• IPAC

Summer Visit - 2019 - IDYL

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 IDYL team came to visit in July-August 2019. The 4 core team educators attended, plus 5 students.


  • This week changed the way I think about astronomy quite a bit and that's sorta what I wanted out of the program when I applied. I'm used to teaching intro astronomy from a textbook and using a lot of simulations as lab activities, but rarely using real data (even in canned activities). My experience [...] a few years back gave me a taste of astronomy research. That is, I got the chance to see data being gathered [...] However, that was where the experience ended. I did not have the opportunity to see how the data was processed or turned eventually into a research paper. This NITARP experience has been a nice complement to my [past] experience and may be a stepping stone for me to do additional research in pursuit of an advanced degree.
  • I appreciate knowing that astronomers celebrate their “geekiness” and their families. I believe that point alone squelches many preconceived notions. Not only did it change how I understand astronomers but how others understand astronomers. The look on people’s faces when I talk about the Caltech astronomer and how *she* is guiding us through the research process, is extremely telling. I think it is easy to point the finger at others when they profile astronomers as “old white guys in lab coats” but I am afraid I may have also held that misinformed preconceived notion.
  • My favorite thing about this kind of work is the ways that different people demonstrate mastery at different moments in ways that you can’t predict ahead of time.
  • It hasn’t really changed the way I think about astronomy but it has given me a much larger appreciation for all the work that goes in to the research that astronomers do on a daily basis.
  • The best thing about the trip was the ability to work with my NITARP group in person. Yes, it was a lot of work. Yes, the down time was minimal at best but we all learned from each other in a very (very) supportive, yet guided, learning environment. I know that I would not have understood the process or the product as well by working through conference calls.

Summer Visit - 2019 - IDYL