About Reach for the Stars

Reach for the Stars: Computational Models for Teaching and Learning in Physics, Astronomy and Computer Science is a GK-12 program funded by the National Science Foundation, with support from CIERA and Northwestern University.

This NSF program places STEM graduate student fellows in K-12 science classrooms for the academic year with the goal of enriching their education and strengthening their development as researchers by advancing their communication and teaching skills. The fellows work in partnership with a collaborating teacher to bring more inquiry-based teaching methods into the classroom and to further expose K-12 teachers and students to the research process. Through Reach for the Stars, GK-12 fellows will adapt concepts of computational thinking and actual computational modeling tools from their research work to classroom activities connected to the existing math and science curriculum.

News and Announcements

April 2015

Katie Page Receives the 2014-2015 Dr. Elizabeth A. Ennis Innovator Award
Congratulations to Reach for the Stars Teacher Fellow Katie Page, for receiving the 2014-2015 Dr. Elizabeth A. Ennis Innovator Award! Katie works with graduate student Sam Hadden.

March 2015

Matthew Rickert Presents at National Science Teacher's Association
Reach for the Stars Alumni Matthew Rickert gave a presentation to high school science teachers from across the country. Matthew encouraged teachers to pan around outer space with their students via the WorldWide Telescope, demonstrating the ways WWT brings the planetarium experience to a computer screen. In addition, Matthew introduced a variety of astronomical data that can be used in the classroom.

A copy of Matthew's slides is available both in PowerPoint format and as a PDF.

Past News Items

Leadership Team

Vicky Kalogera (CIERA)

Vicky Kalogera received her Ptihio (B.S.) in Physics in 1992 from the University of Thessaloniki in Greece and her Ph.D. in Astronomy in 1997 from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In 1997 she joined the Harvard-Smithsonian...more.

Michelle Paulsen (CIERA)

Michelle Paulsen is the Program Director and co-investigator for Reach for the Stars. She has over 15 years of experience in science education. She began her career as a science teacher at Deerfield High School where she taught...more.

Kemi Jona (OSEP)

Kemi Jona has worked at the forefront of the e-learning and online learning fields for many years. He has worked with leading universities—including Carnegie Mellon, Cornell, Columbia, and Northwestern—on the design, development, and...more.

Laura Trouille (CIERA)

Laura grew up in Evanston, IL and is extremely grateful for the opportunity to give back to the community that was so supportive of her interest in science. She knew she wanted to pursue astronomy in particular after her ...more.

Darren Gergle is an Assistant Professor in the departments of Communication Studies and Electrical Engineering & Computer Science at Northwestern University. He is also a member of the Center for Technology and Social Behavior. Gergle advises...more.

“RftS has opened up a whole new world in my physics classes. Before participating in this program, I did not know what computational modeling was, and I did not know how to do any computer coding. Through lesson planning with my graduate fellow, I have learned how to code a little bit, and how to apply that code to introduce computational thinking. Without RftS, I would not have the dynamic and important lessons my students have now had the opportunity to learn.”
– Katie Page
Physics Teacher at Prospect High School