• NASA
  • IPAC
Kate Meredith

Ms. Kate Meredith

Kate Meredith

  • Yerkes Observatory, University of Chicago, Williams Bay, Wisconsin
  • Trempealeau, WI area schoools, Trempealeau, Wisconsin (when in NITARP)

Grades or community reached

Other Educators, General Public: Amateur, General Public: Museum


Bio

Ms. Meredith was among the first NITARP teachers. She writes:

I wasn’t one of those people who woke up at the age of five with a passion for astronomy, but I am one of those restless souls who either continues to learn new things and work on the edge of her understanding or gets bored. And my greatest motivation for learning anything is the joy of teaching and creating learning environments and experiences that work for everyone.  What could be a better fit than astronomy?

At the age of thirty, I returned to my hometown to teach earth and environmental science in the same school I had attended and where I had done my student teaching after completing my masters degree in natural resources. Though not my original intent, I couldn’t resist returning to the classroom.   My mentor and friend at the middle school challenged me to take on an astronomy elective because he was building an observatory at the school’s natural area.  I knew the phases of the moon, and that was it! I didn’t quite say “yes,” but, before I knew it, he connected me with a local retired astronomy professor and I was running night classes.

NITARP was one of the pivotal experiences on this journey that expanded my abilities from a teacher who could effectively engage students in studies of celestial motion, constellations, and scale models of the solar system to one who could manage deep dives into research.  I would have never reached the understanding of the power of a trip to a professional meeting had I not had the structured support that NITARP provided.  Today, I am blessed to have the position of my dreams as Director of Education Outreach at Yerkes Observatory where we are focusing on creating accessible astronomy and STEM and computing science experiences for learners of all abilities. Every night is a new sky.

 

Yerkes Observatory Education (YEO)  programs reach students grade 3 - 12 as well as undergraduates.  YEO also offers astronomy, STEM and computing experiences for students and community members with visual and hearing disabilities.  Yerkesoutreach.org


Teams


Events


News

  • IDATA October 1, 2016

    Both Mr. Spuck and Ms. Meredith are part of Innovators Developing Accessible Tools for Astronomy (IDATA), which has just been funded by the NSF. They are working with a user centered design process to create astronomical data processing software that is accessible to blind and low vision students and scientists.  See http://yerkesoutreach.org/IDATA

  • January 2014 updates for Ms. Meredith January 7, 2014

    Ms. Meredith is working on a project to reorganize and update the formal education materials that use data and images from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey.  Ms. Meredith gave a presentation at the AAS about these SDSS educational materials. The new Voyages website will begin formal pilot testing in June of this year.  Contact her for more information.

  • NITARP 2012 proposal review April 9, 2012

    The regular NITARP 2012 teams submitted research proposals. Several NITARP alumni helped review their proposals. 

  • April 2011 updates for Ms. Meredith April 15, 2011

    Ms. Meredith has been giving some informal talks to astronomical groups, local teacher in-service days, and the teacher groups at Yerkes about the information in their project. She put together a video presentation for the iCollaboratory symposium.

  • February 2010 updates for Ms. Meredith February 15, 2010

    Kate got some media coverage associated with her participation in NITARP!

  • January 2010 updates for Ms. Meredith
  • New 2010 Class October 1, 2009

    The 2010 class has been selected!


Quotes

  • NITARP was one of the pivotal experiences on this journey that expanded my abilities from a teacher who could effectively engage students in studies of celestial motion, constellations, and scale models of the solar system to one who could manage deep dives into research. I would have never reached the understanding of the power of a trip to a professional meeting had I not had the structured support that NITARP provided. Today, I am blessed to have the position of my dreams as Director of Education Outreach at Yerkes Observatory where we are focusing on creating accessible astronomy and STEM and computing science experiences for learners of all abilities. Every night is a new sky.

  • There was purpose to my wandering. [..]Last year [the AAS] was logistically and culturally educational, this year was truly informative. I felt much less out of place.

  • ...the most interesting thing I noticed this year [at my second AAS] was that I spent much more time seeking out, listening to and talking about science than I did about education itself.

  • Being there with my students was the most amazingly cool experience. I saw my two guys explode in their willingness to ask questions and express an opinion. ... They were enthusiastic and energetic about the science. I was totally amazed by how their attendance made them reflective about the year and enthusiastic about science. ... They were amazed to hear other scientists say "Well, I understood half of that talk," and they repeatedly heard astronomers make jokes about research itself - the not knowing, the knowing and then getting proven wrong, etc. The experience made a huge impression on them and that was food for my soul.

  • EVERYTHING had a different flavor this year [in my second AAS]. ... I experienced everything through the lens of the research project of the past year. ... I was far more focused on the "what ifs" and "what next" of the process. ... When I look at how the intellectual process changed over the last year I imagine it going from a diffuse look at research and the entire conference experience to the extreme focus on our own project during the year and finally reaching outward again in Seattle to incorporate new information and understandings. Returning to AAS made the experience complete.

  • This [first AAS] meeting was a reminder to me that I am an educator at heart. I felt at home at the education sessions, and found most of them very interesting. It was particularly valuable to hear about a variety of evaluation methods and find out that standards for effective evaluation had changed significantly over the years. I really enjoyed it when a session room was empty following a set of presentations giving ample opportunity to listen to other questions and ask some of my own.

  • The experience made a huge impression on [my students] and that was food for my soul.

  • Being there with my students was the most amazingly cool experience. I saw my two guys explode in their willingness to ask questions and express an opinion.

  • When I look at how the intellectual process changed over the last year I imagine it going from a diffuse look at research and the entire conference experience to the extreme focus on our own project during the year and finally reaching outward again in Seattle to incorporate new information and understandings. Returning to AAS made the experience complete.

View all program quotes

The 2018 NITARP application is now available! Go here for the instructions and here to actually upload your PDF file. Applications are due by 3pm Pacific time, Tuesday September 19, 2017.