UT Austin ISEE Chapter

The University of Texas at Austin ISEE Chapter began in 2016 with chapter liaison Caitlin Casey, who is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Astronomy and an ISEE alumna.

Opportunities to participate in ISEE’s Professional Development Program

The Professional Development Program (PDP) aims to advance leaders in effective and inclusive STEM education through a suite of workshops organized into two intensives, a practical teaching experience, and reflection on what was learned.

Graduate students and postdocs in astronomy at UT Austin can apply to participate in the PDP through this chapter.  Grad students and postdocs from the UT Austin chapter can apply for PDP fee waivers and travel support from ISEE (via PDP application), which is available through this chapter’s participation in the Advancing Inclusive Leaders in Astronomy project funded by the National Science Foundation (AST#17431117)and supports participants in astronomy and physics fields. Applicants are encouraged to secure some of their own institutional or grant funding, which will increase likelihood of acceptance and financial support from ISEE.

More information on applying to the PDP

PDP 2019 participants will likely teach in the TAURUS PREP venue (below). 

Past teaching activities at this chapter:



  • Sinclaire Manning (Team Lead), Jackie Champagne, and Justin Spilker designed and taught an activity in the TAURUS PREP course at UT Austin, in which students explored relationships between galaxy components (stars, gas, dust) and features of a galaxy spectrum.  Students also worked on designing research questions.
  • Raquel Martinez (Team Lead), Aaron Rizzuto, and Fabíola Campos designed and taught an activity in Astronomy 376 - Practical Introduction to Research, in which students used SED fitting to deduce stellar temperatures and the presece of circumstellar disks, and explained results based on evidence.



  • Keely Finkelstein (Team Lead), Jessica Luna, and Zachary Vanderbosch designed and taught an activity in a UT Austin Research Methods course, in which students used SED fitting to deduce evolutionary stages of protostars, and explained results based on evidence.
  • Raquel Martinez (Team Lead), Samuel Factor, and Sinclaire Manning designed and taught an activity in the TAURUS PREP course at UT Austin in which students used principles of exoplanet detection methods to describe the mass vs. semi-major axis parameter space for different techniques, and explained results using evidence.


  • Chao-Ling Hung (Team Lead, UT Austin), Keely Finkelstein (UT Austin), Raquel Martinez (UT Austin), and Briana Indahl (UT Austin) designed and taught a PREP activity for the 2017 TAURUS Scholars Program.  Their activity focused on modeling galaxy spectra from individual components of stars, gas, and dust.  In addition to building students’ understanding of galaxies and spectra, the activity supported the scientific practice of developing and using models.


  • Caitlin Casey (Team Lead, UT Austin), Chao-Ling Hung (UT Austin), Adam McCay (UT Austin), and Aaron Smith (UT Austin) designed and taught a PREP activity for the TAURUS Program, focusing on selection biases in flux-limited samples of astronomical data.  Students considered biases and other aspects of designing and carrying out investigations, using photometric properties of galaxies, star clusters, and asteroids as example datasets.


Graduate students and postdocs affiliated with UT Austin who are interested in applying to the PDP should contact the UT Austin ISEE Chapter Lead: Caitlin Casey,  RLM 16.218, cmcasey@utexas.edu

Others in the region interested in applying to the PDP, or seeking general information about ISEE, should contact the ISEE program manager in charge of this chapter, Nicholas McConnell: njmcconn@ucsc.edu