2017 Summer Intern at AstroEDU

For the summer of 2017, we were lucky enough to be joined by an intern for six weeks, Ronan Smith. Ronan was based in Cardiff, UK, under the supervision of Edward Gomez, and was hired thanks to funding from the Ogden Trust. He has just finished his third year of a physics degree at Durham University.

Ronan hard at work

“I’ve really enjoyed my time working with AstroEDU, it’s been a great experience. As AstroEDU is based all around the world, working with different people has been interesting as all communications have to be done online, and people are in so many different time zones.

Although I was working with Edward in Cardiff, Thilinah Heenatagala, was my main contact for AstroEDU. He is based in Sri Lanka and the Netherlands, so we had to communicate by Slack, and I could only talk to him at certain times due to the time difference.

I did all kinds of things at AstroEDU. There are copies of the activities on various repository websites all over the internet to increase our reach, so I spent time making sure they were all up to date. I then added all of the activities onto the Guardian Teacher Network.

I had to make changes to some of the activities, such as making our Sundial Activity suitable for users in the Southern Hemisphere. I had to do some major editing on several activities, I really enjoyed all the background reading I had to do to make them as scientifically accurate as possible. I especially enjoyed learning more about the solar system bodies, especially the effects of comet/meteor strikes on Earth, and the geology/history of the rocky planets/major moons. The time I spent reading about them has made me consider studying them at a more advanced level later on in my studies.

As well as working with AstroEDU, Edward is the education director for the Las Cumbres Observatory, so I also worked on Las Cumbres Observatory’s Project SEROL and their Supernova Tracker.”

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