2009 Annual Science Report

University of Hawaii, Manoa Reporting  |  JUL 2008 – AUG 2009

EPO Activity: HI STAR Summer Program: June 2009

Project Progress

The 2009 HI STAR program has the goal of developing astronomy research skills in 12-16 year old students and having them conduct Science Fair quality projects so they will pursue STEM majors in college. Our student participants followed the rigorous schedule with enthusiasm and focus. Since all but 4 had astronomy background through our workshops or individual pursuits, they grasped challenging concepts on blackbody radiation and other physics ideas central to astronomy. Our eight astronomer mentors had all developed group projects that their mentee students could conduct. After working for 10 hours with their mentors, the students spent more time completing their projects. Group presentations on comets, extrasolar planets, asteroids, galaxies, sunspot cycle, nebulae and stars were done to showcase their projects. Two 2008 HI STAR students returned to be student aides. Mimi Hang just completed her freshman year and before starting her research fellowship at Space Science Institute in Baltimore, served as a counselor and comet project mentor. Travis Le, who just completed 9th grade and went to 2009 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, mentored a 7th grade Molokai student for an exoplanet project. Students received certificates at the banquet. Those from 2008 who had 2009 Science Fair awards were recognized since they were returnees. Currently, contact has been made with 10 students who are working with mentors on project for comet, asteroid, circumstellar disk of stars, nebula and extrasolar planets. Since a Molokai student moved to Colorado and wanted to continue working on her project, a telecom with her and her Maui student partner and their astronomer mentor here in Honolulu was arranged and action plan formulated. We expect a greater percentage of HI STAR students completing projects for Science Fair in 2010. We follow up with HI STAR alumni regarding their college majors. Only six have graduated high school since we focus on 12-16 year olds as shown in Table 1 and Table 2 gives some HI STAR demographic information.