• IPAC
Holly Bensel

Ms. Holly Bensel

Holly Bensel

St. Mary's School, Medford, Oregon

Grades or community reached

9, 10, 11, 12

Job Title

Science Teacher


Ms. Bensel is a  NITARP educator as part of the 2013 class.





  • As a result of my student Cody's work with NITARP, Cody is now working with Chris Crawford who developed a meteor counting system for NASA that was used on a plane in 1999. Cody and Chris are making an app for counting meteors that will take users' GPS position and uses that to do spatial analysis on the data.

  • I definitely felt more at ease at this conference than last years. [..] I was visiting with all kinds of people, retired Yale professor, grad student from Sicily, etc and not feeling out of place. It was great. I could approach others at the conference with more confidence which changes how I view professional astronomers. I think I could ask for advice on future projects more easily and confidently. I found it a very supportive environment.

  • [at the AAS,] I went to a talk on how university clubs were struggling with the same issues that I have at the high school level. Students are busy so even though they are interested there are time constraints and many times club meetings are the first things to drop when other time demands get in the way. I came out of it feeling like I am not alone or that I am not doing something wrong when students tell me they can’t make the meetings. Sometimes I thought I should be doing something different to keep students motivated. Apparently, clubs all over the US are struggling with this and it was nice to hear their stories and ideas.

  • I just think experiencing a conference of this size and magnitude is terrific.

  • I enjoyed meeting the students from the other schools. They were polite, articulate, and intelligent. I thought the teachers and parents had done a great job raising these kids and preparing them for the meeting. I hope my students are half as good.

  • One thing I learned from this meeting is I love my project. It is going to be very interesting and way cool!! I can’t wait to tell my astronomy club about it.

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The 2025 NITARP application is now available! Go here for the instructions. Applications are due by 3pm Pacific time, Friday Sep 13, 2024. (NOTE: contingent on availability of funds and AAS travel!)