Dr. Frinchaboy is awarded an NSF Astronomy and Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellowship to carry out a program of research and education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. While the Milky Way generally provides a unique laboratory for detailed studied of the chemodynamics of disk galaxies, many key areas of the Milky Way that are essential to understanding the evolution of disk galaxies still remain poorly studied: e.g., the structure and dynamics of both the central bar and the outer disk. Dr. Frinchaboy will (1) measure stellar kinematics and streaming motions along the Galactic bar to determine its extent and the nature of bar orbits, (2) measure metallicities of Galactic bar stars to probe bar evolution, and (3) determine the origin and chemical history of the outer Milky Way disk.
Dr. Frinchaboy will also develop techniques to integrate research into courses in non-traditional, small colleges and to prepare future professors for teaching non-traditional students. In particular, Dr. Frinchaboy will develop inquiry-based labs that will utilize publicly available astronomical data as well as data that students obtain themselves with a small amount of University of Wisconsin telescope time. Dr. Frinchaboy will develop two 4-6 week long research-based projects to teach the fundamentals of stellar evolution and the cosmological distance scale; these projects will be implemented in the classrooms of University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and at the Madison Area Technical College. Using methods developed by the DELTA program of Integrating Research, Teaching and Learning at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Dr. Frinchaboy will assess the effectiveness of these new hands-on, inquiry-based learning techniques by testing the comprehension and problem-solving skills of the students. Dr. Frinchaboy will also provide a workshop to postdocs and graduate students to prepare future small college professors for the different backgrounds and experiences that non-traditional students bring into the classroom.