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CfAO celebrates partnership with Hartnell College

By Tim Stephens

An educational partnership between the Center for Adaptive Optics (CfAO) at UCSC and Hartnell College in Salinas is bringing advanced astronomy courses to Hartnell students and encouraging underrepresented students to pursue degrees in science and engineering.

Claire Max with Edward 
                  Valeau

CfAO's Claire Max with Hartnell College president Edward Valeau

In a ceremony on May 13 at UCSC, Hartnell president Edward Valeau presented the President's Partnership of Excellence Award to CfAO director Claire Max. Hartnell's collaboration with the CfAO is funded by the NASA Curriculum Improvement Partnership Award (CIPA) program. When the NASA-CIPA program evaluated its grant recipients recently, Hartnell was the top performing institution and received a perfect score, Valeau said.

Last summer, CfAO researchers worked with Hartnell astronomy instructor Andrew Newton to offer a summer short course in astronomy called "The Distant Universe." It was the most advanced astronomy course ever taught at Hartnell and allowed students to interact directly with researchers. The course will be offered again this summer.

"Our goal is to excite the students and give them a sense of where to go with that excitement," said CfAO postdoctoral researcher Anne Metevier, who was the lead teacher.

Two students who took the course last summer have been accepted into the CfAO's internship program this summer. This is an impressive achievement, as more than 70 students from across the country applied for just 9 internship openings, Metevier said.

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