It's been a busy few weeks for what is going to become an official non-profit organization devoted to student astronomical research, publication, STEM development, expansion, and so much more! InStAR has recently filed for non-profit incorporation through LegalZoom and we anticipate that this paperwork and filing process will be finished before the end of Calendar Year 2017. The InStAR team decided that independent, non-profit incorporation is the logical way to go if we want a well-coordinated, systematic, and funded expansion of the Astronomy Research Seminar throughout the U.S. As a reminder, the goal of InStAR and the Seminar is to give 2- and 4-year college students immersive, team-based research experiences through the reduction, analysis, interpretation, and publication of astronomical data. This will hopefully not only encourage students to pursue research and technical careers, but also help them to better understand the scientific process and become more engaged, informed, and critically thinking citizens.
At the same time as the incorporation process, we are: 1) reaching out to astronomical observatories willing to donate observational time so we can obtain large amounts of astrometric and photometric data (asteroids, double stars) for future student research teams, 2) developing the InStAR logo, 3) continuing to plan for a kick-off meeting for Arizona educators to learn about, and adopt, the Seminar at Arizona colleges, 4) scheduling a trip to Washington, D.C., to investigate funding and collaborative possibilities, 5) continuing to contact colleagues across the U.S. who may be interested in adopting the Seminar, and 6) continuing to develop our website (https://www.in4star.org). It's a very dynamic time and we are excited to have a core team that is committed to this vision that will be a part of keeping the U.S. at the forefront of science, research, and technological innovation in the coming years and decades.
If you or your organization are interested in learning more about InStAR and sponsoring our efforts, please send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.