- Leter from Dr. Julie Brisset (Principal Investigator of the Arecibo Observatory)13 Sep, 2022
- Arecibo Deputy Principal Scientist to Explore the Cosmos with the JWST02 Sep, 2022
- Letter from the Director22 Aug, 2022
- Piercing through the Clouds of Venus with Arecibo Radar17 Aug, 2022
- Summer greetings from the Facilities and Operations Team!17 Aug, 2022
- Arecibo Observatory at the Small Bodies Assessment Group12 Aug, 2022
- Meet the 2022 Arecibo Observatory REU students!11 Aug, 2022
- Meet Luis R. Rivera Gabriel, Research Intern in the Planetary Radar Group09 Aug, 2022
- Updates from the 2022 CEDAR Workshop in Austin, TX09 Aug, 2022
- Insights into the AAS Conference from AO Analyst Anna McGilvray08 Aug, 2022
- American Astronomical Society’s 240th Meeting: Plenary Lecture Building the Future of Radio Science with the Arecibo Observatory by Dr. Héctor Arce. 28 Jul, 2022
- TRENDS 202227 Jul, 2022
- Advancing IDEA in Planetary Science 27 Jul, 2022
- The Arecibo Observatory: An Engine for Science and Scientists in Puerto Rico and Beyond27 Jul, 2022
- Cryogenic Frontend work for the 12m telescope entering phase II21 Jul, 2022
- Remote Optical Facility Updates20 Jul, 2022
The STAR Academy is an extracurricular, semester-long program for High School students at the Arecibo Observatory (AO). It was established in the Fall of 2019 with the main goals of: (1) contributing to the scientific development of Puerto Rico through high quality educational experiences for High School students; and (2) providing students from diverse backgrounds access to high quality STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, mathematics) education.
The curriculum for the STAR Academy was created by Bradly Rivera during his time at AO in the Research Experience for Teachers (RET) program. An important component of the program is developing how the students develop their scientific identity.
According to Mr. Rivera, the focus on scientific identity is important because a person’s identity is intrinsically related to their culture, and their culture can influence the subjective values assigned to specific tasks or goals.
The STAR Academy is inspiring students to pursue STEM careers. In a survey where 84 students have participated:
• 89.5% of the students that were currently in high school indicated that they plan to pursue a career in a field related to STEM.
• Out of those that were already at the university level, 87.5% indicated that they are enrolled in a field related to STEM.
• Using a Likert-scale of 5 points to report how influential STAR Academy was on their decision, 61.9% selected highly influential, 34.5% influential, 3.6% neutral, and 0% not influential or highly not influential.
This table shows the mean pre- and post-test scores of the students participating in each semester of STAR Academy, as well as the sample size (N) and standard deviation (SD).
Each semester, 1-2 projects have been selected to be presented at a relevant scientific conference. This experience has a significant impact on students’ academic and scientific identity.
After running the STAR program for six semesters, Mr. Rivera concludes that being exposed to an environment where everyone can - and is encouraged - to do science serves in favor of the student’s scientific identity development. The STAR team finds that, through the combination of representation and active learning, it is possible to deconstruct social and cultural expectations and beliefs on what it is to be a scientist.
STAR students present their projects for the AO staff and STAR students and mentors.
The STAR program is sponsored by NASA grant #80NSSC19K0523. You can find the presentation by Bradly Rivera, which contains this information and more, here:STAR Academy Presentation
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Keywords: arecibo, observatory, star, academy, stem, education