• IPAC

Summer Visit - 2019 - Dust Mights

The summer visit to Caltech is 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 Dust Mights team came to visit in July 2019. The 4 core team educators attended, plus 5 students.


  • We were all so different from each other, yet all so open to each other, all so open to making mistakes in front of each other, all so open to the messiness of true learning in front of each other and our kids. This was important and interesting.
  • [student:] The most surprising thing for me was the fact that NITARP is truly, to my knowledge, a great example of an actual research opportunity. I say this because with every other school-based trip I’ve done, there’s always been a strict itinerary that told us where we would learn, what we would learn, who we would learn with, etc. But, NITARP was different than those other trips in a way where I felt more independent which, again to my knowledge, is a perfect representation of a real research opportunity.
  • We had so much fun looking for interesting ways to parse the data to look for interesting subsets of our data to investigate. You could actually feel the excitement in the room.
  • [student:] This completely changed my view of astronomy and astronomers because I had this unrealistic idea that they just sat in an observatory all day looking at planets and stars and wrote down what they found, published it, and called it a day.
  • [student:] Real astronomy is a lot of work. It takes a lot of effort to learn and know what you need to do. It also takes a lot of creativity. It amazes me that we were able to figure out not just how to do things, but what to even do next. I expected to have to figure things out, but it was really interesting to have to figure out what to figure out.

Summer Visit - 2019 - Dust Mights