• IPAC

AAS - 2014

The Winter American Astronomical Society (AAS) meeting is the largest meeting of professional astronomers in the world. NITARP educators attend an AAS first to meet their team, then they go home and work remotely for much of the year, and then attend an AAS to present their results.  At any given AAS, then, we could have two NITARP classes attending - those finishing up, and those getting started. Reload to see a different set of quotes.

The 2013 and 2014 NITARP teams attended the 2014 January AAS meeting in National Harbor, MD (outside of Washington, DC). The 2013 class was presenting results and the 2014 class was starting up. We had a lot of alumni raise their own money to come back as well. We sent about 75 people to the AAS and had a grand time. Please see the special article on NITARP at the AAS. One of our participants, Peggy Piper, participated in a Congressional briefing on Thursday! All the posters we presented are linked from the team's pages below, except for HG-WELS and SIRXS, because they are the two new teams.


  • [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.
  • 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.”
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • [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.

AAS - 2014