AAS 203rd Meeting, January 2004
Session 100 Research at Predominantly Undergraduate Institutions
Special Session, Wednesday, January 7, 2004, 10:00-11:30am, Regency V

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[100.02] The Past, the Present and the Future of Undergraduate Research in Astronomy at Connecticut College

L. F. Brown (Connecticut College)

Involving undergraduate students in the research experience is a vital component of science education at Connecticut College. When the astronomy program and an astrophysics major were initiated in 1992, it was understood that having an active observing program and modern observatory would be an integral part of this undertaking. Our campus is located in a suburban area off Interstate 95 in Connecticut within a mile of the ocean. The kinds of observational research projects that we are able to tackle given our location and limited resources involve multiwavelength photometric monitoring of active galaxies, long period variables, asteroids and comets. Student research also involves working side-by-side with faculty in constructing, maintaining and upgrading the observatory, the telescopes and all the equipment, and writing software for data calibration and analysis.

This talk will highlight both the successes of our program as well as the difficulties encountered in trying to start an observational research program with a single tenure track faculty member in astronomy and no modern equipment or observatory. The discussion will touch on issues of internal and external funding, the support of the College and the local astronomical community, observatory construction and location, equipment, computers and staffing. And finally, we will look at the resulting research program and ask how well are the students served by this program. What do we need to do in the future to improve?

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: lfbro@conncoll.edu

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 35#5
© 2003. The American Astronomical Soceity.