Space & Planetary Sciences

STAR Academy for Students

Program Outcomes

STAR Academy is an intensive semester-long educational program designed to encourage high school students to pursue careers in STEAM. It focuses on providing opportunities to those who are curious about or have decided to enrolled in such fields in the future. This academy strives to teach students how to research and develop projects, and how to incorporate art and creativity into their scientific queries. Experts in these fields visit the classroom to share their stories and demonstrate what their work entails. Coding skills are developed throughout the program to introduce students to data analysis. Activities and assignments are also part of the curriculum to reinforce the material provided in the classroom.

Opportunities for Students

Outreach and Scientific Communication

At the end of the term, a student is selected to attend a professional conference, such as the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference or the AAS Division of Planetary Sciences Conference, to present their research project. Their participation is an additional effort to disseminate their results and it allows students to meet and network with other STEAM professionals.

About the Program

The Angel Ramos Foundation Science and Visitor Center at the Arecibo Observatory (ARFSVC) has been focused on highlighting the importance of the Arecibo Observatory and its invaluable work throughout the years. STAR Academy is funded as a part of NASA's Near-Earth Objects Observation Program grant. It was awarded to the University of Central Florida under the Arecibo Observatory Planetary Radar Program. The STAR Academy is administered by Universidad Ana G. Méndez.

Our Gallery

Since 2018, dozens of teachers have become part of one of our programs that promotes the development of STEAM education, and contributed to the professional development of teachers in the field of science. The purpose of this project is to train science teacher with hands-on activities and techniques to facilitate and strengthen the teaching and learning process of STEAM in classrooms across Puerto Rico. This project has provided teachers with activities that can be developed in their classrooms. These are intended to motivate students and get them interested in science and postgraduate studies in STEM-related areas.


Due to the need of more young talent interested in STEAM careers, and as part of our mission of contributing actively in Puerto Rico’s education, we have developed the STEAM Teaching at Arecibo for students (STAR). In order to continue highlighting science, training, and inspiring the scientists of the future, the Arecibo Observatory is offering to a total of thirty (30) high school students the opportunity to be part of the story of research center. The program runs on a semester basis (spring and fall), each for a period of 16 weeks, first introduced in fall 2019. Students can be part of an intensive research based academy that will help them develop crucial skills for their future STEAM careers. This initiative incorporates the three main sciences of study at Arecibo and expects to engage the public in planetary radar science, in a classroom focused on promoting an environment of critical thinking and problem solving through the scientific method. As part of the program, once a year, one of our participants is selected to travel and attend either the annual Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, the AAS Division of Planetary Sciences Conference or another related conference, to present their research project and participate of the activities offered.


To be eligible to participate in the STAR Academy, students must comply with the following minimum requirements:
  • Be a 9th to 12th grade student living in Puerto Rico.
  • Have a 3.0 or higher GPA.
  • Demonstrate enthusiasm for Science and Space.
  • Be proficient in English speaking, reading, and writing.
  • Own a computer with access to internet.
Compliance with all minimum requirements does not guarantee selection.
1. A virtual interview will be conducted to test genuine interest on astronomy and research, as well the English proficiency.
2. Students should be available to stay at the Arecibo Observatory (for free) for one weekend during February (dates will be announced later), as part of the academy.

Applications to the STAR Academy are submitted online only. To successfully complete the application you must upload the following documents and the following information:
  • Profile picture (2"x2"): Pictures provided must uphold to professional standards. No selfies will be accepted as profile pictures.
  • Two references: Letters of recommendation must be accompanied by referee's full name, telephone number, email, institution of employment. References can come from teachers (English, Science or Math are preferred), instructors academic counselors, among others. Family members are not considered references for the purpose of this application.
  • Personal Essay: The personal essay must be written in English. In this essay, the student must express his/her interest in participating in the STAR Academy, his professional aspirations in STEM related careers, and how would his/her skill set benefit the overall program.
  • Academic Transcript: Unofficial transcripts and grade cards can be accepted for the purposes of the application process. However, if a student is selected to participate in the STAR Academy, he/she will have to provide an official transcript upon request.
  • Resume/CV: Is is highly encouraged to include participation in after-school activities, clubs, and other student organizations even if they are non-STEAM related. The resume/CV needs to reflect the academic experience and skill set that the student possess. After school activities, clubs, and organizations participation are highly suggested to be included in the resume, even if they are non-STEM related. Leadership experience and participation in other STEM programs are valuable additions.
  • We strongly recommend you submit your general information first before gathering the required documentation

NOTE: Notice that all letters of recommendation and supporting documents should be submitted by the registration deadline.

Apply Now


Applications for the Spring 2023 semester are open until Jan 9th, 2023. Early application is highly encouraged. Before you start your application, please read the Application Instructions for Students Section.

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