2010 Annual Science Report

University of Hawaii, Manoa Reporting  |  SEP 2009 – AUG 2010

EPO Activity: HI STAR Alumnus at 2009 AAVSO Meeting

Project Progress

2007 HI STAR student, Mimi Hang, now a college student at Mt. Holyoke College in Massachusetts, shared her 2009 summer research conducted at Space Telescope Institute in Baltimore at the Fall American Association of Variable Star Observers meeting. After writing her own program using Python software, she searched for circumstellar disks around young stars found on infrared images taken with Spitzer Telescope. Her skills learned during high school had well prepared her for this summer fellowship as an intern. Everyone enjoyed listening to a young person so passionate about astronomy research. She demonstrated how rewarding it would be for a mentor to make a difference in someone’s life. EPO lead Mary Kadooka then encouraged this audience of amateur and professional astronomers to mentor middle and high school students on research projects. She discussed how the HI STAR summer program uses the process of recruiting students interested in astronomy, developing their image processing skills and having them work with mentors on projects curing the school year. She gave the example of the owner of DeKalb Observatory, Donn Starkey who was recruited at a 2006 AAVSO meeting and has been mentoring HI STAR students for several years. It was emphasized that follow up with the students is critical. They need encouragement to pursue science and its challenges. Also, letters of recommendation for college and summer research applications supports the students to be successful in their pursuit of a science career.