Three Week Report

Due to Gwen via email by 5PM on Friday, July 7

The purpose of this report is to:

  1. practice your scientific writing
  2. facilitate communication with your mentor(s) about your project
  3. help you to develop a "game plan" for the summer
  4. clarify in your mind the reason you are working on your project and how that fits into the broader scientific goals of your field of inquiry.

This report should be typed, 2-3 pages. Please include:

  1. a title, your name, and the name of your mentor(s)
  2. an introduction with some of the background information about your project. What is the motivation for your project?
  3. a discussion of your project: What are the questions you'll be trying to answer? Why are those questions interesting? How do they fit into the background information in the introduction.
  4. a discussion of the progress you have made so far and any difficulties you are having currently or expect to encounter. 

Please include references in the text and a references/works cited section at the end. You should be in contact with your mentor about this report, and you should send a copy of it to them for comments and implement their comments in advance of the deadline. If you are a Caltech SURF student, please also turn in the report to the SURF office as they request.

Joint Diversity, Equity, and Inclusions Presentations

Group Assignments Monday, July 17

Paper approval Deadline Tuesday, July 24th. Please submit your selected paper for approval to Jeff Rich and Gwen Rudie via email by 5PM.

Paper presentations Monday July 31st

Students will be split into five groups of 3-4 students to present a topic related to diversity, equity, and/or inclusion from the literature. Each group will select a paper/article or group of papers/articles on one topic that interests them, submit the papers/articles for approval to Jeff Rich and Gwen Rudie, and then prepare to present the topic and moderate a discussion with the rest of the summer students. Presentations will occur on July 31st. These presentations will be facilitated by Jeff and Gwen, but will be led by the individual groups. Each topic will be presented for 10 minutes and discussed for 10 minutes. A list of possible articles to be discussed will be provided, but this list is not exhaustive, and groups are encouraged to search for materials that they find engaging and synthesize information from multiple sources.


American Astronomical Society (AAS) Abstract and Title

Due to Gwen via email and your advisor(s) by 5PM on Friday, August 4

This is a draft title and abstract which you can update as needed throughout the program and then submit to the AAS this fall to apply to give a poster presentation at their January 2024 meeting which will be in New Orleans, Louisiana. Your abstract and title must meet AAS standards (taken from their webpage)

"The abstract body text can be a maximum of 2,250 characters (which includes letters, numbers, punctuation, spacing, returns, and symbols/special characters.)" 

There will be an abstract writing workshop on Friday, July 28 that will cover more tips about writing an abstract. Please have your advisor review a draft of the abstract before you submit the final copy to Gwen. 


Draft AAS Poster

Due to Gwen 4PM on Wednesday, August 16th


A draft of your AAS Poster is due on August 16th so you will be ready for a practice presentation on Friday, August 18th. Remember that most of the content of this poster is the same as what will be in your final symposium talk. A poster workshop about designing and presenting scientific results with posters will be given Thursday, August 10th to help you begin the process of assembling a poster draft. You will be able to make revisions to this poster before you present it at the AAS.


The AAS requires all physical posters fit within a 44" x44" space. For the poster presentation at Carnegie, please design your posters to be no larger than 32"x40".

In case anyone is drawing a blank, here are some examples of posters for inspiration. Some good things to think about when making your poster (and also your final report and talk):


  • How does your project fit into the wider subject area in astronomy?
  • What question does your project address?
  • Briefly describe your methods including discussing limitations and uncertainties in the analysis.
  • Discuss results from your study and their implications for the question posed.
  • What questions remain after this analysis or next steps would you envision to continue addressing the question posed. 

Poster design:

  • Try to design the order or format of the poster to flow with the logic of the problem. 
  • Plots and visualizations need to be sized correctly. All axes should be labeled (including units where appropriate). Other visualizations should be appropriately labeled.
  • Captions for the figure should explain the figure clearly and should make a claim or provide a "take home point" for the poster viewer
  • Section headings should be descriptive. For example: "Measuring the redshift of galaxies" rather than "Analysis"


Final Presentations

August 25th 

Final presentations of your research will be given during a symposium of the final day of the program. Presentations will be 10-12 minutes in length followed by 2-3 minutes of questions. Practice talks will be held on August 22nd or 23rd. 


Final Report (Optional)

For those students who would like to practice their scientific writing, and for those whose school requires a report about their summer research (SURF), we will happily give you feedback on a final report. Below are the nominal deadlines for feedback, but please feel free to contact Gwen and your mentor to set up an alternate schedule if you prefer. If you do produce a final report, please send a copy to Gwen for her records. 


A first draft is due to your advisor(s) on Friday, August 11th.

The draft should be revised based on their feedback and submitted to Gwen Thursday, August 17th.

The final draft is due on Friday, August 25th to both Gwen and your advisor(s).


This report should be typed between 4 pages in length. Please include:


  1. A title, your name, and the names of your advisor(s)
  2. An abstract, updated as needed since the one turned in during week 8. 
  3. An introduction providing the background and motivation for your project. Much of this text may be updated and used from your 3 week report as needed. 
  4. A discussion of what you did (a methods/results section).
  5. Several figures and captions that explain your figures and make an argument based off them.
  6.  Any conclusions you have come to.
  7. Citations and a works cited section. Please use ApJ format when possible.