Past News


February 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.

February 2015

Graduate Student Speaker Series nears capacity for 2015 programing
The Graduate Student Speaker Series. (GS3) has a few remaining openings for presentations at local high school science departments. Please contact Michelle Paulsen (m-paulsen@northwestern.edu) to schedule an event.

 


January 2015

Meagan Morscher wins Block Award
Reach for the Stars Alumni Meagan Morscher won the Martin and Beate Block Award for her presentation at the Aspen Center for Physics' winter conference on Black Holes in Dense Star Clusters. The Block award is given to one promising young physicist at each winter conference, in honor of the founder of the winter conference series, Martin Block. Meagan began her training in science communication in 2010 as an inaugural member of the Reach for the Stars program, to which she returned in 2013 in a leadership capacity and founder of the Graduate Student Speaker Series.


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.


December 2013

Michelle Paulsen Contributes to Science Communication Conference
Michelle Paulsen, director of CIERA's "Reach for the Stars" program, was invited to the #GradSciComm workshop at the National Academy of Sciences; this workshop brought together 30 science communication leaders to explore ways to incorporate science communication training into STEM graduate education. Taking place on December 5th and 6th, this conference focused on new ways to improve the communication skills of graduate students to non-technical audiences. The NSF-funded Reach for the Stars program fits well with this goal: it helps graduate students build strong communication skills through their work with teachers in K-12 classrooms.


July 2013

Reach for the Stars Invited to Springfield for One-Day Workshop
Six of CIERA's Reach for the Stars teachers and graduate fellows were in Springfield, Illinois, on Friday August 9th to run a one-day computational modeling workshop for middle and high school teachers. The group was invited to give this workshop to share the materials they have developed as part of CIERA’s NSF GK-12 program.


May 2013

Reach for the Stars participants Michelle Paulsen (Program Director) and Ami LeFevre (Teacher Fellow) contributed to the writing of “The Power of Partnerships: A Guide from the NSF GK-12 Program”. This guide, compiled by the National Science Foundation, provides effective practices for creating STEM based projects and programs. K-12 teachers and administrators will be able to turn to this guide as a reference point for creating their own GK-12 science, technology, engineering, and mathematics programs. The National Science Foundation gathers information from across the country to capture the knowledge and experiences from more than 10,000 graduate students, 1,000 principal investigators (university faculty), 300 project evaluators, and 12,000 K–12 teachers. Michelle Paulsen co-authored Chapter 9, entitled "Evaluating Projects". Ami LeFevre contributed to Chapter 3, entitled "Effective Recruitment and Selection Strategies for GK-12 Fellows and Teachers". Additionally, a featured item on Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky's visit to Northwestern's appears in Chapter 10. The complete guide is available online.


Nearly 70 Chicago-area Student Research Projects Featured at Northwestern
CIERA's Reach for the Stars contributed to the 6th Annual Northwestern University High School Project Showcase on May 20, 2013. This event was hosted by The School of Education and Social Policy’s Office of STEM Education Partnerships (OSEP) and took place in the Norris University Center as part of Northwestern University’s Undergraduate Research and Arts Exposition. Throughout the day nearly 70 Chicago-area high school students showcased posters of their research projects. The students each created their projects as part of the project-based math or science curriculum at their school or through an independent student research course or club. Some even created them as an entirely independent project. Scientists and professionals from Northwestern adjudicated projects; the event wrapped up with an awards ceremony. The winners were Barrett McCabe for “The Effects of a Hydroponics System on the Growth Rate of Tanacetum cinerariifoium in Comparison to Traditional Soil Agriculture” in life science; Sean Hickey for “The Use of Activated Sludge Process in the Bioremediation of Heavy Metal Contamination in Drinking Water” in environmental science; Connor Kotte for “Variations in the Duration of Sleep in Danio rerio in Response to Changes in Melatonin Levels” in human biology; and Dekonti Davies from Walter Payton College Preparatory High School for “Trench Etching in MOSFETs” in physical science. Winners in the two curriculum project categories were Leandro Padilla for the critter project and Jessica Molloy-Garcia, Richard Guzman, Carlos Anguiano, Mari Hernandez for the Florida school project.This showcase has been an important component of Northwestern's, OSEP's, and CIERA's goal to encourage students to explore hands-on, inquiry-based STEM learning. Learn more about the event here.


On May 13th, Reach for the Stars held “Computational Thinking and Mathematical Modeling”, a workshop that drew 35 middle and high school teachers and administrators from across the Chicago Public School District. This free, all-day event addressed questions such as: What are Computational Thinking and Mathematical Modeling? How are these skills utilized by university researchers? How can they be taught as part of the existing high school science and mathematics curricula? Are they already being taught? These questions were explored by speakers from Reach for the Stars, Net Logo and CT-STEM who specialize in a variety of areas including Astronomy, Physics, Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, Physical Science, Earth Science and Computer Science. The workshop included presentations on the role Computational Thinking and Mathematical Modeling play in the Next Generation Science Standards, and break-out sessions where participants had the opportunity to choose from an assortment of small group presentations. Attendees left with a new set of ideas and tools with-which they can more effectively teach students various math and sciences.


April 2013

CT Workshop At this year’s meeting of the American Chemical Society, Michelle Paulsen, program director for Northwestern’s GK12 program, and Kristin Labby, GK12 alumna, gave invited talks. In Paulsen’s talk, “Reaching for the stars: Forming and maintaining partnerships between universities, schools, and the community”, she highlighted the lessons learned in building connections to local schools, outlined possible expansions of those partnerships, and gave examples of the work done by PhD students in GK12 classrooms as part of Northwestern’s “Reach for the Star” program. Labby’s talk,“Introducing medicinal chemistry research to middle school students: a multi-faceted approach from a GK-12 experience”, focused on specific examples of her partnership with Pamela Sims, a middle school science teacher in Chicago, and how other institution might adopt such a program.    View their poster >here<


February 2013

CT Workshop
Congratulations to
Michelle Paulsen, named Scientist of the Month for February 2013 by the Association for Women in Science in Chicago! Michelle is the Director of Reach for the Stars, an NSF funded GK12 program that is a joint collaboration between CIERA and OSEP, the Office of STEM Education Partnerships. The article focuses on Michelle's work with GK-12, her enthusiasm for education, and her work to help increase the effectiveness of science communication through Ready, Set, Go, the TGS STEM Communication Fellowship program.
Read about Michelle Paulsen and her work with education, science, and her contribution to the science community on the Association for Women in Science - Chicago website.


December 2012

CT Workshop
Michelle Paulsen
(Northwestern's Reach for the Stars Program Director) organized a 3 hour workshop to update Chicago-area teachers on the new 'Computational Thinking (CT) and Computational Modeling' components of the Next Generation Science Standards on November 17th. Laura Trouille, CIERA fellow and Adler Astronomer, was one of the panelists for the discussion hour of the event. Physics graduate student and Reach for the Stars fellow Scott Mayle, along with a number of other former and current Reach for the Stars fellows, presented their CT-SEM curricular materials during the final hour. For more information on the event, click here. For more information on Northwestern's Computational Thinking in STEM curricular materials and teacher professional development opportunities, click here.


Madison Fitzpatrick teaching
Stephanie Sunata, a Medill Journalism student visited the Frederick Von Steuben Metropolitan Science Center, a CPS high school, to see Reach for the Stars in action. She came to see graduate fellow Madison Fitzpatrick (PhD candidate, Civil Engineering) introduce computational modeling tools to Aimee Karagiannis' environmental science class.


September 2012

The Office of STEM Education Partnerships (OSEP) and the Evanston Township High School (ETHS) are the proud recipients of the 2012 Catalyst award, presented by the Evanston Chamber of Commerce at the 3rd annual Evanston MashUp. The award is given for stengthening the ties between Northwestern University and Evanston.


CIERA and Reach for the Stars are partners with OSEP, bringing the exciting STEM teaching and research being done here at Northwestern to K-12 teachers and students in Evanston and beyond. OSEP made a video which tells the story of the collaborative partnership between Northwestern University and Evanston Township High School (ETHS). You can watch the video by clicking here.


May 2012

Evanston/Skokie CC School District 65 mentions Reach for the Stars on page 6 of their May 2012 newsletter, featuring Emily Wolin and Marie Breitenstein!


Scott Mayle teaching
Scott Mayle gives kids from Niles West High School a tour of the Department of Physics and Astronomy.


Kristin Labby teaching
Kristin Labby gives kids from The Nettelhorst School a tour of Silverman Hall.


March 2012

Daniel Sinkovits recently introduced a lesson to the students of Evanston Township High School on Janus particle molecular dynamics.


February 2012

Reach for the Stars works with Oak Park River Forest High School to Enhance STEM Education.


Joseph Warfel presented lesson plans based on stochastic allocation and routing models for food bank operations at a summit for administrators and 6th-12th grade STEM teachers.


Madison Fitzpatrick teaching
Meagan Morscher
demonstrated the benefits of advanced algorithms in solving the gravitational N-body problem at a Computational Thinking workshop for 7th-12th grade STEM teachers.


May 2011

The Big Ten Network filmed a segment on GK-12 PI Vicky Kalogera and the cutting edge black hole research done at the Center for Interdisciplinary Exploration and Research in Astrophysics (CIERA). The producers then followed “Reach for the Stars” Fellows Meagan Morscher and Ben Farr to Evanston Township High School to film Ben with his students and teacher GionMatthias Schelbert. Watch the video here


Northwestern University president Morton Schapiro and Evanston mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl got a glimpse of the benefits of a unique new collaboration between the University and local schools this week. They watched Northwestern graduate students teach Evanston Township High School (ETHS) students about cutting-edge scientific research as part of Northwestern's Reach for the Stars program in local schools. Continue reading at the SESP website


November 2010

Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky visited Evanston Township High School to learn more about the new collaboration between ETHS and Northwestern University through the Reach for the Stars program. Read more here.


ation skills through their work with teachers in K-12 classrooms.


July 2013

Reach for the Stars Invited to Springfield for One-Day Workshop
Six of CIERA's Reach for the Stars teachers and graduate fellows were in Springfield, Illinois, on Friday August 9th to run a one-day computational modeling workshop for middle and high school teachers. The group was invited to give this workshop to share the materials they have developed as part of CIERA’s NSF GK-12 program.


May 2013

Reach for the Stars participants Michelle Paulsen (Program Director) and Ami LeFevre (Teacher Fellow) contributed to the writing of “The Power of Partnerships: A Guide from the NSF GK-12 Program”. This guide, compiled by the National Science Foundation, provides effective practices for creating STEM based projects and programs. K-12 teachers and administrators will be able to turn to this guide as a reference point for creating their own GK-12 science, technology, engineering, and mathematics programs. The National Science Foundation gathers information from across the country to capture the knowledge and experiences from more than 10,000 graduate students, 1,000 principal investigators (university faculty), 300 project evaluators, and 12,000 K–12 teachers. Michelle Paulsen co-authored Chapter 9, entitled "Evaluating Projects". Ami LeFevre contributed to Chapter 3, entitled "Effective Recruitment and Selection Strategies for GK-12 Fellows and Teachers". Additionally, a featured item on Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky's visit to Northwestern's appears in Chapter 10. The complete guide is available online.


Nearly 70 Chicago-area Student Research Projects Featured at Northwestern
CIERA's Reach for the Stars contributed to the 6th Annual Northwestern University High School Project Showcase on May 20, 2013. This event was hosted by The School of Education and Social Policy’s Office of STEM Education Partnerships (OSEP) and took place in the Norris University Center as part of Northwestern University’s Undergraduate Research and Arts Exposition. Throughout the day nearly 70 Chicago-area high school students showcased posters of their research projects. The students each created their projects as part of the project-based math or science curriculum at their school or through an independent student research course or club. Some even created them as an entirely independent project. Scientists and professionals from Northwestern adjudicated projects; the event wrapped up with an awards ceremony. The winners were Barrett McCabe for “The Effects of a Hydroponics System on the Growth Rate of Tanacetum cinerariifoium in Comparison to Traditional Soil Agriculture” in life science; Sean Hickey for “The Use of Activated Sludge Process in the Bioremediation of Heavy Metal Contamination in Drinking Water” in environmental science; Connor Kotte for “Variations in the Duration of Sleep in Danio rerio in Response to Changes in Melatonin Levels” in human biology; and Dekonti Davies from Walter Payton College Preparatory High School for “Trench Etching in MOSFETs” in physical science. Winners in the two curriculum project categories were Leandro Padilla for the critter project and Jessica Molloy-Garcia, Richard Guzman, Carlos Anguiano, Mari Hernandez for the Florida school project.This showcase has been an important component of Northwestern's, OSEP's, and CIERA's goal to encourage students to explore hands-on, inquiry-based STEM learning. Learn more about the event here.


On May 13th, Reach for the Stars held “Computational Thinking and Mathematical Modeling”, a workshop that drew 35 middle and high school teachers and administrators from across the Chicago Public School District. This free, all-day event addressed questions such as: What are Computational Thinking and Mathematical Modeling? How are these skills utilized by university researchers? How can they be taught as part of the existing high school science and mathematics curricula? Are they already being taught? These questions were explored by speakers from Reach for the Stars, Net Logo and CT-STEM who specialize in a variety of areas including Astronomy, Physics, Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, Physical Science, Earth Science and Computer Science. The workshop included presentations on the role Computational Thinking and Mathematical Modeling play in the Next Generation Science Standards, and break-out sessions where participants had the opportunity to choose from an assortment of small group presentations. Attendees left with a new set of ideas and tools with-which they can more effectively teach students various math and sciences.


April 2013

CT Workshop At this year’s meeting of the American Chemical Society, Michelle Paulsen, program director for Northwestern’s GK12 program, and Kristin Labby, GK12 alumna, gave invited talks. In Paulsen’s talk, “Reaching for the stars: Forming and maintaining partnerships between universities, schools, and the community”, she highlighted the lessons learned in building connections to local schools, outlined possible expansions of those partnerships, and gave examples of the work done by PhD students in GK12 classrooms as part of Northwestern’s “Reach for the Star” program. Labby’s talk,“Introducing medicinal chemistry research to middle school students: a multi-faceted approach from a GK-12 experience”, focused on specific examples of her partnership with Pamela Sims, a middle school science teacher in Chicago, and how other institution might adopt such a program.    View their poster >here<


February 2013

CT Workshop
Congratulations to
Michelle Paulsen, named Scientist of the Month for February 2013 by the Association for Women in Science in Chicago! Michelle is the Director of Reach for the Stars, an NSF funded GK12 program that is a joint collaboration between CIERA and OSEP, the Office of STEM Education Partnerships. The article focuses on Michelle's work with GK-12, her enthusiasm for education, and her work to help increase the effectiveness of science communication through Ready, Set, Go, the TGS STEM Communication Fellowship program.
Read about Michelle Paulsen and her work with education, science, and her contribution to the science community on the Association for Women in Science - Chicago website.


December 2012

CT Workshop
Michelle Paulsen
(Northwestern's Reach for the Stars Program Director) organized a 3 hour workshop to update Chicago-area teachers on the new 'Computational Thinking (CT) and Computational Modeling' components of the Next Generation Science Standards on November 17th. Laura Trouille, CIERA fellow and Adler Astronomer, was one of the panelists for the discussion hour of the event. Physics graduate student and Reach for the Stars fellow Scott Mayle, along with a number of other former and current Reach for the Stars fellows, presented their CT-SEM curricular materials during the final hour. For more information on the event, click here. For more information on Northwestern's Computational Thinking in STEM curricular materials and teacher professional development opportunities, click here.


Madison Fitzpatrick teaching
Stephanie Sunata, a Medill Journalism student visited the Frederick Von Steuben Metropolitan Science Center, a CPS high school, to see Reach for the Stars in action. She came to see graduate fellow Madison Fitzpatrick (PhD candidate, Civil Engineering) introduce computational modeling tools to Aimee Karagiannis' environmental science class.


September 2012

The Office of STEM Education Partnerships (OSEP) and the Evanston Township High School (ETHS) are the proud recipients of the 2012 Catalyst award, presented by the Evanston Chamber of Commerce at the 3rd annual Evanston MashUp. The award is given for stengthening the ties between Northwestern University and Evanston.


CIERA and Reach for the Stars are partners with OSEP, bringing the exciting STEM teaching and research being done here at Northwestern to K-12 teachers and students in Evanston and beyond. OSEP made a video which tells the story of the collaborative partnership between Northwestern University and Evanston Township High School (ETHS). You can watch the video by clicking here.


May 2012

Evanston/Skokie CC School District 65 mentions Reach for the Stars on page 6 of their May 2012 newsletter, featuring Emily Wolin and Marie Breitenstein!


Scott Mayle teaching
Scott Mayle gives kids from Niles West High School a tour of the Department of Physics and Astronomy.


Kristin Labby teaching
Kristin Labby gives kids from The Nettelhorst School a tour of Silverman Hall.


March 2012

Daniel Sinkovits recently introduced a lesson to the students of Evanston Township High School on Janus particle molecular dynamics.


February 2012

Reach for the Stars works with Oak Park River Forest High School to Enhance STEM Education.


Joseph Warfel presented lesson plans based on stochastic allocation and routing models for food bank operations at a summit for administrators and 6th-12th grade STEM teachers.


Madison Fitzpatrick teaching
Meagan Morscher
demonstrated the benefits of advanced algorithms in solving the gravitational N-body problem at a Computational Thinking workshop for 7th-12th grade STEM teachers.


May 2011

The Big Ten Network filmed a segment on GK-12 PI Vicky Kalogera and the cutting edge black hole research done at the Center for Interdisciplinary Exploration and Research in Astrophysics (CIERA). The producers then followed “Reach for the Stars” Fellows Meagan Morscher and Ben Farr to Evanston Township High School to film Ben with his students and teacher GionMatthias Schelbert. Watch the video here


Northwestern University president Morton Schapiro and Evanston mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl got a glimpse of the benefits of a unique new collaboration between the University and local schools this week. They watched Northwestern graduate students teach Evanston Township High School (ETHS) students about cutting-edge scientific research as part of Northwestern's Reach for the Stars program in local schools. Continue reading at the SESP website


November 2010

Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky visited Evanston Township High School to learn more about the new collaboration between ETHS and Northwestern University through the Reach for the Stars program. Read more here.