UConn STARs: Science Technology and Astronomy Recruits
UConn STARs is a program for undergraduate students in physics, aimed to recruit and retain students from historically excluded groups in physics (including gender identity, sexual orientation, race, socioeconomic status, first generation status, documented status, disability status, as well as additional categories). UConn STARs offers one-on-one mentorship, professional development activities, social engagement, and a (paid!) opportunity to volunteer in the community, teaching elementary and high school students about physics. Sounds cool, right?
Applications are closed for the 2022/2023 Academic Year, but please reach out to the STARs co-leads if you are interested in joining!
UConn STARS was started in Spring 2022 by Prof. Cara Battersby, Matías Lopez-Ortiz, Hannah Koziol, and Matt Regala. Our first semester we had 7 amazing students in the program (with three returning as co-leads) with about 7 on-campus events over the course of the semester. We also developed four lesson plans and delivered them over two days to … pretty much the coolest kids ever… at the SAND elementary school in Hartford.
In Spring 2023 we have 12 awesome STARs participants plus 3 undergraduate, 2 graduate, and 1 faculty co-lead.
Tentative Calendar of Spring 2023 events
Check for updates here!
Danya Alboslani is a current co-leader and former participant of the STARs program. Danya works in the Milky Way Laboratory and completed a research experience for undergraduates at the Maria Mitchell Observatory in Summer 2022! In Fall 2022, she studied abroad in Sweden, but is back in action as a co-lead in Spring 2023.
Cara Battersby is a founder and has been a co-leader of the STARs program since Spring 2022. Cara has been a professor in the physics department since 2017 and her research focuses on using large-scale observations and numerical simulations to better understand how star formation varies in extreme environments, such as our Galaxy’s Center (read more about the Milky Way Laboratory). Dr. Battersby believes that Black lives matter, no human is illegal, trans rights are human rights, and that equal access to education is the recipe for a better world.
Rachel Cleveland is a current co-leader and former participant of the STARs program. She is an undergraduate sophomore at UConn and a general physics major. She is currently learning about the research experience as a McNair Apprentice. Rachel hopes to go into actual astrophysical research next summer. She is a strong advocate for diversity within all STEM fields and aims to contribute to making the physics program more inclusive!
Dani Lipman is a current co-leader of the STARs program. Dani is a 3rd year graduate student studying the center of the Milky Way. She grew up in Des Moines, Iowa and has spent much of her career creating programs for engaging local communities with science. She also traveled to China to study the impact of university professors participating in science outreach and community engagement. Dani is a firm believer that sharing knowledge is a core responsibility of all scientists, and that actively promoting diversity in all areas of STEM is necessary to do so! She is excited to be a part of STARs!
Alondra Muñoz-Escobedo is a current co-leader and former participant of the STARs program.
Elias Oakes is a current co-leader of the STARs program. Elias is a 2nd-year graduate student studying giant interstellar clouds of dust and gas and their contributions to star formation (check out pictures from my collaboration PHANGS here!). He grew up in NYC and went to school in Chicago, so says he is compensating for his past lack of stars by studying astronomy at UConn.
Former STARs Co-Leads:
Matías Lopez Ortiz is a STARs program co-founder and was a co-leader of the program in Spring 2022. Matías was instrumental in getting the STARs program up and running and we are forever indebted to his vision and dedication! He is pursuing teaching adventures in California at the moment and will be sorely missed.
Hannah Koziol is a STARs program co-founder and was a co-leader of the program in Spring 2022. Hannah led one of the undergraduate “families” and played a critical role in getting the STARs program started. She graduated with her Bachelor’s Degree at UConn in Spring 2022 and is currently pursuing a PhD in sunny California!
Rei-Matthew Regala is a STARs program co-founder and was a co-leader of the program in Spring 2022. Matt led the other undergraduate “family” and was vital in helping to develop the vision for STARs. He graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree at UConn in Spring 2022 and is currently working in industry (also in sunny California… sensing a theme here…).