The National Youth Science Foundation and the National Radio Astronomy Observatory collaborate to run the West Virginia Governor’s School for Mathematics and Science at the NRAO in Green Bank, West Virginia.
The GSMS program combines the strengths of NYSF and NRAO. The NYSF operates the National Youth Science Camp®, a program that has served the nation’s brightest graduating high school students since its inception in 1963, and the Youth Science Discovery Experience, a West Virginia focused project-based program. The NRAO is a national research center and is well-equipped for science education. The specialized expertise and experiences of these organizations produces an ideal team to operate the GSMS in a unique and irreplaceable way that would be impossible to replicate in another setting or under different oversight.
The formal GSMS program consists of several components: a central research theme of radio astronomy research, science talks, directed studies, and enrichment activities. Teachers, mentors, and scientists support student research teams in the pursuit of projects in radio astronomy. After learning to use the 40-foot radio telescope, teams have access to the instrument observation and data collection.
Each student research team is paired with an NRAO staff scientist who acts as an advisor to the team, guiding students by asking questions rather than by giving answers.
At the conclusion of the GSMS, the research groups present their findings to each other, GSMS staff, and NRAO scientists in a colloquium and in posters prominently displayed in the NRAO Science Center.