The University of Hawaii Maui College is planning to introduce the Astronomy Research Seminar in Fall 2018. The target audience will be local high school and college students who are interested in pursuing Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM) majors. The goal of the Seminar is to give students a chance to understand what scientists do, namely gathering, analyzing, and publishing data. Maui College has four telescopes on campus capable of taking digital images.
This will provide students with opportunities to do in-person real-time observations. Students will collect their own data on clear nights, process the data using the data reduction software in the astronomy lab, and work with their teammates to analyze the data and produce the final paper. The course will consist of face-to-face meetings once a week. This will ensure that the students have a three-hour block of time each week to work with each other on the project.
The course will be taught by Jenny Shih. Ph.D., with the help of J.D. Armstrong from the Institute for Astronomy. We are currently working with Russ and Cheryl Genet to integrate the course material with the Maui College Learning Management System (LMS). We are expecting to try the course out on a small group of ~ 5 students in the first semester. Below are images of the Maui College laboratory and telescopes as they prepare to introduce the Seminar during the Fall 2018 semester.
Fall 2018 Update
The first Astronomy Research Seminar at Maui College started on August 21, 2018, with a team of four students. Two of the students are undergraduates from Maui College, and two are from local high schools. The students were introduced to double star astrometry and they chose to followup on neglected doubles. They will obtain data from the campus observatory at Maui College and the Las Cumbres Observatory. The students in this team come from a wide range of backgrounds, but they've been working very well together!
About the Instructor
Jenny Shih, Ph.D.
Jenny Shih is the astronomy instructor at Maui College. She obtained her Ph.D. from the University of Hawaii – Manoa. Shih's doctoral research focused on the connection between supermassive black holes and galaxy evolution. She was a postdoc at the Gemini Observatory from 2014 - 2016, and joined Maui College in August, 2016.