• IPAC

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:


  • My understanding of both is much deeper and more nuanced; informed at this point by direct experience.
  • [student:] I learned one very important thing about astronomy. I’d always had this romanticised picture in my head of astronomers gazing through telescopes at the night sky and making revolutionary discoveries left and right. Thus, this trip was a bit of a wake up call for me; I now know that astronomy involves a lot more spreadsheet work and data analysis before any life-changing discoveries can be made.
  • [student:] I think that the level of independence we were given was very good along with support, we weren't given the answers, but instead the materials to find them.
  • 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.
  • I cannot imagine a better opportunity for students to use actual data and work with a professional astronomer. Regardless of what kind of science a student wishes to pursue in the future, working with REAL scientists and REAL data will give them experiences that will prepare them for college and beyond.

AAS - 2017