened between the students and the teachers. We did not view them as teachers, but rather friends that we can trust and exchange help with. said at Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN

Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN
[student:] This is the first time where I was able to be a part of a team where everyone had the same aspirations and motivations. There was no one who thought of themselves as the leader. Everyone looked at each other as equals and helped each other when it was needed. said at Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN

Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN
Truly, the value of this program is in the students, teachers and scientists working together as multi-level, multi-generational colleagues at Caltech. The content authority of a teacher is often strong, but the content authority of scientists is on a whole other level! And making a personal connection with a scientist raises the value of the student experience yet another magnitude. said at Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN

Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN
On a related and extremely important front, even if some of the kids don’t become scientists, they will understand that the best of adult work is fun. said at Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN

Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN
[The best thing was] Making the human connections. From [the first night through the last], it was clear that we were on a human endeavor as much as a scientific one. I believe the kids came away understanding that science itself is a fundamentally human activity. said at Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN

Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN
[This trip] inspired me. My colleagues and I are teachers. Just as you, scientists, are developing your portfolio and skills as teachers, we need to do a better job of also being scientists. [..] You have reached out to embrace teaching and given us the means to reach out and embrace science. said at Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN

Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN
I wasn’t expecting as many “well, let’s try this” side roads. I thought the process would be more linear, but this felt more authentic somehow. You don’t know the answer, and you don’t have a clear roadmap for finding the answer, but you have some background and can use that to start reaching towards an answer. said at Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN

Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN
I thought that science has a right or wrong answer. And it still does, the object is either an AGN or a YSO (probably). But given the limited data we have sometimes, we just don’t know and have to make a reasonable guess as to what the right answer is. It gives me a much better appreciation for astronomers who made “wrong” conclusions based on limited data. said at Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN

Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN
There were huge benefits to working together in person for a week! We got to know each other, which is key to working long distance, especially with a large and diverse group. And before the trip, the group wasn’t really a “group” yet. Now we’ve all worked side-by-side, had discussions, debates, taught each other and learned from each other. I have high hopes for our continued work this summer and fall. said at Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN

Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN
I don’t think what we did at CA could have been accomplished online. We needed to be able to point and write on a side board and look at each other’s work. Yes, these things can technically be done online, but the time lost to setting up or executing those simple tasks makes it prohibitive to actually being productive and having real whole group interactivity. said at Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN

Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN
The best part of the Caltech trip was learning to work together with people you have never met before. Students and adults as learners together; it was really cool to participate in. said at Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN

Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN
[The most surprising thing I learned was that] Science can legitimately be somewhat subjective. When we were trying to classify objects, we had limited data to make that classification from. In some cases, it was difficult to say “it’s an AGN” or “it’s a YSO,” especially if we were looking at an SED with only two data points on it. I’d always thought of science as having a right or wrong and didn’t give much thought to non-numerical uncertainty. said at Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN

Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN
[student:] My experience at Caltech was incredible, and I wouldn’t change a single thing. Thank you so much for the opportunity. I met so many incredible people, and without this trip I don’t know if I would have had the courage to pursue astronomy as a career. said at Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN

Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN
[student:] This experience really normalized astronomers as people for me. I always felt that I was never smart enough to be an astronomer, and it was too out of reach for me. But it was so nice to see that everyone faced similar struggles as myself. This experiences helped solidify my goals of working in the field of astronomy, and made the dream seem much more feasible. said at Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN

Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN
[student:] [The] on-site work was the most beneficial to this project. Communication was so vital to articulate the steps of the process as well as constantly checking your work along the way to match numbers. said at Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN

Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN
[student:] The best thing about the trip was being able to be treated like a colleague rather than a student. said at Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN

Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN
[student:] I most most surprised by my own capabilities at working on the project. Going into the week, I was worried about not being able to keep up with the workload and being unable to process the information. I was honestly shocked to see that the students as well as the mentors worked at a similar pace, asked the same kind of questions, and were learning alongside of each other, rather than the students just relaying everything done by our mentors. said at Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN

Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN
[student:] The most important thing that I learned during my time at Caltech was definitely the importance of collaboration during large scale projects. I previously thought that scientific research was incredibly daunting and fiercely independent. But I learned how vital teamwork and a strong mentor is in the field of science is. said at Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN

Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN
[student:] You can’t be afraid to mess up- after all, with most research, you’re essentially paving your own new path, and that in itself is pretty amazing. I hadn’t realized how much of a collaborative effort research could really be. said at Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN

Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN
[student:] Seeing people be so passionate about learning something they love and that interests them really inspired me and let me understand why so many people have chosen to pursue astronomy. Plus, I learned that most astronomers are secretly very dorky (the good kind, I promise ☺) and will gladly talk with you about anything “nerdy” (i.e. Star Wars, Doctor Who, etc.) said at Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN

Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN
[student:] The work carried out over the trip most definitely couldn’t have been done with the same effectiveness had it been done online. Having that face to face contact, learning alongside of your fellow researchers, being able to compare work then and there, and being able to ask questions as they come is something that you just can’t quite replicate over the Internet or a telephone. said at Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN

Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN
[student:] The best part of the trip was the people who made it into something so special. I don’t think I’ve ever quite met a group of people like that who I just completely clicked with like that. Being able to explore California, learn and expand my knowledge of space, hash out a ton of numbers over Microsoft Excel, and make memories to last with people who were complete strangers two weeks before was an opportunity that most don’t get to have, and I’m very fortunate to have been able to do. It was truly spectacular. Also, being able to interact and work with like-minded nerds was awesome. It was definitely refreshing to be put into a setting where everyone in the room cared. said at Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN

Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN
[student:] I was least surprised at the amount of trial and error and patience that was required as we began to delve into our data. It’s most definitely not a quick process! said at Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN

Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN
[student:] Coming together from all over the nation having the opportunity to collaborate on something greater than ourselves was amazing. I didn’t anticipate becoming so family-like with everyone so quickly. We meshed so well and I’m so thankful I was able to meet those people. said at Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN

Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN
[student:] Although some of it was difficult to understand at times, being able to connect the dots and begin to paint a clear picture of what is happening was very important. said at Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN

Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN
[student: What qualities do you think are important to be an astronomer?] I think an ability to collaborate with others by sharing your own ideas clearly and being resourceful with others' time and skills is essential. I also think creativity in order to think past unexpected obstacles is important, as well as an ability to make connections (in order to interpret data or draw conclusions). Finally, lots of patience and persistence! said at Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN

Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN
[student: This experience changed the way I thought about astronomy and astronomers because] I've interned with astronomers before and thought that the norm was a small workplace of 10-20 people all doing research at about the same level. Here, I got to see the varied specializations people had in just this one building -- different types of engineers, people organizing the data, managing the data, professors, etc. in addition to astronomers mainly doing research. I didn't know anything about how research was done (in terms of proposals and funding and etc.) before this trip. I really, really liked having the astronomers come in to talk about their lives and their jobs. They were candid and personal, which resulted in a very refreshing and in-depth talk! said at Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN

Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN
[student:] I think this will be a common answer, but meeting with the rest of the team was an amazing experience that I know made us more open to sharing ideas with each other, enthusiastic about the work we're doing, and willing to put in effort to learn about/advance the project. The kind of collaboration possible with all of us in one room together was much better than anything online. It allowed us to fire out ideas easily, try different paths out at once, and work quickly. said at Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN

Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN
[student:] It was eye-opening and inspiring to realize that there are kids who love science and astronomy all across the country. said at Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN

Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN
[student:] I was surprised about how our procedure veered off from its original course[...] said at Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN

Vincent Urbanowski
I can't begin to tell you what a wonderful experience this week was for me and my students. The skills and knowledge we all picked up were great. said Vincent Urbanowski

Vincent Urbanowski
I can't begin to tell you what a wonderful experience this week was for me and my students. The skills and knowledge we all picked up were great. But I wanted to say an especial thanks for the way you made us all feel so welcome in your tribe. It was transformative for our kids to interact with you, to hear your stories and to join you in the work. said Vincent Urbanowski

Kelly Kilts
Thank you so much for coordinating what is a transformative experience for all involved! said Kelly Kilts

John Gibbs
NITARP is an outstanding opportunity for teacher professional development through participation in authentic astronomy research. If you are a science or math teacher, I would encourage you to apply. It was the best professional development program I have been involved with in my 30+ years of teaching. said John Gibbs

AAS - 2015
[student:] Our teacher gave us the basic rules, and just let us go. In the beginning, we had no idea where to start. We were supposed to pick a topic of research and I remember being so used to teachers telling me every single thing I had to accomplish and every thing I wasn’t supposed to do or try. This project taught me that you will never get a checklist in a scientific career. There are no answers yet, and it’s up to you to figure them out. This is why I have trouble with the way students are taught in school. It’s easy to get an A when you have everything you’re supposed to do as a checklist, but there is no learning in that. You can’t fail at something that’s already done for you. said at AAS - 2015

David Strasburger
What makes NITARP extraordinary is the level of commitment: both the program's commitment to teachers, and the commitment required from teachers. Teachers commit to a year of hard work, study, risk taking, and intellectual growth. In return, NITARP commits to teachers the most precious resource possible: attentive and supportive mentorship from astronomers at one of the world's premiere research institutions. For me and my students the results have been transformative. said David Strasburger

David Strasburger
NITARP is without a doubt one of the two most valuable pieces of professional development work I have done in 25 years of teaching, and by far the most rewarding content-related work. I think that what you are doing is really unusual and valuable. said David Strasburger

AAS - 2016
Scientific research is a team process which takes time, creativity and grit to develop. Current classrooms and education models do not reflect this or prepare students to have those skills. said at AAS - 2016

Lee Pruett
The NITARP experience inspires students to participate in research and inspires teachers to find a place in their work (either in a club, the classroom, or new programs) for authentic research. For me, personally, this year of working along with students to learn about black holes has shaped my pedagogical view that real research should be the basis for all science courses. said Lee Pruett

AAS - 2016
The NITARP experience inspires students to participate in research and inspires teachers to find a place in their work (either in a club, the classroom, or new programs) for authentic research. For me, personally, this year of working along with students to learn about black holes has shaped my pedagogical view that real research should be the basis for all science courses. said at AAS - 2016

AAS - 2016
I have already rewritten several labs to include data analysis with Excel. I have also started mentoring an astronomy club at school. said at AAS - 2016

AAS - 2016
[This experience] solidified for me how kind and curious astronomers are. I think that going in to an experience like this as a K-12 educator, I expected to feel a little bit like an outsider, but that was never my experience. I found that all of the people I talked to at our poster were warm and genuine and just enjoyed hearing about our experiences and thoughts. said at AAS - 2016

AAS - 2016
[new teacher:] I have never seen the scientific research endeavor start to play out in front of me before. I think I can already, at least a little, better represent what it looks like to share scientific work. said at AAS - 2016

AAS - 2016
Astronomers are a more varied bunch than I’d thought, in a good way. said at AAS - 2016

AAS - 2016
I loved seeing the progress of science as it unfolded. New results were shared, discussed, questioned, and next steps were stated that could be worked on the next week in some cases. It was amazing to see “science builds on itself” for myself. I was not expecting to have that opportunity. said at AAS - 2016

John Gibbs
NITARP is the best professional development (PD) program I have participated in and I have participated in many PD programs. said John Gibbs

AAS - 2016
NITARP is the best professional development (PD) program I have participated in and I have participated in many PD programs. said at AAS - 2016

AAS - 2016
The big thing for me was that [the astronomers] were happy to talk to me! I guess I assumed there would be more social distance, and was happy to be largely wrong about that. said at AAS - 2016

AAS - 2016
While the direct impact [of NITARP] may be limited, in terms of numbers, the depth and complexity of what is learned by teachers and students in this program will make them leaders in their fields [..] A program like NITARP is essential in making a broader impact as teachers and students with such depth of understanding can better pass that experience on to their peers as ambassadors than any top-down professional development ever could. said at AAS - 2016

AAS - 2016
Programs such as NITARP keep good teachers in the classroom teaching and leading our next generation of scientists. Good science teachers need to be challenged, inspired, and motivated by the science they fell in love with as a student themselves. This happens when they are able to participate and engage in current, active, real experiences such as this. [... ]These programs make good teachers better, improve the quality of education they can deliver, and keep those highly trained, effective people in the classroom doing what they do best. said at AAS - 2016

Thomas Rutherford
It’s addictive—this is not like any other program that you have ever been through, where you participate for a while and then finish up and then it’s just something that you did once. I have found that I don’t want to stop[...] A certain percentage of us, at least, can’t put this down once we are exposed to it. said Thomas Rutherford

AAS - 2016
It’s addictive—this is not like any other program that you have ever been through, where you participate for a while and then finish up and then it’s just something that you did once. I have found that I don’t want to stop[...] A certain percentage of us, at least, can’t put this down once we are exposed to it. said at AAS - 2016

AAS - 2016
[student:] To be able to say that I was involved in something so real is a bit surreal. I’m finding it hard to articulate what the experience was like, eye-opening, humbling, overwhelming, nothing quite fits. It’s changed me in a way I can’t really describe. Heart-opening. That would be the closest I could get to convey this feeling of just openness. Being open to new information, to new ideas, to new people, to new experiences, to myself. This unplaceable excitement for something that’s not really tangible. This was the most profound experience of my life. said at AAS - 2016

AAS - 2016
[student:] It’s very rare that high school students actually get the chance to experience something this real in science class. All the labs have predetermined right answers, which is great for teaching content, but real science doesn’t have a “right” answer, it’s about finding new answers, challenging the old answers. Science isn’t about being “right” it’s more about “what if?” and “I wonder”. It’s new to not have to worry if you have the “right” answer. said at AAS - 2016

AAS - 2016
[student:] I used to think astronomy included looking through telescopes and gathering data each time, but this project showed me that a lot of astronomy is just using existing data. Also I realized there’s a lot more graphing in astronomy than I expected. said at AAS - 2016

AAS - 2016
[student: This program] teaches us teamwork and about the the specific astronomy subject at hand. It also gives us an excellent environment to practice and perfect the skills we learned through the process. It creates a great applied education for the people who are good with hands on learning. said at AAS - 2016

AAS - 2016
[student:] I didn’t expect for other astronomers to be so interested in our poster and the things we were doing. I feel like they were as surprised as we were that we could present such work. said at AAS - 2016

AAS - 2016
[student:] [This experience] made me want to try astrophysics as a career said at AAS - 2016

AAS - 2016
[student:] In school we sorely lack both exposures to authentic research and exploration opportunities -- this is a bit of both. said at AAS - 2016

AAS - 2016
[student: Astronomy] is much more [about] teamwork [than I thought.] said at AAS - 2016

AAS - 2016
It is an eye opening and life changing experience for the participants. said at AAS - 2016

AAS - 2016
Since starting with NITARP, my Astronomy Research Course has grown by leaps and bounds. Much of this has to do with conversation I have and connections I make at the AAS each year. said at AAS - 2016

AAS - 2016
In my astronomy classes, I am [now] much more likely to refer to current research in my discussions in class. In addition, I routinely use astronomy archives in my astronomy research class -- examples include, Catalina Sky Survey, SIMBAD, ADS, NED, and VSX. I am aware of the power of these archives because of NITARP. said at AAS - 2016

AAS - 2016
Lots of different kinds of people go into astronomy! said at AAS - 2016

Caroline Odden
It is an eye opening and life changing experience for the participants. said Caroline Odden

Caroline Odden
Since starting with NITARP, my Astronomy Research Course has grown by leaps and bounds. Much of this has to do with conversation I have and connections I make at the AAS each year. said Caroline Odden

Robert Palmer
NITARP is the most intense and satisfying professional development programs I have participated in. said Robert Palmer

Robert Palmer
NITARP has set a high standard for any professional development experience. said Robert Palmer

Robert Palmer
This experience has reinforced to me the importance of learning science by doing science. said Robert Palmer

Robert Palmer
This experience really made me realize how broad a career field Astronomy really is. said Robert Palmer

Robert Palmer
I was nearly moved to tears watching the students share our research at the poster session. said Robert Palmer

Garrison Hall
I have been in education for 4 decades and this one program has given me more confidence in teaching space science than any college training I ever did. said Garrison Hall

Garrison Hall
This experience has completely changed my once shallow view of astronomy and astronomers. said Garrison Hall

Garrison Hall
The most interesting thing was the total experience of working with such amazing professional astronomers doing real science. I really did not know what to expect. The experience did exceed, in a positive way, all my imaginations. said Garrison Hall

Richard Sanchez
Watching the students present the research we had been working on the last year was absolutely the best part of the experience for me. They made me so proud said Richard Sanchez

AAS - 2016
NITARP is the most intense and satisfying professional development programs I have participated in. It forced me to feet the frustrations my students feel when they are trying to learn new material. said at AAS - 2016

AAS - 2016
NITARP has set a high standard for any professional development experience. said at AAS - 2016

AAS - 2016
My NITARP experience reinforced my desire to build on my current classroom experiences and research how effective authentic research experiences are at the high school level, and especially with English Language Learners and other underserved groups. said at AAS - 2016

AAS - 2016
This experience has reinforced to me the importance of learning science by doing science. I have slowly been altering my curricula to provide students with more authentic research experience. said at AAS - 2016

AAS - 2016
This experience really made me realize how broad a career field Astronomy really is. That is true of all the branches of science, but I just never really experiences it first hand until now. The students also commented on how surprising it was to converse with researches from other fields of astronomy and teach them the astronomy we were doing. said at AAS - 2016

AAS - 2016
The other unanticipated occurrence for me was the empty feeling of being done with the NITARP experience but having a strong desire to continue working on our project. We had put so much time into it and now there is a large void in my life, especially Monday evenings when we had our telecon. said at AAS - 2016

AAS - 2016
I was nearly moved to tears watching the students share our research at the poster session. I was expecting them to act more like disinterested teenagers but they certainly did not. Their enthusiasm was infectious. I wish I had videotaped the entire poster session to share with all my other students. said at AAS - 2016

AAS - 2016
The idea that I had a responsibility to the group helped keep me going. said at AAS - 2016

AAS - 2016
[Now,] I actively search for ways to give my students actual research experience and try to have it so they are working collaboratively with students outside their school. While this is not for all students[...] I offer to anyone who wants to take it on. Currently I have 3 different projects in the works. [...] I now seek out other teachers and opportunities outside of my own school (as well as within). said at AAS - 2016

AAS - 2016
[This experience changed the way I thought about astronomers] Quite a bit. I was not exactly sure what astronomers did. What I mean is how they worked. I thought they all knew about stars and the formations they formed in the night sky. Not so. Turns out they know generalizations about most stuff but quite a bit about their area of expertise. It was interesting to ask an astronomer questions that was not in their field and have them answer, “well that is not an area I know much about…here is what I think…but it would be best if you go ask ….. that is their area.” said at AAS - 2016

AAS - 2016
Watching the students present the research we had been working on the last year was absolutely the best part of the experience for me. They made me so proud. [..] they charged straight ahead. Answering questions and holding their own with these professionals. They knew their limitations and when they reach them they admitted it and did not try and fake their way through. said at AAS - 2016

AAS - 2016
[student:] This program has made me want to be the smartest I can be and never stop learning. I want to be be knowledgable about everything (an impossible task) and this experience has taught me to self educate and never stop looking for an answer and a new question. said at AAS - 2016

AAS - 2016
[student:] When we do experiments or labs [in school], I look at our data collection and results very different[ly]. It has made the rest of my schooling seem insignificant in retrospect, just because so much of it is copying word for word out of a textbook. said at AAS - 2016

AAS - 2016
[student:] . Astronomy was always looking at constellations and going to the moon before I joined NITARP. It's been eye-opening. said at AAS - 2016

AAS - 2016
[student:] I didn’t realize how much math and computation went behind the analysis. said at AAS - 2016

AAS - 2016
[student:] I think the AAS meeting seems really fun and makes the idea of doing research as a job more exciting. I like how much networking astronomers get to do at these meetings, and it was great to get a chance to experience this while still in high school. said at AAS - 2016

AAS - 2016
[student:] Now I realize that school is so easy compared to what we did! said at AAS - 2016

AAS - 2016
[student:] Yes, I believe that astronomers have to really love their work to do it. I now know that there is so much more to astronomy than what I thought before. It is quite amazing. said at AAS - 2016

AAS - 2016
Thank you so very much for this opportunity to improve my teaching and my professionalism. Through this NITARP experience, I will be able to communicate to my students a mindset that can never be learned from books or uninspired teachers. said at AAS - 2016

AAS - 2016
I have been in education for 4 decades and this one program has given me more confidence in teaching space science than any college training I ever did. said at AAS - 2016

AAS - 2016
I have always done hands-on science in my classroom. I see that only scratches the surface of students’ experiences. I want to create a more adventurous experience by having them work with real data and doing some real research projects. said at AAS - 2016

AAS - 2016
The most interesting thing was the total experience of working with such amazing professional astronomers doing real science. I really did not know what to expect. The experience did exceed, in a positive way, all my imaginations. said at AAS - 2016

Richard Sanchez
I wanted to thank you for such a wonderful experience. I am not sure if I could ever say this enough. It will definitely be a time in my life/career I will not ever forget. said Richard Sanchez

Estefania (Stef) Larsen
I had a very eye-opening experience today during our first day of school. I am teaching an AP Physics 2 (second semester college physics) with a small group of seniors. The students I took with me during the NITARP experience (Shailyn, Matt, and Ethan) are all in the class, along with a few other highly advanced students. I decided to do a Page Keeley science probe activity with them. The activity asks the students to agree with one of the four following students about how scientists do their work: Antoine: "I think scientists just try out different things until something works." Tamara: "I think there is a definite set of steps all scientists follow called the scientific method." Marcos: "I think scientists use different methods depending on their question." Avery: "I think scientists use different methods but they all involve doing experiments." Most of the students in the class chose Tamara due to the scientific method. HOWEVER, all three NITARP kids chose Marcos... which is the *best* response, and they were the only ones to do so. Quotes from students' responses: Matt said "In the case of astronomy, the scientific method does not always work.... Most astronomy is done using observations." Shailyn said "While they push the scientific method down our throats throughout our public education, it's not exactly how things are always done... I have faced variances on the scientific method [even between teachers], so I would assume variances exist among the scientific community." Ethan said "... Tamara is almost correct, but questions cannot all be answered in a cookie-cutter fashion... Marcos is correct because differing methods can be used to accomplish similar goals." THAT'S THE IMPACT OF NITARP!!!! KEEP DOING REAL SCIENCE!! Kids learn! said Estefania (Stef) Larsen

Summer Visit - 2015 - LADDT
[student:] When I was younger, I always imagined astronomy as looking through telescopes and counting stars. I now realized that this is definitely not "real astronomy." Real astronomy is theory and observation, or coming up with explanations for things in our universe and then analyzing data to prove or disprove those theories. Like Dr. Gorjian said, there are no answers in the back of the book. said at Summer Visit - 2015 - LADDT

Summer Visit - 2015 - LADDT
[student:] This experience definitely changed my preexisting views of astronomy. Beforehand, I never really thought about how many different things you could do in the field, and after participating in this program, I learned a lot about some possible career paths. said at Summer Visit - 2015 - LADDT

Summer Visit - 2015 - LADDT
[student:] When I ran into problems, working together allowed me to talk through the issue, and others proposed solutions that I had never thought of-- I think it is great to hear insight from other people. said at Summer Visit - 2015 - LADDT

Summer Visit - 2015 - LADDT
[student:] I never really considered pursuing a career in astronomy or astrophysics beforehand, but after doing real scientific work with the subject matter, hearing speakers from this field, and touring facilities like JPL, astronomy and astrophysics has suddenly become so much more intriguing to me. It was great to have this "real-world" scientific experience. said at Summer Visit - 2015 - LADDT

Summer Visit - 2015 - LADDT
[student:] The most surprising thing for me on this trip was learning about how multi-faceted the field of astronomy is. I had never realized that there were so many different paths you could follow in this area. It was especially cool to hear from all of the speakers that were brought in because, although they all work in the same field, they all had such different careers and areas of focus and research. said at Summer Visit - 2015 - LADDT

Summer Visit - 2015 - LADDT
[Real astronomy is] Lots of numbers and lots of math. I figures there would be calculations but not so much. said at Summer Visit - 2015 - LADDT

Summer Visit - 2015 - LADDT
Astronomy is pretty much all about the math so you better be good at it. said at Summer Visit - 2015 - LADDT

Summer Visit - 2015 - LADDT
[student:] I think the most interesting thing we did was the tour of JPL. My dad has still not stopped pestering me for every last detail. said at Summer Visit - 2015 - LADDT

Summer Visit - 2015 - LADDT
[student:] I don’t think you could do what we did online [alone.] I think having the help of the other group members is essential to being able to learn and process the data or information. When I was going through the data and I did not understand something, I would ask Brittney or Mr. Gibbs for help or anyone for that matter because if I did not understand something then someone else might have. said at Summer Visit - 2015 - LADDT

Summer Visit - 2015 - LADDT
[student:] A sense of patience and endurance is what I think is important for astronomy. There are so many theories to test and most of them won’t be right but you just have to persevere through until you get good results. said at Summer Visit - 2015 - LADDT

Summer Visit - 2015 - LADDT
[student: Real astronomers] have to be willing to feel stupid or dumb at times. This program really showed us that you're going to mess up and that its okay. Sometimes your data will be wrong or you worked a problem wrong. It is going to be okay. You can't always expect the right answer on the first try. said at Summer Visit - 2015 - LADDT

Summer Visit - 2015 - LADDT
[student:] this trip has showed me that you may not know where you want to go or what type of science it'll be okay as long as you are doing something you love. It has completely changed my perspective on astronomy and astronomers as a whole. said at Summer Visit - 2015 - LADDT

Summer Visit - 2015 - LADDT
[student:] Some of the graphs and charts confused me at some point, but I was eventually able to work through it once it was explained to me. The support system that we had as a whole was amazing. If I got confused at any point someone would help me. Mostly the teachers helped with the information as a whole, but many students helped with my problems with excel. said at Summer Visit - 2015 - LADDT

Summer Visit - 2015 - LADDT
[student:] the benefits of actually working together with the group greatly outweigh the financial and logistical hassle. When we were all together, we got to know and understand each other, which in turn improved our ability to work cohesively as a group, which in turn betters our project. said at Summer Visit - 2015 - LADDT

Summer Visit - 2015 - LADDT
[student:] The most surprising thing to me was how well we all got along and could work together from the very beginning of the project, I very much enjoyed meeting everyone on the team. said at Summer Visit - 2015 - LADDT

Summer Visit - 2015 - LADDT
[student:] The most interesting thing that I learned was just how many different jobs there are in the field of astronomy and how they all can work together or separately on different projects. said at Summer Visit - 2015 - LADDT

Summer Visit - 2015 - LADDT
[student:] I thought working together at Caltech enabled us to become more comfortable with one another and we were able to work together and share ideas and collaborate which made our time and our work more meaningful. We could communicate about which combinations worked or didn’t work or tips about excel. After the visit, I think the group bonded quite a bit and now we’re a much more cohesive team than before the trip. said at Summer Visit - 2015 - LADDT

Summer Visit - 2015 - LADDT
[student:] I was not surprised that the data wasn’t perfect on the first plot we made, and that it takes many more tries and many combinations if you want to find something that you can use to support your hypothesis. said at Summer Visit - 2015 - LADDT

Summer Visit - 2015 - LADDT
[student: Real astronomy is] Not being afraid to mess up and writing every step you do. said at Summer Visit - 2015 - LADDT

Summer Visit - 2015 - LADDT
[student:] This experience has totally opened my eyes to all the different jobs actually in astronomy. said at Summer Visit - 2015 - LADDT

Summer Visit - 2015 - LADDT
[student:] It was easier working together [in person] because we could divide the work and compare. The group grew really close. said at Summer Visit - 2015 - LADDT

Summer Visit - 2015 - LADDT
One of the big benefits was how quickly our depth of understanding increased just by being able to talk to each other and work together. Personally, I would not have been able to think as deeply as I did without the in person interaction and conversations over lunch. said at Summer Visit - 2015 - LADDT

Summer Visit - 2015 - LADDT
The visit seemed absolutely crucial to me because the time we spend in person is about ten times as productive and meaningful as the time spent on telecons and over e-mail. There is something about being in a room together that really pushed out understanding and work forward tremendously. said at Summer Visit - 2015 - LADDT

Summer Visit - 2015 - LADDT
It was important to work on the data together, as a large team—we were able to pair with new partners and better understand the questions we had. said at Summer Visit - 2015 - LADDT

Summer Visit - 2015 - LADDT
The most important part of the program for me was the reiteration of the science behind our research. We wrote a proposal and thought that we understood the science and then were amazed every day that there was some nuance to the science that we hadn’t caught yet. said at Summer Visit - 2015 - LADDT

Summer Visit - 2015 - LADDT
Astronomers need to be curious and persistent. Persistence might involve anything from seeking funding sources to awaiting new technologies that could provide the data you need. said at Summer Visit - 2015 - LADDT

Summer Visit - 2015 - LADDT
Real astronomy goes beyond pretty pictures, which are only representative images. I was not expecting to do photometry but am sure glad we did. That is a tool I will be employing in my classes to give students a deeper understanding of what the data means and where it comes from. said at Summer Visit - 2015 - LADDT

Summer Visit - 2015 - LADDT
[Astronomy] includes people with a broad background of experience, interests, skills, and degrees. said at Summer Visit - 2015 - LADDT

Summer Visit - 2015 - LADDT
Another moment of frustration involved several hours of calculations based on misinterpretation of data and formulas. It was a wonderfully humbling learning experience for all of us involved. The student especially seemed to appreciate seeing their teachers hit the dead end and have to do an about face. said at Summer Visit - 2015 - LADDT

Summer Visit - 2015 - LADDT
It would have been impossible for me to develop the depth of understanding I achieved about our project through telecons. I came to Caltech thinking I possessed a thorough understanding of our project, but quickly realized it had much more depth. We still have much analysis to do that I could not have done without direct supervision. I am much more confident now after having worked side by side with the LADDT crew. Correlating the filters and redshits is still at the edge of my conceptual field, but it is coming into focus thanks to the direct contact I experienced at Caltech. said at Summer Visit - 2015 - LADDT

Summer Visit - 2015 - LADDT
The best part of the trip besides watching the students interact with each other would have to be participating in actual research. Making analysis mistakes, regrouping and getting back to work. I really enjoyed the authenticity of the experience. said at Summer Visit - 2015 - LADDT

Summer Visit - 2015 - LADDT
I was most surprised by the technical depth of our project. I thought I had a good understanding coming in to the June workshop, but I was just at the surface. We were literally drawn deeper into the black holes! I also have greatly increased my skills with Excel. said at Summer Visit - 2015 - LADDT

Summer Visit - 2015 - LADDT
The most interesting part of my experience was how well our student teams bonded to successfully work, and play, together. It was amazing and an important display of cooperative learning. They did not hesitate to help each other as well as the teachers. said at Summer Visit - 2015 - LADDT

Summer Visit - 2015 - LADDT
Team build, team build, team build. The work is so much more successful and enjoyable if you build the trust. said at Summer Visit - 2015 - LADDT

Summer Visit - 2015 - LADDT
To truly make this a successful collaborative effort between all of the teachers and all of the students and to get the commitment to the project it is vital that everyone meet in the same place and work together on site. said at Summer Visit - 2015 - LADDT

Adam Keeton
I now have scientific street cred with my students! said Adam Keeton

Lynn Powers
I am grateful for NITARP and appreciative for all those that put in the long hours so the program can be as successful as it is. I had heard about the program at a workshop in 2012 and decided to apply since I heard what a great program it is. My experiences have gone way beyond my expectations. Thanks [..] for giving teachers and students the opportunities you do! said Lynn Powers

Summer Visit - 2015 - IC417
[student:] An astronomer must never stop asking questions. said at Summer Visit - 2015 - IC417

Summer Visit - 2015 - IC417
[student:] Real astronomy is hard. It’s a little bit of guessing, a lot of research and a whole lot of teamwork. [...] I knew that coming to Pasadena would mean that I would have amazing opportunities that I probably won’t get ever again, but I definitely wasn’t prepared for the amount of life changing science I would get handed. said at Summer Visit - 2015 - IC417

Summer Visit - 2015 - IC417
[student:] The best thing about this trip was when Luisa was presenting a slide show to us and said, “Remember. There is no answer in the back of the book. This has never been done before. So do it right.” It really opened my eyes as to the immense amount of responsibility and trust was being put on us high school kids. I’m barely halfway through my educational career and there has never been a time where someone, somewhere, didn’t have a cheat sheet or answer code. It’s completely humbling and uplifting to have to do your own work, with the knowledge that you are in a building where people do it every day and love it. said at Summer Visit - 2015 - IC417

Summer Visit - 2015 - IC417
[student:] I am going back home with so much knowledge and important research to complete, and it just excites me to continue along our path. said at Summer Visit - 2015 - IC417

Summer Visit - 2015 - IC417
Astronomy research often involves using public astronomy archives, and sometimes it only involves using archives. Success in astronomy is not just a result of brilliance (though brilliance doesn’t hurt). Success also requires quite a bit of persistence. said at Summer Visit - 2015 - IC417

Summer Visit - 2015 - IC417
I was impressed by the many different paths that a career in astronomy can take, from engineering to PR jobs to theoretical science. said at Summer Visit - 2015 - IC417

Summer Visit - 2015 - IC417
The students always impress me. This year they exceeded expectations in their ability to make their computers to what they needed them to do. I was surprised by how efficiently the group attacked the various tasks in the research process. I feel very good about where we are and I am optimistic that we’ll follow through with some nice results. said at Summer Visit - 2015 - IC417

Summer Visit - 2015 - IC417
Thank you for a very wonderful and deeply rewarding experience. said at Summer Visit - 2015 - IC417

Summer Visit - 2015 - IC417
This experience certainly has changed my thoughts about astronomy and astronomers. I really did not know what they did except teach college classes. I enjoyed seeing the less formal and family friendly atmosphere at Spitzer. This experience will be shared with my students for some time. said at Summer Visit - 2015 - IC417

Summer Visit - 2015 - IC417
[Astronomers need to] be patient, thorough, mathematical as well has have a good understanding of most different types of science as astronomy seems to be related to all branches. You also need to be able to communicate effectively. said at Summer Visit - 2015 - IC417

Summer Visit - 2015 - IC417
I believe most astronomers spend most of their time working with data and not with telescopes themselves [...] I have not experienced working with real data on real ongoing research before. I think the experience gave me a better understanding of what be a scientist is actually about. Especially when I asked if something I had done was correct or not and the answer given was they did not know based on the fact that I was the one determining that and I had to back up what I had done. said at Summer Visit - 2015 - IC417

Summer Visit - 2015 - IC417
Several of my students have started rethinking their educational paths/choices (thinking more towards something relating to their experiences from this summer.) said at Summer Visit - 2015 - IC417

Summer Visit - 2015 - IC417
[student:] I think real astronomy is going through all the research you may have had in the archives or new data you got, and taking it and learning from it. Still with the scientific research I am surprised how much the scientist really trusts us with it, and how she lets us work hands on with true scientific research. said at Summer Visit - 2015 - IC417

Summer Visit - 2015 - IC417
[student:] This has for sure changed what I thought about astronomy, especially engineering. I respect what they do a lot more because none of it is easy. And I learned that you can’t have astronomy without the engineers to help them get them where they want to go. said at Summer Visit - 2015 - IC417

Summer Visit - 2015 - IC417
[student:] The most surprising part to me was how much this project is truly ours. Our scientist has us do all our own work and trusts our abilities in doing so. We sit, struggle, but then we figure it out, with only assistance when really needed, and that our scientist isn't doing all the work for us. We make the charts and look over the research and we find the answers. So I guess I am surprised by how much we do in this projects, and that it isn’t the scientist doing all the work. said at Summer Visit - 2015 - IC417

Summer Visit - 2015 - IC417
[student:] I saw that you have to be patient with the sometimes tedious work you have to carry out and when things go wrong, but you also have to be creative to solve your problems and come up with ways to be efficient. said at Summer Visit - 2015 - IC417

Summer Visit - 2015 - IC417
[student:] JPL was so cool and the history behind it was fascinating, as well as getting to see models of telescopes, satellites, and the Mars Curiosity. It was very inspiring to see other scientists’ work and how science applies to real life, which has reinforced my decision to study science (most likely physics) in university, which will be very soon. said at Summer Visit - 2015 - IC417

Summer Visit - 2015 - IC417
[student:] I got to deal with the frustrations of being wrong and trying to figure things out, but I also saw the creative solutions people come up with to solve these problems. I also learned how important it is to code and that fluency in at least one relevant computer language is very important. said at Summer Visit - 2015 - IC417

Summer Visit - 2015 - IC417
[student:] I thought that research would be isolating and that it wasn’t something I could see myself being interested in for long periods of time, but if I were able to work in a team like this one, I think I could imagine doing research later in life. said at Summer Visit - 2015 - IC417

Summer Visit - 2015 - IC417
[student:] This experience definitely changed the way I thought about astronomy. I used to think of astronomy as a pretty limited field, but now I see that there are so many ways to connect my love for space and astronomy with engineering, spacecrafts, computer science and even writing. Before this experience I thought that the day to day routine of an astronomer was something I was not too interested in, but seeing the variety in jobs that astronomers can have completely changed my outlook. said at Summer Visit - 2015 - IC417

Summer Visit - 2015 - IC417
[student:] The most important/interesting thing I learned was that engineering is more creative than I ever thought. I learned how to do actual research, which was super useful, but going to the JPL and seeing the products of science and engineering together opened my mind to the possibility of being an engineer. said at Summer Visit - 2015 - IC417

Summer Visit - 2015 - IC417
[student:] The best thing about this trip was getting out in the real world. I feel like I have such an advantage over my classmates now because I have done this. I know what I can do and that will just make growing up so much easier/more exciting by having an idea of what I can do. said at Summer Visit - 2015 - IC417

Summer Visit - 2015 - IC417
[student:] This for sure changed the way I think about astronomy because I knew there was a lot of work involved but I didn’t think there would be so much time on one topic or aspect at a time. It took us almost a whole week just to examine the SED’s. So I can’t imagine what the whole process must be. We are still going to be examining when we get back to our homes. said at Summer Visit - 2015 - IC417

Summer Visit - 2015 - IC417
[student:] Granted none of this is easy, but I think it has made me a stronger learner as well. said at Summer Visit - 2015 - IC417

Summer Visit - 2015 - IC417
[student:] It was good to have a lot of extra brains working at the same time with different strengths and weaknesses; I felt that we were able to move along as fast as we did because of that. said at Summer Visit - 2015 - IC417

Summer Visit - 2015 - IC417
[student:] I am also glad to say that whole reason why we are doing this makes more sense to me as a student. Before I knew what we were searching for but even then I didn’t realize how big of a deal it really was. said at Summer Visit - 2015 - IC417

Margaret (Peggy) Piper
[from one of Ms. Piper's students, 4 years after NITARP:] I felt like I should tell you about my current trajectory because without you and our work with NITARP, I don't know where I'd be headed right now! said Margaret (Peggy) Piper

AAS - 2015
[student:] There was a high school event at AAS, I think it was for local high school students who were interested in astronomy. We were planning to go to it but then we found out it was really kid stuff. It was for people on the outside, and we realized that we’re on the inside now, even though we only know a tiny bit. said at AAS - 2015

John Gibbs
NITARP is a phenomenal opportunity. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done in terms of professional development. It’s fun working with teams from across the county. said John Gibbs

AAS - 2015
A program like this keeps me connected with my passion and provides the opportunity to share it with students who might someday pursue STEM careers and make amazing contributions. said at AAS - 2015

AAS - 2015
Opportunities like NITARP help both teachers and students to really understand what authentic scientific research is all about. I have been teaching for 29 years. Programs like NITARP keep my teaching fresh. said at AAS - 2015

John Gibbs
NITARP has greatly changed the way I view my astronomy course. Since I have participated in NITARP my astronomy course has become much more focused on the “how do we know what we know about stars” and my students spend quite a bit of time in class analyzing spectra, doing photometry and estimating distances through the use of real data. While the “real” research opportunity through NITARP is left as an after school club activity, all of my students have benefited from my involvement in NITARP. said John Gibbs

AAS - 2015
NITARP has greatly changed the way I view my astronomy course. Since I have participated in NITARP, my astronomy course has become much more focused on the “how do we know what we know about stars” and my students spend quite a bit of time in class analyzing spectra, doing photometry and estimating distances through the use of real data. While the “real” research opportunity through NITARP is left as an after school club activity, all of my students have benefited from my involvement in NITARP. said at AAS - 2015

AAS - 2015
The big change in my view of astronomy and astronomers was the vast quantity of accessible archived data that is available. I had never thought about that prior to NITARP. said at AAS - 2015

AAS - 2015
For highly motivated teachers and students, NITARP allows us to the experience science in action and be part of the community that we would otherwise not be a part of. Teachers can learn a lot of from scientists, and visa versa. NITARP opens doors for students who would otherwise not have the opportunity to do science research or attend a AAS, particularly due to their finances. NITARP brings science directly into the hands of teachers and students, and demonstrates how science is an active, collaborative, and evolving effort. said at AAS - 2015

AAS - 2015
No district-led professional development can compare. said at AAS - 2015

AAS - 2015
[student:] This experience alone has caused me to seriously consider majoring in astrophysics or physics in college and going into the field of astronomy. It has given me more of an incentive to work harder in my calculus and physics classes at school. said at AAS - 2015

AAS - 2015
[student:] I plan to now major in astronomy before going to law school, so that I can do science based law. Someone at the conference suggested this to me when I mentioned that I really love law, and they told me that since space travel is an upcoming field that I should look into that. said at AAS - 2015

AAS - 2015
[student:] I was worried that they would be boring old man scientists when in reality they were people from all different back grounds talking passionately about what they love. said at AAS - 2015

AAS - 2015
[student:] It is impossible to choose what the most interesting thing was. And yes, it exceeded my expectations. said at AAS - 2015

AAS - 2015
[student:] I knew that astronomers were cool, but I never knew they could be THAT cool! said at AAS - 2015

AAS - 2015
[student:] Students learn so much, it's crazy. NITARP opens up a whole world of experiences and opportunities that are really invaluable. said at AAS - 2015

AAS - 2015
[student:] I was worried I wouldn't understand anything or that I wouldn't be able to answer questions asked of me. I felt none of these things, and everyone was super friendly, nice, and personable. said at AAS - 2015

AAS - 2015
My students saw a community of people who truly love what they do and are willing to explain it. They made many contacts and saw what science is all about – sharing discoveries and collaboration. Most importantly, they discovered that they can do this themselves, that they can belong to this community as well. Now they know they can become scientists and engineers themselves and not be afraid to follow their dreams and passions. Even if they don’t plan on being astronomers, at least now they know they can be successful in any science or engineering career. And for those that do plan on becoming astronomers (including one of my students), they made valuable contacts for internships, undergrad and graduate schools, scholarships, etc. said at AAS - 2015

AAS - 2015
My students told me, as we were debriefing on Thursday before boarding the plane home, that on the first day of the conference they felt a bit intimidated to be among so many highly intelligent people. But they soon discovered that astronomers are real people – they are passionate, friendly, and happy to talk about their work. By the second day they had no fear of approaching anyone and talking about their work – even my 8th grade student was actively talking to people at their posters and booths by the last day, so much so we had a hard time pulling her away to take a picture. said at AAS - 2015

AAS - 2015
[Through NITARP, I've made contacts such that even though my NITARP year is ending], I feel I am just beginning what will be a great adventure. said at AAS - 2015

AAS - 2015
In the past, I had never tried to use raw astronomical data (such as .fits files at various wavelengths) for stars or open clusters because I didn’t know how to analyze it or where to find it. Now that I know both, I have already begun to create and test lesson plans that teach my students how to do such things as create representative color images from IR data, chart SEDs, or even do photometry or more advanced analyses. Now my students can do real science, and hopefully take the next step of getting our own telescope and camera and taking our own photos at chosen wavelengths, reducing the images, and analyzing the results. said at AAS - 2015

David Black
I already had a pretty good idea of how astronomers do science, but NITARP helped me see more exactly how data is collected, processed, and analyzed. It helped me also see that I can do astronomy myself, and can make a contribution beyond my own classroom. Not only can I analyze astronomical data to find scientifically useful results, but I can publish my work as a poster and be part of this community. I did not feel like a stranger or usurper or even out of place – it felt like I belonged. said David Black

AAS - 2015
I already had a pretty good idea of how astronomers do science, but NITARP helped me see more exactly how data is collected, processed, and analyzed. It helped me also see that I can do astronomy myself, and can make a contribution beyond my own classroom. Not only can I analyze astronomical data to find scientifically useful results, but I can publish my work as a poster and be part of this community. I did not feel like a stranger or usurper or even out of place – it felt like I belonged. said at AAS - 2015

AAS - 2015
[student:] NITARP teaches collaboration skills, research skills, and general life skills that are valuable to a student whether or not they choose to pursue astronomy further. said at AAS - 2015

AAS - 2015
[student:] I found at the conference that I was more interested in how the telescopes were built than the actual data-taking, which confirmed my interest in engineering. Therefore, although I do not plan on becoming an astronomer, this project definitely enhanced my desire to pursue the sciences/engineering/research in college. said at AAS - 2015

AAS - 2015
[student:] All of the astronomers that I met were a lot friendlier than I anticipated. said at AAS - 2015

AAS - 2015
[student:] I would [tell Congress] that students cannot have a more privileged opportunity. I have heard the possibility of this program shutting down, and it breaks my heart. It breaks my heart to think that others might not have the opportunities I’ve had, that others might not know what astronomy feels like, what TRUE science feels like. They may never get that hand that pulls them through the door and into that magical world of curiosity, of discovery, of innovation and revolution. 6 letters that changed my life. I would assert that Congress do everything in its power to divert more money to education focused specifically on astounding projects like this one. said at AAS - 2015

AAS - 2015
[student:] I learned about new resources that I didn’t even know existed. Almost like finding a new continent, vast and ready to be explored. The scientist helped us get familiar with what the buttons did and how to understand what the buttons did, but we were the ones who decided which buttons to press, and we ended up being excellent and ambitious button-pressers. said at AAS - 2015

AAS - 2015
[student:] I remember telling my teacher how jealous I was that others got to do this for a living. said at AAS - 2015

AAS - 2015
[student:] I did not anticipate the heavy use of computer software in astronomy. As a programmer-in-training, I love working with computers. After learning the power of data and plots in astronomy, I must say that it is the career that I have been waiting for so far. said at AAS - 2015

AAS - 2015
[student:] The most interesting thing was the AAS Conference as a whole. In my life, I have never felt so satisfied, never been around so many bursting and brilliant minds. As a young boy with a passion for learning (and a newfound passion for astronomy), that trip has seriously impacted my life in ways I never would have imagined. said at AAS - 2015

AAS - 2015
[student:] I would tell Congress that this program has ultimately enriched my education in ways that I never believed were possible. This program gave me a passion to pursue science and to work harder in everything else in my life. said at AAS - 2015

AAS - 2015
[student:] This program made me realize that I genuinely love scientific research. said at AAS - 2015

AAS - 2015
[student:] I’ve seen people coming from different schools and realized that many times the school they come from doesn’t really matter. It’s the passion that comes from inside that really makes a person successful. said at AAS - 2015

AAS - 2015
[student:] [NITARP is] going to change my outlook on the presentations I might give to a class. I now understand that presenting research is just as important as the research itself. said at AAS - 2015

AAS - 2015
[student:] I didn’t anticipate being surrounded by other smart high schoolers. I was pleasantly surprised to meet the other students and converse with them about topics we were passionate about. said at AAS - 2015

AAS - 2015
[student:] I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up, but my experience with NITARP has definitely made something in science a possibility. I definitely will participate in research in college now because I really enjoyed my time with NITARP. said at AAS - 2015

AAS - 2015
[student:] [I would tell Congress that:] This is a once in a lifetime experience for everyone, whether they are interested in a career in astronomy or not. The skills and discipline this program teaches not only enforces goals but gives students and teachers the rare opportunity to make an authentic and significant accomplishment in the real world. Participating in the real world is something that students and the United States' education system REALLY needs. As a student, I know first hand the frustrations of feeling like slaves to a letter grade and to an education system that tries to help us succeed but mostly succeeds in suffocating us. A lot of us feel like we are stuck in the world of school, homework, and deadlines, which isolates us and makes us lose sight of our long-term life goals, besides earning a letter grade that tries to define who you are and what you can accomplish. What students really need is the opportunity to look outside the cages of school and realize that all this education is necessary for us to grow elsewhere. said at AAS - 2015

AAS - 2015
[student:] I don't always have to be right to be successful. Sometimes, it's okay to take several roads and make mistakes, as long as there is a somewhat clear goal in mind and a will to work. said at AAS - 2015

AAS - 2015
[student:] I realized the importance of group collaboration. You can never really do all of this alone, especially in scientific research. said at AAS - 2015

AAS - 2015
[student:] Everyone always practiced the attitude of "It's okay to ask questions, be stupid, and be wrong," and this really kept everyone unified and energized. said at AAS - 2015

AAS - 2015
[student:] I started this project knowing absolutely nothing about astronomy. My idea of an astronomer was a man (or woman) in a spacesuit prancing on the moon. I was completely unaware of the breadth of astronomy as I have never taken a class and have never been exposed to anything close to astronomy (haven't even taken a physics class before). I now realize that astronomers are one of the most friendliest, smartest, collaborative bunch of people, and that they don't have to be covered in white bubbly suits to be called astronomers. said at AAS - 2015

AAS - 2015
[student:] I really was surprised at the vastness and variety of everything presented at the conference. I had no idea what the AAS conference would be like since I've never attended a convention event like this one, and was shocked to realize how progressive and advanced astronomy was. It's amazing to realize that the knowledge presented at the conference was just the surface of the knowledge really possessed by the brightest minds in astronomy. said at AAS - 2015

AAS - 2015
[student:] I’ve always planned to study some sort of science, though I’ve never been sure what kind. This experience has made me more comfortable with the idea of pursuing a field like astronomy, which I hope to major in and potentially even go into as a career. But I also became aware that there are many other fields, from engineering to computer science, that intersect with astronomy and it made me interested in pursuing those in the future as well. said at AAS - 2015

AAS - 2015
[student:] I always knew I was interested in science, but I was always hesitant to say I’d like to pursue it as a career since I simply didn’t know enough about it.[...] the experience was unexpectedly fun and much more exciting and rewarding than I originally anticipated. At the AAS conference, meeting not only professional astronomers but engineers, scientific journalists, and other students made me realize how much astronomy covered and the different types of paths available. Overall, NITARP has made me realize that astronomy is something I definitely want to pursue in my future. said at AAS - 2015

AAS - 2015
[student:] I didn’t anticipate how friendly professional astronomers would be to high school students. They were really open and excited to share their work and genuinely interested in what we were doing. I definitely didn’t expect the range of projects that they covered and it piqued my interest in many topics and in pursuing astronomy as a profession. said at AAS - 2015

AAS - 2015
Through NITARP, teachers and students become ambassadors for authentic science. We can now tell other colleagues and family what real science is like and how important it is to continue the mission of learning more about our universe. said at AAS - 2015

AAS - 2015
Do what your scientist asks you to do, but don’t be afraid to make your own suggestions if you have ideas about what to do next. This is a collaborative process. The scientists are very smart and knowledgeable, but they are not the only ones with answers and they value your opinion. Don’t be afraid to go above and beyond. said at AAS - 2015

Caroline Odden
High school students are hungry for authentic research experiences, and both high school teachers and students benefit immensely from having contact with a professional astronomer. This may seem inefficient (because it costs a lot of money to connect individuals with professionals), but it can change lives, and there are wonderful ripple effects. said Caroline Odden

AAS - 2015
High school students are hungry for authentic research experiences, and both high school teachers and students benefit immensely from having contact with a professional astronomer. This may seem inefficient (because it costs a lot of money to connect individuals with professionals), but it can change lives, and there are wonderful ripple effects. said at AAS - 2015

AAS - 2015
For some reason, introductory astronomy textbooks tend not to focus much on SEDs or color-color plots. However, these tools have cropped up in each of my NITARP projects. I imagine this is not a coincidence! I’d like to find a way to introduce these two key concepts in my introductory astronomy course. said at AAS - 2015

AAS - 2015
In both of my NITARP experiences, we have run into major difficulties that triggered a complete reworking of the project. At this point, I think I would expect things not to go as planned on a given science project. This is not a bad thing -- it is just the way things tend to go. We did reach a nice result in both cases, but there were some bumps along the way. said at AAS - 2015

AAS - 2015
I was very impressed by the students in this context, particularly during the summer meeting at Caltech. In many ways, they were more ready to handle the technical challenges that we faced. said at AAS - 2015

AAS - 2015
After having taught fiercely in our public schools for almost 20 years, I can tell you that programs like NITARP are the ONLY programs I have ever heard of that help people understand what science actually. You want to invest in the future of the US?...Help programs like NITARP to spread the word; no one else seems to know what it is. said at AAS - 2015

AAS - 2015
As a result of NITARP I will have a firm commitment to include some component of active, original, ongoing research in my teaching every year. said at AAS - 2015

Todd Burke
My ideas about astronomy has changed significantly, thanks to NITARP. Quite simply, I didn't understand the role of archival data in modern astronomical research. Previously, I considered it an intellectual exercise, work suitable for a reference librarian, but not real research. I now know it to comprise the future of astronomy, and the very picture of MOST of tomorrow's scientific research. said Todd Burke

AAS - 2015
My ideas about astronomy has changed significantly, thanks to NITARP. Quite simply, I didn't understand the role of archival data in modern astronomical research. Previously, I considered it an intellectual exercise, work suitable for a reference librarian, but not real research. I now know it to comprise the future of astronomy, and the very picture of MOST of tomorrow's scientific research. said at AAS - 2015

AAS - 2015
I was surprised that I was capable of understanding most topics I encountered. I attribute this to people's willingness to start from the beginning and to explain things at a beginning level. The result was I eventually felt perfectly comfortable asking absolutely anyone to explain his or her research. That took several such conversations, but the experience has been very empowering. said at AAS - 2015

AAS - 2015
One of the most surprising aspects of this process has been to discover just welcoming everyone has been. MOST of the astronomers with whom we interacted have been incredibly gracious and generous said at AAS - 2015

David Strasburger
I have to tell you what an amazing experience this year has been. The BEST subject-area professional development experience I've had in 25 years BY FAR. said David Strasburger

David Strasburger
I have to tell you what an amazing experience this year has been. The BEST subject-area professional development experience I've had in 25 years BY FAR, and one of the most intellectually stimulating experiences I've had in years. I lie awake at night thinking about data. The students I'm bringing to Seattle are just eating this up -- it has been huge for them too. said David Strasburger

AAS - 2015
[student:] I am unsure of what I want to do with my future, but this experience has solidified the fact that I want to do something with science. said at AAS - 2015

AAS - 2015
[student:] This was the first time I really learned what it is like to have to work through problems. said at AAS - 2015

AAS - 2015
[This is going to change my classroom because] Definitely [I have] more empathy for kids who tend to be quiet and not ask questions. I’ll also collaborate more with fellow teachers. said at AAS - 2015

AAS - 2015
I really thought astronomers knew everything about the night sky and never realized there were several specializations within the content. said at AAS - 2015

AAS - 2015
I realized I hate being in the student role and having that clueless feeling. But I definitely will take this back to the classroom and have more empathy for kids who tend not to ask questions. said at AAS - 2015

AAS - 2015
[student:] I did not anticipate to have to deal with a lot of software issues over summer. However, it is the unpredictability of the project that makes it so exciting. I decided to take AP computer science this year and learn to code. said at AAS - 2015

AAS - 2015
[student:] My favorite part of NITARP was to get an insight into the process of real research, where the results are not known and the procedure to be determined by us. said at AAS - 2015

AAS - 2015
[student:] Be prepared for unexpected setbacks and changes to the project, for this is how real science works. said at AAS - 2015

AAS - 2015
[student:] I now better understand that there are many, many professional astronomers over a variety of specific fields. (The scale of the AAS convention really demonstrated this.) said at AAS - 2015

AAS - 2015
[student]: I did not anticipate the overall goal of the project to change. However, I now know this is to be expected in a real research project. said at AAS - 2015

AAS - 2015
Seeing the NITARP posters and talking with the NITARP teachers and students made me realize that 1) it is a very intense program and 2) there will be support there to help you. said at AAS - 2015

AAS - 2015
It surprises me how ‘approachable’ everyone was; I assumed since I don’t have a PhD that I would be talked down to but that didn’t happen at all. said at AAS - 2015

AAS - 2015
Coming to the conference was very beneficial because it is re-inspiring to get out of the classroom and back with the scientific community. It makes the job of teaching seem even more important and makes me want to go back and enthusiastically involve my students (who are all girls) in research and unique learning opportunities. said at AAS - 2015

AAS - 2015
This experience changed my thinking about astronomy a great deal. I am now seeing [astronomy] as a large umbrella that covers many specialties. said at AAS - 2015

AAS - 2015
The first day I was confused and really started worrying about my ability to comprehend the science I was going to need to know. What helped was spending the next couple of days visiting with the students. I realized I was going to be involved in a lot of work but as long as I stuck with it I would eventually grasp the concepts that seemed out of reach. The students spent time explaining as long as I was willing to ask. said at AAS - 2015

AAS - 2015
[What did I learn about] Astronomers… well let’s just say the personalities of the Big Bang crew can be found throughout. I was shocked when I heard one astronomer present something and the next start off by saying everything you just heard, I am about to debunk. said at AAS - 2015

AAS - 2015
The thing that most surprised me [...], was how objective astronomers was in their conversations. Conversations with scientists are all about data, learning about a system, and objectively trying to determine an answer. It can seem like they are stepping on toes, or even being rude, but once you realize that they are just trying to uncover an answer or ferret out an idea, and then it is no big deal. said at AAS - 2015

Holly Bensel
As a result of my student Cody's work with NITARP, Cody is now working with Chris Crawford who developed a meteor counting system for NASA that was used on a plane in 1999. Cody and Chris are making an app for counting meteors that will take users' GPS position and uses that to do spatial analysis on the data. said Holly Bensel

Summer Visit - 2014 - HG-WELS
Most astronomy activities I’ve seen in workshops or online involve analyzing canned data where the results are already known. This might help teach students the process, but real astronomy (or any science) needs to analyze new data or existing data in ways not done before. The process is messy, the data confused or cloudy, the results uncertain, and sometimes you find out nothing you hoped to find. That’s real science. It’s using authentic, raw data to answer questions and draw conclusions. It can be frustrating but it’s also exhilarating. This visit was as I thought it would be – using tools to look at large amounts of data, trying to sort out what it all means, and not always getting what we’d hoped. The conclusion of my students was that they could actually do this sort of work successfully and be real scientists. It de-mystified the process, and I think improved their attitudes toward science research. said at Summer Visit - 2014 - HG-WELS

Summer Visit - 2014 - HG-WELS
One student [...] has told me she now is interested in engineering as a career and all are interested in pursuing their own astronomy research for science fair competitions. I have several new students who have come to our school specifically because of this project and the chance to do some real astronomy. said at Summer Visit - 2014 - HG-WELS

Summer Visit - 2014 - HG-WELS
Theoretically the work could have been done online, but the students really needed the hands-on help and explanations, as they had never been exposed to those units or the deep details of importing and working with data in Excel. They also needed the feeling of community, of meeting other students with similar interests from other schools, and the sense of identity and recognition the summer visit gave them. If they had done this only online, it would not have had the same degree of impact or motivation for them. [...] Working directly with scientists at the Spitzer Science Center gives them a chance to know what real scientific research is like. They are all very excited for the AAS trip, which will give them even more exposure to real science and scientists. said at Summer Visit - 2014 - HG-WELS

Summer Visit - 2014 - HG-WELS
[My students] are all very excited to go to AAS, and what they learned at Caltech has become part of themselves. One student, now in my chemistry class, when we were talking about metric units, mentioned there was a unit called a Jansky. The other students went “Huh?” said at Summer Visit - 2014 - HG-WELS

Summer Visit - 2014 - HG-WELS
The excitement about the trip has translated into my having an excellent group of students in my fall astronomy class who are excited about applying what we learned this summer. Four of them have expressed interest in the one available spot on the team. said at Summer Visit - 2014 - HG-WELS

Summer Visit - 2014 - HG-WELS
[student:] Qualities important for an astronomer: You must be able to communicate with people in order to get things done, you need to be able to focus, you need to be good at math (yes you do), and you need to be able to analyze things and solve problems. When things go wrong, you gotta be a good sport. said at Summer Visit - 2014 - HG-WELS

Summer Visit - 2014 - HG-WELS
[student: Real astronomy is] Making charts, sifting through data... that is what they really do! (Although I didn’t know it would be this hardcore... I’m beat!) And snacks, snacks are always a part of scientific research! said at Summer Visit - 2014 - HG-WELS

Summer Visit - 2014 - HG-WELS
[student:] This definitely changed the way I think about astronomy and astronomers. I pity them! LOGARITHMS.... Just (half) kidding, what I mean is that I found out that there is a LOT more to astronomy than meets the eye! (More than the dramatic documentaries and stunning 3D graphics to go with them.) said at Summer Visit - 2014 - HG-WELS

Summer Visit - 2014 - SIRXS
[student:] Real astronomy is the study of the universe. We did a lot of computer work and this didn’t match up with my expectation of scientific research. This type of research is very technical and I realized how the use of computers is invaluable. said at Summer Visit - 2014 - SIRXS

Summer Visit - 2014 - SIRXS
[student:] Yes, I was under the impression that astronomy wasn’t a difficult scientific field to study and that astronomy deals mainly with planets. But now, I can see that there is so much more to astronomy than just planets. There are a lot of unknowns and to study astronomy you need a strong and talented brain. You also need patience, focus, and passion for it. said at Summer Visit - 2014 - SIRXS

Summer Visit - 2014 - SIRXS
[..] I’m familiar with tackling problems, creating potential solutions, testing them, and re-iterating the process. Research is sort of the opposite in that implementing a solution is not the goal, but rather to learn things we didn’t know before. This polarity between engineering and science was never clearer than during this entire project. This lack of planning or organization in the research process made me somewhat uncomfortable. said at Summer Visit - 2014 - SIRXS

Summer Visit - 2014 - SIRXS
One of the powerful elements to our successes was collaboration. While I have experienced this before and anticipated that it would be a key component of our work, I loved discovering that our students were often in the lead, helping the teachers and astronomers to solve problems. said at Summer Visit - 2014 - SIRXS

Summer Visit - 2014 - SIRXS
I already understood, intellectually, that modern astronomy can involve computers more than it does telescopes. Public archives, however, are new to me. I think I could never fully appreciate that cutting-edge research could be fully accomplished simply by downloading public files from the internet without having fully participated in the whole process. Now I appreciate the depth and enormity of the Spitzer archives. This resource truly democratizes astronomical research! said at Summer Visit - 2014 - SIRXS

Summer Visit - 2014 - SIRXS
For me, the most important aspect of our trip was not only nailing down the details of our project, but being invited to participate in all of those decisions. said at Summer Visit - 2014 - SIRXS

Summer Visit - 2014 - HG-WELS
[student:] Before this trip, I thought that astronomers looked through telescopes much more than I thought. said at Summer Visit - 2014 - HG-WELS

Summer Visit - 2014 - HG-WELS
One of the things that NITARP changed in regards to how I viewed astronomy and astronomers is the use of archived data. Prior to NITARP I always thought of astronomers using data they had collected. said at Summer Visit - 2014 - HG-WELS

Summer Visit - 2014 - HG-WELS
I am surprised with where our analysis has brought us thus far. I know the results are going a very different direction than expected, but I think that's awesome and it's a cool feeling knowing we have already begun to find results that potentially debunk former ones—not bad for a few students and teachers! said at Summer Visit - 2014 - HG-WELS

Summer Visit - 2014 - HG-WELS
I am surprised with where our analysis has brought us thus far. I know the results are going a very different direction than expected, but I think that's awesome and it's a cool feeling knowing we have already begun to find results that potentially debunk former ones—not bad for a few students and teachers! said at Summer Visit - 2014 - HG-WELS

Summer Visit - 2014 - HG-WELS
Qualities of an astronomer: DILIGENCE! Patience, meticulousness, creativity, patience, knowledgeable, motivation, patience… said at Summer Visit - 2014 - HG-WELS

Summer Visit - 2014 - HG-WELS
[The best thing was] Seeing kids WORK! And getting confused. I liked working together with students to accomplish the tasks. said at Summer Visit - 2014 - HG-WELS

Summer Visit - 2014 - HG-WELS
[student:] Real astronomy is really numerical. It’s not looking through a telescope all the time, but I can’t really define “real astronomy.” It’s just kinda studying the sky. I expected to look at pictures of the sky and numbers, which we did. I didn’t think we’d be doing so many maths, just because I didn’t. said at Summer Visit - 2014 - HG-WELS

Summer Visit - 2014 - HG-WELS
[student: this experience] It wasn't what I expected, that's for sure. I always thought it would be less math and graphs. It's not a bad thing, it just wasn't really what I expected. said at Summer Visit - 2014 - HG-WELS

Summer Visit - 2014 - HG-WELS
[student:] The sheer complexity of what we were doing was surprising to me. Yet, the steps were pretty simple. I just couldn't wrap my head around the fact that I was actually making headway in science. said at Summer Visit - 2014 - HG-WELS

Summer Visit - 2014 - HG-WELS
[student:] One quality you need [to be an astronomer] is you need to know the numbers/stuff. Also, you must be perseverant. There will be lots of dead-ends where you cannot explain something, and you will need a different approach to discover something new. said at Summer Visit - 2014 - HG-WELS

Summer Visit - 2014 - HG-WELS
[student:] I never realized that a lot of astronomy is looking through data collected by previous missions. I also learned that astronomy is pure science, and involves lots of theorizing. said at Summer Visit - 2014 - HG-WELS

Summer Visit - 2014 - HG-WELS
[student:] One of the best things about the trip was really getting to look through the data and make the graphs, so that the results of our study were visually apparent. It was like the ‘Aha!’ moment. said at Summer Visit - 2014 - HG-WELS

Summer Visit - 2014 - HG-WELS
[student:] Perseverance, patience, and creativity are all important to be an astronomer. And of course, it’s helpful if you are smart and good at math and science. said at Summer Visit - 2014 - HG-WELS

Summer Visit - 2014 - HG-WELS
[student: Being in person at Caltech was important because] It also helped to have someone explain why we were doing each step and its significance for our overall project. It was also nice to have someone there to check your work and troubleshoot with you if something looks off. said at Summer Visit - 2014 - HG-WELS

Summer Visit - 2014 - HG-WELS
[student:] I was surprised to learn that we didn’t have the results we thought we were going to have. I also wasn’t expecting to do so much Excel work, but I was glad we did because it was a great opportunity to learn. said at Summer Visit - 2014 - HG-WELS

Summer Visit - 2014 - SIRXS
We also came across some problems in our data base as we worked and had to stop, problem solve, and keep going. And collaborating. Without that piece, this project would be almost impossible to do alone. said at Summer Visit - 2014 - SIRXS

Summer Visit - 2014 - SIRXS
[the best thing about the trip was] Working with teachers and students. [Another teacher] and I actually shared curriculum for astronomy and bounced ideas off one another. The collaborating is priceless. said at Summer Visit - 2014 - SIRXS

Summer Visit - 2014 - SIRXS
[student:] Although I knew coming into the program that there would be other schools working with us, I did not expect friendships to be formed from our collaboration, and was pleasantly surprised when they were. said at Summer Visit - 2014 - SIRXS

Summer Visit - 2014 - SIRXS
[student:] I think qualities that are most important to for an astronomer to have are determination, focus, willfulness, and perseverance. said at Summer Visit - 2014 - SIRXS

Summer Visit - 2014 - SIRXS
[student:] I was somewhat surprised that the catalogue was publicly archived. I think it is an amazing opportunity for non-astronomers to do some "real" science, or simply learn new skills. said at Summer Visit - 2014 - SIRXS

Summer Visit - 2014 - SIRXS
Our group included students, teachers, and a scientist, and we were all engaged in a common goal. As a teacher, the classroom experience so often involves telling the students what to do and then having them do it. It is refreshing to have a chance to work with the students on a project that isn't predetermined. said at Summer Visit - 2014 - SIRXS

Summer Visit - 2014 - SIRXS
Being at Caltech also changed my relationship with my students, and in a way that I had hoped for. The limits of my expertise were much more obvious to them. This meant that they had to find other ways to answer questions than reflexively turning to me. We developed more of a sense of being peers in terms of our work together on the project. said at Summer Visit - 2014 - SIRXS

Summer Visit - 2014 - SIRXS
The ability to collaborate is crucial. This is something I have been hoping to work on in myself and with my students, and I think it was a huge part of the experience. said at Summer Visit - 2014 - SIRXS

Summer Visit - 2014 - SIRXS
One happy surprise was the element of serendipity in moving the project forward. I did not anticipate that one of the two post-docs who were sitting in to observe (for education, not science) would suggest that we use software that would change the way we managed our data. said at Summer Visit - 2014 - SIRXS

Summer Visit - 2014 - SIRXS
[student:] The best part [of the trip] was seeing how the project changed so much over just a few days. Although our end goal was the same, our process to reach that goal was changed in those few days. From things as simple as just finding new ways to cut down the source count from the SEIP to things as radical as finding a brand new program online to sort the data, the project was constantly evolving. said at Summer Visit - 2014 - SIRXS

Summer Visit - 2014 - SIRXS
[student:] I did not expect how much improvisation had to be done. I knew that there would be many issues in dealing with the data we had, and we did not have solutions to all those problems before hand, but I did not expect just how many caveats had to be worked out. said at Summer Visit - 2014 - SIRXS

Summer Visit - 2014 - SIRXS
[student:] Usually, in class, teachers have all the answers and just tell you, but with this project, the teachers didn’t always have the answers. Sometimes, students explained things to the teachers. It was interesting to work with teachers as equals. said at Summer Visit - 2014 - SIRXS

Summer Visit - 2014 - SIRXS
[student:] It was exciting that we didn’t have all answers right away (even now, we don’t have answers), so we had to figure stuff out and be logical. It was interesting to meet and work with some really smart people! said at Summer Visit - 2014 - SIRXS

Summer Visit - 2014 - SIRXS
[student:] Real astronomy requires a lot of time looking at data on computers and less time looking through telescopes. said at Summer Visit - 2014 - SIRXS

Summer Visit - 2014 - SIRXS
[student:] Attention to detail is a quality that every scientist has. said at Summer Visit - 2014 - SIRXS

Summer Visit - 2014 - SIRXS
[student:] Astronomy is not just a mechanical way of doing things. It also involves culture and personality. Learning these is only possible by meeting another astronomer. said at Summer Visit - 2014 - SIRXS

Summer Visit - 2014 - SIRXS
[student:] It surprised me that so much astronomical data was available to the public. I was even more surprised by the fact that this was not just a little data, but it was so much that one would not be able to go through it all in a whole lifetime. said at Summer Visit - 2014 - SIRXS

Summer Visit - 2014 - SIRXS
[student:] One thing that stood out to me is the how complicated diagrams and graphs can get. said at Summer Visit - 2014 - SIRXS

Summer Visit - 2014 - SIRXS
[student:] I think, above all, astronomers must be patient and willing to keep trying. said at Summer Visit - 2014 - SIRXS

Summer Visit - 2014 - SIRXS
[student:] I enjoyed discovering the areas in which I feel confident with my knowledge and those in which I have a weak foundation. said at Summer Visit - 2014 - SIRXS

Summer Visit - 2014 - SIRXS
[student:] The most valuable lesson I took from the NITARP summer visit was how to successfully collaborate with a large group of people. said at Summer Visit - 2014 - SIRXS

Summer Visit - 2014 - SIRXS
[student:] I think that curiosity is a important characteristic for a astronomer. said at Summer Visit - 2014 - SIRXS

Caroline Odden
Today [June 2014] I was musing about how NITARP took me to my first AAS in 2012. This summer I went on my own, had a great time connecting with established friends and meeting new ones, and even presented my own poster. I'd say that's some pretty good progress! Thanks for all that you do for us teachers! said Caroline Odden

AAS - 2014
My students now see themselves as capable of more than they had before but more importantly see themselves has having a future in the world they saw through the program. Attending the AAS is an important culmination of the experience that ties the importance of science research together and offers an important glimpse into a world of possibilities for students. said at AAS - 2014

Laura Orr
My students now see themselves as capable of more than they had before but more importantly see themselves has having a future in the world they saw through the program. Attending the AAS is an important culmination of the experience that ties the importance of science research together and offers an important glimpse into a world of possibilities for students. said Laura Orr

Laura Orr
I was again reminded of how eye-opening a conference like this can be to a high school student with limited experience outside their home area. For them, the sessions presented were a view into a world they really didn’t know even existed. They were quick to recognize and admit that they largely knew nothing about what was presented in the sessions – but they were just as quick to talk about the fact that they were interested, curious, and wanted to figure out more. The poster sessions also provide opportunity for them to see themselves as potentially having a place among those attending and presenting. They were able to find people that they could talk to about the things the heard about in the talks and learn more. When they presented their own work it was amazing to see how much their confidence and abilities grew. said Laura Orr

AAS - 2014
I was again reminded of how eye-opening a conference like this can be to a high school student with limited experience outside their home area. For them, the sessions presented were a view into a world they really didn’t know even existed. They were quick to recognize and admit that they largely knew nothing about what was presented in the sessions – but they were just as quick to talk about the fact that they were interested, curious, and wanted to figure out more. The poster sessions also provide opportunity for them to see themselves as potentially having a place among those attending and presenting. They were able to find people that they could talk to about the things the heard about in the talks and learn more. When they presented their own work it was amazing to see how much their confidence and abilities grew. said at AAS - 2014

AAS - 2014
[student:] This experience changed the way I thought about astronomy. Originally, I honestly thought it was pointless. I mean what could have been so important looking up at the stars? I realized how terribly wrong I was when I started going to the many different talks. What I found out is that we need astronomy. Astronomy, from what I have gathered, can tell us about the past of the universe, and predictions on the future. We have created tools that can literally see and reconstruct what the past sky looked like as well as project what the future of our solar system will become! Astronomy is an amazing field, and we have only unlocked a very small portion of what the universe is like. Given time we might one day understand what is really going on out there. said at AAS - 2014

AAS - 2014
[student:] This project – all of it – has also changed the way that I see the classroom and what it can be. It has changed the way I see classwork and work that I see as ‘hard’. I also see that I have a more open mind now and bigger view of the world and what I can do. said at AAS - 2014

AAS - 2014
[student:] astronomers .. are normal people who have chosen a career that interests them, but they are also interested in telling jokes, learning about things they don’t know, have hobbies, and other things that are just like everyone else. I am not sure what I thought they would be like instead, but I was surprised anyway. said at AAS - 2014

AAS - 2014
[student:] I realized how much more is involved with astronomy than just telescopes and night skies. said at AAS - 2014

David Black
I found [astronomers] to be approachable, willing to talk with mere mortals such as myself, and more than happy to explain their work. Everyone I talked with at poster sessions and elsewhere was enthusiastic and excited about their discoveries. It was the kind of community of learners that I try to model in my classroom, and it will be the most important thing I take back from the conference to share with my students – that astronomers are regular people who are happy to share what they know. The second most important thing is that they can do this, too (and will be doing this) and there are no barriers to their becoming professional astronomers if they want to. said David Black

AAS - 2014
I found [astronomers] to be approachable, willing to talk with mere mortals such as myself, and more than happy to explain their work. Everyone I talked with at poster sessions and elsewhere was enthusiastic and excited about their discoveries. It was the kind of community of learners that I try to model in my classroom, and it will be the most important thing I take back from the conference to share with my students – that astronomers are regular people who are happy to share what they know. The second most important thing is that they can do this, too (and will be doing this) and there are no barriers to their becoming professional astronomers if they want to. said at AAS - 2014

AAS - 2014
[student:] ...this experience has caused me to extend my knowledge outside the classroom; and I am currently working on an independent study in computer programming/computer science that, from what I’ve seen and heard from NITARP and the AAS, I know will benefit me in the future. said at AAS - 2014

AAS - 2014
[student:] I have a new appreciation for all the hard work that goes into every single project out there, and I have a new fascination with just how vast this field is. said at AAS - 2014

AAS - 2014
[student:] I really enjoyed talking to everyone at the AAS and having this common interest in astronomy. The coolest part of this was the fact that no matter how young or inexperienced you are, you are still treated with so much respect and enthusiasm, because everyone knows how much work goes into these projects. It was amazing to experience this side of science. said at AAS - 2014

AAS - 2014
[student:] Seeing the same people giving the talks coming into the cold to see stars made me realize that they were incredibly passionate about their work, not only as a scientific subject but as a personal mission. For me as a student, it helped me realize that it's more important to pursue a subject because you want to do it than to do so for the sake of pursuing a subject, and it will have a definite influence on my academic decisions. said at AAS - 2014

AAS - 2014
[student:] The most interesting thing I learned that conventions are at least as social as they are scientific events. said at AAS - 2014

AAS - 2014
[student:] Thank you so much for the extraordinary opportunity that this program offered me. I truly enjoyed the entire experience and am exhilarated to say that I participated in real research. The opportunity was incredible and one that I will treasure forever. said at AAS - 2014

AAS - 2014
[student:] My favorite part of the AAS conference was the posters. It was so interesting and exciting being able to connect at a more personal level with the astronomers. [..] All the presenters were very friendly and eager to share their information, which was all so fascinating! said at AAS - 2014

Lynn Powers
Through this whole process I’ve learned that astronomy research is about connections. Who you meet, what they do, and how each has a part in a greater picture. Sharing information, connections and discussions. said Lynn Powers

AAS - 2014
Through this whole process I’ve learned that astronomy research is about connections. Who you meet, what they do, and how each has a part in a greater picture. Sharing information, connections and discussions. said at AAS - 2014

AAS - 2014
[student! :] This experience has changed the way I work in the classroom in that I am applying simple scientific practices to the way I study and do homework, collaborating with others to ensure I have a full understanding of the whole picture. said at AAS - 2014

AAS - 2014
[student:] I didn't expect so many astronomers to be so excited and interested in the research we had performed and our involvement in the sciences at a high school age. It was so exhilarating and inspiring to receive such a positive response, as well as advice, from people at the heart of the field. said at AAS - 2014

AAS - 2014
[student:] The most important thing I learned at the AAS was how close knit and accepting the astronomical society truly is. I think often the sciences are made out to be highly exclusive, in that you must be a genius in order to make any meaningful discoveries, and that there is a lot of deeply entrenched competition between scientists. But, experiencing the AAS conference has shown me that not only do people from around the country collaborate with one another to perform research, they also have a wonderful alacrity to explain their findings to everyone[...] said at AAS - 2014

AAS - 2014
We were also lucky to have two astronomers who were very knowledgeable who disagreed on many aspects of our work. Students can't get this kind of authentic learning experience in a typical classroom setting. Listening to both sides of the discussion and then being able to explain our work based on those thoughts was a thought-provoking experience for our students. said at AAS - 2014

Margaret (Peggy) Piper
To end the trip, I had the opportunity to speak at the "State of the Universe" Congressional Briefing. I was proud to have the opportunity to represent so many educators and public outreach professionals as I spoke about the impact that their tireless work has on educators, students and the public. said Margaret (Peggy) Piper

Margaret (Peggy) Piper
I felt a higher level of interest this year from visitors to our posters than in the past. At our education poster, many graduate students and astronomers really wanted to know how we had used Python programming with high school students and what our stumbling blocks had been. At our science poster, several other researchers listened to our work and then went on to describe similar work that they were currently working on that was showing similar results. This was again a definite "out of the classroom" experience, sharing work delving in to new areas of research with graduate students and astronomers. said Margaret (Peggy) Piper

Margaret (Peggy) Piper
We were also lucky to have two astronomers who were very knowledgeable who disagreed on many aspects of our work. Students can't get this kind of authentic learning experience in a typical classroom setting. Listening to both sides of the discussion and then being able to explain our work based on those thoughts was a thought-provoking experience for our students. said Margaret (Peggy) Piper

Carol Ivers
I have a new view on doing research. I now understand the need for solid science programs at all levels as a foundation for future scientists, not just astronomers. This experience has made me reflect on my pedagogy and motivates me to continue to strive to improve my techniques. said Carol Ivers

Melissa Booker
The idea that exposing teachers to authentic experiences doing real research has a positive trickle-down effect on science education as a whole I think is very well-founded. I know that as I grow in both my content understanding and my experiences with current research, I am better able to expose my students to experiences in which they (1) gain higher levels of data literacy, (2) gain a greater understanding of what astronomers actually do and how they conduct their research, and (3) learn about new science being done in astronomy. said Melissa Booker

Melissa Booker
NITARP was a great experience for both myself and my students. said Melissa Booker

Melissa Booker
It was very satisfying to be able to converse with the grad students about their science and actually understand what they were talking about. said Melissa Booker

Melissa Booker
It was very satisfying to be able to converse with the grad students about their science and actually understand what they were talking about. I felt proud when several of them remarked that they were surprised to learn that the research was undertaken by teachers and their high school students. They were surprised I was a teacher and that my students were “only in high school.” I guess we challenged several of their preconceptions about what teachers can accomplish. said Melissa Booker

AAS - 2014
The idea that exposing teachers to authentic experiences doing real research has a positive trickle-down effect on science education as a whole I think is very well-founded. I know that as I grow in both my content understanding and my experiences with current research, I am better able to expose my students to experiences in which they (1) gain higher levels of data literacy, (2) gain a greater understanding of what astronomers actually do and how they conduct their research, and (3) learn about new science being done in astronomy. said at AAS - 2014

AAS - 2014
NITARP was a great experience for both myself and my students. said at AAS - 2014

AAS - 2014
What amazed me was how ingenious astronomers were with using data to its fullest and finding patterns in data that one set of astronomers see as unwanted “noise” in their data. One astronomer's noise as another astronomer’s treasure! said at AAS - 2014

AAS - 2014
It was very satisfying to be able to converse with the grad students about their science and actually understand what they were talking about. I felt proud when several of them remarked that they were surprised to learn that the research was undertaken by teachers and their high school students. They were surprised I was a teacher and that my students were “only in high school.” I guess we challenged several of their preconceptions about what teachers can accomplish. said at AAS - 2014

AAS - 2014
[student:] Coming into the program, I had the stereotypical thought that only stars can be studied in astronomy. To my surprise, there are many different objects and phenomena that can be looked and more and more precisely now with new technology coming out. said at AAS - 2014

AAS - 2014
[student:] Going into the convention center, I was a bit overwhelmed and intimidated by all the astronomers and astrophysicists that were there. To my surprise, I found that everyone was very inviting and inquisitive about his or her research, and mine. said at AAS - 2014

AAS - 2014
[student:] Probably the most interesting that that happened for me was that barrier between high school science and "real world" research was broken for me. said at AAS - 2014

AAS - 2014
[student:] The thing I liked most about the program was the fact that high school students were given the opportunity to participate in significant research. [..] The fact that no one knew the answer was extremely exciting. I never enjoyed the regurgitation of information that high school provides us. I understand that it is necessary to learn the basics and the only way to learn that is to solve problems that have already been solved. But this program has given me the exclusive opportunity to experience in simple terms: real life. Thank you and I hope the program continues to provide remarkable experiences. said at AAS - 2014

AAS - 2014
[student:] After going to AAS, I was more inclined to involve myself in astronomy in the future. said at AAS - 2014

AAS - 2014
[student:] I had not realized that there are numerous fields within astronomy pertaining not only to science and engineering, but history and art. said at AAS - 2014

AAS - 2014
A few different people asked if we were going to publish our results which I thought was a pretty big compliment -- and I mentioned it to our scientist. said at AAS - 2014

AAS - 2014
[student: This experience] opened my eyes and showed me that there is SO much more to astronomy than I had previously thought. said at AAS - 2014

AAS - 2014
My students now view research as done by ordinary people, who enjoy looking for unknown patterns and abnormalities in data, yet also enjoy “coaster flipping” in the restaurant and crack jokes when the working environment gets tense, just to lighten the mood and help us remember that exploration is fun! said at AAS - 2014

AAS - 2014
I found a wonderful book on The Mathematics of Astronomy. It is fairly simple in concept, and as I leafed through it, I realized I am doing A LOT of what is in that book … just not maybe intentionally mentioning the math part as much. So I am purchasing one of these and will rethink some of what I teach next year, and perhaps incorporate some new areas of math into my science classes. said at AAS - 2014

AAS - 2014
It seems to me that programs like NITARP and other engaging education programs need to be studied/analyzed and results used to drive new programs, both in high school and college. We can’t depend on student interest only to supply the next generation of astronomers. We need to be actively engaged in that task. I am surprised that so few astronomers see the urgency of the need. said at AAS - 2014

AAS - 2014
I have been a teacher for 38 years, and have been in probably 18-20 special programs over that time to improve myself as a science teacher. The NITARP program ranks as one of the three best programs I have been in over that period of time. It helped make astronomy “doable” … learning to use the Kepler databases and some of the instruments, like periodograms, phase binning, etc., stretched us as teachers/student, yet helped us to realize we can do true scientific research. I personally thought our project was engaging to our students and myself, and wasn’t just another “cookbook exercise.” said at AAS - 2014

Danielle Miller
NITARP has made me realize that most science teachers don't really immerse students in real science. Too often we (myself included) do 'labs' that have an answer and fit in a class period, and though NITARP has made me want to deviate from this, I'm still not exactly sure how yet. All I know is my students don't ask as many questions as they could be and should be and I need to work on it. said Danielle Miller

Danielle Miller
The most interesting thing about NITARP was sharing the experience with as many people as I could! [...] NITARP, however always gets way more questions and interest than any other professional development or things I talk about. [..] I really think that NITARP surprises people because it's obvious how much work teachers do and that teachers are on the same level as scientists. said Danielle Miller

Fred Donelson
My students now view research as done by ordinary people, who enjoy looking for unknown patterns and abnormalities in data, yet also enjoy “coaster flipping” in the restaurant and crack jokes when the working environment gets tense, just to lighten the mood and help us remember that exploration is fun! said Fred Donelson

Fred Donelson
I have been a teacher for 38 years, and have been in probably 18-20 special programs over that time to improve myself as a science teacher. The NITARP program ranks as one of the three best programs I have been in over that period of time. said Fred Donelson

Fred Donelson
I have been a teacher for 38 years, and have been in probably 18-20 special programs over that time to improve myself as a science teacher. The NITARP program ranks as one of the three best programs I have been in over that period of time. It helped make astronomy “doable” … learning to use the Kepler databases and some of the instruments, like periodograms, phase binning, etc., stretched us as teachers/student, yet helped us to realize we can do true scientific research. I personally thought our project was engaging to our students and myself, and wasn’t just another “cookbook exercise.” said Fred Donelson

Fred Donelson
It seems to me that programs like NITARP and other engaging education programs need to be studied/analyzed and results used to drive new programs, both in high school and college. We can’t depend on student interest only to supply the next generation of astronomers. We need to be actively engaged in that task. I am surprised that so few astronomers see the urgency of the need. said Fred Donelson

Fred Donelson
I found a wonderful book on The Mathematics of Astronomy. It is fairly simple in concept, and as I leafed through it, I realized I am doing A LOT of what is in that book … just not maybe intentionally mentioning the math part as much. So I am purchasing one of these and will rethink some of what I teach next year, and perhaps incorporate some new areas of math into my science classes. said Fred Donelson

AAS - 2014
[student:] This experience has shown me many of the applicable qualities that subjects such as calculus and physics hold. said at AAS - 2014

AAS - 2014
[student:] Overall, I learned that astronomy is much more of an organized community than I otherwise imagined. said at AAS - 2014

AAS - 2014
[student:] I went to the public policy session that had a panel of people from the government. †I was surprised to learn that the people who act as advisors and such for science policy in the Congress actually have strong backgrounds (PhD/experience) in science. said at AAS - 2014

AAS - 2014
[student:] This experience really opened my eyes to how research in a field really works, and that the most important part of learning (getting involved) does not happen in the classroom. said at AAS - 2014

AAS - 2014
[student:] I did not anticipate meeting so many people from around the country and around the world, but it was really cool! said at AAS - 2014

AAS - 2014
[student:] Thank you all for running the NITARP program! It was one of the best experiences of my life! said at AAS - 2014

AAS - 2014
[student:] This experience has made me a more efficient worker and it also made me realize that not all, in fact most scientific research does not come out in success. said at AAS - 2014

AAS - 2014
[student:] This experience totally changed my view of astronomy and my view of the people who are a part of it. Initially, I thought that astronomy was filled with emotionless scientists who stare at their computers all day. I found that this was not the case at all and I met some of the most interesting people through this program [..] said at AAS - 2014

Holly Bensel
I definitely felt more at ease at this conference than last years. [..] I was visiting with all kinds of people, retired Yale professor, grad student from Sicily, etc and not feeling out of place. It was great. I could approach others at the conference with more confidence which changes how I view professional astronomers. I think I could ask for advice on future projects more easily and confidently. I found it a very supportive environment. said Holly Bensel

AAS - 2014
I definitely felt more at ease at this conference than last years. [..] I was visiting with all kinds of people, retired Yale professor, grad student from Sicily, etc and not feeling out of place. It was great. I could approach others at the conference with more confidence which changes how I view professional astronomers. I think I could ask for advice on future projects more easily and confidently. I found it a very supportive environment. said at AAS - 2014

Holly Bensel
[at the AAS,] I went to a talk on how university clubs were struggling with the same issues that I have at the high school level. Students are busy so even though they are interested there are time constraints and many times club meetings are the first things to drop when other time demands get in the way. I came out of it feeling like I am not alone or that I am not doing something wrong when students tell me they can’t make the meetings. Sometimes I thought I should be doing something different to keep students motivated. Apparently, clubs all over the US are struggling with this and it was nice to hear their stories and ideas. said Holly Bensel

AAS - 2014
It was great to see the finished projects the NITARP teachers and students worked on. We made a few new friends and valuable connections with other scientists. said at AAS - 2014

AAS - 2014
[student:] All in all, NITARP really was an amazing experience. The coolest part to me was that I was doing REAL science--we didn't know what sort of answers we were going to get. The chance to do real, original research is irreplaceable. Coming in to NITARP, I had next to none astronomy background. NITARP opened my eyes up to the astronomy field, and I definitely want to take college courses now. said at AAS - 2014

AAS - 2014
My skills and knowledge as a science teacher have grown exponentially in the last year. said at AAS - 2014

AAS - 2014
[student:] One of the main things I gained personally is an understanding of the demand for computer scientists in astronomy. I have planned for several years to study computer science after high school, but I had no direction after college. However, seeing the need for software engineers has led me to strongly consider work in the field of astronomy. said at AAS - 2014

Theresa Paulsen
My skills and knowledge as a science teacher have grown exponentially in the last year. said Theresa Paulsen

AAS - 2014
[student:] Going to this really made me turn towards Astronomy more when thinking about plans for my future. It’s definitely really interesting and space is so...fascinating. I always liked it when I was little but I always had it set in my mind that becoming something like an astronomer was extremely difficult and nearly impossible...but coming to the AAS meeting has really made me consider trying for it. said at AAS - 2014

AAS - 2014
[student:] While I knew that the whole convention was going to be full of people, I didn’t expect it to be so ridiculously full. Nor did I expect to see so many people from areas all across the globe. American Astronomical Society kinda just makes you think “United States”. said at AAS - 2014

AAS - 2014
I am exceedingly grateful for the NITARP program. I know that without this experience I would not have been exposed to so many interesting topics and research ideas. said at AAS - 2014

AAS - 2014
My students did such a great job, too presenting. As they get older, I am certain they will realize the value of this experience. I think talking to people who are passionate about what they do is the best way to motivate students to seek challenging professions will that provide purpose and passion in their lives. said at AAS - 2014

AAS - 2014
I was much more comfortable approaching people presenting their posters. Last year I felt like I was in way over my head. This year I felt like I fit in just fine, I knew so much more and had the confidence to speak freely about what I didn’t understand. I realized that no one understands all of it, but becoming an expert at one thing gives you the confidence and motivation to learn more. said at AAS - 2014

Theresa Paulsen
I am exceedingly grateful for the NITARP program. I know that without this experience I would not have been exposed to so many interesting topics and research ideas. I now have a list of things I want to learn that will take me at least 5 years to accomplish. In that time, I know that I have numerous people behind me ready to help as I tackle DS9, python, APT with my students. We will be downloading images and photometry from the NASAs archives for many years. I look forward to sharing what I have learned with other teachers so that they may do the same. said Theresa Paulsen

Theresa Paulsen
I was much more comfortable approaching people presenting their posters. Last year I felt like I was in way over my head. This year I felt like I fit in just fine, I knew so much more and had the confidence to speak freely about what I didn’t understand. I realized that no one understands all of it, but becoming an expert at one thing gives you the confidence and motivation to learn more. said Theresa Paulsen

AAS - 2014
I will definitely be using the skills and the knowledge that I acquired in the NITARP program in the future for my own and for my future students’ research. said at AAS - 2014

AAS - 2014
The students were also great to work with—not only mine, but those of the other teachers as well. They were a great bunch of kids to hang out with. It was really great getting to work alongside them instead of in the usual student-teacher sort of relationship—I’ll miss them, too. said at AAS - 2014

AAS - 2014
I also found that I really enjoy the camaraderie that exists between me and the other teachers in my group—we fit together really well and enjoy one another’s company very much. I found that these teachers from other parts of the country were just like me in a lot of ways. said at AAS - 2014

AAS - 2014
I think that my NITARP experience is one of the best things that I have ever done in my life, both as an educator and as an individual. I have found that I really like doing research and plan to continue that in the future both with my students and as an individual. said at AAS - 2014

Thomas Rutherford
My life has changed in some way because of my participation in this program. My wife, my children, and my co-workers have all remarked at how I am different now. I don’t know whether it was the program, the people that I worked with, or some combination of the two, but whatever it was something about it changed me. I know that “life-changing experience” was not one of the outcomes that you hoped for when you planned the program, but it is what happened with me. Thank you very much for allowing me to participate— this has been one of the best years of my life. said Thomas Rutherford

Thomas Rutherford
I will definitely be using the skills and the knowledge that I acquired in the NITARP program in the future for my own and for my future students’ research. said Thomas Rutherford

Thomas Rutherford
The students were also great to work with—not only mine, but those of the other teachers as well. They were a great bunch of kids to hang out with. It was really great getting to work alongside them instead of in the usual student-teacher sort of relationship—I’ll miss them, too. said Thomas Rutherford

Thomas Rutherford
I also found that I really enjoy the camaraderie that exists between me and the other teachers in my group—we fit together really well and enjoy one another’s company very much. I found that these teachers from other parts of the country were just like me in a lot of ways. I am somewhat sad in that since we are now alumni, there is a chance that I will never see them again because we live so far from one another, but I really hope that is not the case. We do have plans to continue the project together, but we don’t know for sure where that will lead. said Thomas Rutherford

Thomas Rutherford
I think that my NITARP experience is one of the best things that I have ever done in my life, both as an educator and as an individual. I have found that I really like doing research and plan to continue that in the future both with my students and as an individual. said Thomas Rutherford

AAS - 2014
[student:] This experience made me realize that astronomy is a lot more complicated than what we think. I am so happy I got to have this experience at such a young age because not that many people have gotten a chance to do anything like this in their lives. said at AAS - 2014

AAS - 2014
[student:] One thing that shocked me was that not that many people asked us about the project when we were presenting. I expected everything to be more taxing and it turned out to be just exciting and fun. said at AAS - 2014

AAS - 2014
[student:] Overall this was an amazing experience. The astronomers we worked with were amazing and I was so excited. I wish it would never end. said at AAS - 2014

AAS - 2014
[student: This experience] has also given me a lot more experience of working with people I don’t know and increased my presentation skills. said at AAS - 2014

AAS - 2014
[student:] this experience changed how I viewed astronomy. I always looked at astronomy big picture, but realize now that much of astronomy is numerical data analyzing. said at AAS - 2014

AAS - 2014
[student:] The room was filled with a collaborative attitude, and it was very interesting to simply observe. said at AAS - 2014

Nicole Granucci
This is going to change my classroom by incorporating an astronomy club in which we will be continuing the research that I started, generating an outreach program and educating the community about astronomy. said Nicole Granucci

Nicole Granucci
[..]this experience for the students was golden. Having the chance to share this opportunity for learning with my students is by far the best thing that came out of the project. said Nicole Granucci

Nicole Granucci
Working with teachers and astronomers across the country was great for my personal knowledge. Working across times zones was another fun, but interesting challenge. Learning how to work with completely new people, being in a new place, learning new material, all of these experiences help shape me better as a person. said Nicole Granucci

Nicole Granucci
Overall, this experience was one of the best experiences educationally, personally and professionally. It was great to be part of a project and it forced me to learn, very quickly. I liked how I didn’t know everything about my project to begin with. It made me become a better learner because I was asking the questions for understanding the content. In the end, I was in charge of my learning and I learned so much because of it. said Nicole Granucci

AAS - 2014
This is going to change my classroom by incorporating an astronomy club in which we will be continuing the research that I started, generating an outreach program and educating the community about astronomy. said at AAS - 2014

AAS - 2014
[..] this experience for the students was golden. Having the chance to share this opportunity for learning with my students is by far the best thing that came out of the project. said at AAS - 2014

AAS - 2014
Working with teachers and astronomers across the country was great for my personal knowledge. Working across times zones was another fun, but interesting challenge. Learning how to work with completely new people, being in a new place, learning new material, all of these experiences help shape me better as a person. said at AAS - 2014

AAS - 2014
Overall, this experience was one of the best experiences educationally, personally and professionally. It was great to be part of a project and it forced me to learn, very quickly. I liked how I didn’t know everything about my project to begin with. It made me become a better learner because I was asking the questions for understanding the content. In the end, I was in charge of my learning and I learned so much because of it. said at AAS - 2014

AAS - 2014
It has been a pleasure working in the program and with the other educators and students. said at AAS - 2014

John Blackwell
It has been a pleasure working in the program and with the other educators and students. said John Blackwell

AAS - 2014
[student:] NITARP definitely changed the way I thought about astronomy for the better. I thought before that it was more about literally looking through telescopes, so was often surprised when people thought it would be a field I should follow. I was pleased to learn throughout this experience that the field is in fact a very mathematical and calculating field with a fascinating theories being built on constantly. The field is a truly a community, strongly linked. The understanding of the field that I gained through this program has opened a new field of study to my eyes as a career path in my future. said at AAS - 2014

AAS - 2014
[student:] one thing that surprised me: the interest the people took in out research and us as students. Going in to the presentation, I was expecting to be ignored a majority of the time during our shift, but I was pleased when we actually talked to people a majority of the time. It was touching to me that people took the time out of their day to listen to us and give us tips as to how we could improve in the future in this research and as students. said at AAS - 2014

AAS - 2014
[student:] I had never realized just how large of an impact and interest this field has on the public from the side of those who are involved in the actual astronomy. said at AAS - 2014

AAS - 2014
[student:] After seeing professional astronomers present and give lectures, I do believe that astronomers are some of the smartest people around but I also believe they are also some of the most curious because almost every single person at the AAS meeting discovered something new that the world has never known before. said at AAS - 2014

AAS - 2014
[student:] The most interesting thing was the AAS conference. There were so many interesting people and so much new information that you can't help but become lost in it. said at AAS - 2014

AAS - 2014
[student:] The experience was great and any opportunity to do primary research is always going to be interesting and you’ll always learn something new. said at AAS - 2014

AAS - 2014
[student:] This experience changed my views not just about astronomy, but science in general because it showed me just how much little things interact with each other and form a big picture understanding. This will change the way I look at almost all my subjects, as now I will start thinking from the get-go where everything fits in the goal I am trying to achieve, whether it be economics or physics. said at AAS - 2014

AAS - 2014
[student:] The most interesting thing that I learned was that there is just so much research going on and on such small things, but it all is used as stepping stones to bigger and better things. said at AAS - 2014

Michael Murphy
I really enjoyed meeting members of the other NITARP teams and comparing their experience to mine. Everyone’s experience was different, but there seemed to be an overwhelming consensus that NITARP was the most significant, educational, and enjoyable professional development experience they have ever had. I could not agree more. said Michael Murphy

AAS - 2014
I really enjoyed meeting members of the other NITARP teams and comparing their experience to mine. Everyone’s experience was different, but there seemed to be an overwhelming consensus that NITARP was the most significant, educational, and enjoyable professional development experience they have ever had. I could not agree more. said at AAS - 2014

AAS - 2014
[student:] At the conference, I learned astronomers were much more approachable than I had expected. I anticipated them to be cold and condensing [condescending] towards me since I am only in high school, yet everyone I interacted with was friendly and welcoming. I really enjoyed the experience because [..] I really think it opened my eyes to the “adult” world. The entire program helped [me] to grow as a person and come to learn more about myself and what I want to do as an occupation. I am very fortunate for this opportunity and I hope everyone continues to learn and grow from this incredible experience. said at AAS - 2014

AAS - 2014
This year I spent more time walking around and reading posters. I felt less intimidated to talk to those who spent time in front of their poster as well. said at AAS - 2014

Robert Marshall
[At the Jan 2014 AAS,] This year, I spent more time walking around and reading posters. I felt less intimidated to talk to those who spent time in front of their poster as well. said Robert Marshall

AAS - 2014
It was delight to watch the students explain the poster – usually followed by shock as the person listening noticed they were middle and high school students! Here is to the next generation – they are amazing. said at AAS - 2014

AAS - 2014
We took a group of students to the AAS State of the Universe address at the Capitol. It was a wonderful experience for them to talk to so many people. But most of all, the two AAS presidents took the time to talk with the students about their work. I cannot thank them enough for their sincerity and caring. said at AAS - 2014

AAS - 2014
I came to NITARP hoping to learn how students visualize astronomy. In grappling through my own learning process I re-discovered learning to learn a totally new subject – for its joys and frustrations. But more so, I found a new way of teaching visually and the tools to begin programming what I hope will be lessons that help open more doors to students who might not get a subject on the first pass, but will be awesome at it with a few supports. said at AAS - 2014

AAS - 2014
[at the AAS:] It has been a long time since I sat in a giant lecture hall and wanted to jump up and down…The presentation by Dr. Alyssa Goodman, Linking Visualization Understanding in Astronomy, was exactly what I have been looking for in my teaching. I cannot wait to put it all to use. said at AAS - 2014

Wendi Laurence
My greatest concern about astronomy is that there are those that get it on the first pass --- and others who need different explanations, but will get it in another perspective. Finding a way to make different learners feel welcome and offering them multiple modes of learning might bring many amazing new students to the field or at least help many people understand the amazing work being done and why we need to continue to explore. said Wendi Laurence

Wendi Laurence
It was delight to watch the students explain the poster – usually followed by shock as the person listening noticed they were middle and high school students! Here is to the next generation – they are amazing. said Wendi Laurence

Wendi Laurence
[at the AAS:] It has been a long time since I sat in a giant lecture hall and wanted to jump up and down…The presentation by Dr. Alyssa Goodman, Linking Visualization Understanding in Astronomy, was exactly what I have been looking for in my teaching. I cannot wait to put it all to use. said Wendi Laurence

Wendi Laurence
I came to NITARP hoping to learn how students visualize astronomy. In grappling through my own learning process I re-discovered learning to learn a totally new subject – for its joys and frustrations. But more so, I found a new way of teaching visually and the tools to begin programming what I hope will be lessons that help open more doors to students who might not get a subject on the first pass, but will be awesome at it with a few supports. said Wendi Laurence

AAS - 2014
[student:] I left [the AAS] wanting to look at the next BRC and want to keep learning astronomy. said at AAS - 2014

AAS - 2014
Thanks again for this amazing opportunity. I really hope it can continues even in light of the difficult financial times. It would be a terrible loss if it went away because it feels a very specific niche that is not met by any other program I have seen. said at AAS - 2014

John Gibbs
Thanks again for this amazing opportunity. I really hope it can continues even in light of the difficult financial times. It would be a terrible loss if it went away because it feels a very specific niche that is not met by any other program I have seen. said John Gibbs

John Gibbs
[...] this was my fourth AAS and lot of what I was doing was catching up with people I knew from before, although I did feel like I was pulled in many different directions: old team, new team and students. said John Gibbs

AAS - 2014
[student:] The experience was one that I could not possibly ever forget. said at AAS - 2014

AAS - 2014
[student:] After having the opportunity to work alongside a professional astronomer on a real research project, I feel like I look at the science fields in a completely different way now. I realize that the universe is messy and confusing and research is really comprised of very educated guesses. This experience has helped me ask questions about the weird data instead of just dismissing it. said at AAS - 2014

AAS - 2014
[student:] The conference was a really great way to get a feel for what is happening in astronomy right now and what the questions for the future are. Everywhere I went I heard about the origins of the universe, dark matter, and dark energy which leads me to believe that these fields are going to become really exciting when I start doing professional research. This conference really got me excited about what the future in astronomy research holds and how I can become a part of it. said at AAS - 2014

AAS - 2014
[student:] I didn't expect the days to feel so jam packed. I found it difficult to make time for meals and I still was only able to attend about half of the talks I wanted to see. said at AAS - 2014

AAS - 2014
[After going to an AAS town hall:] I am glad my paycheck does not derive from NSF funding. said at AAS - 2014

David Strasburger
Being at AAS was overwhelming, but enormously informative. [..] the best thing about the event was simply seeing how business is done. Some questioners at talks are part of informed discourse, some are competitive, some are off the wall, and some have an axe to grind. But mostly what came through powerfully -- and really changed my image of the field -- is how intensely collaborative the work is for the most part. I had never been to a poster session at an academic conference before. When I’ve seen high school poster sessions they seemed contrived to me. Now I understand what they are trying to model. said David Strasburger

AAS - 2014
Being at AAS was overwhelming, but enormously informative. [..] the best thing about the event was simply seeing how business is done. Some questioners at talks are part of informed discourse, some are competitive, some are off the wall, and some have an axe to grind. But mostly what came through powerfully -- and really changed my image of the field -- is how intensely collaborative the work is for the most part. I had never been to a poster session at an academic conference before. When I’ve seen high school poster sessions they seemed contrived to me. Now I understand what they are trying to model. said at AAS - 2014

AAS - 2014
This is my third AAS. I understand so much more than I did the first time, but I STILL HAVE SO MUCH TO LEARN! This is a fantastic professional development opportunity, and generates so many ideas each time I come. said at AAS - 2014

Caroline Odden
This is my third AAS. I understand so much more than I did the first time, but I STILL HAVE SO MUCH TO LEARN! This is a fantastic professional development opportunity, and generates so many ideas each time I come. said Caroline Odden

AAS - 2014
I love learning about the myriad ways astronomers figure out how to make lemonade out of lemons. It almost seems like cheating sometimes, but it isn't. Astronomers are just so crafty when it comes to figuring out how to make the best use of the data they have. said at AAS - 2014

Caroline Odden
I love learning about the myriad ways astronomers figure out how to make lemonade out of lemons. It almost seems like cheating sometimes, but it isn't. Astronomers are just so crafty when it comes to figuring out how to make the best use of the data they have. said Caroline Odden

Elin Deeb Wilson
When I returned home, I shared some of the quotes and images I collected while at AAS with my students. I mentioned the fact that even researchers get confused and stuck sometimes (I cited examples from sitting in talks and walking around the poster sessions), as do teachers. I think I always worried that admitting to students that science isn’t set in stone, and that scientists don’t know all the answers (and therefore neither do I) would shake their confidence in me; instead, I think I’ve been failing to empower my students to be able to sort through, struggle through, and find answers on their own. said Elin Deeb Wilson

AAS - 2014
I’m excited to tell my students about this research and share my experiences from the [AAS] last week. said at AAS - 2014

AAS - 2014
Having scientists explain their research and bringing it down to my level was very interesting and I learned so much! said at AAS - 2014

Linda Childs
I’m excited to tell my students about this research and share my experiences from the [AAS] last week. said Linda Childs

Linda Childs
Having scientists explain their research and bringing it down to my level was very interesting and I learned so much! said Linda Childs

Todd Burke
I already have more energy in the classroom and feel the need to pinch myself constantly. said Todd Burke

AAS - 2014
Big changes for me: I am already much more committed to having my top students conduct high end research. I am more committed to having ALL my students ASK and ANSWER their own questions more often. I wonder how I can package this experience to share with other teachers. said at AAS - 2014

Todd Burke
Big changes for me: I am already much more committed to having my top students conduct high end research. I am more committed to having ALL my students ASK and ANSWER their own questions more often. I wonder how I can package this experience to share with other teachers. said Todd Burke

Todd Burke
[At the AAS,] All the talks I attended were truly interesting. It is pleasure to have others teach me! said Todd Burke

AAS - 2014
All the talks I attended were truly interesting. It is pleasure to have others teach me! said at AAS - 2014

John Gibbs
I think the best part about the trip and NITARP as a whole is the chance to do authentic research and learn the methods and techniques used to tease as much information out of the data as possible. It still amazes me (and this is what I try to instill in the students in my astronomy classes) that we can learn so much from a tiny point of light if we are just clever enough to know how to look at it. said John Gibbs

Fred Donelson
I just wanted to let you know that this 38 year veteran teacher believes [NITARP] is one of the greatest types of professional development I have ever done, and MANY students will benefit from your hard work here in Central Ohio for years to come.  Thanks so much for all your efforts, especially this year! said Fred Donelson

Fred Donelson
I am currently doing my unit in my Space Tech class on stellar evolution, and I have added about 2 more weeks of info/labs to this from all I have learned this year via my NITARP experience.  Although I knew the basics before, and have taught them for about 18 years, I feel like I'm teaching a whole new unit and can not only go deeper with my kids, but do it with much more passion. said Fred Donelson

Fred Donelson
But for me as a teacher, I am going to use this data base and some of what we did to do a better job of teaching stellar evolution ... especially as it relates to hydrogen core, hydrogen shell, and helium core burners. We will try to do some similar things in class that we did this summer ... how to use a light curve, how to use a periodogram to find periods, etc. This will help bring some practicality to astronomical theory. said Fred Donelson

Robert Marshall
You and this program (NITARP) have been truly remarkable and has already changed my life forever. I'm just waiting to see what happens next. said Robert Marshall

John Gibbs
As a mentor teacher it was really valuable for me to have the opportunity to go through the process again. It is such a packed four days. I remember getting back home last time trying to go back and review and relearn much of what we did. This time I feel like I have a much better grasp of what we are doing and where we are going with the work. There are still things that I need to spend more time with to understand them more fully, but I definitely feel much better about the material this time around. said John Gibbs

Summer Visit - 2013 - C-CWEL
I think the best part about the trip and NITARP as a whole is the chance to do authentic research and learn the methods and techniques used to tease as much information out of the data as possible. It still amazes me (and this is what I try to instill in the students in my astronomy classes) that we can learn so much from a tiny point of light if we are just cleaver enough to know how to look at it. said at Summer Visit - 2013 - C-CWEL

Summer Visit - 2013 - C-CWEL
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. said at Summer Visit - 2013 - C-CWEL

Summer Visit - 2013 - C-CWEL
Teachers need to maybe be reminded that it is OK if they don’t have any idea what they are doing at times – and that they are not expected to be experts in the field. They do need to be able to admit when they are confused, be open to feed back from other team members, and have time to commit to the study. said at Summer Visit - 2013 - C-CWEL

Summer Visit - 2013 - C-CWEL
[This trip] did have a big impact on what my students thought – it was very eye-opening for them to see that astronomers were not stuck in front of a telescope all night, have high computer skills but can also not understand all of what a particular program does or how, and are ‘normal’. Great for them. said at Summer Visit - 2013 - C-CWEL

Summer Visit - 2013 - C-CWEL
[Three best things about this trip:] Learning a new skill and the great gains in understanding and knowledge about the subject. Watching the students from a wide variety of locations and background come together and form friendships, working relationships, and build support for the project and each other. Getting the opportunity to work on a project such as this with other educators from various disciplines and backgrounds come together to form friendships, working relationships, and build support for the project and each other. said at Summer Visit - 2013 - C-CWEL

Summer Visit - 2013 - C-CWEL
I have learned that a student’s age or grade level can never be used to judge their ability to grasp the complex if they are only give the right time and instruction. They showed me that again on this trip. said at Summer Visit - 2013 - C-CWEL

Summer Visit - 2013 - C-CWEL
I saw kids rise to a challenge and meet it – they learned a lot from the process, each other, and the experience – in ways they could not get in a regular classroom setting at home. said at Summer Visit - 2013 - C-CWEL

Summer Visit - 2013 - C-CWEL
[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. said at Summer Visit - 2013 - C-CWEL

Summer Visit - 2013 - C-CWEL
[student: This experience] made me realize that the astronomy shows I love to watch are way, way, way simplified. Real astronomy requires a deeper understanding of math and many other sciences as well as a ton of persistence. It also made me realize that most astronomers don't spend all of their nights looking through a telescope. A lot of astronomers receive data from a telescope and then spend months analyzing that data. said at Summer Visit - 2013 - C-CWEL

Summer Visit - 2013 - C-CWEL
[student:] I felt like I came out of the trip with a ton of skills related to our project, but it also provided me with a greater curiosity about manipulating my computer and assorted programs. I realized that I knew nothing about computers beyond how to write essays on one and surf blogs. However, after this experience I became more curious about programming. said at Summer Visit - 2013 - C-CWEL

Summer Visit - 2013 - C-CWEL
[student:] I was surprised that there were no clean, concrete answers. A lot of the time we had to look at information and make decisions and assumptions based on the data and our previous knowledge. No one was going to tell us that a star we were looking at was definitely a YSO. Science in the real world is more subjective and that is a lot different from how we learn in a school science lab. Things are messy and unclear because we're still trying to figure things out. There are anomalies that we can't explain yet, but that's why we keep researching, examining, and inquiring. said at Summer Visit - 2013 - C-CWEL

Summer Visit - 2013 - C-CWEL
[student:] By understanding the information that SEDs were providing, I was able to draw conclusions about stars and say whether or not they could possibly be a YSO candidate and that's a pretty cool skill! said at Summer Visit - 2013 - C-CWEL

Summer Visit - 2013 - C-CWEL
[student:] I was surprised by the wonderful people on the team who had flown in from different places around the country. I did not anticipate being part of such a large group but it as a pleasant surprise. said at Summer Visit - 2013 - C-CWEL

Summer Visit - 2013 - C-CWEL
I was pleasantly surprised at the mature behavior and intellectual level of the student participants. They have taken the work seriously, enjoyed the out of work time activities and gained an incredible new network of resources for their future career endeavors. The students make excellent partners for learning and are highly able to acquire new skills. When partnered with more careful and experienced researchers, they can move through large data sets with ease, and accuracy. They are more easily frustrated by errors and do not have training in trouble shooting and meta-cognition that can let them solve more problems alone. said at Summer Visit - 2013 - C-CWEL

Summer Visit - 2013 - C-CWEL
[student: Advice for others: ] be ready to work! This was an amazing experience, but is not for the faint of heart or those looking for a “summer camp” experience. That being said; do not pass up on this. I had an amazing time, learned a lot, and had fun. said at Summer Visit - 2013 - C-CWEL

Summer Visit - 2013 - C-CWEL
[student:] A lot of data analysis was something I expected coming into this trip. However, I don’t believe I expected so much of the data to be so quantitative. This stems from my preconceived notions of astronomy having more to do with the real time viewing of the sky. The other thing I don’t think I expected was using a tool so common as excel to process “real” data. This is because it is so commonplace. It is interesting to see a tool you have been familiar with from a young age used at such a high level, doing things with you didn’t know it was capable of. said at Summer Visit - 2013 - C-CWEL

Summer Visit - 2013 - C-CWEL
[student:] I feel like I knew very little about what astronomers do on a day-to-day basis beforehand. Being able to see just a little of what [our mentor] does and is able to do was inspiring. [..] her passion made me want to be a part of what she was doing. After this experience, my interest in astronomy has become more serious. said at Summer Visit - 2013 - C-CWEL

Summer Visit - 2013 - C-CWEL
[student:] Being able to work with professional astronomers on real data is a unique and inspiring opportunity that I feel privileged to participate in. Another important aspect to me was being able to meet other students from different states who had similar interests. said at Summer Visit - 2013 - C-CWEL

Summer Visit - 2013 - C-CWEL
[student:] We used excel more, and for more, than I thought. said at Summer Visit - 2013 - C-CWEL

Summer Visit - 2013 - C-CWEL
[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). said at Summer Visit - 2013 - C-CWEL

Summer Visit - 2013 - C-CWEL
This week at Caltech was the greatest opportunity of my career. It was an experience that was humbling and at the same time gave me confidence. I cannot thank the NITARP program enough for the professional development, the professional relationships I've grown, and the inspiration. Thank you NITARP! Please keep this educational program going. said at Summer Visit - 2013 - C-CWEL

Summer Visit - 2013 - C-CWEL
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. said at Summer Visit - 2013 - C-CWEL

Summer Visit - 2013 - C-CWEL
Again, NITARP never fails to positively surprise me by changing my perception of astronomy and the scientific process in general. I have been blown away with the amount of work that, for our respective project, goes into reducing a tiny patch on the sky. There is so much to know and not enough time to learn everything - I understand what PhD really means and how astronomy explains the Universe. said at Summer Visit - 2013 - C-CWEL

Summer Visit - 2013 - C-CWEL
I plan on continuing to share the project at [my institution[ in several forms. I will be able to explain how scientists get information from astronomical images and how we look at our data to determine we are discovering YSOs. I will share these processes with students in workshops, with public audiences and with colleagues. said at Summer Visit - 2013 - C-CWEL

Summer Visit - 2013 - C-CWEL
I was pleasantly shocked by the engagement between all educators and all students. The students, all between the ages of 15 and 17, were engaging not only with the teacher they came with but with all the teachers. They were open to learning new things from educators who they were unfamiliar and at the same time assisting one another and every teacher just the same. Throughout the week everyone ran into problems that needed to be solved. Sometimes it was our veteran mentor who came to the rescue. More often than not it was a student who could educate everyone. said at Summer Visit - 2013 - C-CWEL

Summer Visit - 2013 - C-CWEL
[student:] I thought that scientific research would be complex and complicated, but this exceeds that to a whole new level. said at Summer Visit - 2013 - C-CWEL

Summer Visit - 2013 - C-CWEL
[student:] I have had a challenge and I want to continue with the challenge and find new stars. said at Summer Visit - 2013 - C-CWEL

Summer Visit - 2013 - C-CWEL
[student: The most surprising thing] is that I am learning to use these complex tools and programs. said at Summer Visit - 2013 - C-CWEL

Christi Whitworth
I was pleasantly surprised at the mature behavior and intellectual level of the student participants. They have taken the work seriously, enjoyed the out of work time activities and gained an incredible new network of resources for their future career endeavors. The students make excellent partners for learning and are highly able to acquire new skills. When partnered with more careful and experienced researchers, they can move through large data sets with ease, and accuracy. They are more easily frustrated by errors and do not have training in trouble shooting and meta-cognition that can let them solve more problems alone. said Christi Whitworth

Laura Orr
Teachers need to maybe be reminded that it is OK if they don’t have any idea what they are doing at times – and that they are not expected to be experts in the field. They do need to be able to admit when they are confused, be open to feed back from other team members, and have time to commit to the study. 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. said Laura Orr

Laura Orr
[This trip] did have a big impact on what my students thought – it was very eye-opening for them to see that astronomers were not stuck in front of a telescope all night, have high computer skills but can also not understand all of what a particular program does or how, and are ‘normal’. Great for them. said Laura Orr

Laura Orr
I saw kids rise to a challenge and meet it – they learned a lot from the process, each other, and the experience – in ways they could not get in a regular classroom setting at home. said Laura Orr

Laura Orr
I have learned that a student’s age or grade level can never be used to judge their ability to grasp the complex if they are only give the right time and instruction. They showed me that again on this trip. said Laura Orr

Laura Orr
[Three best things about this trip:] Learning a new skill and the great gains in understanding and knowledge about the subject. Watching the students from a wide variety of locations and background come together and form friendships, working relationships, and build support for the project and each other. Getting the opportunity to work on a project such as this with other educators from various disciplines and backgrounds come together to form friendships, working relationships, and build support for the project and each other. said Laura Orr

Robert Marshall
This week at Caltech was the greatest opportunity of my career. It was an experience that was humbling and at the same time gave me confidence. I cannot thank the NITARP program enough for the professional development, the professional relationships I've grown, and the inspiration. Thank you NITARP! Please keep this educational program going. said Robert Marshall

Robert Marshall
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. said Robert Marshall

Robert Marshall
Again, NITARP never fails to positively surprise me by changing my perception of astronomy and the scientific process in general. I have been blown away with the amount of work that, for our respective project, goes into reducing a tiny patch on the sky. There is so much to know and not enough time to learn everything - I understand what PhD really means and how astronomy explains the Universe. said Robert Marshall

Robert Marshall
I was pleasantly shocked by the engagement between all educators and all students. The students, all between the ages of 15 and 17, were engaging not only with the teacher they came with but with all the teachers. They were open to learning new things from educators who they were unfamiliar and at the same time assisting one another and every teacher just the same. Throughout the week everyone ran into problems that needed to be solved. Sometimes it was our veteran mentor who came to the rescue. More often than not it was a student who could educate everyone. said Robert Marshall

Summer Visit - 2013 - They Might Be Giants
[student:] Yes, this did change my thoughts about astronomers! I never expected astronomers to be lively, funny, and talkative, while maintaining a mind of a genius! said at Summer Visit - 2013 - They Might Be Giants

Summer Visit - 2013 - They Might Be Giants
[student:] The best thing about the trip was being able to learn from and work along side real astronomers. said at Summer Visit - 2013 - They Might Be Giants

Fred Donelson
The process of gathering and analyzing data was very important to help show my kids what real research is like. And since our data didn't come out nice and neat like some labs do, it really helped push my kids to think outside the box. said Fred Donelson

Fred Donelson
Dave, Steve, and Sally really helped us feel comfortable and understand our basic tasks and we had a blast while learning. I can’t wait to work regularly with them, as well as with Holly and Danielle. said Fred Donelson

Summer Visit - 2013 - They Might Be Giants
But for me as a teacher, I am going to use this data base and some of what we did to do a better job of teaching stellar evolution ... especially as it relates to hydrogen core, hydrogen shell, and helium core burners. We will try to do some similar things in class that we did this summer ... how to use a light curve, how to use a periodogram to find periods, etc. This will help bring some practicality to astronomical theory. said at Summer Visit - 2013 - They Might Be Giants

Summer Visit - 2013 - They Might Be Giants
I think my kids were surprised at how much fun [our astronomers] were. I think they had a stereotype of astronomer that definitely didn't match reality! :) said at Summer Visit - 2013 - They Might Be Giants

Summer Visit - 2013 - They Might Be Giants
The process of gathering and analyzing data was very important to help show my kids what real research is like. And since our data didn't come out nice and neat like some labs do, it really helped push my kids to think outside the box. said at Summer Visit - 2013 - They Might Be Giants

Summer Visit - 2013 - They Might Be Giants
I will say that I think part of every good astronomy (or any science) research project is asking a question you don't know the answer to, and I hope that as a teacher I can bring that back to my class. Along with asking questions, both collaboration and organization are important parts of working together for science. said at Summer Visit - 2013 - They Might Be Giants

Summer Visit - 2013 - They Might Be Giants
I think most people carry misconceptions of scientists as a whole... but I also think most people don't even personally know an astronomer or scientist. The fact that I know and have worked with scientists is going to be helpful to share with students. said at Summer Visit - 2013 - They Might Be Giants

Summer Visit - 2013 - They Might Be Giants
[The best thing about the trip was} Doing real science. I can't say enough how much I value the opportunity NITARP has given me to be part of real astronomy research for the first time in my career. Bringing back the knowledge, the feeling of not knowing, the drive to continue to find an answer and the skills that I needed to work in a group will be so helpful to me and my students. said at Summer Visit - 2013 - They Might Be Giants

Summer Visit - 2013 - They Might Be Giants
The most important thing I learned was that it's ok sometimes to not know the answer. As teachers, many times we become so consumed by having the right answer for students. Meanwhile, our students are so consumed by finding the right answer that they miss the learning. This week showed me that no matter how much work you do (in graph, periodogram, histogram, phased curve, or whatever form) you may still not come to the conclusion you thought you would... and that's ok! said at Summer Visit - 2013 - They Might Be Giants

Summer Visit - 2013 - They Might Be Giants
[student:] I thought we would get to actually observe stars through a telescope, [...] I also did not expect so much time to be spend on the computer. said at Summer Visit - 2013 - They Might Be Giants

Summer Visit - 2013 - They Might Be Giants
[student:] Astronomers (and scientists in general) often don't find the results they want. In fact, we found almost no correlation between most of the elements we used (the star's amplitude, radius, surface gravity, etc). But finding no correlation is just as important as finding a correlation because it opens a window to new questions, such as -- why was there no correlation? said at Summer Visit - 2013 - They Might Be Giants

Summer Visit - 2013 - They Might Be Giants
[student:] My mental image of an astronomer before this trip was just a person in the woods with telescope looking at planets in viewing parties. After, I learned how they're actually pretty funny people who get to work in amazing observatories worldwide and see things that no one else gets to see first. I also didn't really think astronomy was a big part of science, but seeing how everything was interrelated at JPL and Mt. Wilson and just looking around the Caltech campus made me realize how central it actually is. I want to be an engineer, and this just made me want to be the kind of engineer that makes space robots to research planets and stars. said at Summer Visit - 2013 - They Might Be Giants

Summer Visit - 2013 - They Might Be Giants
[student:] The best part was the time spent in the room researching. I actually enjoyed listening to people talk and use mathematical/scientific terms as if they were casual parts of everyday conversation. It was really fun after a lifetime of students grumbling "I'll never need this in real life, why are we learning this?". said at Summer Visit - 2013 - They Might Be Giants

Summer Visit - 2013 - They Might Be Giants
[student:] [Astronomers] were much more personable and helpful than I imagined they might be. I also never before thought about how close astronomy and astrophysics were related. said at Summer Visit - 2013 - They Might Be Giants

Summer Visit - 2013 - They Might Be Giants
[student:] During my NITARP experience, I really saw science come to life. As a student, I was always being told to do all of these math problems and learn how to do all of this stuff that seemed so irrelevant to me.. but when I came here and worked with [..] two AMAZING astronomers, they helped me see what all of that stuff is really for. [..] Finally all of those graphs I learned about years ago in math class were put to good use. Without histograms and scatter plots, our research could not have been as successful. I will also never forget the moment that Steve told us we had to calculate the mass of all of these stars that we were looking at..we could not just Google the answer like I am so used to doing...we had to actually sit down and calculate the masses. Then he taught us about Kepler's laws and how to use Kepler's third law to use the star's surface gravity and radius to calculate its mass. It looked like something my physics teacher would have given me to solve earlier in the year, but instead of being on a homework assignment, it was actually relevant and necessary. I guess taking what I've learned as a student in the classroom (even though it all seems kind of tedious and unnecessary to learn sometimes) and applying it in the real world--not as a school project, but to be doing real research--is the best thing about the trip. said at Summer Visit - 2013 - They Might Be Giants

Summer Visit - 2013 - They Might Be Giants
[student:] I also observed that [our astronomers] did not always know the answers..sometimes they were as lost in what the data was saying and where our research was going as the rest of us. Scientists don't always know the answers...I think the most impactful thing that I heard was "When scientists know what they're doing, they need to stop. When engineers don't know what they're doing, they need to stop." said at Summer Visit - 2013 - They Might Be Giants

Summer Visit - 2013 - They Might Be Giants
[student:] The importance of using significant digits in calculations was finally explained to me in a way that made it seem relevant and important. said at Summer Visit - 2013 - They Might Be Giants

Summer Visit - 2013 - They Might Be Giants
[student:] I didn't know that there was going to be so much math in astronomy! said at Summer Visit - 2013 - They Might Be Giants

Summer Visit - 2013 - They Might Be Giants
[The most important thing I learned was that] Data on archival websites may be derived in different ways and therefore may be contradictory. It is important to compare, but also to know how the numbers were obtained to determine which are more relevant to your needs. said at Summer Visit - 2013 - They Might Be Giants

Summer Visit - 2013 - They Might Be Giants
[student:] This trip got me even more excited about astronomy, and made me realize that the approaches to solve a problem/analyze data are similar everywhere. said at Summer Visit - 2013 - They Might Be Giants

Summer Visit - 2013 - They Might Be Giants
[student:] The most surprising thing was that I gained a renewed interest in space-stuff! said at Summer Visit - 2013 - They Might Be Giants

Sally Seebode
[The most important thing I learned was that] Data on archival websites may be derived in different ways and therefore may be contradictory. It is important to compare, but also to know how the numbers were obtained to determine which are more relevant to your needs. said Sally Seebode

Danielle Miller
I will say that I think part of every good astronomy (or any science) research project is asking a question you don't know the answer to, and I hope that as a teacher I can bring that back to my class. Along with asking questions, both collaboration and organization are important parts of working together for science. said Danielle Miller

Danielle Miller
I think most people carry misconceptions of scientists as a whole... but I also think most people don't even personally know an astronomer or scientist. The fact that I know and have worked with scientists is going to be helpful to share with students. said Danielle Miller

Danielle Miller
[The best thing about the trip was} Doing real science. I can't say enough how much I value the opportunity NITARP has given me to be part of real astronomy research for the first time in my career. Bringing back the knowledge, the feeling of not knowing, the drive to continue to find an answer and the skills that I needed to work in a group will be so helpful to me and my students. said Danielle Miller

Danielle Miller
The most important thing I learned was that it's ok sometimes to not know the answer. As teachers, many times we become so consumed by having the right answer for students. Meanwhile, our students are so consumed by finding the right answer that they miss the learning. This week showed me that no matter how much work you do (in graph, periodogram, histogram, phased curve, or whatever form) you may still not come to the conclusion you thought you would... and that's ok! said Danielle Miller

Danielle Miller
So many of us science teachers do labs where the end is known (which is sometimes necessary to make sure they fit in a class period and that the students understand the concept we're trying to learn) but that's not really science. said Danielle Miller

Summer Visit - 2013 - CM4Sy
[student:] It seems that many people believe that astronomers are either extremely geeky people who live with their noses buried deep in their computers and whiteboards or people who chart stars by looking through telescopes all night. In reality, they are people who are very smart, love their jobs, and are extremely excited to share their work with others. I did expect to be working with computers (particularly Excel), but I was grateful for the history of our project and the ability to learn more about our project before diving straight into the more complicated aspects. For example, plotting all the data we were given was much harder and took longer than I had formerly expected. said at Summer Visit - 2013 - CM4Sy

Summer Visit - 2013 - CM4Sy
[student:] The best part of our trip was probably collaborating with other students from different areas of the U.S. I thought it was very cool and exciting to be working with kids from places very different from where I live and to become good friends with them. said at Summer Visit - 2013 - CM4Sy

Summer Visit - 2013 - CM4Sy
[student:] you never really hear about everything involved in being an astronomer and I feel like after being here for a week I have a better understanding of the subject astronomy in general and careers in it as well. said at Summer Visit - 2013 - CM4Sy

Summer Visit - 2013 - CM4Sy
[student:] There was much more work with numerical data than I had thought there was in scientific research. The use of computers was expected although the use of Excel was a surprise. said at Summer Visit - 2013 - CM4Sy

Summer Visit - 2013 - CM4Sy
[student:] I have found that astronomy is much more than peering through telescopes. Astronomers analyze data collected from various instruments and observatories to either prove a theory or to make new ways to explain the universe. said at Summer Visit - 2013 - CM4Sy

Summer Visit - 2013 - CM4Sy
[student:] I have a deeper appreciation and understanding of astronomy and the astronomers because of this project. I have also found that I find astronomy incredibly interesting and fascinating. If I didn’t have the opportunity to go on this trip then I never would have found out that I am really interested in astronomy. said at Summer Visit - 2013 - CM4Sy

Summer Visit - 2013 - CM4Sy
[student:] I’d say that the best thing about this trip was the people that we were with for the week. I’ve met so many amazing people who have honestly changed my life. I’ve made strong friendships with all of my group mates and the classmates that I came here with. Everyone was so friendly and great. I also loved how the work was very hands on and not through a textbook. It gave me a chance to really explore the work field that we were in. said at Summer Visit - 2013 - CM4Sy

Summer Visit - 2013 - CM4Sy
[student:] Every single activity was surprising and interesting to me. I’ve never had experiences like these before so all of it was new to me. said at Summer Visit - 2013 - CM4Sy

Summer Visit - 2013 - CM4Sy
[student:] It was a great experience working with that kind of astronomical data. said at Summer Visit - 2013 - CM4Sy

Summer Visit - 2013 - CM4Sy
The best thing about the trip was the chance to interact with others who are trying to do the same things that I am trying to do. No one else around me tries to do student research (even though I have tried to get other teachers involved), not in my district nor in any of the surrounding ones. It was great to spend time with other teachers (and their students) who are trying to accomplish the same things that I am trying to do. said at Summer Visit - 2013 - CM4Sy

Summer Visit - 2013 - CM4Sy
I also learned that modern astronomy research is often conducted using vast databases of archived data collected years previously. When my past students did astronomy research projects, they used data that they themselves collected[..]. After working at Caltech with the group, though, I have come to realize that what my students have been doing previously were small projects compared to our AGN study—they were really just glorified lab activities. I have been giving a lot of thought to this since I returned home and am planning major changes in the sort of projects that my research students will be working on in the future. said at Summer Visit - 2013 - CM4Sy

Summer Visit - 2013 - CM4Sy
I knew that astronomers conducted most of their research with computers accessing data from distant telescopes and spacecraft, but I didn’t realize how much of it is available to the general public and how readily available it is to amateur astronomers and other interested folks. said at Summer Visit - 2013 - CM4Sy

Summer Visit - 2013 - CM4Sy
I discovered that astronomers are just regular people that don’t know everything. They make mistakes just like the rest of us. They are just passionate about what they do and are rewarded for that passion with admiration (but not necessarily money) from the general public. They have cool jobs in awesome places, but most do not get rich from their pursuit of knowledge. Access to data and astronomical images is easy. It is coming up with great questions that makes an astronomer great. said at Summer Visit - 2013 - CM4Sy

Summer Visit - 2013 - CM4Sy
It was most rewarding to watch my students gain confidence in science and to shed some self-doubt. I think I shed a good deal of self-doubt as well. said at Summer Visit - 2013 - CM4Sy

Summer Visit - 2013 - CM4Sy
I was least surprised to see how well the students got along with each other. I was fully expecting them to enjoy meeting other students similarly afflicted with a love for science. In small schools it can be difficult for strong minds to stretch their wings without being “clipped” by the rest of the student body. Programs like this allow students to build support networks that encourage them to more vigorously pursue their interests. said at Summer Visit - 2013 - CM4Sy

Summer Visit - 2013 - CM4Sy
The NITARP program reaches far beyond the inspired individual teacher or student with whom they work directly. said at Summer Visit - 2013 - CM4Sy

Summer Visit - 2013 - CM4Sy
I was most surprised at how well my students took to the work. Prior to the trip, they worked to understand the project proposal and researched the instruments, but they seemed a bit detached from it at home. Once here, though, they engaged much more intensely, asked more questions, and really wanted to do a great job. Without prompting they all took out there computers and continued making graphs with our data set at the airport while waiting for our flight home. said at Summer Visit - 2013 - CM4Sy

Summer Visit - 2013 - CM4Sy
The most important thing I learned is that doing astronomical research is easily doable by anyone, anywhere who is inspired to do so. You don’t need to have your own telescope or even to go to an observatory. You can access archival images, photometry, and other data for just about any question you might have regarding not only galaxies, but so much more. Tools are being created and refined by NASA and its outreach programs all the time that allow students and regular citizens to participate in authentic research. The sky is no longer the limit! I will be able to engage my students in our own projects like this. Our only limit will be our ability to come up with questions. said at Summer Visit - 2013 - CM4Sy

Summer Visit - 2013 - CM4Sy
"Real astronomy" is diving into the unknown. Asking a question that does not have an answer yet and trying to solve it. That's what we did. We are trying something completely new and I love how I don't know what were going to get. That is real science. We can do labs, but often times, they are done with expected answers. [This experience wasn't that at all.] said at Summer Visit - 2013 - CM4Sy

Summer Visit - 2013 - CM4Sy
[Before this,] I had two visions of astronomy: telescopes and massive equations/data tables. This trip really emphasized that its not just telescopes and equations, but tangible data and analytical skills. It was really rewarding for my high school students and I to analyze this real data. It was also very interesting to learn that the data is public and anyone can use the data to learn science. said at Summer Visit - 2013 - CM4Sy

Summer Visit - 2013 - CM4Sy
[The best thing was] Working with everyone. It was a great experience to work with the whole team from around the country in conjunction with the astronomer. The team working, collaboration and excitement was contagious and motivating. We had such an amazing experience working together. This has truly been on of the most amazing trips simply because we had an amazing group of students, teachers and astronomer to work with. said at Summer Visit - 2013 - CM4Sy

Summer Visit - 2013 - CM4Sy
I was surprised at how open the analysis was. I expect to be told what to find, however, we didn't know what we were going to find. I found that very cool. said at Summer Visit - 2013 - CM4Sy

Summer Visit - 2013 - CM4Sy
Doing research just generates more questions rather than resolving them! said at Summer Visit - 2013 - CM4Sy

Summer Visit - 2013 - CM4Sy
[The best thing was] Reviewing the project and doing the actual number crunching and data analysis. I found that the best and most part of the NITARP experience. It was rewarding to do the data analysis and to discuss it with one another. said at Summer Visit - 2013 - CM4Sy

Summer Visit - 2013 - CM4Sy
[The most surprising thing was that] Some hypotheses do not succeed, even with the best scientific ‘assumptions’ and backgrounds…. I know – it’s not all that surprising really, but it was interesting. I’ve seen this many times before, but it always brings me to my favorite place when “doing” science: now what? said at Summer Visit - 2013 - CM4Sy

Nicole Granucci
[Before this project,] I had two vision of astronomy: telescopes and massive equations/data tables. This trip really emphasized that it's not just telescopes and equations, but tangible data and analytical skills. It was really rewarding for my high school students and I to analyze this real data. It was also very interesting to learn that the data is public and anyone can use the data to learn science. said Nicole Granucci

Nicole Granucci
[The best thing about the Summer trip was] Working with everyone. It was a great experience to work with the whole team from around the country in conjunction with the astronomer. The team working, collaboration and excitement was contagious and motivating. We had such an amazing experience working together. This has truly been on of the most amazing trips simply because we had an amazing group of students, teachers and astronomer to work with. said Nicole Granucci

John Blackwell
Some hypotheses do not succeed, even with the best scientific ‘assumptions’ and backgrounds…. I know – it’s not all that surprising really, but it was interesting. I’ve seen this many times before, but it always brings me to my favorite place when “doing” science: now what? said John Blackwell

Theresa Paulsen
I discovered that astronomers are just regular people that don’t know everything. They make mistakes just like the rest of us. They are just passionate about what they do and are rewarded for that passion with admiration (but not necessarily money) from the general public. They have cool jobs in awesome places, but most do not get rich from their pursuit of knowledge. Access to data and astronomical images is easy. It is coming up with great questions that makes an astronomer great. said Theresa Paulsen

Theresa Paulsen
I was least surprised to see how well the students got along with each other. I was fully expecting them to enjoy meeting other students similarly afflicted with a love for science. In small schools it can be difficult for strong minds to stretch their wings without being “clipped” by the rest of the student body. Programs like this allow students to build support networks that encourage them to more vigorously pursue their interests. said Theresa Paulsen

Theresa Paulsen
I was most surprised at how well my students took to the work. Prior to the trip, they worked to understand the project proposal and researched the instruments, but they seemed a bit detached from it at home. Once here, though, they engaged much more intensely, asked more questions, and really wanted to do a great job. Without prompting they all took out there computers and continued making graphs with our data set at the airport while waiting for our flight home. said Theresa Paulsen

Theresa Paulsen
The most important thing I learned is that doing astronomical research is easily doable by anyone, anywhere who is inspired to do so. You don’t need to have your own telescope or even to go to an observatory. You can access archival images, photometry, and other data for just about any question you might have regarding not only galaxies, but so much more. Tools are being created and refined by NASA and its outreach programs all the time that allow students and regular citizens to participate in authentic research. The sky is no longer the limit! I will be able to engage my students in our own projects like this. Our only limit will be our ability to come up with questions. said Theresa Paulsen

Thomas Rutherford
The best thing about the trip was the chance to interact with others who are trying to do the same things that I am trying to do. No one else around me tries to do student research (even though I have tried to get other teachers involved), not in my district nor in any of the surrounding ones. It was great to spend time with other teachers (and their students) who are trying to accomplish the same things that I am trying to do. said Thomas Rutherford

Thomas Rutherford
I also learned that modern astronomy research is often conducted using vast databases of archived data collected years previously. When my past students did astronomy research projects, they used data that they themselves collected[..]. After working at Caltech with the group, though, I have come to realize that what my students have been doing previously were small projects compared to our AGN study—they were really just glorified lab activities. I have been giving a lot of thought to this since I returned home and am planning major changes in the sort of projects that my research students will be working on in the future. said Thomas Rutherford

Melissa Booker
I was also surprised [after the summer visit] not to be more tired. Don't get me wrong, I certainly took a five hour nap on Saturday after coming home on the red-eye from LA, but overall the week left me invigorated rather than exhausted. said Melissa Booker

Melissa Booker
I was surprised [during the summer visit] 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! said Melissa Booker

Summer Visit - 2013 - SHIPs
I was also surprised not to be more tired. Don't get me wrong, I certainly took a five hour nap on Saturday after coming home on the red-eye from LA, but overall the week left me invigorated rather than exhausted. said at Summer Visit - 2013 - SHIPs

Margaret (Peggy) Piper
Because we are learning programming, it will take more time to write script to do the analysis but it will be easier to change that script and apply it to different situations once it is written. Programming is also an invaluable tool that we can only pass on to our students if we are confident using it in complex situations ourselves. [...]It is already becoming apparent that coding is going to make our ability to look at and compare many sources manageable. said Margaret (Peggy) Piper

Lynn Powers
[The most interesting thing during the summer trip was] the change in the students and their growth in confidence. The a-ha moments when the big picture came into focus for them. The tour of JPL was fantastic, too. said Lynn Powers

Lynn Powers
[Astronomy] is a collaboration of many parts working together for a common goal. Not knowing everything but knowing how to find the answers needed and how to ask the questions. said Lynn Powers

Carol Ivers
I have found that “real astronomy” involves a lot of data processing. In addition, I have found that collaboration is a very important aspect of the process. said Carol Ivers

Carol Ivers
The best thing about the [Summer] 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. said Carol Ivers

Summer Visit - 2013 - SHIPs
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! said at Summer Visit - 2013 - SHIPs

Summer Visit - 2013 - SHIPs
Because we are learning programming, it will take more time to write script to do the analysis but it will be easier to change that script and apply it to different situations once it is written. Programming is also an invaluable tool that we can only pass on to our students if we are confident using it in complex situations ourselves. [...]It is already becoming apparent that coding is going to make our ability to look at and compare many sources manageable. said at Summer Visit - 2013 - SHIPs

Summer Visit - 2013 - SHIPs
[student:] The best aspect of the trip was working with such a group of amazing people. The opportunity I had to work with real members of the scientific community was priceless. I firmly believe that this experience has changed my life and provided me with an experience I will never forget. said at Summer Visit - 2013 - SHIPs

Summer Visit - 2013 - SHIPs
[student:] Before this trip I thought that everyone in this field had similar jobs, and they were all related to research. Now I've realized that there are so many different jobs that go into NASA. Learning the computer and research aspects of astronomy while seeing the engineering and construction aspects at JPL really opened my eyes to all the different job opportunities in this field. said at Summer Visit - 2013 - SHIPs

Summer Visit - 2013 - SHIPs
[student:] Not only did I gain a great amount of knowledge and experience regarding photometry and computer programming, but I met some great people as well. Everyone there was eager to learn, to teach and to have fun. All of the teachers are great people and were very supportive, and the kids who went are now new friends of mine, and I am very excited to see them all again in January. said at Summer Visit - 2013 - SHIPs

Summer Visit - 2013 - SHIPs
[student:] It wasn't necessarily as surprising as it was relieving to find out that everyone was generally in the same boat as far as knowledge went. I was a bit nervous to go on the trip because Python and photometry were very new to me. But after discovering that it was new to everyone, it became a collaborative effort that I really enjoyed, and it never seemed like a competition. said at Summer Visit - 2013 - SHIPs

Summer Visit - 2013 - SHIPs
[student:] But, I didn't think programming would be such a big part of scientific research, simply because the two are never really associated with one another in science classes at school, so I was happy to discover its importance in the field. said at Summer Visit - 2013 - SHIPs

Summer Visit - 2013 - SHIPs
[student:] The small amount of stress that accompanied the work was the least surprising to me. I was well aware that I would not know a lot of things the researchers/presenters were saying. However, I was prepared to ask questions and push through the work. said at Summer Visit - 2013 - SHIPs

Summer Visit - 2013 - SHIPs
[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. said at Summer Visit - 2013 - SHIPs

Summer Visit - 2013 - SHIPs
[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. said at Summer Visit - 2013 - SHIPs

Summer Visit - 2013 - SHIPs
[student:] The most interesting thing I did saw and learned during the trip to Caltech was the process of actual research. In school all projects and work has already been done. However, while doing research at Caltech, we were researching new information that hasn't been touched on before. The researchers and presenters provided great information on the research at hand and also on how to conduct the real scientific research. said at Summer Visit - 2013 - SHIPs

Summer Visit - 2013 - SHIPs
[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. said at Summer Visit - 2013 - SHIPs

Summer Visit - 2013 - SHIPs
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. said at Summer Visit - 2013 - SHIPs

Summer Visit - 2013 - SHIPs
[student:] I always thought that astronomers just look into the sky with microscopes and make observations, but they do so much more than that. They are able to use tools to make further observations and do research. It's not easy being an astronomer and I have so much respect for what they do. said at Summer Visit - 2013 - SHIPs

Summer Visit - 2013 - SHIPs
[student:] The best thing about the trip was meeting all of the other students and teachers who were working on the same research as us. It was nice to be able to come together and compare our research and learn together as a group. said at Summer Visit - 2013 - SHIPs

Summer Visit - 2013 - SHIPs
[student:] I loved learning how to use python, APT, and ds9. It really opened my eyes to a whole new field of science. said at Summer Visit - 2013 - SHIPs

Summer Visit - 2013 - SHIPs
[student:] The most interesting thing for me on this trip was that we were able to work with real astronomers who were doing the same research that we were. said at Summer Visit - 2013 - SHIPs

Summer Visit - 2013 - SHIPs
[student:] There is a huge amount of collaboration with other scientists. I guess I didn’t expect scientific research to be as internationally connected as it is. said at Summer Visit - 2013 - SHIPs

Summer Visit - 2013 - SHIPs
[student:] it .. is such an incredible feeling to be doing real research that matters and to solve an unanswered question. All my life, in every science class I’ve been in, the result of an experiment or project has always been known. I know that if I ask my teacher a question, he or she will know the answer. For the first time in my life, the answer is unknown and I am helping to solve it. said at Summer Visit - 2013 - SHIPs

Summer Visit - 2013 - SHIPs
[student:] Working together as a true team to conduct research was an amazing experience I will never forget. said at Summer Visit - 2013 - SHIPs

Summer Visit - 2013 - SHIPs
[student:] I gain[ed] a whole new level of respect for each person I worked with because we were all treated as equals. said at Summer Visit - 2013 - SHIPs

Summer Visit - 2013 - SHIPs
[student:] it was not at all surprising how serious and professional the program was/is. I had no idea what to expect on this trip, but I was not surprised by how hard everybody worked. The level of concentration and professionalism from each participant really made the trip a success for me[..] said at Summer Visit - 2013 - SHIPs

Summer Visit - 2013 - SHIPs
[student:] I was incredibly surprised about how much computer programming I learned. Technology (especially Computer Technology) has never been my strong point but I was able to expand my knowledge and use of Python exponentially. This was completely unexpected for me and I consider it one of my proudest achievements for this trip. It was such an incredible feeling to finally get a program to work after spending a long time concentrating on it. This accomplishment was not easy for me and many times I felt frustrated. However, I then decided to approach programming with a fresh mindset: I started to think of programming as a math game or puzzle. After that, getting a program to work was like winning a game! Many times I jumped for joy after successfully making a program with my peers. I believe that this different attitude helped me gain a new appreciation and enjoyment of programming – something I never expected to happen. said at Summer Visit - 2013 - SHIPs

Wendi Laurence
I had a request to present an inquiry professional development for educators while I was at NITARP and the AAS. Because of the amount of resources, new astronomy, lesson plans, and conversations I now feel I can try this with astronomy rather than my fields of practice. said Wendi Laurence

Caroline Odden
I didn’t know just how much data is publicly available. Anyone can do astronomy – you just need to come up with a question and figure out how to use the archives. said Caroline Odden

Caroline Odden
I knew nothing about the online archives before this experience. Now I am quite familiar with them, and I have even used them a few times for reasons unrelated to NITARP. I am certain I’ll continue to use this resource going forward. said Caroline Odden

Summer Visit - 2012 - UBOKO
This experience made me realize that sitting in a room for several hours doing research did not necessarily have to feel like work. This improved my opinion of astronomy even further by making me realize just how much I enjoyed it. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - UBOKO

Summer Visit - 2012 - UBOKO
It became apparent to me through the NITARP program that there really is a place for every scientific interest within astronomy, from chemistry to materials engineering to computer science. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - UBOKO

Joe Childers
It was very rewarding to be able to talk with astronomers who were willing to answer my (many) questions. Educators rarely have an opportunity to talk to professionals to hone their knowledge base once they finish school. I’m afraid I grabbed them every chance I got! said Joe Childers

Theresa Paulsen
I found it most interesting to see the scientific process in action. Scientists were questioning scientists, sometimes fairly aggressively. said Theresa Paulsen

Richard DeCoster
For me the most interesting parts of the AAS meeting were the plenary talks. These talks were long enough that those without the special knowledge had a chance to understand what was being discussed. The special session on gamma-ray pulsars [was specifically interesting to me because the subject] had just been chosen by AAAS and Science as its runner-up story of the year. I had gone back and looked at the August issue of Science and tried to at least understand the article abstracts. Being able to follow this up with talks by the people involved was really neat! said Richard DeCoster

Debbie Kaiser
It was wonderful to see the students from last year presenting their posters and talking with astronomers and teachers from all over the world. said Debbie Kaiser

Stacy DeVeau
It was refreshing to learn that NASA wants scientists to get/stay in communication with the public, including schools, regarding the science being done. Engagements translates to representation and support from a grassroots mindset. said Stacy DeVeau

Mark Legassie
It brought tears to my eyes to see how proud the kids were as they presented their discoveries at AAS. said Mark Legassie

Mark Legassie
I kept wishing this program had been available when I was a kid. Wanting to be a scientist, I had no role model or support and never pursued it. said Mark Legassie

Tim Spuck
[...]These new discoveries will force scientist back to the drawing board when it comes to solar system formation and evolution models. To me that's neat. It demonstrates that just because something seems to make sense in science, that doesn't necessarily make it the case. Our models have to match the evidence we have, and that is why it is so very important that we must never stop the collection of new evidence ... we can never sit back and be comfortable in our practice of science. said Tim Spuck

Kate Meredith
There was purpose to my wandering. [..]Last year [the AAS] was logistically and culturally educational, this year was truly informative. I felt much less out of place. said Kate Meredith

Kate Meredith
...the most interesting thing I noticed this year [at my second AAS] was that I spent much more time seeking out, listening to and talking about science than I did about education itself. said Kate Meredith

Kate Meredith
Being there with my students was the most amazingly cool experience. I saw my two guys explode in their willingness to ask questions and express an opinion. ... They were enthusiastic and energetic about the science. I was totally amazed by how their attendance made them reflective about the year and enthusiastic about science. ... They were amazed to hear other scientists say "Well, I understood half of that talk," and they repeatedly heard astronomers make jokes about research itself - the not knowing, the knowing and then getting proven wrong, etc. The experience made a huge impression on them and that was food for my soul. said Kate Meredith

Kate Meredith
EVERYTHING had a different flavor this year [in my second AAS]. ... I experienced everything through the lens of the research project of the past year. ... I was far more focused on the "what ifs" and "what next" of the process. ... When I look at how the intellectual process changed over the last year I imagine it going from a diffuse look at research and the entire conference experience to the extreme focus on our own project during the year and finally reaching outward again in Seattle to incorporate new information and understandings. Returning to AAS made the experience complete. said Kate Meredith

Helen Petach
My takeaway lesson is that the students are much more tolerant of "issues" that make the research projects difficult to carry out and are generally content to be involved and learning something new. said Helen Petach

Helen Petach
... I find that much of the NASA/space policy is unusual relative to other branches of science since the money comes from such a finite collection of sources. said Helen Petach

Pamela Thompson
I think that the most surprising thing about it was how young everyone was! I absolutely did not expect that, maybe because the amateur community is so much older by comparison, and is mainly composed of retired people. said Pamela Thompson

Pamela Thompson
The more I talked with astronomers and support staff at the different booths [at my first AAS], the more I began to realize that being a teacher, and an amateur astronomer, is really very different from being a professional astronomer. said Pamela Thompson

Denise Rothrock
I did not anticipate being so challenged in the NITARP research. I have learned more in [my first] two weeks just getting ready to start working with the data. said Denise Rothrock

Denise Rothrock
I had no idea there was so much research going on in Astronomy. Astronomers are very eager to explain their research and future goals. A very friendly bunch. said Denise Rothrock

Margaret (Peggy) Piper
All of these students are seniors in high school and the opportunity to meet educators, scientists and astronomers from all over the world was a eye opening experience. All of the adults they met were very encouraging of my brood and asked questions about the poster that they were here to present as well as their future plans. This exposure was not only a boost to their confidence, but a nice taste of the kind of things they would need to do the next day to present their poster. said Margaret (Peggy) Piper

Caroline Odden
I met a lot of people over the course of [my first AAS]. So many people were interested in chatting, especially with a high school physics teacher! said Caroline Odden

Lauren Novatne
I assumed that [research] would require a great deal of data analysis, what I didn’t grasp until after this[, my first AAS] meeting was how focused and detailed the analysis would be. The steps in understanding that are gained through the analysis are much smaller than I anticipated they would be for the amount of work that is done. said Lauren Novatne

Matthew McCutcheon
I enjoyed the whole week [at my first AAS]. The aspect that was best was connecting with my teammates. The personal contact at this early stage was important. said Matthew McCutcheon

Debbie French
There was a nice group of people around each poster [from NITARP 2011]. The students were all very well-prepared and gave a fabulous presentation! They all fielded questions very well. It was very, very impressive to see! said Debbie French

Wendy Curtis
To me what stood out [at my first AAS] was the wide variety of work – from characterization of the structure of the Milky Way (more of a challenge than I ever knew!) to the search for and characterization of exoplanets to the understanding of how quasar evolution relates to the origins of the Universe. said Wendy Curtis

Wendy Curtis
Just being exposed to the jargon is mind opening, and I can’t imagine walking into this convention and being asked to present without having this initial exposure. I think this [first AAS] trip is a crucial part of the program. said Wendy Curtis

Joe Childers
I did not anticipate how exhausted I’d get [at my first AAS meeting]. said Joe Childers

Chris Border
[My first AAS] was an excellent experience all around, and gives me confidence that my team and I will be able to do a good job with our project and be great representatives of the NITARP program. said Chris Border

Chris Border
I was surprised and very encouraged to see a high proportion of people which are generally considered underrepresented in the sciences. That was a terrific take-home message for my students. said Chris Border

Chris Border
I had an amazing, exhausting time at the AAS meeting. I found myself continually challenged by the intellectual level and knowledge being shared. said Chris Border

Robert Bonadurer
My general impression is how big and varied the whole conference was. I knew the number coming in—but sometimes our imagination fails us. To see all the posters, papers, booths, and talks was truly astonishing. said Robert Bonadurer

Robert Bonadurer
Also revealed [at the 2012 AAS] was the fact that students rarely mention “creativity” and “imagination” when describing science. This tells me, as a planetarium educator, we must do a better job communicating on how discoveries are made in science. said Robert Bonadurer

Robert Bonadurer
Overall, most of the posters [at my first AAS] looked very similar. It was generally hard to get the big picture at the top. As a Planetarium person, I always want to know why this important—how does this connect to average Jane or Joe on the street. That can be one sentence—is it origins, technology applications, basic curiosity and discovery. I also want to know where the object(s) they are studying are located--what constellation, distance and maybe the nearest closest star. This simply helps me visualize where people are looking. said Robert Bonadurer

Jacqueline Barge
The press release [from NITARP] had an unexpected effect at my school. When I came into school the day after returning from AAS219, the first person [..] told me how my principal was very excited. He had told our parent organization all about my participation. He had me come down and talk to him about it. We had a health fair at the school that day and parent volunteers were coming up to me and saying how they had heard about this project and asked what it was. Some kids in my classes had heard from their parents that I got a job at NASA so they thought I was gone for good! The conference was happening during our first week back after a two week break, so they didn't remember what I had told them about my visit to a conference. It was great to come to the enthusiasm at school and they are very supportive of the project. Kudos to the PR department. said Jacqueline Barge

Jacqueline Barge
I was surprised at the number of young people. [..]I am used to seeing older people as astronomers as we watch Nova and other videos or read about past astronomers in class. said Jacqueline Barge

Jacqueline Barge
I thought the talks and posters were great. Watching scientists talk to each other and question each other was interesting. said Jacqueline Barge

Jacqueline Barge
I didn't anticipate meeting engineers and graphic artists. Thinking about it now, it seems natural that they are part of the astronomical community, but it wasn't something I was thinking about prior to this conference. I am trying to make a push to expose my students to other jobs in astronomy/earth science besides the "scientist", so this experience was helpful. said Jacqueline Barge

Jacqueline Barge
I didn't anticipate meeting engineers and graphic artists [at the AAS]. said Jacqueline Barge

Jacqueline Barge
One of the best things was going to a dissertation talk by the young lady I met on the airplane. She gave a great talk and was able to answer the questions asked of her by the older astronomers present. She was clear so even I understood a lot of what she was saying, especially in the beginning, but she didn't water down what she did and found out in her research. She was able to give answers even when the question probed something she didn't study by explaining what she thought the research indicated. This was in contrast to another young man who was giving a dissertation talk earlier in that session. When asked a particular question, he could give no answer. It was hard to sit there in that silence. You kept hoping he would say something and was very glad when he finally did, even though it was "I hadn't thought of that." said Jacqueline Barge

Jacqueline Barge
...it was wonderful to listen to [the NITARP 2011] students explaining their projects and answering questions from astronomers. [One student] did a great job. He was confident in his explanation of the project and what his group found. He understood was he was talking about. I think it was one of the best presentations I heard by high school students. said Jacqueline Barge

Pamela Thompson
The surprising part of our research was the time we spent on communication, and the value of saying something out-loud has to understanding it. said Pamela Thompson

Summer Visit - 2012 - HR4AGN
[student:] The most surprising thing I learned was that Astronomers do not have to individually process all of the data they are interested in from raw data. I was unaware of the existence and availability of the various databases that exist. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - HR4AGN

Summer Visit - 2012 - HR4AGN
[student:] All the scientists we talked to, even briefly, were well versed in their areas of study and their passion for their work was inspiring to someone who is considering pursuing science later in life. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - HR4AGN

Summer Visit - 2012 - HR4AGN
[student:] I now think more about the universe and the vast information you can learn about it. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - HR4AGN

Thomas Doyle
There was a connection for me, and I hope my students, between what at times what can be very tedious number crunching and theoretical concepts to practical application of data towards discovery. said Thomas Doyle

Thomas Doyle
The experience has and will continue to help me develop more effective uses of NASA/JPL resources for me and to promote professional development. said Thomas Doyle

Wendy Curtis
This experience has forced me to look at something new and has inspired me to enrich and improve my classes. said Wendy Curtis

Summer Visit - 2012 - C-WAYS
[student:] I had a newfound view of the work that astronomers must do to gather the answers they seek. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - C-WAYS

Debbie French
While a lot of astronomy is done by computer, nothing compares to having a human look over the data. said Debbie French

Summer Visit - 2012 - C-WAYS
[student:] Meeting and listening to these experienced professionals made the world of science very realistic and made me feel more capable of having a potential future in this area of work. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - C-WAYS

Robert Bonadurer
Great to see real data taken from real telescopes take shape. said Robert Bonadurer

Jacqueline Barge
Seeing and hearing about scientists at work, on different projects, brought to life the reality of scientists doing scientific work. said Jacqueline Barge

Summer Visit - 2012 - ColdSpotz
[student:] The best thing about the trip was being able to expand my knowledge about space and because of that being able to narrow down on a career. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - ColdSpotz

Denise Rothrock
The best thing [of the Caltech trip] was working with the other participants and making progress as a team. My students were engaged and willing to be challenged. said Denise Rothrock

Denise Rothrock
This [whole NITARP] experience will help me understand how students feel when they are presented with new material and don’t understand. I think this will give me more patience and understanding in this area. said Denise Rothrock

Denise Rothrock
The most interesting thing [during this whole NITARP experience] I did was work with catalogs I had not seen before and those I had that I had not a clue what to do with all that data. I now have a much clearer picture and my understanding has grown beyond what I think I could have ever done before. said Denise Rothrock

Kathryn O'Connor
Real astronomy isn’t just looking through telescopes with the naked eye anymore. It is really being accurate and precise and a lot of computer mathematics. said Kathryn O'Connor

Chris Border
My highlight of the [Caltech] trip was watching my two students present data on a source which they had analyzed. said Chris Border

AAS - 2012
We would like to thank you for helping us create the most memorable scientific experience we have ever had. said at AAS - 2012

Diane Sartore
[NITARP] is an amazing program you’ve put together! I feel like you’ve given us the keys, and we’ve got a license to explore the universe. said Diane Sartore

Shefali Mehta
[I have] an example of a student who, previous to the summer trip did not have a focused direction for his future after high school, but now does. [He wants to be a scientist.] said Shefali Mehta

Adam Keeton
This year [at the AAS] was so much different than last year [because of] having a poster to share with others! said Adam Keeton

Adam Keeton
The experience I had at the 2012 AAS meeting as well as the entire NITARP experience will change the way I teach astronomy. Having spent 5 days meeting and discussing authentic scietific research with so many people from many different facilities was extremely rejuvinating as an educator. said Adam Keeton

Debbie Kaiser
One of the things that I did not anticipate was being so PROUD of our work. I was convinced I would be nervous and unsure of myself as people I envisioned as being more important than myself grilled me with questions. I was pleased to find that nearly everyone who stopped by our posters was inquisitive, supportive and seemed genuinely interested. I also surprised myself with how comfortable I became with talking to these people as they came by and asked their questions. said Debbie Kaiser

Debbie Kaiser
The science part of our project was overwhelming to me at first. [...]Since then I have learned an incredible amount from my mentor teacher, mentor scientists and my group members. said Debbie Kaiser

Stacy DeVeau
Thank you for this invaluable opportunity and insight into how real science is conducted and shared by the scientific community. Astronomy, as is any branch of science, is such a diverse field with many discoveries yet to be made. It was truly an honor to be a part of the NITARP program. said Stacy DeVeau

Merrill Butler
I have begun to grasp the mind-boggling amount of data being produced by this [astronomical] infrastructure. said Merrill Butler

Merrill Butler
What I really appreciated was the incredible spirit of cooperation and willingness [at the AAS] to assist a novice researcher like myself. These people were all standing and listening to my brief presentation about our poster's highlights and findings because the subject matter was interesting to them or they were conducting research themselves in the same field of inquiry. It was truly surprising yet very exhilarating as I answered questions and then asked them about their research and how they tackled certain problems. said Merrill Butler

Merrill Butler
I did not anticipate the amount of people that were not "NITARP" but instead simply "fellow" astronomers and researchers that came by our team's poster to discuss our findings. That for me was [..] was a most pleasant surprise. said Merrill Butler

Merrill Butler
I felt as if I was on a treasure hunt to identify new methods of confirming redshift values for our candidate cluster members. said Merrill Butler

John Blackwell
Science is hard! ;-) Also, it is worth the work! said John Blackwell

Sally Seebode
I also really like helping new teachers, let them share what they know fill in gaps, help them feel included and not overwhelmed. I want to do more of this, and need to find ways to direct this more effectively in my school and district. said Sally Seebode

Sally Seebode
[NITARP] is a fabulous experience – I feel like after several years I am understanding more of the talks, able to engage in a real conversation with astronomers, ask questions one on one, interpret more on posters – just feel more astronomically literate. said Sally Seebode

Denise Rothrock
Over all, the NITARP experience was nothing I had ever experienced before as a teacher. The research was very interesting and challenging at the same time. said Denise Rothrock

Margaret (Peggy) Piper
I think the overriding theme of what new teachers need to know it that, yes, even though you are going to feel overwhelmed at times you need to sit back and enjoy the ride. said Margaret (Peggy) Piper

Margaret (Peggy) Piper
Mentoring adults in these capacities [as a NITARP mentor educator] improves my ability to act more as a mentor to my classroom students, allowing them to become more self-sufficient learners. I feel this has improved my ability to mentor my colleagues as well. said Margaret (Peggy) Piper

Margaret (Peggy) Piper
Our lead astronomer, Luisa Rebull, has a very energetic style and pushes her team to the limits. Our group of teachers put in many hours each week for a full year to learn the topic or skill at hand followed by a weekly teleconference. The pressure was on and I loved it! said Margaret (Peggy) Piper

Margaret (Peggy) Piper
This past year was a very intense NITARP experience for me, stretching my intellectual and technological skills beyond their limits while learning to be a mentor teacher and of course transferring as much of this experience to my students as possible. said Margaret (Peggy) Piper

Margaret (Peggy) Piper
Attending the AAS in Seattle with my students was an incredible experience. I got a chance to step back and see [my students] interact confidently with their peers, other educators and professional astronomers from all over the world. We started this journey exactly a year ago and have come a long way. Learning scientfic concepts and doing authentic scientific research was only part of the experience, we also learned to communicate across the country. [...] said Margaret (Peggy) Piper

Caroline Odden
The time at Caltech was fantastic. I enjoyed working alongside my students in a way that felt very different from the typical classroom setting. said Caroline Odden

Caroline Odden
I have a much better sense of what research astronomy is about now, and I think I will have more confidence to try new things (related to astronomy) going forward. said Caroline Odden

Caroline Odden
Thank you so much for providing this wonderful experience for my students and for me. I learned a lot, and I had a great time. It was a wonderful to have the chance to work with David and Steve. said Caroline Odden

Caroline Odden
NITARP is the best! said Caroline Odden

Lauren Novatne
The experience has changed my understanding of astronomy and how it is done, but not of astronomers. said Lauren Novatne

Lauren Novatne
By far, the most interesting part of my entire NITARP experience is the scientific method applied to the discovery process. said Lauren Novatne

Cindy Melton
Using this research in my classes has provided my students with a glimpse of what professional astronomers are tasked with in describing the workings of the universe. said Cindy Melton

Cindy Melton
[In my classroom, I will] increase my emphasis that what is written in a textbook is not the final word on a subject. Science is an ever-evolving mechanism of discovery and nothing remains fixed in perspective or proof. said Cindy Melton

Cindy Melton
[attending a press conference] was extremely interesting to see how scientific discovery is transferred to the general public through publications such as Scientific American and Time. said Cindy Melton

Cindy Melton
[I did not anticipate] meeting a Nobel Prize Winner – Saul Perlmutter – and getting a picture with him. said Cindy Melton

Matthew McCutcheon
For the teacher, connecting with working scientists and networking with other colleagues has immeasurable value. I plan to utilize these relationships and potentially other projects spawned by them for years to come. said Matthew McCutcheon

Matthew McCutcheon
I believe having students work with other students from other schools has much value. said Matthew McCutcheon

Matthew McCutcheon
Being able to be physically present at Caltech and the AAS expanded the impact of this program significantly. It was in these settings, in particular, where one could see how the scientific enterprise typically works and how ideas are often shared. said Matthew McCutcheon

Matthew McCutcheon
I have experienced a number of well-done programs in having HS teachers and/or students participate in research, and NITARP particularly stands out. I think it is the mix of prep work done in advance by teachers and students, the collaborative format of teachers/students/scientists from different locales, the onsite time at Caltech, and the attendance and presentation of posters at [the] AAS. Each of these elements was important. said Matthew McCutcheon

Matthew McCutcheon
The NITARP experience was terrific from start to finish – well organized, informative, and unique. said Matthew McCutcheon

Chelen Johnson
Listening to Ferdowski talk about his work as a NASA flight director at his young age of 36 sparked some intrigue in many students. How can someone so young be in charge of such a critical object on another planet? said Chelen Johnson

Debbie French
This experience has made me conscious of how important it is to have students work with real data. I will definitely seek out more opportunities to include real data in my lessons and labs. said Debbie French

Debbie French
[This experience] has made me realize that while I use a lot of inquiry, I don’t always involve my students in the process of developing a testable question. said Debbie French

Thomas Doyle
NITARP has exposed me to the huge amount of data available and how to access it. I have data to work with for decades, and I have learned new ways to work with it. said Thomas Doyle

Thomas Doyle
I never met a scientist who did not want to discuss their work. said Thomas Doyle

Thomas Doyle
For me, [this project] was a real partnership between scientists and educators. All questions and suggestion were taken seriously and with respect. said Thomas Doyle

Thomas Doyle
My NITARP experience has made me rethink my entire approach to science education. Many of my students expect me to do the work and pretty much hand it to them all wrapped up and neat. Science education must involve a great deal of discovery by the student and not a string of topics with definitions. said Thomas Doyle

Thomas Doyle
Thank you for such a first class learning experience. said Thomas Doyle

Wendy Curtis
Thanks so much for an amazing experience. NITARP has opened doors for me in many ways. It’s exposed me to real research, it’s got me thinking about ways to innovate and create real research experiences for my students, and it’s made me aware of the numerous opportunities out there for science teachers to become better at what they do. said Wendy Curtis

Wendy Curtis
I would advise the scientists to not be afraid of pushing the teachers and students outside their comfort zone. It’s ok if the teachers and students are struggling- we’ll catch up! Just go – make us work hard. It’s what we signed up for. said Wendy Curtis

Wendy Curtis
I’ve already made big changes to my curriculum because of this program, and will continue to do so in future years. So far, I’ve added a photometry component to my astronomy class, and I’ve added programming with Python in my physics classes. I will be looking into research projects and will be designing work that students can do using telescope data and/or images either independently or as a class activity next year. Before my NITARP experience, I wouldn’t have even known where to begin to try to incorporate this kind of research into my classes. said Wendy Curtis

Wendy Curtis
I’ve already made big changes to my curriculum because of this program, and will continue to do so in future years. said Wendy Curtis

Wendy Curtis
After this experience, I’m more aware that beyond just teaching my students good science, my focus should be to prepare them for a career in science. said Wendy Curtis

Wendy Curtis
To get the chance to work with astronomers and researchers in the field, to do authentic research, and to attend conventions and be immersed in astronomy is absolutely amazing for a high school science teacher. said Wendy Curtis

Wendy Curtis
The NITARP experience is truly phenomenal, and our scientist was wonderful to work with – never condescending and always very clear in his explanations. said Wendy Curtis

Wendy Curtis
I think that more than anything else, hearing these kids talk about their work really convinced me how valuable this experience is for students. said Wendy Curtis

Wendy Curtis
It was really interesting talking with other NITARP groups about their posters. I was impressed over and over again by the students’ command of the material – clearly they were fully invested in this project. They explained their work with clarity and enthusiasm. I think that more than anything else, hearing these kids talk about their work really convinced me how valuable this experience is for students. said Wendy Curtis

Joe Childers
I discovered that meaningful astronomical research does not require access to meter-class observatories or a Beowulf cluster. Given the right professional to collaborate with, it is something that I'm able to do while still working at the planetarium. said Joe Childers

Robert Bonadurer
I always knew as an astronomy educator that I will miss out on the joy of discovery. The scientists [I've spoken with before] were often excited and willing to share their work—to describe what they found, and what it all means. I wondered what it’s like to achieve and feel that—to see what’s never been seen! I was always curious on how they did it exactly. Sure, I knew it was a lot of work—lots of math, physics, time, expertise, etc. But I never knew the steps, the details. I never could fathom the depth of what a true astronomer does. Well, thanks to NITARP—now I know. Or at least I have a small inkling of that experience. Yes, it is a lot of time and work! But it’s well worth it. said Robert Bonadurer

John Blackwell
Astronomers remain focused, polite, caring and thoughtful about the future generations who will take on the study. I think this message alone has huge meaning in my classrooms [...] said John Blackwell

John Blackwell
One of the things I love about astronomy is the very fact that we are not laboratory-bound scientists. Our lab is the universe, a constantly changing petri dish in the sky, so to say, and if you aren’t looking, you miss it! said John Blackwell

Jacqueline Barge
You really do become co-learners with the students. said Jacqueline Barge

Jacqueline Barge
I have already talked to my department about adding an astronomy research class to our class choices next year and they are very enthusiastic. said Jacqueline Barge

Jacqueline Barge
I was very surprised that 20 students stayed very engaged during the whole process at my school since it spanned two school years. None of these students had had an astronomy class before this project, so their background knowledge was pretty low. They jumped in with both feet and kept learning or figuring out what they needed to know. The students were very much into doing research. said Jacqueline Barge

Jacqueline Barge
The most interesting thing [of my NITARP experience] was having to actually do research – researching articles & known information; looking up images in databases; doing photometry; making judgments on sources. said Jacqueline Barge

Jacqueline Barge
[at the AAS 2013,] My school participated in the Educational Outreach Day. I found this to be a very, very good experience. There were a lot of students present and the talk by the Mohawk guy [Ferdowsi] was very good. The events in the exhibit hall were very well done. Please pass on my thanks to the group that organized this. My students had good background knowledge and still found many of the activities interesting. I was watching other student groups and saw that they were very engaged. said Jacqueline Barge

Robert Marshall
The AAS conference is a factory for knowledge and truth about the Universe. As David Helfand, president of the society said in his opening remarks, “We do astronomy because it defines us as human beings”. I’m just now truly beginning to understand. said Robert Marshall

Robert Marshall
The nature of [astronomers'] work – retracing their steps for accuracy, being critical of fellow colleagues, and looking to develop the next best project that has not been accomplished already – requires astronomers to discuss, inquire, and exchange their ideas with one another. said Robert Marshall

Robert Marshall
Astronomers, all of whom are scientists, can be personal, funny, and outright social beings. said Robert Marshall

Robert Marshall
Before ever having experienced an AAS meeting, I thought I was well versed in the astronomer’s culture. [..] I also thought I knew what an astronomer did. [..] Well, this 221st meeting of the AAS has certainly been an eye opener. [..] My experience has been one of culture shock. said Robert Marshall

Holly Bensel
I just think experiencing a conference of this size and magnitude is terrific. said Holly Bensel

Holly Bensel
I enjoyed meeting the students from the other schools. They were polite, articulate, and intelligent. I thought the teachers and parents had done a great job raising these kids and preparing them for the meeting. I hope my students are half as good. said Holly Bensel

Holly Bensel
One thing I learned from this meeting is I love my project. It is going to be very interesting and way cool!! I can’t wait to tell my astronomy club about it. said Holly Bensel

Theresa Paulsen
The most interesting thing I learned was that astronomers write and talk to each other in a language all their own, full of jargon and acronyms, but they can orally explain their science easily and do so with enthusiasm on a one-to-one basis. I was hesitant at first to speak to folks at their posters for fear of being judged unfit for discussion, but everyone I talked to was open to conversation and gladly talked about their work at a level I could process. I think many were happy that someone cared enough to stop by their poster. said Theresa Paulsen

Theresa Paulsen
My robotics students are very wowed by the fact that I met a flight director for the Mars Curiosity Rover. said Theresa Paulsen

Theresa Paulsen
I’m thinking I’ll have my 6th graders each do a project on an observatory in our astronomy unit. There are so many! said Theresa Paulsen

Theresa Paulsen
The middle schoolers [from NITARP 2012] fielded questions from an astronomer from the Keck observatory like old pros -­‐ very professional! I can’t wait to see my students do the same. said Theresa Paulsen

Theresa Paulsen
I feel like I popcorn kernel that has just burst open. I've grown so much at this meeting! said Theresa Paulsen

Carol Ivers
I am thrilled with the general friendliness of the scientists. I was made to feel at ease as a participant in the program. It is evident that everything is extremely organized and structured in such a way that a participant gets the most possible out of their time at the meeting. There is time to meet previous participants finishing up, new people on the new teams, the scientists, the students, and many other scientists not affiliated with the project. Just being around cutting edge technology and current astronomy projects is mind-blowing. said Carol Ivers

Carol Ivers
The most interesting thing I learned was that it is possible for very young students to wrap their heads around complex “higher level” science if they are motivated and engaged. said Carol Ivers

Carol Ivers
The most interesting thing I did was to discuss the learning experience with the students who participated in last year’s project. Being in the final stage of their experience and reflecting on that process was the most fun for me. I truly enjoyed the sense of accomplishment they had gained while engaged in the experience. They were proud of themselves and seemed to be waiting for more. said Carol Ivers

Carol Ivers
I am very impressed at the abilities of the [NITARP 2012] youngsters in handling the science. It is wonderful to see teachers engaging students in this way as it is an experience that could help direct them toward becoming scientists. said Carol Ivers

Carol Ivers
I learned that there is a lot I need to learn! said Carol Ivers

Melissa Booker
I am excited to embark on this research and feel lucky to be part of the experience. said Melissa Booker

Melissa Booker
I was impressed with how poised the [NITARP 2012] students were and how they were able to answer all of my questions. Each of them spoke to how NITARP had been a very positive experience. All of the young women I spoke with talked about wanting to pursue science in college. said Melissa Booker

Fred Donelson
[about some of the students from the 2012 class] They knew their stuff and fielded questions well. Most of all, you could tell they had grown as students and were passionate about their topics and what they had found. To me, that was awesome. I hope my students will show the same poise... said Fred Donelson

Fred Donelson
I’ve always thought that probably most astronomers were just normal people who had a passion for astronomy, and my experience confirmed that. I felt like many of the astronomers I talked to were able to have normal conversations as well as “wow” me with lots of data and analysis. said Fred Donelson

Fred Donelson
I am a teacher who really tries to help kids think and make learning fit individual styles, because I believe much of what is done in the science classroom today does not inspire learning, thinking, or passion for science. But I wasn’t expecting a discussion about that in any of the astronomy sessions. I was certainly wrong on that account. said Fred Donelson

Michael Murphy
I very much enjoyed meeting the other NITARP astronomers and participants. I was especially interested in the students’ experiences. Keeping the students in the loop and continuing to focus them on the big picture were especially good lessons from the past I plan to apply in the coming year. said Michael Murphy

Michael Murphy
[at the 2013 AAS,] I was always struck by the focus on ensuring the data is real and using modeling to create templates when classifying objects or processes. said Michael Murphy

Wendi Laurence
Honestly, I left [the 2013 AAS] a bit more in love with astronomy. I just plain had fun wandering and treated myself to time as a learner. It is not often we, educators, get to slide out of expert mode and into learner mode. said Wendi Laurence

Wendi Laurence
[...]that provided a wonderful window into the student’s perspective of the NITARP experience. I loved how they talked about seeing math as a way of communicating and for checking data…not as THE right answer type computations. Many then said that concept was new and they really appreciated it. said Wendi Laurence

Wendi Laurence
The posters from BYU on using sign language and HUD in astronomy was my favorite. [..]The fact that they have developed a set of descriptive signs that can be used opens the door to cultural connections in the deaf community. [..]It seems that shared signs demonstrate value of the deaf community rather than finger spelling the words. said Wendi Laurence

Wendi Laurence
Everything [at the 2013 AAS] was new. The interesting piece was attending a press briefing and then comparing that to the scientist version. said Wendi Laurence

Wendi Laurence
For me it was not so much in seeing what format -- but in what flow. Varoujan Gorjian’s reflections on this teaching and telling the story of science led me to wander posters and see where the story flowed. said Wendi Laurence

Thomas Rutherford
[Because of a poster I saw at the AAS and] my participation in the NITARP program, I will be raising the standards for my students in the future. said Thomas Rutherford

Danielle Miller
I think that astronomy is much more accessible to everyone than any other science. I had no idea all of the data for the research I'll be doing with my team is online! said Danielle Miller

Danielle Miller
I did not anticipate how much the astronomers would trust us right away. I felt more like a colleague than a student, which was relieving (and maybe a bit stressful, because I probably would have found it easier to ask questions coming from a student role). said Danielle Miller

Laura Orr
I rarely get out among other teachers in the same field as I am, with similar interest and motivations, and even less often do I have time to be in the company of professional scientists to see and hear what they are doing, how it is being done, what technologies are being used, etc. Without this type of program to get me to a meeting like the AAS I would never be able to put all of this together. said Laura Orr

Laura Orr
It was also good to have the time to connect with all the different types of people and areas of work that are represented at a meeting like the AAS – lots of time as a teacher is spent in my classroom only – I rarely get out among other teachers in the same field as I am, with similar interest and motivations, and even less often do I have time to be in the company of professional scientists to see and hear what they are doing, how it is being done, what technologies are being used, etc. Without this type of program to get me to a meeting like the AAS I would never be able to put all of this together. Being with the people drawn together at this type of meeting helps me as a teacher to see what is needed from me in prepare and present to my students as the current world of science. I also get to see and experience things that make my own brain start clicking and re-engage that wonder and questioning part of me that made me love science and want to go into science as a kid. I came away with many new ideas, new contacts to offer me support in my teaching and research, and a renewed enthusiasm for improving my teaching and my own understanding of astronomy. said Laura Orr

Laura Orr
Always impresses me how well a ‘kid’ can perform if supported and presented with a challenge that interests them. said Laura Orr

Laura Orr
[...]creativity has to be a underling personality trait for scientists said Laura Orr

Laura Orr
I am gaining in confidence as to my ability to understand, contribute to the study, and the data we will be using. said Laura Orr

Laura Orr
The rest of the NITARP teachers new, current, and past were really great to talk to – they all had bits of advice, stories, words of caution, and knowledge that I really appreciated. I was pretty nervous and concerned about how much I did not know about the program and what I would be doing that was greatly relieved after a few days at the AAS and talking with my team and others. said Laura Orr

Laura Orr
I LOVED the chance to talk with some of the students that have been involved in the NITARP program. It was really good to hear of their insights and thoughts about the program, the process, and how it influenced their year and future plans. said Laura Orr

Christi Whitworth
The most interesting component for me [at the 2013 AAS] turned out to be the last session on integrating computational thinking. Computational thinking and work are great component to incorporate into any student investigations. You cannot assume high school age students have a background in this type of thinking. Tools that work to help students learn this are extremely valuable for everyone in NITARP. said Christi Whitworth

Lynn Powers
I knew that the kids would get a ton out of it, but the connections and opportunities for them is phenomenal. Doing teacher workshops when I’m done will be so much fun. Can’t wait to bring this to the state. said Lynn Powers

Lynn Powers
Found out that NITARP is bigger and better than I thought it would be. said Lynn Powers

Lynn Powers
[With respect to names of astronomical objects,] I noticed that most went just by the number or address. I asked one student where it was located and they couldn’t tell me. Quite different than what I’m used to. [As an amateur astronomer,] We call things by name and can find them in the sky. said Lynn Powers

Lynn Powers
[At the 2012 AAS, I] Enjoyed talking with the 2012 students, before and after their talks. Before they were so nervous and full of anticipation. After, they were so tired, one boy was wearing new shoes and had blisters – don’t wear new shoes! said Lynn Powers

Summer Visit - 2011 - TRS team
[student:] There are only a handful of people at home that I can speak to about astronomy, physics and the like – so I was absolutely thrilled by the people I got to meet. said at Summer Visit - 2011 - TRS team

Shefali Mehta
I actually felt like I was able to accomplish something that would have some meaning to the scientific community. said Shefali Mehta

Adam Keeton
For me as an educator, it was really rejuvenating to come out here (and bring a student with) and dive into actual astronomical research. said Adam Keeton

Merrill Butler
What an incredible feeling to be right there at the edge of discovery! said Merrill Butler

Debbie Kaiser
One of the most interesting things I learned while working with my team was how unique and surprising each star can be. said Debbie Kaiser

John Blackwell
The "new" astronomy has become something we all knew was coming: handling huge chunks of data and learning how to mine this information from sets so large that it is simply mind boggling. The interesting thing is that many people are not aware of this, notably teachers in the trenches. said John Blackwell

Summer Visit - 2011 - BRC team
[student:] I didn’t realize how many calculations and math was involved in looking for stars. It was a real eye-opener for how much we used everything we learned in school. said at Summer Visit - 2011 - BRC team

Summer Visit - 2011 - BRC team
[student:] Just like a real scientist, we worked with others to accomplish our goal by using the data and making graphs and calculations to find what we needed. We helped each other out, compared our answers, and learned from our findings and mistakes. said at Summer Visit - 2011 - BRC team

Summer Visit - 2011 - BRC team
[student:]... this experience definitely changed the way I thought about astronomy and astronomers. said at Summer Visit - 2011 - BRC team

Summer Visit - 2011 - BRC team
[student:] The most surprising thing I learned was the importance and significance our poster and paper would be, and that many prominent scientists and astronomers would be reading it, and be interested in it. said at Summer Visit - 2011 - BRC team

Summer Visit - 2011 - BRC team
[student:] I am so incredibly honored to be a part of an education system like NITARP that gives students a chance to explore astronomy and their future. said at Summer Visit - 2011 - BRC team

Marcella Linahan
I think the best thing about the trip was working with an actual research scientist (Luisa Rebull) at the Spitzer Science Center. This is a unique opportunity that not very many teachers and high school students get. said Marcella Linahan

Chelen Johnson
Real astronomy involves working as a team to find an answer. The NITARP program provides a unique, real-life experience in real astronomy to the teachers and students involved. said Chelen Johnson

Summer Visit - 2011 - BRC team
[student:] Astronomy, engineering and astrophysics have always been my passion. The NITARP experience let me go beyond the norm for rising astronomers. said at Summer Visit - 2011 - BRC team

Summer Visit - 2011 - BRC team
[student:] The size of the catalogs that we created, and/or, contributed to was immense. I always knew that there was a large amount of work that goes into astronomy and research, but I was astonished by just how much. said at Summer Visit - 2011 - BRC team

Diane Sartore
Student involvement in authentic research is an idea whose time has come. said Diane Sartore

Diane Sartore
In its current form, anyone with moderate computer skills and high school physics can download, explore, and begin to understand available data. said Diane Sartore

Summer Visit - 2011 - BRC team
[student:]...getting to do the research with students around the country was a once in a life time opportunity and I'm glad I got the chance to be a part of it. said at Summer Visit - 2011 - BRC team

John Gibbs
Overall, I think one of my favorite parts of the trip was watching all of the students from around the country bond into a very productive team. They would help each other through the work we were doing to make sure everyone understood and was at the same place. said John Gibbs

Summer Visit - 2011 - BRC team
[student:] The best part of the trip was being able to have people from all over the country come to Pasadena and be able to work as a true team and bond as we all did science together. It was a great way to experience the way science is done in the real world, through group work and effort. said at Summer Visit - 2011 - BRC team

Summer Visit - 2011 - BRC team
[student:] There was so much I did not know that I learned at JPL and it definitely increased my interest in our Space Program here in the US. The information that was given was very interesting and detailed and I doubt I would have ever learned it otherwise. said at Summer Visit - 2011 - BRC team

Summer Visit - 2011 - BRC team
[student:] The best thing about the trip was that we were able to experience real science and not just a mundane lab in the classroom. It taught us about the uncertainties of science and that because what you are doing is new; no one has an "answer key" to your questions. said at Summer Visit - 2011 - BRC team

Summer Visit - 2011 - BRC team
[student:] The most surprising thing that I learned was how much telescope data is available and how it is open for anyone to look at. said at Summer Visit - 2011 - BRC team

Summer Visit - 2011 - BRC team
[student:] The best thing about the trip was to meeting new people and learning from one other. said at Summer Visit - 2011 - BRC team

Summer Visit - 2011 - BRC team
[student:] Not only did I get to meet people my own age but I had the rare opportunity to interact with adults on almost the same level. said at Summer Visit - 2011 - BRC team

Summer Visit - 2011 - BRC team
Real astronomy is uncertainty. Real astronomy is making little mistakes that cause you to check all the data again. Real astronomy is perfectly human said at Summer Visit - 2011 - BRC team

Richard DeCoster
...students, given an interesting task, could stay on task for hours at a time. said Richard DeCoster

Summer Visit - 2010 - IR Variability team
[student:] I really enjoyed the chance to work with everyone, the Astronomers, and the students as well as the teachers. That was one of the best experiences in my life. said at Summer Visit - 2010 - IR Variability team

Beth Thomas
Real astronomy involves being able to problem solve and think critically, apply process skills, and communicate effectively. said Beth Thomas

Summer Visit - 2010 - IR Variability team
[student:] Thank you for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to shadow/work with real astronomers. I learned a lot of astronomy and about how research is conducted. said at Summer Visit - 2010 - IR Variability team

Summer Visit - 2010 - CG4 team
[student:] "Real" astronomy involves much more than simply looking at stars, it requires hours of searching, calculating, analyzing, and rechecking data. said at Summer Visit - 2010 - CG4 team

Chelen Johnson
Many science teachers begin the year with a discussion of the “scientific method.” Our group modeled just that … Starting with a problem, researching background papers, submitting a research proposal, analyzing authentic data, and drawing conclusions models the scientific process in real life. said Chelen Johnson

Summer Visit - 2010 - LDM team
[student:] The environment at NASA is learning-oriented. It's really fun to work in a place where everyone is so focused on astronomy with as much collaboration as NASA does. said at Summer Visit - 2010 - LDM team

Summer Visit - 2010 - LDM team
[student:] This was a different kind of work to me because we are working in a team that is spread all over the US, which makes the work a little more challenging but also very interesting said at Summer Visit - 2010 - LDM team

Helen Petach
The most valuable learning in high school arises when students take ownership of the content. Project such as the analysis of NASA telescope data, provide some optimal examples of this type of learning experience. said Helen Petach

Russ Laher
I am fortunate to be able to employ my software-development skills for a program as worthy as NITARP. Its hard-working mentors and participant teachers inspire me to make an extra effort in creating the best software product possible. I have gained many interesting insights from interactions with users of my software. said Russ Laher

Kevin McCarron
In summary, this [AAS meeting] was amazing. For four straight days, if I'd thrown a rock I would have hit a scientist. Priceless. said Kevin McCarron

 
Astronomy is a lot less black and white than what I expected from a research project. You can't replicate observations and are always working within the limitations of the telescopes, data rendering processes, etc. There isn't always a clear-cut answer or right way to do things. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - SOFIA

 
I was surprised at how quickly we moved through different steps and tasks when able to focus on it all day and work together at the same time. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - SOFIA

Summer Visit - 2012 - C-WAYS
Overall the program is confirming what I knew about the amount of math and physics involved in real astronomical research. [..] to be part of the process, to see it all in so much more detail makes me appreciate the hard work even more. And it will help convey to young students what they need to move forward to be scientists. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - C-WAYS

Summer Visit - 2012 - C-WAYS
So far, this experience has greatly changed the way I thought about astronomy. It made me realize just how much work really goes into all of the things you see. It also helped me get an idea of what it really means to be an astronomer; it's not just sitting at a telescope taking beautiful pictures. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - C-WAYS

Summer Visit - 2012 - C-WAYS
This has made me re-think what I want to do in college and my future. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - C-WAYS

Summer Visit - 2012 - C-WAYS
[This experience] made me realize it's not easy to be an astronomer, but all the hard work will be worth it. I cannot wait to be one myself. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - C-WAYS

Summer Visit - 2012 - C-WAYS
I was surprised by the sheer number of young stellar objects we were capable of studying in such a small patch of sky. There is so much more to discover that we haven't even looked at yet. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - C-WAYS

Summer Visit - 2012 - C-WAYS
I know astronomy relies on computer programming skills, but I was surprised to learn how much it relies on them. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - C-WAYS

Summer Visit - 2012 - C-WAYS
I wasn't aware that there was so little telescope time, and so much computer programming. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - C-WAYS

Summer Visit - 2012 - C-WAYS
"Real astronomy" involves a lot of data analysis. It involves a large amount of time spent at a computer rather than at a telescope. Astronomers have to know a lot more about programming than I had expected. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - C-WAYS

Summer Visit - 2012 - C-WAYS
I learned that astronomy takes an incredible amount of focus to get the job done correctly no matter how long it may take. And astronomers have to have a great deal of patience to achieve this. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - C-WAYS

Summer Visit - 2012 - C-WAYS
Never had I imagined myself working with students, teachers, and actual scientists from all across the country and globe. I learned just as much culturally as I did technically. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - C-WAYS

Summer Visit - 2012 - C-WAYS
I used to think astronomy was mostly just looking through telescopes, but this experience proved me wrong. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - C-WAYS

Summer Visit - 2012 - C-WAYS
[During the visit,] I came to learn that programming and utilizing the software and computer programs as efficiently as possible was a necessity. Without these programs, our research would be next to impossible. However, just having the software and using it wasn't enough. I quickly learned that investigating the details, applying programming skills, and manipulating our computers would greatly improve our abilities to analyze and begin processing the data. This was also one of the more interesting tasks we attacked. It made us ask questions, taste defeat, but not accept it. It gave us opportunities to learn from one another, especially the teachers and professionals we were extremely lucky to have available. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - C-WAYS

Summer Visit - 2012 - C-WAYS
[For future participants,] I do recommend taking two students. The more eyes and ears, the better. They will pick up on stuff that you may have missed, and vice versa. They will also ask you great questions that challenge your understanding. If you can't explain it to them, it's great to have a mentor teacher and the scientist in the room to ask. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - C-WAYS

Summer Visit - 2012 - C-WAYS
Probably the most surprising thing that I learned was how much focus you have to have to accomplish work like we were doing. Although I knew beforehand that it was a lot of time and effort, it was interesting to see that doing the work takes time, patience, and a good amount of focus. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - C-WAYS

Summer Visit - 2012 - C-WAYS
Probably the most interesting thing I learned was that astronomers are more detectives piecing the universe together. Since we cannot actually see the life cycle of a star, we are forced to look at stars in different points in their (unfathomably long) lives and match them up in sequential order. Most importantly, "real science" is nothing like "textbook science" where we have explicit directions and there is a definite right or wrong answer. In the real world of science, we have to trust ourselves that we have done our best to reach the answer we deem correct. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - C-WAYS

Summer Visit - 2012 - C-WAYS
While a lot of astronomy is done by computer, nothing compares to having a human look over the data. [..] This is a really good reminder to students who blindly accept what the calculator/computer spits out without checking to see if the answer makes sense. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - C-WAYS

Summer Visit - 2012 - C-WAYS
The teachers and students did change the way I look at astronomy education. I saw more clearly that science education often goes from one success to the next never showing the details required to reach the scientific understanding. I wonder if an important point of the scientific process is not lost in this approach. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - C-WAYS

Summer Visit - 2012 - C-WAYS
Everything after the uploading of the images was new to me. And no matter how much it surged over and drowned my brain, the wave of new knowledge was quite welcome. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - C-WAYS

Summer Visit - 2012 - C-WAYS
[Astronomy] proved to be far more interesting than I thought previously possible. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - C-WAYS

Summer Visit - 2012 - C-WAYS
[student:] I had no idea that astronomy involved so much math! When I was first presented with a super long list of unit conversions and formulas, I almost gave up on a career in astronomy. I felt really overwhelmed because math has never been my strong suit. After successfully completing a few SEDs and color-color plots, I felt accomplished and realized that I wasn't as bad at math as I previously thought. Maybe I do have a chance at being an astronomer after all. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - C-WAYS

Summer Visit - 2012 - C-WAYS
Real astronomy isn't just looking through a telescope and jotting down notes. It involves using data from multiple resources, performing calculations, and making judgments about what is being observed. On the trip, I expected to be working with information from telescopes, but I was not expecting the large amount of conversions that needed to be done. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - C-WAYS

Summer Visit - 2012 - C-WAYS
Real Astronomy is doing all the data research. It is not just about viewing [through] a telescope. It's about reading the numbers and understanding it. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - C-WAYS

Jacqueline Barge
One evening, while working on some homework, I had the realization that THIS WAS REAL. There is no right answer, in fact, no one knows the answer. I can't just go and ask someone the answer. It was like a light bulb went off and I experienced a feeling of excitement and also felt a little bit scared. I thought to myself -- Is this how astronomers feel about their work? It was a great feeling and exciting that I too am part of this now. said Jacqueline Barge

Summer Visit - 2012 - C-WAYS
One evening, while working on some homework, I had the realization that THIS WAS REAL. There is no right answer, in fact, no one knows the answer. I can't just go and ask someone the answer. It was like a light bulb went off and I experienced a feeling of excitement and also felt a little bit scared. I thought to myself -- Is this how astronomers feel about their work? It was a great feeling and exciting that I too am part of this now. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - C-WAYS

Summer Visit - 2012 - C-WAYS
Even though not all of us could do every step flawlessly, different strengths balanced the different weaknesses. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - C-WAYS

Summer Visit - 2012 - C-WAYS
I learned that I am a lot more passionate about astronomy than I previously thought. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - C-WAYS

Summer Visit - 2012 - C-WAYS
I was surprised that I ended up getting help from one of the students on the conversion to energy flux. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - C-WAYS

Summer Visit - 2012 - C-WAYS
I was surprised to see the amount of work was needed for a seemingly small job. To have stayed for such a short amount of time and to have done so much work [..] was overwhelming. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - C-WAYS

Summer Visit - 2012 - C-WAYS
The most surprising thing was that after all the complicated stuff was explained to us, and the big picture was revealed, it turned out that it really was not that difficult once you got the hang of it -- essentially it was just making some graphs and looking at some data -- so once it was explained (which it was, quite well) it got easy. I expected it to be mind numbingly difficult the entire time. There were also quite a few other [surprising things], but that's the most exuberant. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - C-WAYS

Summer Visit - 2012 - C-WAYS
Most surprising (for me anyway) was how little I actually knew about astronomy. I always thought I knew more than I actually did, but now I can positively say that through this program I learned more than most adults I know in this field. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - C-WAYS

Summer Visit - 2012 - C-WAYS
The most important thing I did was learn. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - C-WAYS

Summer Visit - 2012 - C-WAYS
[The best thing was] Watching the students interact with each other and with the science. It was great to see kids from different schools working with each other. It was also really great to see the students embracing the science. They asked our astronomers thoughtful questions that showed they were thinking about the process and the science. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - C-WAYS

Summer Visit - 2012 - C-WAYS
Working at a fast pace was exciting. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - C-WAYS

Summer Visit - 2012 - C-WAYS
[This] is such an amazing opportunity that not many can say they've had, and I'm honored to be a part of it. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - C-WAYS

Summer Visit - 2012 - C-WAYS
The entire experience was "real astronomy." Nothing was canned. None of us in the room knew what the "final answer" was. Students really buy into the fact that this is real research. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - C-WAYS

Summer Visit - 2012 - C-WAYS
The fact that we were doing REAL science, we were working with real data, from real telescopes, looking for tangible objects in space. As much as I like working with theories and in the theoretical, it was fantastic to be able to make real scientific headway in the physics world. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - C-WAYS

Summer Visit - 2012 - C-WAYS
We did real science! said at Summer Visit - 2012 - C-WAYS

Summer Visit - 2012 - C-WAYS
I personally found our open ended instruction sessions the most inspiring. As all team members struggle to program spreadsheets correctly and produce accurate plots, teachers and students shouted across the room asking questions, comparing answers and finding success. It was great when students and teachers compared results, found differences and then went back and problem solved. It was especially pleasing when student results turned out to be the correct results and they then helped their teacher see the error of their ways. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - C-WAYS

Summer Visit - 2011 - TRS team
[The best thing about the trip was that] there are only a handful of people at home that I can speak to about astronomy, physics, and the like, so I was absolutely thrilled by the people I got to meet. Being surrounded by people at least as intelligent and oftentimes far more so is quite the exhilarating experience. said at Summer Visit - 2011 - TRS team

Summer Visit - 2011 - TRS team
We actually downloaded data, analyzed it, charted it, and then potentially found our first galaxy cluster. What an incredible feeling to be right there at the edge of discovery! said at Summer Visit - 2011 - TRS team

Summer Visit - 2011 - TRS team
It was very apparent to me that we did "real astronomy" all week and all year for that matter. said at Summer Visit - 2011 - TRS team

Summer Visit - 2011 - TRS team
When I presented the project to my School Board, they were really excited about the research and that I would be involving students the entire way. said at Summer Visit - 2011 - TRS team

Summer Visit - 2011 - TRS team
It's always great to see the progress made by the teachers and students. It's just so very noticeable when you compare the conversations you have with them on the first day as compared to the last day. said at Summer Visit - 2011 - TRS team

Summer Visit - 2011 - TRS team
What would be surprising to me is if everything would have gone according to plan. That just doesn't happen in science. So when bugs came up in the data analysis process, it felt very normal. said at Summer Visit - 2011 - TRS team

Summer Visit - 2011 - TRS team
I was really surprised by how much astronomers need to know about writing programs and fixing software when it doesn't 'play nice'. I think this more than anything else surprised me about what real astronomy is and what it is about. said at Summer Visit - 2011 - TRS team

Summer Visit - 2011 - TRS team
I actually felt like I was able to accomplish something that would have some meaning to the scientific community. said at Summer Visit - 2011 - TRS team

Summer Visit - 2011 - TRS team
...the best part about the trip was working for four straight days on a concept that few people either understand or are passionate about. [..] It was really rejuvenating to come out here and dive into actual astronomical research. said at Summer Visit - 2011 - TRS team

Summer Visit - 2011 - TRS team
...analyzing images doesn't seem that difficult anymore. said at Summer Visit - 2011 - TRS team

Summer Visit - 2011 - Period Pontificators team
The 'a-ha' moments at the conclusion of our analyses was unexpected [in that it was so soon]. said at Summer Visit - 2011 - Period Pontificators team

Summer Visit - 2011 - Period Pontificators team
[Real astronomy is] handling huge chunks of data and learning how to mine this information from sets so large that it is simply mind boggling. [...]Many people are not aware of this, notably teachers in the trenches. They are teaching the science not as a process, but as a set of background material that acts as a starting point for conversation. The actual DOING of the science is a foreign thing to most teachers. This project is exactly why we are doing what we are doing! We want to convey what science is... said at Summer Visit - 2011 - Period Pontificators team

Summer Visit - 2011 - Period Pontificators team
I kept thinking about how much I couldn't wait to share all I was learning with my Astronomy students this coming school year. said at Summer Visit - 2011 - Period Pontificators team

Summer Visit - 2011 - Period Pontificators team
People all see data differently and get excited about different things. This makes the group stronger. said at Summer Visit - 2011 - Period Pontificators team

Summer Visit - 2011 - Period Pontificators team
I was delighted to discover several stars that I had no knowledge of, that rotated, pulsated, eclipsed (or a combination of [these]). said at Summer Visit - 2011 - Period Pontificators team

Summer Visit - 2011 - Period Pontificators team
I am more confident in my ability to process more data and take on the task of trying to involve students at my school back home. said at Summer Visit - 2011 - Period Pontificators team

Summer Visit - 2011 - BRC team
There is not a right answer from the back of the book. That "what 'you' discover" is valid as long as you follow the proper techniques and continually double and triple check what you are doing with the others in the team. said at Summer Visit - 2011 - BRC team

Summer Visit - 2011 - BRC team
I thought [astronomy] was just about looking at the sky and going, "Oh, look. There's a new star." It's not like that at all. There's a lot more work that goes into it from looking at the pictures to crunching the numbers to researching previous projects to see if what they are finding is right. said at Summer Visit - 2011 - BRC team

Summer Visit - 2011 - BRC team
Real astronomy involves working as a team to find an answer. said at Summer Visit - 2011 - BRC team

Summer Visit - 2011 - BRC team
Real astronomy requires patience, persistence, and an imagination. said at Summer Visit - 2011 - BRC team

Summer Visit - 2011 - BRC team
I never realized how much computer programming is done in Astronomy. I think this will help me reach out to students who might not be interested in "science." These students may not realize that their programming skills are vital for analyzing astronomical data. said at Summer Visit - 2011 - BRC team

Summer Visit - 2011 - BRC team
I really enjoyed working with the teachers. It was important to help each other out and realize that you are going to make mistakes... said at Summer Visit - 2011 - BRC team

Summer Visit - 2011 - BRC team
I was very surprised by the camaraderie among the students. They were not competitive and really worked on helping each other to understand the material and calculations. said at Summer Visit - 2011 - BRC team

Summer Visit - 2011 - BRC team
I used to think astronomy was about looking, and identifying the stars in constellations. I never thought I would be using a [computer] program like APT or DS9. said at Summer Visit - 2011 - BRC team

Summer Visit - 2011 - BRC team
Astronomers are much different than I expected. ... I didn't realize how many calculations and math was involved. ... it was a real eye-opener for how much we used everything we learned in school. said at Summer Visit - 2011 - BRC team

Summer Visit - 2011 - BRC team
This experience definitely changed the way I thought about astronomy and astronomers. I didn't realize that some of the calculations and applications were as accessible as they were. I also didn't realize how collaborative of a job it is...[and it's made up of many components] said at Summer Visit - 2011 - BRC team

Summer Visit - 2011 - BRC team
The best thing about the trip was the real world experience. Just like a real scientist, we worked with others to accomplish our goal by using the data and making graphs and calculations to find what we needed. We helped each other out, compared our answers, and learned from our findings and mistakes. said at Summer Visit - 2011 - BRC team

Summer Visit - 2011 - BRC team
It was interesting to watch the students work collaboratively, jumping to each other's side when help was needed. said at Summer Visit - 2011 - BRC team

Summer Visit - 2011 - BRC team
In its current form, anyone with moderate computer skills and high school physics can download, explore, and begin to understand available data. Student involvement in authentic research is an idea whose time has come. As a teacher trained in these techniques, I intend to facilitate investigations by students for many years to come. said at Summer Visit - 2011 - BRC team

Summer Visit - 2011 - BRC team
[student] I'm glad I was able to get a 'sneak peek' into my future if I were to pursue a career in astronomy. said at Summer Visit - 2011 - BRC team

Summer Visit - 2011 - BRC team
[student] ... my time spent on NITARP was possibly the best thing that has happened to me so far this year. said at Summer Visit - 2011 - BRC team

Summer Visit - 2011 - BRC team
[student,in response to "most important or interesting thing you learned":] I also never knew about the great observatories. The only one I knew about was Hubble; now I know the 4 telescopes in space. said at Summer Visit - 2011 - BRC team

Summer Visit - 2010 - SED team
"Real astronomy" seems to be a lot of number manipulation. Students have to have a good grasp of the big picture to get into astronomy research or they get lost in the details. said at Summer Visit - 2010 - SED team

Summer Visit - 2010 - SED team
"Real astronomy" involves throwing away the textbook answers and delving into the theory to understand why our preconceived ideas were not working. said at Summer Visit - 2010 - SED team

Summer Visit - 2010 - IR Variability team
[student:] That was one of the best experiences in my life. I am truly thankful that I was given the chance to go on this trip and to learn more about this project and all of its subjects. said at Summer Visit - 2010 - IR Variability team

Summer Visit - 2010 - IR Variability team
[student:] There was some frustration today, but we all pushed past it and got the majority of the work done. said at Summer Visit - 2010 - IR Variability team

Summer Visit - 2010 - IR Variability team
What I considered to be the "real" science that came out of this visit was how we needed to treat the data. Students are used to doing "canned" laboratory assignments and have the misconception that all data is "good". In class when I ask students to consider an errant data point, they are apt to respond "but that's the data, I have to use it". Its difficult to convey the idea that not all data is good data, and if there is reason, data points can and should be disregarded. We found data points that were erroneous, whether because they were cosmic rays, they came from pixels located near the edge of the detector, or we had transferred information incorrectly. In each of these situations, we logically considered the data and had reason to include or exclude data points. We also double checked any suspicious or inconsistent data until we were convinced that we were working with reliable numbers. said at Summer Visit - 2010 - IR Variability team

Summer Visit - 2010 - IR Variability team
I was very impressed at how quickly our three teams turned into one. Our students worked together seamlessly from the beginning of our trip. Each student brought their strengths to the table and shared them willingly. Each group went through frustrations, made mistakes, had to backtrack, got angry, but still came through in the end with good solid data. When expectations were raised, the team rose to reach them. Teachers and astronomers invested fully in all students and students responded by calling on any team member for help when needed. said at Summer Visit - 2010 - IR Variability team

Summer Visit - 2010 - IR Variability team
[student] This was surely one of the best experiences I had ever been on. said at Summer Visit - 2010 - IR Variability team

Summer Visit - 2010 - IR Variability team
[I was surprised] that the students, given an interesting task, could stay on task for hours at a time. When I mentioned to parents following the trip that I was amazed at how well the students stayed on task, A. interjected that it wasn't so hard, since they were being challenged to use new tools to reach achievable results. said at Summer Visit - 2010 - IR Variability team

AAS - 2013
One of the things I love about astronomy is the very fact that we are not laboratory-bound scientists. Our lab is the universe, a constantly changing petri dish in the sky, so to say, and if you aren't looking, you miss it! The way that we construct experiments is dependent on the universe's cooperation, if one could call it that! said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
[As a resultof NITARP, I will be] asking more questions and trying to delve into a deeper understanding of what I am being taught. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
[student:] This experience completely changed the way I looked at astronomy and astronomers; at first I thought that astronomy was a very specialized topic and that they are very few astronomers. Now, I know that astronomy is very vast and can go from cosmology to astrophysics. I didn't know there was an actual difference between the two! Also, I learned that there many of us, and the numbers are growing; this is something I don't ever want to leave. {Ed: note that this student is referring to "many of us" because they already self-identify as an astronomer.} said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
This program has made me more attentive to connections between the classroom and real astronomical research. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
[I learned that] astronomy was a cumulative process: the researchers were building off of other researchers' work. Even our NITARP group, I realized, had basically been working on furthering a previous group's project. I think that's part of why I found everyone so enthusiastic to teach because you never know who might use your knowledge. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
My perception of astronomy has broadened into a realization that, behind research, there is problem-solving, collaboration, creativity, excitement, and curiosity. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
The most interesting thing that I discovered was that there are so many different ways to become involved with astronomy. You can basically be any other type of scientist and become involved at some level with astronomy. This discovery changed for me the belief that astronomy, and even sciences in general, are fairly separate from each other. I had though the cross connections with astronomy happened but were not the norm; I see now that they are involved in nearly every major project. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
There are many ways to get into the field of astronomy and astronomical research. Just being in the exhibition hall itself opened my mind to all the different possibilities with respect to astronomy: there were telescopes and researchers and publishers and educators and new technologies being exhibited--it really changed what I thought about "astronomers." said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
The experience made me want to take up astronomy when I get older. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
I am always impressed and appreciative of the willingness of astronomers to share their knowledge and their time, with each other and with me. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
[At one of the sessions] one of the scientists had a terrible time talking. Painful as it was for him, he continued through it, and the students were surprised how tolerant the audience was, saying "that would never happen at our school." We had sort of a mini-lesson, or teachable moment on values and expectations, which was great! The students were also in awe of how difficult/mathematical/intense the material presented was. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
All of the people that I interacted with were eager to share their knowledge. Even the people who visited our poster taught us by asking questions. I felt like I'd been submerged into this ocean of knowledge, which is a pretty cool feeling, and I tried my best to soak it up, even when some of the stuff people were talking about went over my head. The eagerness to teach was something I expected from NITARP but not necessarily from the wider astronomical community. So many people were willing to explain their projects and observatories to us high schoolers and listen to our questions. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
[student:] This experience will probably make me try to work harder in the classroom to master the basics that are necessary to pursuing a job in this field. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
The experience did change my opinion about astronomers because although I knew this type of research was conducted I always believed there was a greater focus on visual astronomy. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
The most interesting part of the experience was seeing how the entire process of conducting research progressed, especially when our project was modified. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
This [is] the absolute best learning experience in my career as a teacher! said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
NITARP made me feel closer to the process that astronomers use to answer questions about the universe, and perhaps how that process leads to the next set of questions. There was not the sense of completion that you feel when a lab is done, because our project felt more like the beginning of something. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
In school when we do an experiment or lab in class, students are usually asked to predict a result. They write a conclusion based on the accuracy of their prediction. Although I understood before I was involved with NITARP that real science is not as clear-cut as classroom experiments, I was still surprised how complicated our results were, and how many additional questions it raised. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
By far the most interesting thing to me was the experience of presenting the poster. Not only did it make me feel like I was really part of the conference, it made me look back to the previous AAS when presenting a poster was not just very scary, it was almost inconceivable. So what a journey! Reflecting on how overwhelmed and terrified I was last year, how hard I worked to learn everything, and then to be there actually doing it with some confidence, well...priceless. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
NITARP has exposed me to the huge amount of data available and how to access it. I have data to work with for decades, and I have learned new ways to work with it. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
NITARP has opened doors for me in many ways. It's exposed me to real research, it's got me thinking about ways to innovate and create real research experiences for my students, and it's made me aware of the numerous opportunities out there for science teachers to become better at what they do. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
My NITARP experience has made me rethink my entire approach to science education. Many of my students expect me to do the work and pretty much hand it to them all wrapped up and neat. Science education must involve a great deal of discovery by the student and not a string of topics with definitions. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
After this experience, I'm more aware that beyond just teaching my students good science, my focus should be to prepare them for a career in science. I feel like I have a better understanding of the skills they'll need to be successful. I've already made big changes to my curriculum because of this program, and will continue to do so in future years. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
It was a real partnership between scientists and educators. All questions and suggestion were taken seriously and with respect. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
The NITARP experience is truly phenomenal, and our scientist was wonderful to work with -- never condescending and always very clear in his explanations. To get the chance to work with astronomers and researchers in the field, to do authentic research, and to attend conventions and be immersed in astronomy is absolutely amazing for a high school science teacher. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
I was impressed over and over again by the students' command of the material -- clearly they were fully invested in this project. They explained their work with clarity and enthusiasm. I think that more than anything else, hearing these kids talk about their work really convinced me how valuable this experience is for students. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
This whole experience with NITARP has been amazing. I loved the chance to meet so many inspiring people. The astronomers we worked with were so excited about their work that I got excited, too. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
This experience did change the way I think about astronomy because I also thought of it as being very vague and non-specific when in reality it is so specific and there's so many different things that can apply, be discovered, and explored. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
The whole AAS was not what I anticipated, I imagined it to be a lot smaller and more of just a poster presentation solely but it provided so many other opportunities that were really cool to experience. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
[student:] Before the NITARP program [..] I had no idea what was out there for me. The program gave me a chance to see what being a research scientist means, and made me realize that it is a career I could have. This is a great thing to have experienced! said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
I thought that was cool that you could be involved with astronomy and still be learning new things about it every day said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
I gained much appreciation for the sheer volume of data processing that goes on in astronomy. I did not realize how quantitative astronomy is. In the classroom, I think that I will be more interested in finding out how the things that we are learning were first discovered. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
[student:] I am extremely glad I participated in this project. The thing that I am most glad that I learned was how we sense objects using telescopes and cameras. This project also solidified my understanding of the electromagnetic spectrum. I had been taught about both of these topics on a few occasions in the past, but I never understood how it all fits together prior to this project. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
[I didn't anticipate] finding out how many people, so different individually, can be united through one common love [of astronomy]. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
I cannot put into words how amazing and priceless the experience was. Spending a week with other people interested in science to such a high degree helped me to grow as a scientist and as a student. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
[The] program created a welcoming environment designed to help people learn. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
I realized how much I have actually learned through the program when I was able to explain complicated astronomy to graduate students, professors, and people who work at observatories. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
I was not previously aware of the wide variety of research and jobs in [astronomy]. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
I did not anticipate how interested everyone [was] who came to our poster [..and] in our research and methods. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
I loved getting to work with other students in our NITARP group to collaborate on a project. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
My favorite part was being able to open my mind to so many people that astronomy is their whole life. I loved meeting people and seeing how astronomy plays a part in their life, and reflecting to see how it could be a part of mine as I go off to college next year. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
[student:] This opportunity was a major turning point in my life and I will never forget the experiences I had, people I met and knowledge I learned. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
Of all the professional development programs in which I have been involved, NITARP continues to rank among the top few. Working with teachers across the country in search of previously unclassified objects was thrilling. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
Being able to be physically present at Caltech and the AAS expanded the impact of this program significantly. It was in these settings, in particular, where one could see how the scientific enterprise typically works and how ideas are often shared. I believe having students work with other students from other schools has much value. For the teacher, connecting with working scientists and networking with other colleagues has immeasurable value. I plan to utilize these relationships and potentially other projects spawned by them for years to come. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
Again, this is a fabulous experience -- I feel like after several years I am understanding more of the talks, able to engage in a real conversation with astronomers, ask questions one on one, interpret more on posters -- just feel more astronomically literate. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
I enjoyed working alongside my students in a way that felt very different from the typical classroom setting. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
I have a much better sense of what research astronomy is about now, and I think I will have more confidence to try new things (related to astronomy) going forward. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
I learned a lot, and I had a great time. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
Data taken for one purpose may often be exploited for other purposes. This is the genius of the archives. Even without access to a telescope, anyone with ideas, intelligence, and little computer savvy can do a lot of good science! said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
[In the classroom, I am planning to] increase my emphasis that what is written in a textbook is not the final word on a subject. Science is an ever-evolving mechanism of discovery and nothing remains fixed in perspective or proof. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
I really enjoyed being in an environment of astronomers and being able to interact with them on a professional and personal level. I never thought I would ever be able to do that. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
The NITARP experience was terrific from start to finish -- well organized, informative, and unique. I have experienced a number of well-done programs in having HS teachers and/or students participate in research, and NITARP particularly stands out. I think it is the mix of prep work done in advance by teachers and students, the collaborative format of teachers/students/scientists from different locals, the onsite time at Caltech, and the attendance and presentation of posters at an AAS . Each of these elements was important. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
I discovered that meaningful astronomical research does not require access to meter-class observatories or a Beowulf cluster. Given the right professional to collaborate with, it is something that I'm able to do while still working at [my job]. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
[student:] [This experience has] given me new career goals. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
I didn't realize how much of astronomy is simple data processing. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
I didn't think that a background in programming would be so useful. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
[This experience] has already changed me. I am going to devote my life to Astronomy. I am really working hard at school to be the best I know I can be. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
[because of this experience,] I am going to stay involved in research in college. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
[student:] The most interesting thing I learned was that astronomy is pretty much just another branch of physics. That may seem underwhelming but I had never explicitly connected the two before. Now that I have, I am even more excited to be an Astronomy-Physics major in college because I do not believe that it will difficult to reconcile them. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
The Aperture Photometry Tool (APT) poster really solidified my interest in computer programming. [...] He showed me that programming is intricate (and sometime tedious) art. It gave me a new appreciation of programmers who innovate so that the rest of us might have a less painstaking way of collecting data and/or using resources. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
[student:] I presented our [poster] to them, we talked about my goals and plans for attending their institution in the impending school year, and then they offered me a research opportunity [at my upcoming university] over the summer! Everything just came together so perfectly. It was easily one of the best days of my life. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
I thought I understood the level of attention to detail needed for science, but I was wrong. It was very eye opening. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
There is much more to astronomical research than I anticipated. My view of astronomers hasn't changed, except I have gained MUCH more respect for them and the work that they do. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
By far, the most interesting part of my entire NITARP experience is the scientific method applied to the discovery process. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
I had never considered the effect that public outreach could have on people, especially on young people like myself. I'm definitely more interested now in astronomy in general than in any other part of my schooling because I've never had an experience like this in any other field of study. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
This experience absolutely changed the way I look at the world of astronomy because pre-AAS, I never realized how many different fields of astronomy there actually are. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
Adapting to not having the answer in the back of the book was something that I never registered upon beginning this, which wasn't expected. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
[student:] Astronomy involves a lot more than I thought it did. I am now extremely interested in doing research. I think I learned what the scientific process is all about. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
This taught me a valuable lesson about the nature of astronomy as well as all sciences: no matter how much we observe and discover, there will always be more questions. [...] It is quite possible that we will never have all the answers, but we will always continue to ask. That is what I find most beautiful about astronomy. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
The most interesting thing I learned about at AAS was how people collaborate in the science world by making connections and sharing research and crossing disciplines, sometimes. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
Everyone that I spoke to really loved what they did, and had a drive to continue in their specific field of study. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
I wasn't expecting just how nice everyone was, especially to my high school-aged group. The astronomers I talked to all seemed very interested and impressed with what I was doing at the AAS and asked a lot of questions about NITARP. It made me feel that I had contributed something valuable to the astronomy community. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
[student:] I realized that astronomers are very nice people, and very helpful. They love to talk about their research, which is not something that I'm complaining about. Listening to them talk about everything they've done made me almost as excited as they were! said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
This experience made me develop a higher respect for astronomers and the intensive work they commit themselves to. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
I always knew as an astronomy educator that I [would] miss out on the joy of discovery. Sure, I've worked with many astronomers over the years - but it was mainly to interview them about their explorations, their findings. The scientists were often excited and willing to share their work - to describe what they found, and what it all means. I wondered what it's like to achieve and feel that -- to see what's never been seen! I was always curious on how they did it exactly. Sure, I knew it was a lot of work -- lots of math, physics, time, expertise, etc. But I never knew the steps, the details. I never could fathom the depth of what a true astronomer does. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
Overall, this project has seriously been one of the best things I've ever done and made me feel like a real part of an adult community of highly intelligent people. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
I didn't anticipate how nice everyone was going to be to us as high school students at the conference -- everybody who stopped by was very encouraging and seemed impressed by the fact that we were there, let alone making a decent presentation. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
Mentoring adults in these capacities improves my ability to act more as a mentor to my classroom students, allowing them to become more self-sufficient learners. I feel this has improved my ability to mentor my colleagues as well. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
[student:] This experience has also given be a huge boost in my confidence. I have learned that although it may not come to me the first time I attempt something, I will eventually get it with practice. I will be able to take this whole experience with me in my future studies and use it as an example to guide me down the road. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
I have learned that astronomy takes an incredible deal of patience to get the job done right. As I saw, our project was a year in the making and there is still ongoing research being done. Astronomy is a continuous subject. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
[After talking with another scientist in detail:] I also found the story behind his research interesting. His presentation was actually the culmination of the work of many different teams over several years. I didn't know typical research projects would go on for so long, and he still had years of work left. I think I'd enjoy working in a similar position in the future. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
[student:] I've learned that not everything will come easily (a valuable skill for me personally) and that sometimes I have to work hard and use my brain in different ways to understand what's going on. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
This experience made me realize how much effort and work is put into research. [..]this experience in research has prepared me for what to expect in college research opportunities. It's not just push a button, get an answer -- we had to work and tweak and make improvements until we had our results. It was very satisfying to come up with our results; it's that feeling of "This is what I contributed to the astronomy community -- and I'm only in high school!" said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
[student:] I found it interesting how subtle the whole meeting was. Coming from the automotive industry where trade shows are huge flashy events, it was interesting how multi-million dollar companies were represented by just a small booth and table, sometimes without any literature. I learned that there are plenty of niches to be filled in the industry so I hope to find an internship in it soon. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
This experience has made me conscious of how important it is to have students work with real data. I will definitely seek out more opportunities to include real data in my lessons and labs. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
[This experience] has made me realize that while I use a lot of inquiry, I don't always involve my students in the process of developing a testable question. I hope to involve my students more in the entire process. I plan on emphasizing that science is a collaborative effort. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
[As a result of this experience,] I will definitely be involved in research in college starting my freshman year. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
I definitely didn't anticipate that I would be this overwhelmed, though it's not in a negative way; I guess I didn't expect the depth that people had explored within specific subfields. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
People seemed very interested in how high school students could do authentic astronomy research. They were impressed that high-schoolers could do so much. It made me proud to be a part of this project. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
I have already talked to my department about adding an astronomy research class to our class choices next year and they are very enthusiastic. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
I was very surprised that [all my] students stayed very engaged during the whole process at my school since it spanned two school years. None of these students had had an astronomy class before this project, so their background knowledge was pretty low. They jumped in with both feet and kept learning or figuring out what they needed to know. The students were very much into doing research. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
You really do become co-learners with the students. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
The biggest change [in my classroom] I hope to make is to have my students do more science and more thinking then we normally do. So many of us science teachers do labs where the end is known (which is sometimes necessary to make sure they fit in a class period and that the students understand the concept we're trying to learn) but that's not really science. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
[Talking to the 2012 students] provided a wonderful window into the student's perspective of the NITARP experience. I loved how they talked about seeing math as a way of communicating and for checking data...not as THE right answer type computations. Many then said that concept was new and they really appreciated it. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
I LOVED the chance to talk with some of the students that have been involved in the NITARP program. It was really good to hear of their insight and thoughts about the program, the process, and how it influenced their year and future plans. All information I need to help me get my little world ready for this adventure and into the hands and minds of my students said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
The most interesting thing I did was to discuss the learning experience with the students who participated in last year's [team]. [..] They were proud of themselves and seemed to be waiting for more. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
I was impressed with how poised the students [from 2012] were and how they were able to answer all of my questions. Each of them spoke to how NITARP had been a very positive experience. All of the young women I spoke with talked about wanting to pursue science in college. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
The [students from 2012] fielded questions from an astronomer from the Keck Observatory like old pros- very professional! I can't wait to see my students do the same. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
The students there did a great job of explaining to me what it was like to really collaborate as scientists and how helpful it was to work as a team to learn new things. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
I am very impressed at the abilities of the [NITARP 2012 students] in handling the science. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
I enjoyed meeting the students from the other schools. They were polite, articulate, and intelligent. I thought the teachers and parents had done a great job raising these kids and preparing them for the meeting. I hope my students are half as good. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
[The students] were smart, well spoken, honest, knowledgeable, and it's official, I can't wait to pick the students who will be working with me and [get them started]. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
[I talked to students presenting from NITARP 2012 and] although they were nervous, they did a wonderful presentation. They knew their stuff and fielded questions well. Most of all, you could tell they had grown as students and were passionate about their topics and what they had found. To me, that was awesome. I hope my students will show the same poise[...] said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
It is fun listening to the talks and having a much better understanding about what they are talking about than I did the first time. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
Using publicly available data is the future of teaching astronomy! said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
I found it most interesting to see the scientific process in action. Scientists were questioning scientists, sometimes fairly aggressively. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
I rarely get out among other teachers in the same field as I am, with similar interest and motivations, and even less often do I have time to be in the company of professional scientists to see and hear what they are doing, how it is being done, what technologies are being used, etc. Without this type of program to get me to a meeting like the AAS I would never be able to put all of this together. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
I think the most interesting thing I learned [..] is how different all of the teachers are. Clearly, we all love science but we're all so different. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
I feel like a popcorn kernel that has just burst open! said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
I did not anticipate how much the astronomers would trust us right away. I felt more like a colleague than a student, which was relieving (and maybe a bit stressful, because I probably would have found it easier to ask questions coming from a student role). said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
I was hesitant at first to speak to folks at their posters for fear of being judged unfit for discussion, but everyone I talked to was open to conversation and gladly talked about their work at a level I could process. I think many were happy that someone cared enough to stop by their poster. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
Creativity has to be an underling personality trait for scientists. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
The most interesting thing I learned was that astronomers write and talk to each other in a language all their own, full of jargon and acronyms, but they can orally explain their science easily and do so with enthusiasm on a one-to-one basis. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
Before ever having experienced an American Astronomical Society meeting, I thought I was well versed in the astronomer's culture. After taking numerous classes, doing hands-on labs, and even having worked in the field of astronomy education for several years now I also thought I knew what an astronomer did. My experience has been one of culture shock. [...] The AAS conference is a factory for knowledge and truth about the Universe. As David Helfand, president of the society said in his opening remarks, "We do astronomy because it defines us as human beings." I'm just now truly beginning to understand. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
Astronomers, all of whom are scientists, can be personal, funny, and outright social beings. The nature of their work -- retracing their steps for accuracy, being critical of fellow colleagues, and looking to develop the next best project that has not been accomplished already -- requires astronomers to discuss, inquire, and exchange their ideas with one another. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
I am thrilled with the general friendliness of the scientists. I was made to feel at ease as a participant in the program. It is evident that everything is extremely organized and structured in such a way that a participant gets the most possible out of their time at the meeting. There is time to meet previous participants finishing up, new people on the new teams, the scientists, the students, and many other scientists not affiliated with the project. Just being around cutting edge technology and current astronomy projects is mind-blowing. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
[My scientist was] fantastic! .. helped us understand our research goals very quickly and made some difficult concepts very easy to understand [...] good at helping us see the big picture behind our project. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
I came away with many new ideas, new contacts to offer me support in my teaching and research, and a renewed enthusiasm for improving my teaching and my own understanding of astronomy. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
Honestly, I left a bit more in love with astronomy. I just plain had fun wandering and treated myself to time as a learner. It is not often we, educators, get to slide out of expert mode and into learner mode. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2013
I've always thought that probably most astronomers were just normal people who had a passion for astronomy, and my experience confirmed that. said at AAS - 2013

AAS - 2012
This has been a remarkable experience in which I have learned so much and I am so grateful for. said at AAS - 2012

AAS - 2012
What I am in awe about is that this relatively small community of scientists, engineers, programmers, and educators has developed and built this incredible astronomical research infrastructure. said at AAS - 2012

AAS - 2012
After two days of being totally overwhelmed by all the high level science going on around me, it was a relief and simply awesome to see that these professional astronomers were also somewhat clueless about my own research. This was such an amazing capstone to the NITARP experience, actually feeling I was on nearly the same level as everyone else presenting. said at AAS - 2012

AAS - 2012
The experience I had at the 2012 AAS meeting as well as the entire NITARP experience will change the way I teach astronomy. Having spent 5 days meeting and discussing authentic scientific research with so many people from many different facilities was extremely rejuvenating as an educator. This year was so much different than last year having a poster to share with others! said at AAS - 2012

AAS - 2012
I didn't anticipate the number of very interesting and truly remarkable people that I would get to meet which was a welcome surprise. said at AAS - 2012

AAS - 2012
I did not anticipate the amount of people that were not NITARP but instead simply "fellow" astronomers and researchers that came by our team's poster to discuss our findings. That for me was unanticipated but instead was a most pleasant surprise.[..] It was truly surprising yet very exhilarating as I answered questions and then asked them about their research and how they tackled certain problems. said at AAS - 2012

AAS - 2012
To see and experience how the process of a research project such as this goes through was an interesting and amazing experience. said at AAS - 2012

AAS - 2012
This year was great! I really felt comfortable making my way around to discuss not only what I teach, but also what my research was about. said at AAS - 2012

AAS - 2012
This experience convinced me even further that I can push myself to learn even more each and every day. I started out feeling very overwhelmed and unprepared last year. I forced myself to work through my unease and wound up much more comfortable. I learned that astronomers are much more down-to-earth than I envisioned a lot of them to be and so many of them are very willing to go out of their way to explain things when we have questions. said at AAS - 2012

AAS - 2012
I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to participate in the NITARP program for the past year. I gained experience that I never thought I would be capable of, gained many new resources, and learned more that I ever expected. It has been a very unique and productive experience and I am proud of both the scientific research we accomplished and the educational aspects that were brought to our school systems. said at AAS - 2012

AAS - 2012
It was amazing being, not just an attendee of the conference, but a real part of it through the poster presentations. Thank you for this invaluable opportunity and insight into how real science is conducted and shared by the scientific community. Astronomy, as is any branch of science, is such a diverse field with many discoveries yet to be made. It was truly an honor to be a part of the NITARP program. said at AAS - 2012

AAS - 2012
One of the things that I did not anticipate was being so PROUD of our work. I was convinced I would be nervous and unsure of myself as people I envisioned as being more important than myself grilled me with questions. I was pleased to find that nearly everyone who stopped by our posters was inquisitive, supportive and seemed genuinely interested. I also surprised myself with how comfortable I became with talking to these people as they came by and asked their questions. said at AAS - 2012

AAS - 2012
Science is hard! ;-) Also, it is worth the work! said at AAS - 2012

AAS - 2012
Of all the professional development programs in which I have been involved, NITARP continues to rank among the top few. The opportunity to work with a world-class astronomer and alongside teachers and students across the country on a real research project is amazing! Watching the project evolve from a seed of an idea in January into a two professional posters presented at the AAS the following January is fulfilling and satisfying. To think that eighteen people can work together over twelve months and thousands of miles is a true reflection of what authentic research is all about. said at AAS - 2012

AAS - 2012
What surprised me the most was the great sense of pride I felt when I listened to my students work with the other students in the BRC team. They completed each other's sentences. They interceded when others faltered. Wow. What a fabulously cooperative group. said at AAS - 2012

AAS - 2012
The most interesting part of the trip for me was seeing the numerous amounts of presentations and posters that all required so much work for this one week. said at AAS - 2012

AAS - 2012
[student:] Presenting our findings was very confidence boosting actually, as I found I was able to answer almost every question I was asked. It was also very exciting and unique. said at AAS - 2012

AAS - 2012
[student:] I came to appreciate the fact that there will always be someone smarter than I am, and that's okay because I can learn from them. I also came to appreciate the ability of good public speaking. said at AAS - 2012

AAS - 2012
[student:] Although I knew that it would be a bunch of posters at the convention, I was surprised at how many talks there were on a variety of topics. It was nice to be able to spend my time listening to lectures of my choosing and being able to view the projects. said at AAS - 2012

AAS - 2012
Astronomers dream about above and beyond. They laugh when someone says impossible. When other people say impossible, astronomers say just give me a couple years, a large computer, and some duct tape and I'll have a working model. said at AAS - 2012

AAS - 2012
Overall, this experience has been very gratifying and I have learned more about astronomy than I ever thought I would. said at AAS - 2012

AAS - 2012
At this year's AAS conference I was even able to get a grasp of what the speaker was discussing in most lectures I attended. said at AAS - 2012

AAS - 2012
During this meeting, I really got to see science up close. Everyone here was on the [outer edges] of astronomy, carving the path for humans in space. I saw how science was conducted and because I took part in this conference and contributed to the new information gathered, I feel like I am a part of something more. said at AAS - 2012

AAS - 2012
We put so much time and effort into this project, and it was very rewarding to see the finished poster at the convention with all of the graduate students and scientists. Being able to present our work to these people and understand what I was talking about was my favorite part of the convention. It was satisfying to see how much we impressed all of these professionals when we are only in high school. said at AAS - 2012

AAS - 2012
Astronomy has gone from just stargazing to a rigorous and rewarding field of work in my eyes; before this program I clearly had a misconception of what astronomers did at work. said at AAS - 2012

AAS - 2012
Astronomers are the last of the great explorers. said at AAS - 2012

AAS - 2012
While working on our [project] it didn't seem as though we were part of a larger connection, but after coming here it feels like a group effort. said at AAS - 2012

AAS - 2012
[student:] Attending the AAS meeting was one of the greatest things I have ever done. The information that I picked up from the meeting was immense and I would do further astronomical research so that I may attend this conference again. said at AAS - 2012

AAS - 2012
[Even as a student,] I was surprised how many people I now know after 2 AAS [meetings]. said at AAS - 2012

AAS - 2012
The number one thing that the new people should know is that this experience is one of the best they will every have. You are meeting with people who share similar goals that is to learn and discover new things. said at AAS - 2012

AAS - 2012
This was a great experience to delve into real data, and have hands on experience in REAL research. said at AAS - 2012

AAS - 2012
Astronomers all have different career paths and can do multiple different things with their work. said at AAS - 2012

AAS - 2012
Although some of the information was beyond my comprehension at the current time, I learned a lot and was able to relate to a lot of the topics. said at AAS - 2012

AAS - 2012
[student:] The most interesting thing I learned is that astronomy is such a huge field. There are so many things that you can research. [..]whatever you find in your research, astronomers want to know about it. said at AAS - 2012

AAS - 2012
When asked about their future plans, I heard each student describe their college hopes and their plans seemed bigger and more full of promise than I had heard in the past. I believe having the attention of such a distinguished audience raised their expectations of themselves. said at AAS - 2012

AAS - 2012
The invited talk especially made me think a little harder about the assumptions we make when we describe our very own galaxy - we have not seen it! This comes up in class every year, and this talk gave me a better perspective when dealing with misconceptions students may have. said at AAS - 2012

AAS - 2012
I did not anticipate being so challenged in the NITARP research. said at AAS - 2012

AAS - 2012
I assumed that [this project] would require a great deal of data analysis, what I didn't grasp until after this meeting was how focused and detailed the analysis would be. The steps in understanding that are gained through the analysis are much smaller than I anticipated they would be for the amount of work that is done. said at AAS - 2012

AAS - 2012
Astronomers are a remarkably collaborative lot. I knew this, but I was amazed by how friendly everyone was. said at AAS - 2012

AAS - 2012
I found myself continually challenged by the intellectual level and knowledge being shared. said at AAS - 2012

AAS - 2012
I'm happy to say that at my third AAS, I am developing the ability to absorb more information and have a greater understanding of the work that is presented. said at AAS - 2012

AAS - 2012
I was bombarded with a lot of information in a short period of time. I had no idea there was so much research going on in Astronomy. Astronomers are very eager to explain their research and future goals. A very friendly bunch. said at AAS - 2012

AAS - 2012
I think that the most surprising thing about it was how young everyone was! I absolutely did not expect that, maybe because the amateur community is so much older by comparison, and is mainly composed of retired people. said at AAS - 2012

AAS - 2012
I was surprised at the number of young people[...] I am used to seeing older people as astronomers. said at AAS - 2012

AAS - 2012
I was somewhat intimated at the prospect of working with Caltech scientists however I found my first experience one that eased all my trepidations and instilled excitement for the work I will be doing. said at AAS - 2012

AAS - 2012
My general impression is how big and varied the whole conference was. I knew the number coming in - but sometimes our imagination fails us. To see all the posters, papers, booths, and talks was truly astonishing. said at AAS - 2012

AAS - 2012
I didn't anticipate meeting engineers and graphic artists [who also work in the field of astronomy]. said at AAS - 2012

AAS - 2012
I had an amazing, exhausting time at the AAS meeting. said at AAS - 2012

AAS - 2011
It invigorated me to become part of the greater message, which is the story of space and ground based observatories and the incredible infrastructure built by NASA and its commercial and institutional partners. Never in the history of this great science has so much data and use of incredible instruments been available to not just the scientific community but the general public as well. All one has to do is just ask! said at AAS - 2011

AAS - 2011
I cannot say enough positives about the NITARP experience for the participating students. They have had the opportunity to learn and grow and see science applied in authentic research projects while working with some of the coolest scientists around! It has allowed me to grow as a teacher and researcher and be able to share my insight and newfound knowledge with students and peers. said at AAS - 2011

AAS - 2011
Listening to others present their posters and asking questions was good experience for presenting our own. The kids were a little more nervous about this poster, thinking that the questions would be harder, but they soon got in the groove of explaining the different aspects of our work and answering questions. said at AAS - 2011

AAS - 2011
This was a trip I will never forget. I am very fortunate to have been a part of something so interesting and rewarding. said at AAS - 2011

AAS - 2011
Our kids did a fantastic job of interacting with the many astronomers and educators that came to see our poster. They were poised and knowledgeable and handled questions with ease. I heard many compliments not only about the students' explanation of our work, but also about the great job they did constructing their poster. said at AAS - 2011

AAS - 2011
Although I'm sure none of us understood every word of what these professionals said, the fact that we could wrap our minds around even parts of it proves that we've come a long way in our studies. said at AAS - 2011

AAS - 2011
How cool for the kids see a poster right next to theirs being presented by three university professors on one side and a graduate student on the other. said at AAS - 2011

AAS - 2011
I thought this program was a great experience. We had many opportunties available to us. The work was challenging but fun. said at AAS - 2011

AAS - 2011
What made [this experience] most worthwhile was the opportunity to get involved with professionals who share our interest in science, as well as contribute to a field of study that is shared around the world. said at AAS - 2011

AAS - 2011
One of the greatest experiences of this project was meeting other students interested in the sciences. said at AAS - 2011

AAS - 2011
[student:] I have learned so much, not only about science and astronomy, but about myself. said at AAS - 2011

AAS - 2011
Attending the AAS in Seattle with my students was an incredible experience. I got a chance to step back and see [them] interact confidently with their peers, other educators and professional astronomers from all over the world. We started this journey exactly a year ago and have come a long way. Learning scientfic concepts and doing authentic scientific research was only part of the experience, we also learned to communicate across the country. [...] I am extremely proud of the work of each and every member of our team. said at AAS - 2011

AAS - 2011
[student:] It was a really valuable experience; I hope to continue with research. said at AAS - 2011

AAS - 2011
[My students] were amazed to hear other scientists say "Well, I understood half of that talk," and they repeatedly heard astronomers make jokes about research itself - the not knowing, the knowing and then getting proven wrong, etc. The experience made a huge impression on them and that was food for my soul. said at AAS - 2011

AAS - 2011
EVERYTHING had a different flavor this year. [...] I experienced everything through the lens of the research project of the past year. The entire experience was in context. [...] When I look at how the intellectual process changed over the last year I imagine it going from a diffuse look at research and the entire conference experience to the extreme focus on our own project during the year and finally reaching outward again in Seattle to incorporate new information and understandings. Returning to AAS made the experience complete. said at AAS - 2011

AAS - 2011
Being there with my students was the most amazingly cool experience. I saw my [students] explode in their willingness to ask questions and express an opinion. [...] They tried every kind of sessions and lots of different topics. They were enthusiastic and energetic about the science. I was totally amazed by how their attendance made them reflective about the year and enthusiastic about science. said at AAS - 2011

AAS - 2011
My takeaway lesson is that the students are much more tolerant of "issues" that make the research projects difficult to carry out and are generally content to be involved and learning something new. said at AAS - 2011

AAS - 2011
[the students] were unanimous in their support of the program. said at AAS - 2011

AAS - 2011
I think it also was an invaluable experience for [my students] to see that it is "ok" to ask questions. said at AAS - 2011

AAS - 2011
The most interesting thing I noticed this year was that I spent much more time seeking out, listening to and talking about science than I did about education itself. There was plenty of overlap but I felt more confident asking questions and I had a much better idea of the questions I wanted to explore. said at AAS - 2011

AAS - 2011
I found it comforting that most educators at that level seem to genuinely enjoy and love to talk about their area of interest. said at AAS - 2011

AAS - 2011
There was purpose to my wandering [this year]. Last year was logistically and culturally educational, this year was truly informative. I felt much less out of place. said at AAS - 2011

AAS - 2011
I kept wishing this program would have been available when I was a kid. Wanting to be a scientist, I had no role model or support and never pursued it. said at AAS - 2011

AAS - 2011
To say that I was proud [of my students] would be a gross understatement. said at AAS - 2011

AAS - 2011
My observation was that [our students'] ideas for their future expanded with the whole experience. That science became more than a class but an endeavor in which they could participate. said at AAS - 2011

AAS - 2011
[One of the other teachers with whom I've been working now] sees herself as being able to teach science, [...] and wants to share this excitement and potential with others who are in deaf education who might never have thought that they could teach science[...]. So many educators who work with students who have special needs, specialize in supporting the needs of the students rather than the core STEM subjects, so it seems that becoming empowered in the language and the nature of inquiry and investigation was also life changing for our teacher participants. said at AAS - 2011

AAS - 2011
Before this conference, I hardly thought about the different methods people with physical impairments would have to use to learn [astronomy].[...] The main message I took away from the poster was that science is for literally anyone who is curious and willing to learn, no matter what the current circumstances are. said at AAS - 2011

AAS - 2011
[student:] My experience with the Spitzer Program gave me knowledge, inspiration but most of all confidence in myself. It gave me a chance to enhance my speaking and presentation skills by meeting and talking to so many brilliant people. said at AAS - 2011

AAS - 2011
[student:] I was learning everywhere. said at AAS - 2011

AAS - 2011
We had the great pleasure of talking to wonderful and brilliant people. said at AAS - 2011

AAS - 2011
[This] was truly an unforgettable experience. said at AAS - 2011

AAS - 2011
Having the opportunity to get new ideas from my peers and discuss projects, activities and strategies helps me to grow and keeps me from becoming stagnant in my teaching. Programs like this are like gold to me because the financial situation in the district in which I teach is such that there is no money available to send our faculty to national conferences. said at AAS - 2011

AAS - 2011
Words can't describe my delight and gratitude to NITARP for the "over the top" experience at AAS 217th convention in Seattle. The breadth of conveyed knowledge, the phenomenal networking, the latest science discoveries, the business and career opportunities and the educational options were astounding. I must say that I was fully engaged every moment that I was at the convention. As you said at our seminar on Sunday, "You will be over stimulated and under caffeinated." I realize exactly what [you] were talking about. said at AAS - 2011

AAS - 2011
It was refreshing to learn that NASA wants scientists to get/stay in communication with the public, including schools, regarding the science being done. Engagements translates to representation and support from a grassroots mindset. said at AAS - 2011

AAS - 2011
The range of student ages involved in the various projects is quite impressive. I can't wait to get started, and neither can my students! said at AAS - 2011

AAS - 2011
It was wonderful to see the students from last year presenting their posters and talking with astronomers and teachers from all over the world. said at AAS - 2011

AAS - 2011
It was neat that Kepler's first confirmed terrestrial planet was announced during the conference. said at AAS - 2011

AAS - 2011
When we first met to discuss what our project was about, I admit that I felt a little overwhelmed and ill-informed. [..] By the end of Tuesday's sessions, I felt that I had a better general understanding of [my subject]. I will still need help learning the analysis, but I think I'll be able to catch on pretty quickly. said at AAS - 2011

AAS - 2011
Never have I attended an "industry" convention where the overall collaborative nature of the attendees is so strong. Everyone that I came in contact with was approachable and eager to answer questions or contribute some knowledge. said at AAS - 2011

AAS - 2011
I've attended many NSTA conference that focus on science education, but this purely scientific conference was an amazing opportunity. I gained a true appreciation for both the quantity and quality of research and work being conducted in the field of astrophysics. said at AAS - 2011

AAS - 2010
I visited with several people in the education field and stopped by many posters. One of these conversations I had was with one of the advisors of one of the grad students. When I told him I was a teacher, he shared with me an area in which he sees incoming freshman as being very weak. It has to do with data tables and graphing. He said these incoming freshman students have difficulty with understanding x and y axis, dependent the independent variables and then transferring the data into a graph. I was shocked because I really try to incorporate data collection, analysis/interpretation, and graphing in everything done. This is something I can be aware of and really reinforce in my room and when I teach other teachers. said at AAS - 2010

AAS - 2010
What a fun meeting! I felt like I got to meet a lot of people and learn some cool things, and think about how to best educate people. It feels like a lot of people with a common goal, very connected and leaving was kind of sad, like separation. Other than my group, I did not run into another NITARP teacher after Sunday; I don’t think I realized how big this conference was. said at AAS - 2010

AAS - 2010
I was frankly amazed at how many posters were presented. This suggests to me that there are many different questions that need resolution in astronomy! (I have been telling this to my students!) said at AAS - 2010

AAS - 2010
I was actually surprised by the number of text books and reference books on all manner of astronomy. I guess I just thought that once you got beyond Astro 101 that there was no use in putting information in book form given the rate of change. I guess there are 500 pages of basics in star formation after all. said at AAS - 2010

AAS - 2010
I attended the NSF information and Q&A Session. It was interesting to me as I sat and listened to the description of NSF funding structure, bureaucracy and the various pipelines moneys were traveling through, that my vicarious life in politics gave me a real context on which to perch the information. It all sort of made sense and I could visualize some of the political forces that were hinted at but never made explicit. The level of anticipation and the fact that it was a full if not packed ballroom made me more aware of this “other life” of research astronomy. said at AAS - 2010

AAS - 2010
There was an endless number of interesting people to talk to and they were all willing to share. said at AAS - 2010

AAS - 2010
These are some talented and really fun people. said at AAS - 2010

AAS - 2010
For four straight days, if I'd thrown a rock I would have hit a scientist. Priceless. said at AAS - 2010

AAS - 2010
Learned exactly what we would be doing and got scared to death. I am not smart enough to do this project. I'm lucky I have a great team to work with. said at AAS - 2010

AAS - 2010
I am lucky to be associated with these people. They are incredible teachers and scientists. said at AAS - 2010

Summer Visit - 2010 - LDM team
[student:] I figured we would simply insert the image and the computer would calculate all of our numbers for us. But we had to adjust many settings and use our expertise to find magnitudes for the galaxies. said at Summer Visit - 2010 - LDM team

Summer Visit - 2010 - LDM team
Real astronomy to me is working in a team. [...]But very important for "real astronomy" is that there is no ending. said at Summer Visit - 2010 - LDM team

Summer Visit - 2010 - LDM team
[The best thing about the trip was] working as a group and sharing the excitement of science. said at Summer Visit - 2010 - LDM team

Summer Visit - 2010 - LDM team
I was very surprised to discover the relative difficulty one deals with when trying to compare data from different telescopes/missions, each of which seem to have its own independent database using different software. said at Summer Visit - 2010 - LDM team

Summer Visit - 2010 - LDM team
[student] Everyone (students, teachers, scientists) seemed to enjoy the work and therefore it didn't seem to be work. said at Summer Visit - 2010 - LDM team

Summer Visit - 2010 - LDM team
[student] the stuff we are doing was not as hard as I was anticipating. said at Summer Visit - 2010 - LDM team

Summer Visit - 2010 - LDM team
Astronomy is an art. There is no obviously right answer, as in math, but instead more and less logical interpretations. Robots can therefore only work as data collectors, not data analyzers, for astronomy. said at Summer Visit - 2010 - LDM team

Summer Visit - 2010 - LDM team
It was really important that we discovered for ourselves the photometry problems associated with measuring an AGN. It was very important to see all the information related to our project come together in a continuous package. said at Summer Visit - 2010 - LDM team

Summer Visit - 2010 - LDM team
[The most important thing I learned was that] You have to double check everything you do always, because one slight mistake can throw everything off. said at Summer Visit - 2010 - LDM team

Summer Visit - 2010 - CG4 team
[student:] I always thought just from programs on tv and in the classroom that astronomy was more or less completely figured out. Learning that it isn't is pretty exciting. said at Summer Visit - 2010 - CG4 team

Summer Visit - 2012 - HR4AGN
The "real astronomy" we conducted was a process that included the exchange of ideas and mutual cooperation of others toward a common goal. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - HR4AGN

Summer Visit - 2012 - HR4AGN
[student:] [Real astronomy] is to find the mysteries of the Universe, and to solve the myriad problems that are there, and to solve them. I did it, and it was everything because on this visit we did a lot of work on Excel and it was just pure scientific research. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - HR4AGN

Summer Visit - 2012 - HR4AGN
[student:] The best thing about my experience at IPAC was getting to meet people from all around the country and seeing what it is like to work on a real research project in astronomy as I believe that is a career path I would like to pursue. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - HR4AGN

Summer Visit - 2012 - HR4AGN
[student:] [This experience] made me love [astronomy] even more. It gives me even more of a reason to become an astronomer. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - HR4AGN

Summer Visit - 2012 - HR4AGN
I spend a fair amount of time, just looking, enjoying, and observing the night sky. I have always thought that professionals somehow "use" the data that is generated by the bigger telescopes but our project has really given me a glimpse into the process, and how complicated that process can be. I can say that my respect for the professionals has increased quite a bit, especially given how hard a seemingly simple question can be to answer. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - HR4AGN

Summer Visit - 2012 - HR4AGN
This experience changed the way I think about astronomy. Before this program, I wasn't sure what astronomy entailed. Now, I think I have a better understanding of the work astronomers do, especially the complexity of their work. There are many facets of astronomy that I had never thought of before. [..] I guess my previous conception of astronomy was that it was mostly pictures, not physical data. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - HR4AGN

Summer Visit - 2012 - HR4AGN
[My advice to future participants is that] you will pick [up] the information faster than you think and before you know it you'll be talking like a scientist on the subject. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - HR4AGN

Summer Visit - 2012 - HR4AGN
My only impression of astronomers before this were essentially people in lab coats in a white lab looking at images from a large telescope, but that perception has changed greatly. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - HR4AGN

Summer Visit - 2012 - HR4AGN
The most surprising thing I learned was how astronomy works. I had assumed that it was all about doing large amount of complex mathematics and other number crunching. This trip gave me the impression that a far more wide array of skills and people are required. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - HR4AGN

Summer Visit - 2012 - HR4AGN
The passion astronomers have toward the subject is contagious. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - HR4AGN

Summer Visit - 2012 - HR4AGN
[It was not surprising to me that] the process of research and collaboration is not so easy; we are working through null results and that there can be times where it doesn't seem if there's any progress made, but we keep on trucking through the data anyway. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - HR4AGN

Summer Visit - 2012 - HR4AGN
[student:] This program really showed me that astronomy is not as much of a hands on science, which I have discovered I prefer. I still am quite interested in the field of astronomy, but I have realized that I would be more suited to possibly become a chemist because it is much more lab based. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - HR4AGN

Summer Visit - 2012 - HR4AGN
I hadn't realized astronomers spent so much time analyzing data (thought it was more automated) but after analyzing the data myself, I feel I have a better understanding of the analysis job, what it entails, and why humans must do it. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - HR4AGN

Summer Visit - 2012 - HR4AGN
[student:] I think [we did] scientific research because we are using the data to make graphs. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - HR4AGN

Summer Visit - 2012 - HR4AGN
The most interesting thing I did was organize data and actually understand what it meant. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - HR4AGN

Summer Visit - 2012 - HR4AGN
Before this experience, I thought astronomy [was] all about stars. Now, I believe, astronomy is about many things... Galaxies, stars, math... said at Summer Visit - 2012 - HR4AGN

Summer Visit - 2012 - HR4AGN
Throughout this experience I have already learned so much that has helped me in my teaching. I've gotten experience in a new area, gained confidence in my knowledge, and learned new analysis techniques. It has been refreshing and stimulating to be in constant conversation with people doing research in the field. As teachers, we can tend to become too comfortable in our day to day work and are at risk for losing creativity. This experience has forced me to look at something new and has inspired me to enrich and improve my classes. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - HR4AGN

Summer Visit - 2012 - HR4AGN
The most important thing was that I really got a feel for how astronomical research is done. I found the discussions really interesting as well; every time someone found a trend or a possible trend in the data, there would be a discussion as to what they had found and whether or not it meant anything. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - HR4AGN

Summer Visit - 2012 - HR4AGN
The best thing about the trip was being able to talk to professional astronomers and being able to understand every word they say. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - HR4AGN

Summer Visit - 2012 - HR4AGN
The best thing about the trip was having some of the incredible knowledge of all of these amazing astronomers rub off on me. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - HR4AGN

Summer Visit - 2012 - HR4AGN
I was surprised at how quickly the days flew by. This experience was completely engaging in every way. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - HR4AGN

Summer Visit - 2012 - HR4AGN
The most surprising thing [was that] I realized that the work that most of the astronomers do can be done by civilians who have the knowledge and know how to access data on the internet. It's fascinating that the internet offers such a rich database that most people don't know about. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - HR4AGN

Summer Visit - 2012 - HR4AGN
[It was surprising to me that] there wasn't any sort of 'checklist' like method or clear direction as to how to analyze the data after the first couple of graphs. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - HR4AGN

Summer Visit - 2012 - HR4AGN
More gets done in this week than in all the rest of the prior time leading up to the trip. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - HR4AGN

Summer Visit - 2012 - HR4AGN
The best thing about the trip for me was watching how much my students' learning had evolved over time. So much of what we have done so far had a really steep learning curve, and it was really great to see them communicate the details of our project at the end of the Caltech visit. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - HR4AGN

Summer Visit - 2012 - HR4AGN
From a teaching and mentoring view, I was happy to see and work with such motivated students and fellow educators. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - HR4AGN

Summer Visit - 2012 - ColdSpotz
There is so much more to Astronomy. I think this experience opened the eyes of the students to the various aspects of astronomy; one of the students was excited to learn she could incorporate her art into Astronomy. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - ColdSpotz

Summer Visit - 2012 - ColdSpotz
I always imagined astronomy as someone at the end of a telescope looking at the stars, but today's astronomer is at a computer controlling a telescope miles away on earth or in space. The data are collected in mass amounts and need lots of people to analyze it. The industry is drowning in data and not enough astronomers to use it. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - ColdSpotz

Summer Visit - 2012 - ColdSpotz
Real astronomy isn't just looking through telescopes with the naked eye anymore. It is really being accurate and precise and a lot of computer mathematics. I am glad I get to share this idea with students that this is what it is really like out there in the science and technology fields. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - ColdSpotz

Summer Visit - 2012 - ColdSpotz
Before I found out about how real astronomers work, I thought that as part of the research, we would have an hour or so where we would sit at a telescope and look for objects. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - ColdSpotz

Summer Visit - 2012 - ColdSpotz
This experience completely changed my views on astronomy. The biggest shock for me was when I found out that astronomer don't actually sit in an observatory and look out a telescope all day. It's gotten more complex then that now, but that image of a person in a white lab coat looking through a huge telescope was the image that used to pop into my head when I hear the word astronomy. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - ColdSpotz

Summer Visit - 2012 - ColdSpotz
Real astronomy is searching the sky and knowing we are not the center of the universe. That there is so much more out there than just stars and rocks. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - ColdSpotz

Summer Visit - 2012 - ColdSpotz
[This experience] showed me that astronomy is much more than looking at the sky. It is using formulas and images to figure just exactly what is out there in our universe. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - ColdSpotz

Summer Visit - 2012 - ColdSpotz
I did not expect to use the internet as much as we did. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - ColdSpotz

Summer Visit - 2012 - ColdSpotz
[student:] I always knew that astronomy was a bit more than just sitting around all night looking through telescopes, but I think it was really great to be able to see that there are so many different career paths and ways astronomy can be done. It made me realize that if I do decide to go into astronomy later on, that there are a lot of things I can do, whether it's dealing with computers, engineering, or traveling around the world. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - ColdSpotz

Summer Visit - 2012 - ColdSpotz
I think "real astronomy" is not simply about looking up at the sky and discovering new things, but having a passion for it and educating the public about what's really going on. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - ColdSpotz

Summer Visit - 2012 - ColdSpotz
I was surprised at the variety of approaches we would take in trying to identify sources (particularly those with sparse data). said at Summer Visit - 2012 - ColdSpotz

Summer Visit - 2012 - ColdSpotz
I had anticipated the stress and frustration of trying to push the students and data further than we had before. While I felt our students were well prepared, there was a lot of information which we needed to digest and incorporate into our workflow, and young students are not always that quick on their feet when it comes to complicated procedures or conceptual reasoning. However, I felt the students did great and the challenge was appropriate. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - ColdSpotz

Summer Visit - 2012 - ColdSpotz
I am so surprised that after working my brain for many hours each day, I could understand what [we were talking about]. While I am a teacher and love astronomy, I am not up on all of the terms, and even [the] concepts that we used so readily. I am surprised that my brain clicked over and got is quickly (relatively speaking) and that by the end of the week, I too was speaking in these ways. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - ColdSpotz

Summer Visit - 2012 - ColdSpotz
[student:] The most surprising thing that happened was the several occasions where I discovered that I actually understood what was going on. The little "ah ha!" moments were really exciting and unexpected for me, as the material was so complicated and so unlike anything else I had learned in school. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - ColdSpotz

Summer Visit - 2012 - ColdSpotz
I was a little nervous initially about working with people I had never met before, but it turned out to be so much better than I could have expected. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - ColdSpotz

Summer Visit - 2012 - ColdSpotz
The most surprising thing that I learned was that I could finally look at the data we were dealing with and make sense of it. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - ColdSpotz

Summer Visit - 2012 - ColdSpotz
I think the most interesting and important thing I learned was how this project was going to all come together. I finally understood exactly what we were doing and why. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - ColdSpotz

Summer Visit - 2012 - ColdSpotz
The best thing about this trip was watching the confidence level rise in each participant. [..] By the end of the week, my two students felt so much more confident in their Excel abilities that they were helping others write formulas to make calculations easier. It was also exhilarating to witness [the other] teachers gain faith in their understanding of the project, as well. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - ColdSpotz

Summer Visit - 2012 - ColdSpotz
[student:] I thought that the most surprising thing we did was doing things that we did not learn before we went to Caltech. Before we went I thought we were very well prepared and covered everything, but there was some stuff like looking at other telescopes that we didn't do before. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - ColdSpotz

Summer Visit - 2012 - ColdSpotz
[student:] The most important thing for me on this trip was listening to different astronomers talk about their careers, but this was important not because it made me want to be an astronomer, but because it made me confident in the fact that I didn't want to be one. Knowing that this wasn't my future and that my life didn't depend on the work I do in this program allowed me to enjoy the project we were working on as something I'm interested in, not something I have to be perfect at. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - ColdSpotz

Summer Visit - 2012 - ColdSpotz
[student:] The most important thing I learned is my new-found interest in astronomy and the sciences. After seeing JPL and Caltech, I realized that science is where I want to be in the future. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - ColdSpotz

Summer Visit - 2012 - ColdSpotz
I think the most important thing I learned on this trip is that there are so many ways to get involved in astronomy and science. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - ColdSpotz

Summer Visit - 2012 - ColdSpotz
The best thing about the trip was the entire experience. Working with a professional astronomer and learning completely new things was amazing. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - ColdSpotz

Summer Visit - 2010 - CG4 team
Of the many astronomy programs I've been associated with over the years, the NITARP program is the most authentic. Working side by side with Luisa, Russ and Varoujan allows teachers and students to learn what is "real astronomy" is. Many science teachers begin the year with a discussion of the "scientific method." Our group modeled just that -- Starting with a problem, researching background papers, submitting a research proposal, analyzing authentic data, and drawing conclusions models the scientific process in real life. said at Summer Visit - 2010 - CG4 team

Summer Visit - 2010 - CG4 team
[The best thing about the summer trip was] Watching hearing-impaired students guide their interpreters through their description of a newly discovered APT bug with the software developer Russ Laher was fascinating. They were able to accurately describe what they perceived was a problem and he was able to correct it on the spot. said at Summer Visit - 2010 - CG4 team

Summer Visit - 2010 - CG4 team
[The best thing about the summer trip was that] Personally, I felt like being at Caltech was like "See you can be in the thick of this!" kind of feeling of discovering new things. said at Summer Visit - 2010 - CG4 team

Summer Visit - 2012 - UBOKO
Regarding teaching, I will change how I teach stellar spectra. I haven't been emphasizing blackbodies enough, and I have been too focused on the kind of spectra you get out of a spectrograph. As I walked around at the AAS [last winter], I realized that SEDs are widespread (and not covered at all in most astronomy textbooks) and lightcurves are very common too. I will place more emphasis on these two topics in the future. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - UBOKO

Summer Visit - 2012 - UBOKO
I didn't really think of astronomy as having a deep basis in research until this trip. It was interesting to see this new side of astronomy. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - UBOKO

Summer Visit - 2012 - UBOKO
I thought astronomers were guys in lab coats looking at the stars. Now I realize that most of them are very silly and fun, wear cut off shorts, and spend time on computers during the day, instead of becoming completely nocturnal. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - UBOKO

Summer Visit - 2012 - UBOKO
Astronomers used to spend a lot of time looking through telescopes, and that is not the case anymore. It is a lot easier to get data these days (no more sitting on a platform keeping a guide star centered anymore), but there isn't as much connection to the sky. It is important for students to understand this. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - UBOKO

Summer Visit - 2012 - UBOKO
I was amazed how much the astronomers we met loved their jobs! It seemed as though everyone we talked to [...] was deeply passionate about what they were doing. From what I saw, astronomy truly seemed to be a field full of enthusiasm and genuine excitement for each new discovery, no matter how small. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - UBOKO

Summer Visit - 2012 - UBOKO
The most interesting moment to me was looking through the images of possible planetary nebula nuclei and actually finding one. The moment that the page loaded and the image came up, my partner and I exclaimed, "Whoa!" It was interesting to look at and a great experience. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - UBOKO

Summer Visit - 2012 - UBOKO
I [thought] that there would be more computer work, and more telescope operating. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - UBOKO

Summer Visit - 2012 - UBOKO
Many of our "ultrablue objects" turned out to be B and A stars. This was surprising to the scientists, and they were scrambling a bit on the first day to figure out how so many of these main sequence stars had infected our sample. It was neat to see how they handled things, and how ridiculously fast they recovered. I think my students appreciated this as well. What a great example for them to see! said at Summer Visit - 2012 - UBOKO

Summer Visit - 2012 - UBOKO
I expected the amount of work we had to do with the data, but I did not expect the amount of fun I had working with the data! I thought that it would be a boring, painstaking process, but in the end it turned out to be very exciting. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - UBOKO

Summer Visit - 2012 - UBOKO
[It is] not surprising but always jarring when the research plan doesn't go as planned and adjustments are made, or a redirection of purpose. I think it is actually an important piece of the process since students are used to having an known goal that they can reach if they follow directions. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - UBOKO

Summer Visit - 2012 - UBOKO
The best thing about the [summer] trip was being able to learn in a room where everyone wanted to be there and had the same level of excitement about astronomy. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - UBOKO

Summer Visit - 2012 - UBOKO
It was very rewarding to be able to talk with astronomers who were willing to answer my (many) questions. Educators rarely have an opportunity to talk to professionals to hone their knowledge base once they finish school. I'm afraid I grabbed them every chance I got! said at Summer Visit - 2012 - UBOKO

Summer Visit - 2012 - UBOKO
The trip was incredible. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - UBOKO

Summer Visit - 2012 - UBOKO
[The best thing about this summer trip was] working together with students on a project that didn't have an anticipated answer. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - UBOKO

Summer Visit - 2012 - UBOKO
Data-mining is more accessible to laymen than I had supposed. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - UBOKO

Summer Visit - 2012 - UBOKO
I didn't know just how much data is publicly available. Anyone can do astronomy - you just need to come up with a question and figure out how to use the archives. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - UBOKO

Summer Visit - 2012 - UBOKO
I knew nothing about the online archives before this experience. Now I am quite familiar with them, and I have even used them a few times for reasons unrelated to NITARP. I am certain I'll continue to use this resource going forward. said at Summer Visit - 2012 - UBOKO

Margaret (Peggy) Piper
My confidence level speaking to this vast assortment of astronomy professionals has risen significantly, and this translates directly to my ability to convey what I have learned and experienced -- to not only my students but other teachers and my community. said Margaret (Peggy) Piper

Stacy DeVeau
It was amazing being, not just an attendee of the conference, but a real part of it through the poster presentations. said Stacy DeVeau

Merrill Butler
Words can't describe my delight and gratitude to NITARP for the "over the top" experience at AAS 217th convention in Seattle. The breadth of conveyed knowledge, the phenomenal networking, the latest science discoveries, the business and career opportunities and the educational options were astounding. said Merrill Butler

Merrill Butler
[...]Needless to say this was an experience that I thoroughly enjoyed both for its educational value but also it invigorated me to become part of the greater message, which is the story of space and ground based "observatories" and the incredible infrastructure built by NASA and its commercial and institutional partners. Never in the history of this great science has so much data and use of incredible instruments been available to not just the scientific community but the general public as well. All one has to do is just ask! said Merrill Butler

Merrill Butler
Words can't describe my delight and gratitude to NITARP for the "over the top" experience at AAS 217th convention in Seattle. The breadth of conveyed knowledge, the phenomenal networking, the latest science discoveries, the business and career opportunities and the educational options were astounding. I must say that I was fully engaged every moment that I was at the convention. As you said at our seminar on Sunday, "You will be over stimulated and under caffeinated." I realize exactly what [you] were talking about. said Merrill Butler

Beth Thomas
I cannot say enough positives about the NITARP experience for the participating students. They have had the opportunity to learn and grow and see science applied in authentic research projects while working with some of the coolest scientists around! It has allowed me to grow as a teacher and researcher and be able to share my insight and newfound knowledge with students and peers. said Beth Thomas

Beth Thomas
I extend my appreciation and gratitude to all of those people and organizations who coordinated, funded, and have in any way supported this valuable program. THANK YOU! said Beth Thomas

Tim Spuck
It was very special to be in the room when the announcement of planet Kepler 10b (an estimated 1.4 X the size of the Earth) was discovered. I turned to my student Inga and asked, "How does it feel to be one of the first people on planet Earth to know about this discovery?" She replied, "I never thought of it like that ... it's pretty cool." said Tim Spuck

Sally Seebode
[At my first AAS,] I felt like I got to meet a lot of people and learn some cool things, and think about how to best educate people. It feels like a lot of people with a common goal, very connected and leaving was kind of sad, like separation. Other than my group, I did not run into another NITARP teacher after Sunday; I don't think I realized how big this conference was. said Sally Seebode

Sally Seebode
I was surprised how many people I now know after 2 AAS [meetings]. There were quite a few people who remembered me and were interested in talking with me. This was fun (I like talking with people) and disruptive as I did not make as many talks as I anticipated. said Sally Seebode

Diane Sartore
I can't wait to get started, and neither can my students! said Diane Sartore

Luisa Rebull
The teachers who I have met through NITARP are just amazing. I am continually impressed by how hard they work and how enthusiastically they learn. said Luisa Rebull

Elizabeth  Ramseyer
Turner and Kolb's Dark Matter/Dark Energy talk was a big hit with my students. They had many questions afterwards. [...] The information received in the lecture showed my students that there are so many more questions to answer in our Universe. I believe it also opened their eyes to the life of an astronomer/researcher. [...] I think it also was an invaluable experience for them to see that it is "ok" to ask questions. Questions are what drives science. [...] [I] will enjoy finding excellent tidbits [out of the materials I collected] to use in [my] classroom. said Elizabeth Ramseyer

Margaret (Peggy) Piper
How cool for the kids see a poster right next to theirs being presented by three university professors on one side and a graduate student on the other. said Margaret (Peggy) Piper

Margaret (Peggy) Piper
Our kids did a fantastic job of interacting with the many astronomers and educators that came to see our poster. They were poised and knowledgeable and handled questions with ease. I heard many compliments not only about the students explanation of our work, but also about the great job they did constructing their poster. said Margaret (Peggy) Piper

Margaret (Peggy) Piper
AAS 2012 was my third trip to a convention and it was a marathon event. I had a lot more commitments/connections this go-round which made the experience richer. I knew the lay of the land and was able to target areas I wanted to cover. I was also better able to help some of the newbies and my students find their way. My confidence level speaking to this vast assortment of Astronomy professionals has risen significantly and this translates directly to my ability to convey what I have learned and experienced to not only my students but other teachers and my community. said Margaret (Peggy) Piper

Vincent Pereira
To be the first group to perform such calculations is an experience of a lifetime. said Vincent Pereira

Caroline Odden
Astronomers are a remarkably collaborative lot. said Caroline Odden

Caroline Odden
Astronomers are a remarkably collaborative lot. I knew this, but I was amazed by how friendly everyone was [at my first AAS]. For the most part I was clear that I was a teacher, and they probably had nothing to gain by talking to me. For most people, this was not a deterrent. said Caroline Odden

Lauren Novatne
I really feel that NITARP is a gem of a program. said Lauren Novatne

Kate Meredith
This [first AAS] meeting was a reminder to me that I am an educator at heart. I felt at home at the education sessions, and found most of them very interesting. It was particularly valuable to hear about a variety of evaluation methods and find out that standards for effective evaluation had changed significantly over the years. I really enjoyed it when a session room was empty following a set of presentations giving ample opportunity to listen to other questions and ask some of my own. said Kate Meredith

Kate Meredith
The experience made a huge impression on [my students] and that was food for my soul. said Kate Meredith

Kate Meredith
Being there with my students was the most amazingly cool experience. I saw my two guys explode in their willingness to ask questions and express an opinion. said Kate Meredith

Kate Meredith
When I look at how the intellectual process changed over the last year I imagine it going from a diffuse look at research and the entire conference experience to the extreme focus on our own project during the year and finally reaching outward again in Seattle to incorporate new information and understandings. Returning to AAS made the experience complete. said Kate Meredith

Kevin McCarron
These are some talented and really fun people. said Kevin McCarron

Kevin McCarron
Attended Kepler announcement of the new planets. Later that day teachers who were actually teaching in my high school e-mailed me to tell me about the planets just discovered. I had to tell them I'd known about that for hours. I was there at the announcement by the scientists involved. said Kevin McCarron

Carolyn Mallory
Participation in NITARP for me is like a partial return to Grad School. Direct exposure to data is invigorating; applying knowledge newly acquired and thus understanding how part of the Universe works is why I entered the sciences! said Carolyn Mallory

Adam Keeton
[..]Students who are given the opportunity to do "real science" generally find a greater deal of success when it comes to understanding concepts (and at a deeper level). said Adam Keeton

Adam Keeton
They had found similar data to my own indicating that students who are given the opportunity to do "real science" generally find a greater deal of success when it comes to understanding concepts (and at a deeper level). I found this very satisfying. said Adam Keeton

Chelen Johnson
Of all the professional development programs in which I have been involved, NITARP continues to rank among the top few. The opportunity to work with a world-class astronomer and alongside teachers and students across the country on a real research project is amazing! said Chelen Johnson

Chelen Johnson
Of all the professional development programs in which I have been involved, NITARP continues to rank among the top few. The opportunity to work with a world-class astronomer and alongside teachers and students across the country on a real research project is amazing! Watching the project evolve from a seed of an idea in January into a two professional posters presented at the AAS the following January is fulfilling and satisfying. To think that eighteen people can work together over twelve months and thousands of miles is a true reflection of what authentic research is all about. said Chelen Johnson

Chelen Johnson
Standing by the poster nearly all day, my three girls described our [research]. To say that I was proud would be a gross understatement. said Chelen Johnson

Chelen Johnson
Wednesday was poster day for the Breck group. Standing by the poster nearly all day, my three girls described our search for young stellar objects in the CG4 region of the southern sky. To say that I was proud would be a gross understatement. Talking with Dr. Rob Gutermuth and Dr. J. Serena Kim, our collaborators, my students accurately talked about re-discovering six YSOs and discovering 19 other YSO candidates. Whew. I am still tired thinking about this. said Chelen Johnson

Vivian Hoette
My observation was that [our students'] ideas for their future expanded with the whole experience. That science became more than a class but an endeavor in which they could participate. said Vivian Hoette

Vivian Hoette
[...]It seems that becoming empowered in the language and the nature of inquiry and investigation was also life changing for our teacher participants. said Vivian Hoette

Vivian Hoette
[One of the other teachers with whom I've been working, now] sees herself as being able to teach science, [...], and wants to share this excitement and potential with others who are in deaf education who might never have thought that they could teach science, with the support of the science community and with the support of a network of science educators. So many educators who work with students who have special needs specialize in supporting the needs of the students rather than the core STEM subjects, so it seems that becoming empowered in the language and the nature of inquiry and investigation was also life changing for our teacher participants. said Vivian Hoette

Wendy Curtis
Because of my experience with NITARP, it has become clear to me that programming skills are essential for students entering scientific fields. My school does not currently teach programming, and I myself don't have a strong background in programming, but after I made this realization, I spent the summer of 2012 learning JAVA and Python and designing activities to teach Python to the juniors in my Physics classes. I've redesigned my Physics curriculum, and my students have now spent a total of about 3 weeks involved in programming activities, and will continue to do more throughout the year. This summer [2013], I plan to take more programming classes to improve my own background so that I can continue to implement new programming for my school. said Wendy Curtis

Peter Guastella
What was especially important to me as an educator was the way that the students planned their own schedule of listening to research presentations [at the AAS] and reviewing poster presentations. The students were very active participants in the conference and they took away an amazing amount of information and excitement. One parent told me that her normally quiet son spent the entire weekend relating stories of the experience to his family and friends. said Peter Guastella

John Gibbs
This has by far been the best professional development program I have ever been involved with. said John Gibbs

John Gibbs
We had a staff meeting this morning and the kids presented our research and shared our experiences to the entire staff. They did an outstanding job and many of our teachers have commented to me how impressed they were by what they did. One of our teachers (and MIT grad) asked a couple of good questions and commented afterward to me he was impressed that they could explain the answer (noting that they were not just number crunching). said John Gibbs

John Gibbs
Some of my students will be benefiting directly [from my AAS trip] as I currently have 7 students interested in being part of our research team for NITARP. My first day back from the conference I spent the class time sharing with them the exciting news regarding exoplanet research from Dr. Marcy's presentation on Monday as well as a discussion on YSOs and the likely direction that our project will take. said John Gibbs

John Gibbs
Having the opportunity to get new ideas from my peers and discuss projects, activities and strategies helps me to grow and keeps me from becoming stagnant in my teaching. Programs like this are like gold to me because the financial situation in the district in which I teach is such that there is no money available to send our faculty to national conferences. said John Gibbs

Debbie Kaiser
This experience convinced me even further that I can push myself to learn even more each and every day. I started out feeling very overwhelmed and unprepared last year. I forced myself to work through my unease and wound up much more comfortable. I learned that astronomers are much more down-to-earth than I envisioned a lot of them to be and so many of them are very willing to go out of their way to explain things when we have questions. said Debbie Kaiser

Debbie Kaiser
I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to participate in the NITARP program for the past year. I gained experience that I never thought I would be capable of, gained many new resources, and learned more that I ever expected. It has been a very unique and productive experience and I am proud of both the scientific research we accomplished and the educational aspects that were brought to our school systems. said Debbie Kaiser

Thomas Doyle
I was somewhat intimated at the prospect of working with Caltech scientists... however I found my first experience one that eased all my trepidations and instilled excitement for the work I will be doing. said Thomas Doyle

Cris DeWolf
I wanted to share this with you about one of the students I had on our team that explored star formation in Lynds dark nebulae (LDNs) [in 2008]. [He has since become involved with a big Air Force program at Michigan Tech in 2012.] [He] has often thanked me for getting him involved in NITARP research, having used that experience, in part, to get access to programs such as MTU's Aerospace Enterprise. said Cris DeWolf

Stacy DeVeau
I've attended many NSTA conference that focus on science education, but this purely scientific conference was an amazing opportunity. I gained a true appreciation for both the quantity and quality of research and work being conducted in the field of and astrophysics. [...]It made me feel like I was part of a community of learners with the same, or at least related interests. [...] said Stacy DeVeau

Richard DeCoster
My students were really impressed when I gave them just a summary of some of the stuff we did and saw [at the AAS]! said Richard DeCoster

Richard DeCoster
One of my students at Niles West had become interested in GRBs as we thought they were the results of mergers of black holes [but we learned this was wrong at an AAS plenary talk]. My student thought it was interesting that scientists could change their minds about how things worked. said Richard DeCoster

Richard DeCoster
Finally much of the [AAS 2009] invited talk by Eugene Churazov on Galaxy Clusters and Black Holes I found to be understandable because he used many equations from ideal gas laws that are familiar to high school teachers and their students. In talking with Dr. Churazov after his talk, he re-emphasized how far one could go on this topic with these familiar and seemingly simple equations. said Richard DeCoster

Wendy Curtis
I gave a presentation on my group's experience with NITARP at a dinner for about 100 members of the Waynflete School community[..]. The crowd was very impressed with the program and the idea of having students not only conduct authentic scientific research, but then also be able to present their findings to the scientific community. said Wendy Curtis

Wendy Curtis
I think this [AAS] trip is a crucial part of the program. I learned so much about the many different telescopes, enjoyed the historical presentations, and found the exposure to the more specific research to be beneficial, even if I didn't understand that much about the research itself. It was also a great chance to meet scientists as well as other educators. said Wendy Curtis

Merrill Butler
[...]..never have I attended an "industry" convention where the overall collaborative nature of the attendees is so strong. Everyone that I came in contact with was approachable and eager to answer questions or contribute some knowledge. said Merrill Butler

Chris Border
I had an amazing, exhausting time at the [2012] AAS meeting. I found myself continually challenged by the intellectual level and knowledge being shared. I was surprised and very encouraged to see a high proportion of people which are generally considered underrepresented in the sciences. That was a terrific take-home message for my students. It was an excellent experience all around, and gives me confidence that my team and I will be able to do a good job with our project and be great representatives of the NITARP program. said Chris Border

We're back from the Jan 2017 AAS and we had a grand time!