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

January 2014

New Program 'The Graduate Student Speaker Series' (GS3) Launches
The Graduate Student Speaker Series (GS3) is a newly-launched program that has been created as an extension of two Northwestern programs: Reach for the Stars and Ready, Set, Go. In this program, Northwestern Ph.D. candidates visit local high schools to present their cutting-edge research to small groups of STEM teachers, answer questions, and discuss ways to incorporate the research content into the high-school classroom. GS3 hosted a kick-off event at Maine East High School on February 6th. All high school STEM teachers were encouraged to join to learn about the exciting research being done at Northwestern across many STEM disciplines.


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 (OSEP)

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.