During the Fall 2017 semester, Irena Stojimirovic, professor of astronomy at Mesa
College collaborated with Boyce Research Initiatives & Education Foundation (BRIEF)
and together they were awarded 115 hours of remote telescope time at Las Cumbres Observatory.
This will increase educational opportunities for students at Mesa.
The newly awarded remote telescope hours will support Stojimirovic’s vision for Mesa’s
students, particularly those in astronomy, physics, and geology, to increase opportunities
for research of scientific significance.
Currently, there are star parties held throughout the year to view planets, stars,
and other deep sky objects for students enrolled in physical sciences courses, and
astronomy nights organized for the general Mesa community and public. Stojimirovic
finds these kinds of events beneficial for students and the campus community because,
“it sparks conversation and inspires people to think about science in a different
She believes much of the success that stems from the astronomy program is due to the
inclusive work ethic and team environment that’s developed by her and her students.
Current students like Alex Beltzer Sweeney and Naylynn Tañón are benefitting from
the program’s success. Sweeney has co-authored multiple peer-reviewed papers regarding
the program’s research of astrometry of double stars, and is now creating new opportunities
for other astronomy students by mentoring them in astronomical research. Tañón has
also worked on published papers, and has just been selected to be a NASA Community
College Aerospace Scholar.
Mesa’s effort for this program is focused on helping students obtain and practice
transferrable skills so that when they leave Mesa, they have the education and experience
needed to succeed in their chosen profession. One student in particular has successfully
continued their research work since Mesa; Steven White, a former research student,
has transferred to New Mexico Tech and presented research done here at Mesa at the
2017 Annual Meeting of the APS (American Physical Society) Four Corners Section held
in Forth Collins, CO on Oct. 20-21.
For more information, visit Mesa’s multidisciplinary Physical Sciences program. If you’d like to learn more about the astronomical research, astronomy events, and/or
the astronomy program, please contact Irena Stojimirovic at (619)388-5885 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tags: Astronomy, Research at Mesa, Physical Sciences