• IPAC
John Gibbs

Mr. John Gibbs

John Gibbs

Glencoe High School, Hillsboro, Oregon

Grades or community reached

9, 10, 11, 12


Mr. Gibbs went through NITARP in 2011 and is back as a mentor educator for 2013 and 2014.





  • NITARP is an outstanding opportunity for teacher professional development through participation in authentic astronomy research. If you are a science or math teacher, I would encourage you to apply. It was the best professional development program I have been involved with in my 30+ years of teaching.

  • NITARP is the best professional development (PD) program I have participated in and I have participated in many PD programs.

  • NITARP is a phenomenal opportunity. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done in terms of professional development. It’s fun working with teams from across the county.

  • NITARP has greatly changed the way I view my astronomy course. Since I have participated in NITARP my astronomy course has become much more focused on the “how do we know what we know about stars” and my students spend quite a bit of time in class analyzing spectra, doing photometry and estimating distances through the use of real data. While the “real” research opportunity through NITARP is left as an after school club activity, all of my students have benefited from my involvement in NITARP.

  • Thanks again for this amazing opportunity. I really hope it can continues even in light of the difficult financial times. It would be a terrible loss if it went away because it feels a very specific niche that is not met by any other program I have seen.

  • [...] this was my fourth AAS and lot of what I was doing was catching up with people I knew from before, although I did feel like I was pulled in many different directions: old team, new team and students.

  • I think the best part about the trip and NITARP as a whole is the chance to do authentic research and learn the methods and techniques used to tease as much information out of the data as possible. It still amazes me (and this is what I try to instill in the students in my astronomy classes) that we can learn so much from a tiny point of light if we are just clever enough to know how to look at it.

  • As a mentor teacher it was really valuable for me to have the opportunity to go through the process again. It is such a packed four days. I remember getting back home last time trying to go back and review and relearn much of what we did. This time I feel like I have a much better grasp of what we are doing and where we are going with the work. There are still things that I need to spend more time with to understand them more fully, but I definitely feel much better about the material this time around.

  • Overall, I think one of my favorite parts of the trip was watching all of the students from around the country bond into a very productive team. They would help each other through the work we were doing to make sure everyone understood and was at the same place.

  • This has by far been the best professional development program I have ever been involved with.

  • We had a staff meeting this morning and the kids presented our research and shared our experiences to the entire staff. They did an outstanding job and many of our teachers have commented to me how impressed they were by what they did. One of our teachers (and MIT grad) asked a couple of good questions and commented afterward to me he was impressed that they could explain the answer (noting that they were not just number crunching).

  • Some of my students will be benefiting directly [from my AAS trip] as I currently have 7 students interested in being part of our research team for NITARP. My first day back from the conference I spent the class time sharing with them the exciting news regarding exoplanet research from Dr. Marcy's presentation on Monday as well as a discussion on YSOs and the likely direction that our project will take.

  • Having the opportunity to get new ideas from my peers and discuss projects, activities and strategies helps me to grow and keeps me from becoming stagnant in my teaching. Programs like this are like gold to me because the financial situation in the district in which I teach is such that there is no money available to send our faculty to national conferences.

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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!)