• IPAC

Summer Visit - 2014 - HG-WELS

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 HG-WELS team came to visit in July 2014. The core team educators attended, plus 10 students.



  • [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.
  • [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.
  • 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.
  • [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.
  • 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.

Summer Visit - 2014 - HG-WELS