A Partnership in Observational and Computational Astronomy

POCA Undergraduate Summer Internship Program


The POCA Undergraduate Summer Internship Program is similar to NSF REU programs, but is designed to be a multiyear experience with each summer building on the skills developed previously. Unlike most REU programs, the POCA program begins with students after their freshman or sophomore years when they generally have little or no previous research experience. By the end of their second or third summer, they have worked with researchers at SCSU and Clemson or NOAO and possibly others.

Type Program
Targeted REU
8 weeks
Partner REU
SCSU, Clemson, NOAO
10 - 12 weeks
National REU
10 - 12 weeks

Tier 1 students spend eight weeks at SCSU developing basic research skills and specific ones related to astronomy. The program begins with an overview of the field of astronomy after which the students break up into teams to tackle a specific research project. Along the way, students develop skills in research record keeping, writing, oral presentation, journal reading and software specific experiences. The teams learn IDL or IRAF depending on the nature of their team project. By the end of their eight weeks, each team has completed and presented a written report and a summary oral presentation on their project. Their summer team project is later presented at regional or national meetings such as AAS and the National Society of Black Physicists.

Tier 2 students spend 10-12 weeks under the mentorship of a researcher at one of the POCA partner sites, Clemson University or NOAO, or in some cases at SCSU. While the POCA students are funded by the NSF PAARE grant, they are included with other REU students at the partner site and participate in all student activities. This more advanced experience again leads to a presentation at the national level and sometimes to a publication based in part on their summer work.

Tier 3 students compete for summer research slots at national REU programs. In the event that they are not successful in getting accepted to the program of their choice, POCA will assist in locating and funding them at SCSU or another site.

Summer 2011 REU Program

Summer 2010 REU Program

Summer 2009 REU Program

Summer 2008 REU Program