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Congratulations to Rita Tojeiro and collaborator!

17 February 2020

Rita Tojeiro originally developed labs for the AS1001 module that are now also in use in the modules in AS1101 and AS4010; they are part of work that was just awarded a $100k Cottrell Scholar Award in the US to her co-developer Britt Lundgren (UNC Asheville). Britt has partnered with scientists at Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore) and the University of St Andrews (Scotland) to produce freely available computational astronomy curricula, which is hosted on the web and run in the cloud at SciServer.org, with a goal to lower the barriers for students to become involved in authentic astronomy research earlier in their college careers.

Dark metal disk with light shining through tiny holes.

Rita says: "Cottrell Awards reward education and research in equal amounts, and St Andrews is a partner in the educational part of this project. The programme seeks to develop more introductory (sub-honours) Labs based on SciServer, as well as a framework for evaluation and feedback, trying to quantify how it affects the students' learning and their mindset towards research. There are no direct financial benefits for us, but I hope that Britt might come to visit, and I expect that the outputs of this award will have a direct impact on our teaching."

"Anyone who develops educational resources will tell you that the work is never really finished, and that constant development is required based on evaluation and feedback," says Rita, who is Reader in Physics and Astronomy at the University of St Andrews and co-chair of Education and Public Outreach working group of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. "I'm delighted and excited that Britt's programme has been funded, which will give us a framework for evaluation and assessment of the materials, as well as develop new introductory level SciServer curricula. I'm certain that the outcomes of this programme will have a positive impact on the mindset and education of students across the globe!"