The Astronomy Research Seminar conducted at Miramar College aims to expose community college students to professional level research. This involves going through the process that scientists do, such as writing and presenting a proposal, taking and analyzing the data, writing and going through the peer-review process of a paper, and giving a talk to the community. Students develop skills in written and oral communication, critical thinking and instills mental fortitude as they go through the Seminar. In addition, being able to cite, write, and discuss the Seminar immensely helps community college students stand out in their university transfer and internship applications.
The current implementation of the Seminar at our college is somewhat informal, through honors credit. Students who wish to earn honors credit inform their instructor, and their instructor informs the site mentor. The Seminar is 16-weeks long and mandatory in-person weekly meetings are held in a research group/business format. During these meetings, students are expected to discuss describe their deliverables, provide updates on their progress, and get direction from the mentor.
The Boyce Research Initiatives and Education Foundation (B.R.I.E.F.) supports our students and allows them to access to software, handle their observation requests, and, thus far, Miramar College has successfully offered the Seminar for one full academic year (two semesters). In that one year, a total of four papers have been accepted for publication. All students who applied for college transfer were accepted to their intended university and were also able to secure future internship opportunities in STEM fields.
The Seminar is currently trying to expand, both internally and externally. Internal expansion involves improvement in methods, research goals, and developing new material. External expansion involves working with our administration to making the seminar more sustainable, which involves securing funding and making it an official transferrable course. Below are photos of Miramar students who have successfully completed the Seminar.