Astronomy Outreach for Navajo and Hopi Students

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Lowell Observatory recently received funding from
Honeywell to support the Observatory’s ninth season of astronomical
research focused on interacting with Navajo and Hopi students.

The astronomy outreach program pairs Lowell Observatory astronomers with
American Indian students and their teachers. “Honeywell’s sponsorship of
the Lowell Observatory Navajo-Hopi Educational Outreach Program supports
science and math instruction on the Navajo and Hopi reservations in
northern Arizona,” said Pam Ross, Honeywell Aerospace Business Partnerships
manager. “These creative programs are having a significant impact by
encouraging students to pursue math/science-related careers through
participation in hands-on science and astronomy activities.”

Each of the participating astronomers works with one teacher for one year,
periodically visiting the teacher’s class and working directly with the
students.

The response from teachers and students in Navajo and Hopi schools has been
positive and has sparked students’ interest in astronomy as well as other
science topics,” said Deidre Hunter, Lowell astronomer and Amanda Bosh,
Boston University astronomer stationed at the Flagstaff Observatory.

As part of the program, teachers and partner astronomers attend a workshop
hosted by the National Optical Observatory in Tucson, Ariz. These workshops
acquaint teachers with various astronomy activities that can be used for
classroom instruction.

Another program highlight is an on-site visit to Lowell Observatory where
students and teachers spend a night observing at the astronomical research
facility located south of Flagstaff on Anderson Mesa. “The students’
excitement – at seeing a telescope that is bigger than they are, at
watching the dome move, at seeing planets and galaxies through the
telescope – is wonderful,” said Bosh.

Honeywell’s contribution to The Lowell Observatory Navajo-Hopi Outreach
Program is part of Honeywell Hometown Solutions, the company’s community
outreach and giving initiative. Honeywell Hometown Solutions focuses
corporate giving and community involvement on three areas aligned with the
company’s people, products and heritage. The focus areas include science
and math education, housing and shelter, arid family safety and security.

“As an outreach program this one is unique to Lowell since it is initiated
and carried out by astronomers,” said Bob Millis, Lowell Observatory
executive director. “We greatly appreciate the support we received from
Honeywell.”

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