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AAS - 2017

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 2016 and 2017 NITARP teams attended the 2017 January AAS meeting in Dallas, TX. The 2016 class was presenting results and the 2017 class was starting up. We had many alumni raise money to come back as well. We sent about 50 people to the AAS and had a grand time. Please see the special article on NITARP at the AAS. All of the posters we presented are here:


Quotes

  • 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?
  • [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.
  • 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.
  • [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.
  • [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.

AAS - 2017