This National Science Foundation Research Traineeship (NRT) award prepares master's and doctoral students at Northwestern University with the data-analysis skills to advance the research frontiers in astronomy, physics, and Earth science. While providing students with training in data-enabled science and engineering, the program promotes collaborations with research and education that will lead to the development of new data tools with broad applicability. Through internships, evidence-based curricular approaches, and capstone citizen science projects, trainees will develop the core competencies in demand by a wide range of employers. Trainees will learn how to effectively engage the public in discoveries on the solar system, stellar explosions, star clusters and galaxies, gravitational waves, and seismic waves. The citizen science projects will be used for innovative recruiting, strengthening the participation of the public and students from underrepresented groups. By diversifying the graduate student population and improving instruction and mentoring, the research will be contributing to a diverse, inclusive scientific workforce in academia and industry.
This program will bridge computer science, electrical engineering, applied math, and statistics to physics, astronomy, and Earth sciences in order to develop students with the skills required to analyze datasets of unprecedented size and complexity. Trainees will be prepared for the technical challenges of extensive data generated at major research equipment and facilities, including Large Syntopic Survey Telescope, Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory, and EarthScope. Trainees will learn data analytics and management, statistical methods, and image processing skills to ask new questions and choose the appropriate tools from the method disciplines and adapt them to solve problems in physics, astronomy, and Earth sciences. The program will also prepare students to work in a collaborative scientific community, advancing their leadership, communication, mentoring, and management skills. Internships at major research facilities, national laboratories, and the private sector will help students gain transferrable professional skills to pursue a range of career paths.