2015 Workshops

Beginning with the summer of 2015, there are a number of changes to the workshop program because the Pennsylvania Space Grant Consortium is no longer able to partner with us to deliver our workshops.  For more information see our post on the Workshop News page.

Planets:  The Solar System and Beyond

planets3a_700July 13 – 17, 2015



The Origin and Fate of Our Cosmos:  Understanding Big Bang Cosmology


July 27 – 31, 2015



  • To apply, please complete this form.  For full consideration, please apply by April 15, 2015 (Deadline extended!)
  • PA teachers are given priority, but teachers from out of state are invited to apply.
  • Decisions will be announced by April 30, 2015
  • Registration information through CIU #10 will be sent out on or before May 11, 2015


The Penn State Inservice Workshops in Astronomy (PSIWA), inaugurated in summer 1996, consists of one or more week-long workshops for middle- and high-school science teachers and other educators. They are held at the University Park campus in State College, PA, which lies at the center of Pennsylvania. The Workshops are offered by Penn State’s Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics.

The Workshops provide a multifaceted experience in modern astronomy. They combine lectures on astronomical topics, discussions on their presentation in the classroom, examination of multimedia curricular materials (texts, animations, simulations, software), hands-on classroom laboratory experiments with inexpensive equipment, nighttime observing and use of a planetarium, and other inquiry-based activities. While one central instructor will guide the Workshop, guest presentations by other faculty, research astronomers, science education faculty, and secondary school Master Teachers are also included. The Workshops are very intensive, requiring a full-time commitment for 5 days (and even some nights).

If you are looking for information from the summer of 2013 and before, that is still available at our previous address:  http://www.personal.psu.edu/cxp137/psiwa/.

Current Workshop Faculty 

Niel Brandt 
Niel  Verne M. Willaman Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics at Penn State, will be the principal instructor for the cosmology course. Winner of the prestigious Sloan Fellowship and NSF Career Development grants for research, he studies black holes at the center of quasars and other galaxies at X-ray wavelengths. Niel is committed to educational outreach and also is the past administrator for the PJAS Astronomy awards. 

Christopher Palma 
cpalma_planewave  Senior Lecturer and Head of the Undergraduate Program for Astronomy and Astrophysics at Penn State, he also served recently as the Associate Director of Outreach in the Eberly College of Science. He has been the lead instructor for several workshops in past summers and will co-teach both 2015 workshops. His teaching interests include informal science education for K-12 students. His research interests include the study of globular clusters, dwarf galaxies, and stellar populations. 

Kevin Luhman
Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics at Penn State, has been a co-instructor for several previous workshops. He studies the formation of stars, brown dwarfs, and planets through optical and infrared observations with ground- and space-based telescopes. He will be the lead instructor for the planets workshop.

Glenn Goldsborough
349da5d  Physics and Astronomy Teacher at Pennsbury High School, is an alumnus of past workshops and has spent nearly a decade as a co-instructor for many different workshops.  He will be returning to co-teach the cosmology workshop in 2015.

Past Workshop Faculty 

Eric Feigelson 
Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics at Penn State, inaugurated the program and is a past lead instructor for the Space Astronomy and Stars & Planets workshops. He is a leader in undergraduate science education at Penn State, and has research interests in X-ray astronomy, star formation and astrostatistics. 

Workshop support

Since the workshop program began, we have been fortunate to receive funding and other support from a number of sources.  Current and past funding sources include the following awards:

  • National Science Foundation awards to Dr. Kevin Luhman and Dr. Eric Feigelson
  • National Science Foundation Earth and Space Science Partnership
  • NASA Space Telescope Science Institute Hubble Telescope Cycle E/PO program
  • NASA Chandra X-ray Observatory Cycle E/PO program
  • NASA ADP E/PO supplement program
  • NASA Swift mission E/PO

Current and former partners in the workshop program are: