Dr. Paul Adams, director of the Science and Mathematics Education Institute at Fort Hays State University, recently returned from a three-day symposium, "NASA Satellite Data on Aerosols: Colima’s Volcano," at the Technologico de Monterrey Campus in Colima, Mexico. Adams, a CALIPSO outreach instructor, participated in field activities and presented sessions on aerosols and volcanoes.
CALIPSO (Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observation) is a NASA project to gather data on the role that clouds and atmospheric aerosols (airborne particles) play in regulating weather, climate and air quality.
The symposium allowed high school students to collaborate with scientists and educators from the United States, France and Mexico in an effort to unite their knowledge, technology and methodologies. Designed to improve students' math skills and acquire knowledge of other scientific disciplines, the symposium also helped them learn to apply those skills in real life problems and attain a higher level of scientific understanding.
The students were led by committed professionals who are actively participating in the improvement and innovation of our world. Students also had the opportunity to practice problem based learning on volcanoes and aerosols, which required mathematical modeling for its solution. Projects were evaluated by the NASA group, with the top three students earning the right to perform field research in order to verify their mathematical model, plus carry out related activities with qualified scientists.
While at the symposium, Adams led an IPTV conference which allowed FHSU's Kansas Academy of Mathematics and Science (KAMS) students Tyler Clark, St. John, Nick VanSwol, Hiawatha, and Seth Gooding, Mount Hope, to present their research projects. Gooding has been conducting research on sun photometer validation with one of the symposium instructors, Dr. Danielle DeStaerke from the Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales, Paris, France. Clark and VanSwol also presented their research projects, which recently earned both of them a trip to the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in San Jose, Calif., in May 2010. The students from Mexico also presented their research projects and time was allowed for all students to interact with each other.
KAMS, established by the Kansas Legislature in 2006, is a residential high school program for select science and math students from Kansas. FHSU hosts the academy.