Institute for Astronomy Home
IFA Home Page   |    Search   |    Other Editions    No. 25 - 2007 
  All Articles  


REU Program Has Another Successful Year

by Jonathan Williams, REU Coordinator

The 2008 REU students.

The 2007 REU students gathered under the banyan tree in the IfA courtyard after presenting their work to the Institute in August. Front row: Julie Krugler, Taylor Chonis, Catherine Whiting, James Haynes, Julia Baldauf, Dylan Nelson, and Shaye Storm. Back row: Ashley Nord, Julia Fang, Kirsten Larson, Kathryn Williamson, and Jennifer Harper.

The Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program continued for its seventh straight summer. Ten students from across the country, and two from Europe, spent 10 weeks at the IfA carrying out individual research projects under the supervision of a faculty member. This year, for the first time, we expanded to the Big Island, with four students working at IfA Hilo.

In addition to their research, all 12 students attended an observing run on one of the Mauna Kea telescopes. They presented their work to the Institute in a one-day symposium at the end of the summer. The students have now returned to their home institutions, but many will reunite at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Austin, Texas, to present a poster paper with their results.

Jim Heasley started the REU program at IfA in 2001. To date, we have had 64 participants from 52 universities and colleges, including 4 from Hawaii. Most have since entered a PhD program in astronomy, physics, or another scientific area. Tim Slater, an educational expert from the University of Arizona, has followed the program since its inception and has found that it has had a significant impact in helping students with career decisions and in increasing awareness of the astronomy program at the University of Hawaii.

We are now on our second grant from the National Science Foundation. It runs through 2008, and I have applied for a three-year renewal grant.