UC San Diego ISEE Chapter

The UC San Diego ISEE Chapter began in 2016 with the chapter liaisons Shelley Wright and Quinn Konopacky, both assistant professors of physics, and Adam Burgasser, professor of physics, at UCSD who are all ISEE alumni.

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 and physics at UC San Diego can apply to participate in the PDP through this chapter. Graduate students and postdocs from UC San Diego 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. The first step is to register by Wednesday, November 14, 2018.

PDP 2019 participants will likely teach in the UCSD Center for Astrophysics & Space Sciences (CASS) REU PREP course.

Past teaching activities at this Chapter and by Chapter participants

  • In 2019, Dino Hsu (UCSD), Matt Hosek (Team Lead, UCLA), and Navin Sridhar (Columbia University) designed and taught an activity for incoming physics and astronomy transfer students at UCLA.  Students used confidence intervals to quantify the significance of a potential detected event, and used evidence and reasoning to justify their claim.


  • In 2018, Gregory Walth (UCSD, TMT IRIS) led a team with Christopher Theissen (UCSD, physics) and Maren Cosens (UCSD, physics) to design and teach an activity in the CASS REU PREP course in which students used the concept of resolving an astronomical source to determine which current or future observatory could resolve their science case, and designed solutions within requirements.


  • In 2018, Jeremey Chastenet (UCSD), Johanna Teske (Team Lead, Carnegie Observatories), and Allison Strom (Carnegie Observatories) designed and taught an activity in the Carnegie Summer Undergrad Research Program in which learners used distance and redshift measurements of supernovae or standard candles to distinguish between different classes of coxmological models and use these models to infer the age of the universe, and constructed explanations using evidence.
  • In 2017, Andrey Vayner (UCSD, physics) led a team with Gregory Walth (UCSD, TMT IRIS) and Xinnan Du (UCLA, physics & astronomy) to design and teach an activity in which students in the UCSD Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program, during their PREP (Preparation for Research Experiences Program), would explore which upcoming astronomical observatories would be able to detect their chosen science case given the required signal to noise ratio while gaining experience designing and carrying out investigations with a focus on hypothesizing and making predictions
  • In 2016, Trevor Keiber (UCSC, physics) led a team with Kimberly Bitterwolf (UCSC, ocean sciences), Stephen Martin (UCSC, physics, and Andrey Vayner (UCSD, physics) on an activity in a UCSC physics demonstration lab during which students were tasked with explaining the results of their collision experiments using the core physical concepts of momentum and energy conservation, while gaining practice with designing and carrying out investigations


Graduate students and postdocs affiliated with UCSD who are interested in applying to the PDP should contact the UC San Diego ISEE Chapter Leads:

Shelley Wright (saw@physics.ucsd.edu)

Quinn Konopacky (qkonopacky@ucsd.edu)

Adam Burgasser (aburgasser@ucsd.edu).

Others in the region interested in applying to the PDP (including junior faculty at any of the institutions above), or seeking general information about ISEE, should contact the ISEE program manager in charge of this chapter, Austin Barnes: isee.austinbarnes@gmail.com