geminiann13005 — Announcement
The Journey Continues…
Hawai‘i students take a journey through the universe as Big Island observatories share discoveries and inspire.
14 March 2013
“Do you think space aliens are real?” Gemini Observatory’s Director Markus Kissler-Patig asks a class of students. His question is part of Gemini’s Journey through the Universe (JttU) program where dozens of scientists and educators share their work and, most importantly, inspire young Hawai‘i Island students. “I think the students in our classrooms today are the ones who will answer the big questions we are asking, such as what, and possibly who, is out there on all of those planets we are only starting to discover now,” says Kissler-Patig.
Now in its ninth year, JttU wraps up its annual “Journey Week” on March 15th. During this week Gemini staff joined over 50 other scientists, researchers, and educators in classrooms across East Hawai‘i (see photos in this feature). “The goal of this program is to inspire our keiki,” says the program’s manager and Gemini’s education and outreach leader Janice Harvey. “Even if every student doesn’t become a scientist or engineer, we want them to appreciate the excitement of exploration and discovery,” she says. “It’s something that they can keep for a lifetime.”
The Hawai‘i JttU program began in 2004 as part of a national program that included 10 communities throughout the US. The program’s founder, Jeff Goldstein says that Hilo is the longest-lasting community in the partnership. “This program is alive and well in Hawai‘i,” says Goldstein. “Thanks to Gemini, the Big Island community, and all of the Mauna Kea observatories, the spirit of JttU continues to grow in many new and exciting ways – ways that even I couldn’t have even imagined when we started the program back in 1991.”
In 2013 over 350 classrooms and almost 8000 students experienced JttU presentations in their schools. In addition, events such as a family science day at the ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center, educational workshops for teachers, as well as events for the businesses who support the program, bring science education to the forefront of the Big Island community. The Hawai‘i Department of Education is a primary partner in the program and stresses the importance of the partnership between the observatories, the Big Island community, and local classrooms.