• 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.


  • [student: The most surprising thing] is that I am learning to use these complex tools and programs.
  • 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.
  • [student: This experience changed the way I thought about astronomy.] Very much so – I figured out it is a competitive field, it really is fun, it is very different than the science we do in school (in a good way).
  • [student:] 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.
  • 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.

Summer Visit - 2013 - C-CWEL