Keck Northeast Astronomy Consortium

The Keck Northeast Astronomy Consortium comprises astronomy faculty and students at eight small liberal arts colleges and universities in the northeast. Our goals are to promote astronomy research among our students and to foster faculty and student interaction among the eight campuses. We sponsor a student exchange program each summer and a student research symposium each fall.

Although originally funded by the W. M. Keck Foundation beginning in 1990, we are now funded by the National Science Foundation, under their Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program.

Consortium member schools

Colgate University

Middlebury College

Vassar College

Wesleyan University

Haverford College

Swarthmore College

Wellesley College

Williams College

REU summer research program

Each summer KNAC faculty host undergraduate research interns, from within and outside of the consortium, as part of our NSF/REU program. These out-of-consortium spots are intended for students from schools where there are few opportunities for astronomy research participation.

Information about the types of research projects carried out in the consortium can be found on the webpages of individual faculty.

The REU program runs for 10 weeks, with the start date determined by each individual faculty member. Stipends and housing allowances total approximately $4000 per student with small variations depending on the local rate at each host school. Further information is available.

Students participating in the REU program are required to present their work at the Fall Student Research Symposium. Because the symposium facilitates interactions between students and faculty from the various schools, home-institution faculty advisors of applicants from non-consortium schools are encouraged to contact Prof. Karen Kwitter at Williams College (Karen.B.Kwitter -at- for information about the summer exchange program. The consortium will pay travel expenses for the fall symposium for both the research student and home-institution faculty advisors.

Application information

The application process for summer 2016 will be open in early December. Applications will be due February 12, 2016.

Student research symposium

Each fall students and faculty from the REU program and the member schools gather together for a student research symposium. The 2015 symposium was held at Williams College on October 16-17. About 100 people attended. Students who did research over the summer gave talks and poster presentations. Four different topical lunchtime breakout sessions were held to provide information to students on the topics of applying to grad school, astropolitics and service, equity and inclusion in astronomy, and Markov-chain Monte Carlo statistical techniques. The slides from the presentations in each breakout session are available, as is information about the symposium including a schedule and program, and photos from the symposium.

The fall 2016 symposium will be held at Wesleyan University.

Information from previous symposia: 2014 Swarthmore, 2013 Vassar, 2012 Middlebury, 2011 Wellesley, 2010 Colgate, 2009 Swarthmore, 2008 Wesleyan, 2007 Williams, 2006 Vassar, 2005 Middlebury, 2004 Colgate.

Research activities of KNAC students and faculty

Our members are active in many fields of astrophysical research. We have a listing of papers published by students under the auspices of our NSF grant.

Information for students

Information for KNAC faculty

This material is based in part upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. AST-1005024. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

Partial support for this work was provided by the U.S. Department of Defense's Awards to Stimulate and Support Undergraduate Research Education (ASSURE) program in collaboration with the National Science Foundation's Research Experiences for Undergraduates program.

© copyright 2004 - 2015 David Cohen and the Keck Northeast Astronomy Consortium