POCA

A Partnership in Observational and Computational Astronomy

Year 8 Summary

We note that the reporting period for this final report is only 7 months long and is at the end of a no cost extension period. Only limited funds were available to pursue activities that accomplish the original goals of the 2008 PAARE award to SC State.

Goal 1: Enhance faculty research at South Carolina State University (SCSU) that leads to collaborative activities and an increase in peer reviewed publications including SCSU faculty serving as first authors. Achieved through the following:

- Cash and Walter were coauthors in two conference proceedings related to their research into RV Tauri and Semiregular variables using Kepler data

- Walter has received training from Clemson collaborator Brittain in the analysis of spectra from the Keck observatory that is part of Brittain's long term study of Ae/Be stars. This will allow Walter, Cash and students to participate in future work which will lead to publications.

- Smith served as a session presider at the national meeting of the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) in July 2015.

- Walter served as a reviewer (September 2015) and panel chair (April 2015) for NASA, and reviewer for NSF (April 2015) proposal review.

Goal 2: Increase the use of small telescopes at the National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO) by all three partners for research and training in line with one of the recommendations of the NSF AST Senior Review Committee. Achieved through the following:

- Faculty at both Clemson and SC State continue to use the SARA telescopes (North and South) and the 1.3 meter Robotically Controlled Telescope at Kitt Peak and are preparing publications based on the data collected at the KPNO Coude Feed telescope by Walter prior to the closing of the facility in November 2013.

Goal 3: 3. Increase the number of underrepresented minorities pursing graduate degrees in astronomy, specifically those entering the program at Clemson University. Achieved through the following:

- Clemson graduated a PAARE-funded hispanic female with her M.S. degree in physics and astronomy during this reporting period. Her thesis was on the topic of novae (see elsewhere in this report).

- Two SCSU students (1 African-American female and 1 white male with disabilities) graduated with B.S. degrees in physics with the astronomy option. One is seeking employment in STEM education and the other is applying to graduate school in astronomy.

Goal 4: Increase the number of undergraduates at SCSU engaged in astronomical activities, including an increase in the number of physics majors in the astronomy option. Achieved through the following:

- Two SCSU students (1 African-American female and 1 white male with disabilities) graduated with B.S. degrees in physics with the astronomy option. One is seeking employment in STEM education and the other is applying to graduate school in astronomy.

- Three new physics majors, all African-American (2 male, 1 female) were recruited and funded to participate in astronomy activities during this reporting period.

- SCSU undergraduate McKay engaged in another summer internship during this reporting period. This time he interned at the Space Telescope Science Institute during the summer of 2015. He presented his results at the NAC III meeting in the fall and will present as the lead author during the AAS 2016 winter meeting.

Goal 5: Share research facilities at KPNO in such a way that students, faculty and research scientists at all three institutions participate and derive benefits. Achieved through the following:

- See Goal 1 above

- See Goal 2 above

Goal 6: Develop and distribute to the community at large inquiry-based, laboratory exercises and web-based activities related to cosmology. Achieved through the following:

- Smith continuted to enhance existing lab activities and simulations as posted to his website at http://physics.scsu.edu/~dms/cosmology/simulations.html - Smith presented results funded by this PAARE project at the Winter 2016 meeting of the AAPT Goal

7: Enhance and expand the existing outreach programs to the K-12 community through museum displays, planetarium shows and public observing sessions at the Stanback Museum and Planetarium at SCSU and the planetarium at Clemson. Achieved through the following:

- Work in this area has been significantly reduced since the planetarium director at SC State left the university and the PAARE project nearly 5 years ago and no replacement has been hired by SC State due to the current fiscal environment. However, the SC State PI and CO-PIs continued to conduct a limited number of outreach activities through talks to schools and visiting groups.

- Smith co-hosted and organized a STEM-day visit by a group of prospective students and their parents in March 2015

- Cash hosted a Tier I, CATS Workshop with the Center for Astronomy Education (CAE) on the campus of SC State in June 2015