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Paper: Using Telescopic Observations to Mentor High School Students in STEM
Volume: 443, Earth and Space Science: Making Connections in Education and Public Outreach
Page: 284
Authors: McLin, K. M.; Cominsky, L. R.
Abstract: Over the past two summers (2009 and 2010) the NASA EPO Group at Sonoma State University (SSU) has sponsored local high school students in a summer science internship program at the University. The students, chosen from Sonoma County high schools in a competitive selection process, work in various science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields throughout the School of Science and Technology at SSU. The two interns sponsored by the EPO Group each summer monitor active galaxies using GORT, the NASA/Fermi-sponsored optical robotic telescope operated by the Group. They are mentored in their projects by EPO Group personnel and by SSU undergraduates who have experience with the telescope. The students learn about the sky, telescopes and the active galaxies they observe. They also learn how to make telescopic observations and how to reduce the CCD images obtained. Interns also participate in weekly meetings with other interns working on different projects around campus. At the end of the summer all the interns present their research results at a symposium held on campus.The symposium is attended by the interns themselves, their parents, their high school science teachers, and university faculty and administrators.The program has had a positive impact on how our interns view science, and specifically on their view of astronomy, as reported by the interns themselves in the first two years of the program.
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