Grants

Astrophysical Research Consortium

To increase the number of underrepresented minority students in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey IV (SDSS-IV) collaboration through the development and implementation of a Faculty-and-Student Team (FAST) program and a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program

  • Amount $700,000
  • City Seattle, WA
  • Investigator Michael Blanton
  • Year 2015
  • Program Science
  • Sub-program Sloan Digital Sky Survey

Funds from this grant support two projects that aim to increase the participation of underrepresented minority (URM) students in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey collaboration. The first, the Faculty and Student Team (FAST) program creates research teams led by a faculty member and comprised of at least one URM graduate student and/or two to three advanced URM undergraduate students. Each FAST unit (faculty and students) is subsequently linked with a research team at a formal SDSS participating institution; the research team will help integrate them into the collaboration, providing a kind of double mentoring system: the SDSS institution mentors the URM FAST team, and the faculty lead mentors the participating URM students on the team. The goal is to provide these URM students with training and guidance within SDSS, anticipating that they will eventually transition to an astronomy Ph.D. program at an SDSS member university.  The second supported project is a distributed summer program that will provide research experiences for minority undergraduates. The 10-week program, to be run by New Mexico State University, will bring interested URM students from non-SDSS institutions to the home institution of SDSS researchers to facilitate one-on-one mentoring and exposure to the global SDSS collaboration. In addition to their direct SDSS mentor, students would have regular virtual check-ins with the other participants, an in-person kick-off meeting, and a culminating research meeting, likely held in conjunction with a formal SDSS collaboration meeting. Over time, the FAST and summer research programs have the potential to increase the participation of underrepresented minority doctoral students in astronomy programs nationwide.

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