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Space & Planetary Sciences

The Arecibo Observatory also hosts a STAR for Teachers program where participants receive professional development in the field of science, with the purpose of preparing teachers so that they are able to provide hands-on activities that facilitate, promote, and strengthen the learning experience of students in the STEM classroom.

Program Outcomes

Pre-College Research Experience

The program develops on solid foundations of science, physics, mathematics, and engineering, but no previous background is assumed. Coding skills are developed through the program with the purpose of data analysis. Students are expected to be engaged in a classroom focused on promoting an environment of critical thinking and problem solving through the scientific method, with the main focus of providing a pre-college research experience to all students.
Opportunities for Students

Outreach and Scientific Communication

As part of the program, once a year, one of the members of the STAR Team and a selected STAR participant will travel to attend either the annual Lunar and Planetary Science Conference or the AAS Division of Planetary Sciences Conference, or related conference or workshop, to present and participate in the engagement effort, disseminate program results, and present the results of the programmed evaluations. The STAR staff will select the student at their discretion, taking into consideration a variety of factors.

About the Program

The Angel Ramos Foundation Science and Visitor Center at the Arecibo Observatory (ARFSVC) has been focused in internationally disseminating the importance of the Arecibo Observatory and the science that is done here with the second largest and most powerful radio telescope in the world. Through the years ARFSVC has been in charge of communicating to the public audiences, including students, educators, the media, and the public, about our importance as a science and research facility. The STAR Academy is funded as a part of NASA's Near-Earth Objects Observation program grant for the Arecibo Observatory planetary radar program awarded to the University of Central Florida. The program is administered by Universidad Ana G. Méndez.

Since 2018, dozens of teachers have become part of one our programs that promotes the development of STEAM education, and contributed to the professional development of teachers in the field of science. The purpose of this project is to train science teacher with hands-on activities and techniques to facilitate and strengthen the teaching and learning process of STEAM in the classroom of Puerto Rico. This project has provided teachers with activities that can be developed in their classrooms that will motivate students and get them interested in science and postgraduate studies in STEM-related areas.

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Due to the need of more young talent interested in STEM careers, and as part of our mission of contributing actively in Puerto Rico’s education, we have developed the STEM Teaching at Arecibo for students (STAR). In order to continue highlighting science, training, and inspiring the scientists of the future, the Arecibo Observatory is offering to a total of thirty (30) high school students, the opportunity to be part of the story of the most powerful and sensitive radio telescope in the world. The program runs on a semester basis (spring and fall), each for a period of 16 weeks, staring on fall 2019 and continuing until spring 2022 Students can be part of an intensive research based academy that will help them develop all the required skills to be one of the best future scientists in the world. This initiative incorporates the three main sciences of study at Arecibo and expects to engage the public in planetary radar science, in a classroom focused on promoting an environment of critical thinking and problem solving through the scientific method. As part of the program, once a year, one of the members of the STAR Team and a selected STAR participant will travel to attend either the annual Lunar and Planetary Science Conference or the AAS Division of Planetary Sciences Conference or related conference or workshop, to present and participate in the engagement effort, disseminate program results, and present the results of the programed evaluations.

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To be eligible to participate in the STAR Academy students must comply with the following minimum requirements:
  • Be a 9th to 12th grade student living in Puerto Rico.
  • Have a GPA of 3.0 or more.
  • Demonstrate enthusiasm for STEM.
  • Be proficient in talking, reading, and writing in English.
  • Own a computer with access to internet.
Compliance with all minimum requirements does not guarantee selection of participation in the STAR Academy.

Applications to the STAR Academy are complete online only. To successfully complete the application you must upload the following documents and the following information:
  • Profile picture (2"x2"): Pictures provided must uphold to professional standards. No selfies will be accepted as profile pictures.
  • Information of two references: The required information about references are full name, telephone number, email, and institution of employment. References provided could be from teachers, instructors, academic counselors, among others. Family members are not considered references for the purpose of this application.
  • Personal Essay: The personal essay must be written in English. In this essay, the student must express his/her interest in participating in the STAR Academy, his professional aspirations in STEM related careers, and how would his/her skill set benefit the overall program.
  • Academic Transcript: Unofficial transcripts and grade cards can be accepted for the purposes of the application process. However, if a student is selected to participate in the STAR Academy, he/she will have to provide an official transcript upon request.
  • Resume/CV: The resume/cv needs to reflect the academic experience and skill set that the student possess. After school activities, clubs, and organizations participation are highly suggested to be included in the resume, even if they are non-STEM related. Leadership experience and participation in other STEM programs is highly valuable in the resume/cv.

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Applications for the Spring 2020 semester are open until Jan 2,2020. Early application is highly encouraged. Before you start your application, please read the Application Instructions for Students Section.


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