This is the unofficial website of the NSF AAPF program, run by the fellows themselves. For official information about the fellowship, please go to the NSF program announcement.
I use observations of resolved stellar populations to constrain stellar evolution models. My focus is on phases that have the greatest impact on galaxies but that we understand the least. So far, that's been the luminous core helium fusing phase (contained within the blue or red supergiant phase), asymptotic giant branch stars, and stars that have failed to become AGB stars.
With new planetarium technology, I plan to increase confidence and enthusiasm in learning astronomy in the 5-7th grades. The educational goals are designed around the drivers of motivation that Daniel Pink presents: autonomy; the urge to direct our own lives, mastery; the desire to get better and better at something that matters, and purpose; the yearning to do what we do in the service of something larger than ourselves (Pink 2012). The program targets the largest possible impact demographic, middle school students, as research shows the decision to pursue or abandon STEM happens during those young years (NSTA 2003).
The goal of my program is to teach small groups of students in underserved Boston Area Schools how to use WWT to create a presentation to give to their peers in a digital planetarium taken to their classroom.