Fall 2017 Graduate Student News
2017 Cavanagh Travel Funds
With support from LPL External Board Chair Dan Cavanagh, Molly Simon had the opportunity to travel to Utrecht (Netherlands) to attend the International Symposium on Astronomy and Astrobiology Education (July 3-7, 2017). Molly's dissertation work is a science/science-education hybrid with Dr. Ilaria Pascucci and Dr. Chris Impey. At the ISE2A conference, she gave a talk about research, specifically discussing college students' preinstructional ideas on the topic of planet formation. For the presentation in Utrecht, Molly synthesized the results from short-answer questions administered to over 1,500 introductory astronomy and planetary science students during the 2016-2017 academic year. These questions covered the topics of planet formation, planetary composition, migration, basic definitions of planets, exoplanets, and the structure of planetary systems. This travel opportunity allowed Molly to interact with fellow scientists and astronomy educators alike; "I learned about up-to-date research being conducted in the field and also gained insight into how best to design astrobiology courses. Overall, it was great to see that astronomy education is an important topic all over the world!"