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UW Hosts Astronomy Experience for Students from Across the Nation

Six students from colleges and universities across the nation are on campus for the next 10 weeks to study astronomy through an NSF-REU grant. From left are Daniel Dale, professor and chair of UW’s Department of Physics and Astronomy; Katie Lester, Erica Keller, Emily Rolen, Jamie Burk, James Chapman and Eric Topel.

Six undergraduate students from across the country will come together to study astronomy at the University of Wyoming.

According to the University, six undergraduate students will have the opportunity to venture out at night and explore the stars at either the Wyoming Infrared Observatory on Jelm Mountain or Red Buttes along Highway U.S. 287. The UW release goes onto say students will also learn how to work in a team environment, learn scientific programming, data analysis, and improve their public speaking skills.

“This provides students a firsthand understanding of what it means to be a scientist,” says Daniel Dale, a professor and chair of UW’s Department of Physics and Astronomy. “This experience will inform them of what they want to do for the rest of their lives.”

The University says this special program was made possible due to a three-year, $200,000 National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates (NSF-REU) grant UW locked up. The University adds that this is a great opportunity for young college students to get the opportunity to learn about astronomy and what skills are involved to be a scientist.

“These are excellent students, but with not a whole of research experience,” says Dale, who is the grant’s principal investigator. “We look for students with an enthusiasm for research in Wyoming, in particular.”

The release goes onto say the six students were chosen out of 200 applicants from across the nation. According to the University, the six students are as follows:

Branchburg, N.J. — Katie Lester, junior, astrophysics, Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa.

Dudley, Mass. — James Chapman, sophomore, math and physics, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams, Mass.

Lakewood, Wis. — Erica Keller, sophomore, astronomy, Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Mass.

Louisville, Ky. — Emily Rolen, sophomore, physics and astronomy, Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn.

Peoria Ill. — Eric Topel, physics and math, St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn.

Virginia Beach, Va. — Jamie Burke, sophomore, astrophysics and classical studies, Swarthmore College in Swarthmore, Pa.

Keller says “I was looking for an internship that has a lot of observing, which this does, I want to go into astronomy and research.”
Burke stated “the outdoor opportunities seem cool, You have a nice, high-quality telescope here. It will be nice to do high-quality research.”

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