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REACH 2023 sessions see highest attendance to date

REACH Core Group 2 visits the Dearborn Observatory

Research Experiences in Astronomy at CIERA for High School Students (REACH), a highly interactive, 3-week program (with an optional 3-week extension) offers high school students experience with real astronomy research in an atmosphere of team-style learning, hands-on training, and mentorship from professional scientists. Along the way, participants discover a whole group of new people who share the same interests.

The 2023 sessions wrapped up last month with greater than ever participation, up nearly 50% from 2022 in both the core REACH program and the REACH Further extension. The program also saw an increase in students who identify as an underrepresented minority in STEM (27%), or as women or non-binary (63%). The Brinson Foundation provided over $40,000 in tuition assistance, benefiting 16 participants.

This summer 41 high school students from around the world and 34 CIERA members took part in this 2-session program from June 12th to August 18th. Students participated in astronomy lessons covering topics from cosmology and exoplanets to science communication and astronomy-powered career paths, while also learning Python computer programming using the REACHpy GitHub tutorial and Google Colab. A record 17 of these students went on to take part in REACH Further, a 3-week extension where they worked one-on-one with a CIERA astronomer mentor on an independent research project, culminating in a presentation of their work. Students reported large gains in their python programming skills, research ability, and confidence in pursuing a STEM-related field.

Congratulations to all of the students who participated in the summer research program and thank you to all of the graduate students, faculty, and staff who helped make this program possible!

Quotes from Students
  • “This was so fun and this work is so important to the lives, futures, and careers of the newest generation! Please never forget the impact that this work can have on our lives beyond just three weeks.”
  • “Thank you so much for organizing this amazing program and for allowing me the opportunity to learn so much about coding, astronomy, and what a future in STEM research might look like!”
  • “Meeting and learning from new people was my favorite part of the program. I loved hearing about the CIERA researchers’ experiences and making new friends.”
Program Staff
  • Michael Stroh – Co-Director, Computational Lead
  • James Schottelkotte – Co-Director
  • Fulya Kiroglu – Brinson Mentor, Computation Lesson Development and Instruction
  • Elena González – Brinson Mentor, Reach Further Mentor Lead
  • Nycole Wenner – Programs Coordinator
  • Kari Frank – CIERA Director of Operations
  • Christine Ross – Program Assistant
  • Darsan Swaroop Bellie
  • Anna Childs
  • Shinjan Dutta
  • Saarah Hall
  • Ben Hyatt
  • Emma Kaufman
  • Fulya Kiroglu
  • Chang Liu
  • Miguel Martinez
  • Liam O’Connor
  • Jillian Rastinejad
  • Jonathan Roberts
  • Kyle Rocha
  • Huei Sears
  • Philipp Srivastava
  • Elizabeth Teng
  • Rachel Zhang
Additional instructors/helpers
  • Daniel Campos
  • Erin Cox
  • Alexa Gordon
  • Nathalie Jones
  • Charlie Kilpatrick
  • Dean Kousiounelos
  • Shane Larson
  • Dennis Lee
  • Caroline von Raesfeld
  • Ethan Rengifo
  • Pedro Rodríguez
  • Imran Sultan
  • Jason Wang
  • Caitlin Witt