Program Description

The Science Talent Training Program (STTP) was established by Prof. Jian Ge at the University of Florida as part of his outreach program in 2010. This STTP program is to train high school students with strong science interests in conducting cutting-edge research projects with Dr. Ge's research team at the University of Florida during their academic year (remotely) and summer (on site). Research projects cover three major areas: astronomical technology and instrumentation, astronomical data processing and analysis, and applications of deep learning (DL, deep neural network, or artificial intelligence) in astronomical big data.

    Students who work on astronomical technology and instrumentation will get trained in conducting lab research and gain hands on experiences in sub areas, such as constructing astronomical fibers and fiber optics, assembling small optics, mechanics and electronics, setting up optics, mechanics, electronics and detectors, conducting lab experiments, developing control program and/or data analysis program, collecting data with lab setups, and analyzing lab data and drawing scientific conclusions. Students who work on astronomical data processing and analysis will get trained in understanding data structure and its characteristics, getting familiar with data processing and analysis program, processing and analyzing data, interpreting results, conducting statistical and error analysis, and drawing conclusions. Some students who are good at programming may also get involved in developing data processing and analysis codes. Students who work on applications of deep learning in astronomical big data will get familiar with deep learning programs, algorithms, and procedures, train neural network, apply existing deep learning tools in new data to discover new results, process data and analyze results coming out of the DL searching, interpret results, conduct statistical and error analysis, and draw scientific conclusions.

    All of the participating students are required to take research notes, write weekly reports, and present reports in the weekly program meeting when students will summariz progress and discuss issues. Students are also required to write a final science paper reporting their research work conducted during the summer training. In the past, students usually finish their final version after they get back home. Some of summer research work may become part of a refereed journal paper. Students may take a lead in writing a refereed journal paper if they are ready for it and have time to work on it. Many of the past U.S. students decided to use their papers to participate in Siemens Competition in Math Science and Technology. To date, a total of 21 U.S. high school students participated in the Siemens competition and 18 of them won semifinalists.   Many of the  high school student alumni of the past summer research training later attended top schools such as Yale (two students), MIT, Caltech (two students), Duke, Cornell etc. At the bottom of this page, we list all of the past students who participated in summer research training.

    During their summer training period, students are required to show up at the department around 9 am and leave the department around 5pm. The STTP program mentors, including Prof. Ge, may join the lunch meeting with students every day except the presentation day. Besides daily research training, students may occasionally work on fun stuff, such as building a pinhole camera to observe the sun and solar eclipse. Other education related activities may also be organized during the summer section.

    In order to better prepare students for summer research, Prof. Ge's team plans to organize an on-line program during the winter break and also spring semester. This program will train students basics on conducting research, such as astronomy background related to summer research, research topic selection, literature search and reading, research ideas formation, python program for making professional data figure, processing and analyzing data, statistics etc. 

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We plan to organize two training sections during the summer of 2018, the first section is between June 11 to July 20 (six weeks), and the second section is between July 23 to Aug. 24 (five weeks). We encourage new students to participate in the first training section while returning students and also international students (especially from China) may participate in the second section. Applicants need to submit their CVs, transcripts, and 300-word science interest statements to Prof. Jian Ge at by February 1st 2018 for the first section or March 1st 2018 for the second section. The applicants also need to request a reference letter from a science teacher sent directly to by the same deadline. If students want to participate in the on-line research training during the 2017 winter break and the spring semester in 2018, they need to submit all of the application materials to Prof. Ge by Dec. 15th 2017.

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This STTP program has continued since 2010 and grown quickly over the past two years largely due to generous private donations from parents, friends and private companies. Private donations have been used to support labor cost of training staff and associated tuition cost for graduate research assistants, and research related expenses, including equipment, lab components, computers, data disks, travels, and publications. The on-line donation account is at When you make your donation, please add the following note on the website, "This donation is for Dr. Jian Ge to support lab and observatory student training and research related activities (The foundation account, F020767). " and also send Prof. Ge an email to let him aware of your donation. The University of Florida Foundation will send you a donation receipt.

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Training of Students in Mt. Lemmon Astronomy  Summer Camps

We strongly encourage new students to participate in one of the two astronomy summer camps at Tucson organized by Gracious Strength International Education Inc. The website is at Prof. Ge will direct camp activities.  The first camp will be organized between June 20th 2018 to June 30th 2018. The second camp will be held between July 17th 2018 to July 27th 2018. Students will be trained to use the UF 50inch automatic telescope, as well as the Steward 32inch telescope. The main topics include imaging (32inch), photometry (32inch), and spectroscopy (50inch), which constitute the basic techniques for astronomical observations. Basic courses will be offered on related astronomy background knowledge and how to use Mt. Lemmon telescopes for astronomical observation, including direct imaging, photometry, and spectroscopy practice during the nighttime observing sessions. Access to the UF 50-inch telescope will enable students to link their UF lab experiments or data analysis to astronomical observations using the cutting-edge TOU Doppler spectrograph at the telescope, understand the physics and engineering associated with exoplanet research, and will enable students to undertake authentic research projects with the potential for scientific publication. At the conclusion of the summer camp, students will present their camp results.

After students have been properly trained at the observatory, they will be given the opportunity to submit regular requests for observing nearby bright stars using the 50inch during the remainder of the summer camp and also throughout the year for their scientific research after they graduate from this summer program. After the requests are reviewed and accepted by Prof. Jian Ge, the proposed targets will be placed in the twilight observation queue and observed. Students can use the data for their scientific research projects, including possible exciting discoveries of new exoplanets, brown dwarfs, and stellar companions around nearby stars, stellar compositions, star spot activities, and stellar pulsations after they complete their summer training. High school students can be expected to utilize data they obtain post-Camp in competitive national science competitions (such as state science fair, Siemens Competition, Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, and Regeneron Science Talent Search).

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List of STTP Alumni

Past High School Researchers Their Status
Matthew Zhang (Canada) 2017, rising senior
Jerry Li (China) 2017, rising junior
Crystal Hu (China) 2017, rising junior
Raymond Li 2017, rising junior, Siemens Competition Semi-finalist
Jack Yuan (Canada) 2017, rising junior
Julie Xue (China) 2017, rising junior
Arthur Ang 2017, rising sophomore
Elaine Wang (China) 2017, rising senior
Sara Qu 2017, rising senior, Siemens Competition Semi-finalist
Carrie Li 2017, rising senior, Siemens Competition Semi-finalist
Brian Wu 2017, rising sophomore, Siemens Competition Semi-finalist
Philip Pan 2017, rising sophomore, Siemens Competition Semi-finalist
Anna Huang 2017, rising junior, Siemens Competition Semi-finalist
Bailey Tucker 2017, rising sophomore, Siemens Competition Semi-finalist
Benjamin Nagoshi 2017, rising senior, Siemens Competition Semi-finalist
Brandon Lo 2017, rising senior, Siemens Competition Semi-finalist
Jerry Xu 2017, rising senior, Siemens Competition Semi-finalist
Roger Kim 2017, rising junior, Siemens Competition Semi-finalist
Kevin You 2017, rising freshman, Siemens Competition Semi-finalist
Cindy Wang 2017, rising junior
Tiffany Zhao 2017, rising junior
Andy Zhu 2017, rising junior, Siemens Competition Semi-finalist
Bill Zhu 2017, rising senior
Michael Cao (China) 2017, rising senior
Vladimir Zeltsman 2017, rising senior, Siemens Competition Semi-finalist
Andrew Chun 2016, rising senior, Simens Competition Semi-finalist
Dacheng Li 2016, University of California at Los Angeles
Hetu Patel 2016, George Institute of Technology
Rebecca Dai 2016, Siemens Competition Semi-finalist, Yale University
Kevin Carlson 2015, Siemens Competition Semi-finalist, MIT
Khaya Klanot 2015, Siemens Competition Semi-finalist, Yale University
Michael Spiegel 2014, Cornell University, Physics
Enes Grahovac 2014, Florida Institute of Technology
Nikhil Krishnan 2013, Caltech, Applied Mathematics
Angela Gui 2013, Caltech, Astronomy
Eric Reid 2013, Lehigh University, Electrical Engineering
Maria-Ines van Olphen 2012, University of Florida, Biomedical Engineering
Alexandria Moore 2012, Purdue University, Electrical Engineering
Jordan Katz 2012, University of Michigan
Christina Hendryx 2011, University of Maryland, Mathematics
Abigail Stewart 2011, University of Florida, Mathematics
Anthony Weishampel 2010, Duke University

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    First created: Dec. 3, 2017