- Management Update: Statement from the Director (April 7, 2021)07 Apr, 2021
- Observatorio de Arecibo recibe cartas de apoyo y aliento de estudiantes en la Florida01 Apr, 2021
- Arecibo Observatory Staff Receives Letters of Support and Encouragement from Schoolchildren in Florida01 Apr, 2021
- Reflecting on the Legacy and the Future of the Arecibo Observatory01 Apr, 2021
- Arecibo Hunts Down “Spider” Pulsars24 Mar, 2021
- Education and Public Outreach Highlights (January – March 2021)24 Mar, 2021
- UCF Graduate Course Dives Deep into the Science, Engineering, & Operation of the Arecibo Observatory 24 Mar, 2021
- Preparing for Human Exploration of Mars: Missions to Earth-based Analog Sites 17 Mar, 2021
- Inspiring the Future of Space Exploration 17 Mar, 2021
- New Research on Photocatalysts for Clean Energy and Clean Waters08 Mar, 2021
- CARLA Instrument Container Arrives at Arecibo Observatory03 Mar, 2021
- Arecibo Observatory Contributes to the Exploration of Black Holes Started by this Year’s Nobel Prize Winners in Physics19 Nov, 2020
- UCF Delivers Engineering Options for Arecibo Observatory (AO)16 Nov, 2020
- Management Update (October 12, 2020) by Director Eng. Francisco Cordova13 Oct, 2020
- Summer Student Assists in Development of Newest AO Facility01 Oct, 2020
- STAR Academy: Training the Next Generation of STEM Professionals 29 Sep, 2020
Byadmin29 September 2020 Education
The third semester of the AO STEAM Teaching at ARecibo (STAR) Academy kicked off on Saturday, August 29th, 2020.
The 16-week program is for high school students from across the island of Puerto Rico, designed to develop problem solving and research skills while building a strong foundational understanding of math, science, physics, and engineering, with a focus on planetary radar science.
This semester is all virtual and has featured a series of inspiring guest speakers including:
- Ellen Ochoa, engineer, former NASA astronaut, and first Hispanic woman in space
- Emily Calandrelli, host of the new Netflix show Emily’s Wonder Lab
- Abel Méndez, Director of the Planetary Habitability Laboratory and Professor at the University of Puerto Rico Arecibo
- Jorge L. Herrera, Computer Engineer at the Arecibo Observatory
- Gerardo Morell, PR Nasa Space Grant Consortium Director and Professor at University of Puerto Rico Río Piedras
- Ángel Acosta, Director of the Physics and Chemistry Department at the University of Puerto Rico Arecibo
- Junellie González Quiles, PhD student at John Hopkins University, NSF Graduate Research Fellow, and Arecibo Observatory Space Academy Alumni
- Edgard G. Rivera Valentín, Staff Planetary Scientist at the Lunar and Planetary Institute
“For the STAR Academy students, meeting our invited guests is a big opportunity that takes them by surprise,” explained Mr. Bradly Rivera, STAR Academy Mentor. “These guests are world-renowned scientists, engineers, and educators, who the students might otherwise see as unapproachable or unthinkable to meet.”
Each Saturday, the invited STAR Academy guests discuss their research and share their experience working in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
“Representation does matter, even though it’s something that we struggle with in STEM fields.” Mr. Rivera continued, “Our students grew up in a world where being a scientist is portrayed as something impossible for most, especially if you’re from underrepresented populations.”
“As teachers, mentors, and scientists, it’s our job to change this perspective and to promote greater inclusiveness in STEM fields,” he added, though he acknowledged that true changes to the science education system requires collaborations that include not only educators, but also scientists, outreach specialists, policy makes, and scientific institutions such as The Arecibo Observatory.
We’re truly grateful to all the guest speakers that have voluntarily visited STAR Academy so far, and those that will visit the academy later on during the semester. Their visits truly provide meaningful experiences for the students" - Mr. Bradly Rivera, STAR Academy Mentor
Connecting with some of the influential guests may serve as a first step. “We’re truly grateful to all the guest speakers that have voluntarily visited STAR Academy so far, and those that will visit the academy later on during the semester. Their visits truly provide meaningful experiences for the students”
This semester thirty-three students were selected for the STAR Academy from over 180 applications. “I hope the students will gain research experience and a knowledge base that not only helps them to do better in college, but also to clear their thoughts on what they want to do in the future, and thus give them more time and intellectual resources to find their passion and follow it,” said Dr. Anne Virkki, Principal Investigator of the STAR Academy.
“I hope the students will gain research experience and a knowledge base that not only helps them to do better in college, but also to clear their thoughts on what they want to do in the future, and thus give them more time and intellectual resources to find their passion and follow it,” -Dr. Anne Virkki, Principal Investigator of the STAR Academy
Mr. Rivera agreed, stating, “I hope that the students are able to see themselves as scientists and as individuals that are important to society and its future.”
The STAR Academy is funded by NASA through the Arecibo Observatory planetary radar program grant awarded to UCF and is administered by the Universidad Ana G. Méndez (UAGM). It continues the legacy of highly successful high school educational programs run by the observatory, including the Arecibo Observatory Space Academy (2013 - 2017) and the Saturday Academy Program (2011 - 2013).
Article written by Dr. Tracy Becker - AO Collaborator / SwRI Research Scientist
Exec. Director of the Science & Visitor Center
Keywords: observatory, arecibo, STAR, radio, telescope, teachers, education, outreach, workshops,