We want to broaden access to this kind of science, giving more students opportunities to use real science-grade equipment and learn research skills in ways that will help them through the STEM pipeline, whether they want to follow astronomy or some other pathBruce Macintosh – Director, University of California Observatories
STARs is a major effort to expand Lick Observatory’s Bay Area education and outreach programs. STARs will positively impact Bay Area learners and educators at all levels, engaging them in authentic astronomy learning and research activities. This effort will simultaneously benefit Lick Observatory by engaging a diverse community of student-scientists in working with the observatory’s telescopes, increasing the academic output of the observatory.
- Expanding mountaintop and “sea level” education and outreach activities, engaging the larger Bay Area community in astronomy. This includes building partnerships with K-12 schools, 2- and 4-year colleges and universities, and informal learning venues such as museums and libraries across the Bay Area.
- Engaging Bay Area colleges in working with the research facilities at Lick Observatory, expanding access to the Lick Observatory telescopes, and refurbishing dormitories on Mount Hamilton.
- Training astronomy graduate students and postdoctoral researchers in effective teaching and mentoring strategies through the Institute for Scientist & Engineer Educators, and engaging them in STARs educational activities.
UCO’s Institute for Scientist and Engineer Educators (ISEE), which received a presidential award for excellence in STEM mentoring, will provide training for the teachers, graduate students, and postdoctoral scholars participating in the STARs programs, in addition to providing expertise in curriculum development and assessment. ISEE Director Lisa Hunter and her team will lead STARs in the short term as the observatory spins up the new programs and begins hiring permanent staff.