• IPAC

Summer Visit - 2013 - C-CWEL

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

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


  • [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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • [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.
  • [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.

Summer Visit - 2013 - C-CWEL