Mornings with MAC – Artacho Edition

Get to Know Your Science Faculty with your Weekly Installment of Mornings with MAC!

GUEST POST BY MICHAEL CODRINGTON ’18Mornings with MAC logo

Last week on Mornings with MAC, I interviewed my former teacher and biology department chair, Leon Holley. This week, we’re sticking with teachers that I have had the pleasure of being taught by.

Carolina Artacho Guerra is in her second year as a teacher of robotics and physics. She has 3 sections of Physics 270 (including my 4th period one) and 1 section of Physics 400. In the fall, she taught robotics, a senior elective, and she took some time before class on Tuesday to sit and chat with me.

MC: What brought you here?FA 3688753 Artacho Guerra, Carolina
CA: Honestly, the students. When I came in, I was not sure about the fit and it was all new and I sat in Ms. Odden’s astronomy class but she wasn’t there because she was sick. Her students were there though and they showed me around and were super nice, they talked about their projects. We even went to the observatory and they were so welcoming and willing to talk about their projects and I just thought yeah this is it, this would be great.

MC: Where did you go to college? What did you study?
CA: I did my undergrad Bryn Mawr college a small all-women’s liberal arts college in..

MC: New York 
CA: Philadelphia

MC: Dang I was close – hahaha
CA: Hahahaha – points for effort close enough, but yeah I did my graduate work when I was working full time at the University of Connecticut. I majored in physics and bilingual science education.

MC: What is your favorite thing about Andover?
CA: The students. I think that’s why, I hope that’s why, we all enjoy teaching. It’s the hardest job I’ve ever had to do. Seeing students grow from September to now is so rewarding. Day to day interactions with students and getting to know them and stuff, it’s just really fun. And Andover students just go above and beyond. They’re so willing to engage and trust me. It’s really fun and enjoying.

MC: If you weren’t studying/teaching physics, what other discipline would you be in?
CA: Ahhh I don’t even know. I’d say anything that requires lots of thinking and working.

MC: Like chess?
CA: What? Hahaha – chess?

MC: I didn’t know what the criteria was – I know feel like you weren’t thinking about chess – Hahahaha! 
CA: No, not chess. Umm oh… like.. maybe like, I did a bunch of theater work before kids. I did a lot of dance theater stuff just for fun. I really liked the techy aspect of it. Also computer programming, like programming, website design.

MC: What’s your favorite movie?
CA: Oh good lord that’s so hard… you guys always ask me this, like every term and I give you a different answer every time. So, anything by Hiromi Ozaki is always beautiful and has great storylines. Those new superhero movies are great. When I’m feeling feisty I love things like Hedwig and the Angry Inch, like I love the genre that challenges gender stereotypes. I’m a sucker for everything Disney even though as a feminist I find obvious problems with certain things.

MC: That’s fair – hahaha
CA: Yeah it’s a recurring thing – hahaha – does that answer your question?

MC: Yes. Do you consider yourself an easy or hard teacher?
CA: I guess it depends what you’re talking about. So, I’m pretty chill and relaxed about things you know, deadlines are not too important for me, I put a lot of faith in the fact that students are making good decisions and doing what they’re supposed to be doing. I understand that there’s a lot of things going on in your life. That being said, you can’t be disrespectful in my class. There’s a very clear line you know. I mean you would probably be better off asking my students about this.

MC: What’s one thing that a lot of people don’t know about you?
CA: When I was a high schooler, I was the shyest, quietest most reserved person. I had this very small group of nerdy quiet friends and that was fine, I had no problem with it, I’ve just become more outgoing and exuberant throughout the years.

MC: Have I been your best student ever? 
CA: Define best.Snapchat-1455432555

MC: Like number 1 ever, like if you had to rank me.
CA: Well, when we met for our midterm conference, you gave me very honest great answers and you come in and you’re goofy and playful but you engage and bring your whole persona to the class.

MC: Andover or Milton?
CA: Oh Andover, easily, I mean I’m here right.

MC: Thank you very much I’ll see you later.
CA: Did you do the homework?

MC: …. Bye Ms. Artacho!

Astronaut Mae Jemison Visits Andover

The first African-American woman to travel to space speaks to the Andover Community

Guest Post by Isabelle Bicks ’18

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Last Friday evening, Andover had the privilege to welcome Dr. Mae Jemison, first African-American woman to travel to space, accomplished physician, and lifelong dancer. Her vast knowledge and passion for science were palpable, but I was most interested by the connection Dr. Jemison made between the arts and sciences. As both a ballet dancer and biology student, I loved that she drew from both seemingly opposite experiences to illustrate how she was a pioneer in her career. Dancing has been such an integral part in my own life and has most certainly impacted how I work as a student at Andover. Dr. Jemison explained that the arts are the study of ourselves, while science is the study of the world around us. I had never before realized this connection. Although our world today tends to compartmentalize people and label them as either gifted math/science people or arts and humanities people, Dr. Jemison completely disrupted this tendency and explained how her own passion for the arts translated into the successful career she leads.  I think that these ideas about integrating arts and sciences can be utilized at Andover. Bridging the curriculum between the two disciplines seems necessary and beneficial.  At a school that strives to achieve “empathy and balance,” Dr. Jemison was the perfect speaker to embody these qualities.

The Science Faculty had an opportunity to attend a reception with Ms. Jemison and here is a bonus photo of her with Carol Artacho (physics), Sheena Hilton (chemistry), Caroline Odden (physics), and Fei Yao (physics).

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Blue Moon

An introduction to Andover’s new STEM-based Magazine

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The Phillips Academy students have published a new STEM Magazine – Blue Moon – a magazine of student-written research papers and articles.

Blue Moon was created as a platform for STEM research, as a means by which students can exercise the final step of the scientific method: communication. It aims to foster curiosity and cooperation in both its writers and its readers. Bi-annual print publications are made possible by a grant from the Abbot Academy Association, continuing Abbot’s tradition of boldness, innovation, and caring. Issue I of Blue Moon spotlights the diversity of student interest within the sciences, topics ranging from immunotherapy to gender discrimination to prosthetics. (*from the inside cover of Issue I)

We spoke with Amanda Li, ’18 who pioneered this project, which has been about two years in the making, thus far. During her freshman spring, she began to look for a place on campus to share a paper she had written. When she could not find an outlet on campus, she began to formulate the idea of a student scientific publication. 

“Seeing as there wasn’t any such thing yet, I reached out to students from different grades and backgrounds to see if they were interested in a STEM journal. The overwhelming response was yes, so I decided to take some action and hopefully allow other students to share their research and ideas. It also allows new students to start exploring various STEM areas, by allowing them to read about the interests that their peers hold.” -Amanda Li, ’18

img_6869She applied for an Abbot Grant in her lower fall to fund the publication of bi-annual issues. She received full funding and got to work! She gathered editors, graphic designers, and potential writers during her lower spring and summer. They officially started Blue Moon last fall and they have received over 30 articles so far!

“I’m really grateful for the AAA’s support, otherwise I doubt this would be possible. I’m looking forward to start the process of making the next issue!”  -Amanda Li, ’18

If you are interested in learning more or reading the many articles submitted, visit bluemoonjournal.com. They are always looking for submissions and feedback!

Infrared: Not Just for Astronomers

Physics Department Has Fun With Infrared!

Caroline Odden, Physics Chair, just got an infrared camera that attaches to the iPhone.  Here’s a class portrait in infrared. 

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Infrared radiation may be used to detect temperature variations.  In this image, the white places are the warmest, followed by red, yellow, green, and blue.  Astronomers take advantage of all kinds of radiation (including infrared) to learn about the universe.  Infrared detectors are also used for a variety of practical purposes here on earth.  For example, thermal (infrared) imaging may be used on buildings to detect where heat is being lost in the winter. 

http://www.flir.com/instruments/building/display/?id=49418

Last Day of Classes at Andover

Physics Celebrates the Last Day of Classes with High-Flying Fun!

Carolyn Odden’s first and second period Physics classes spent some time after taking their AP tests to discover the aerodynamics of paper airplanes. Today, they had some healthy competition including: farthest flown forward (and backward), most aesthetically pleasing, and an accuracy test.

Winners of the day were Philip Lamkin ’17 for first period and Justin Williamson ’16 for second period.

Happy last day of classes, Andover, and good luck with your assessments!

Mercury Transit – TODAY!

View Today’s Rare Celestial Sight from Outside Commons!

Students are gathered with Carolyn Odden, Physics Instructor, outside commons today to view the Mercury Transit today through a telescope with a special solar filter. Come view the rare event where Mercury crosses the sun from the Earth’s perspective. You can see Mercury as a tiny dot on the sun’s surface as it orbits. To view, you need special equipment with solar filters – please do not look directly into the sun.

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According to CBSNews.com:

“The transit of Mercury got underway just after 7 a.m. on the east coast with the smallest planet appearing as a tiny black dot on the face of the sun. The transit will last for a total of about 7.5 hours. The last time solar-planetary ballet happened was 2006. It will happen again three years from now, but then not until 2032.

Mercury transits occur just 13 times per century, on average. They’re so rare because the innermost planet’s orbit is inclined by about 7 degrees compared to that of Earth, so Mercury, the sun and our home planet just don’t line up all that often.”

Read the full CBSNews.com article HERE.

You can also watch live video with Astronomer commentary at SPACE.COM.

RWDC Club Travels to Maryland for National Competition

Andover Earns 2nd Place in Real World Design Challenge National Competition

This past weekend, Andover’s Real World Design Challenge Club travelled to Chevy Chase, Maryland to participate in a National Competition. This AMAZING accomplishment was the result of a year-long endeavor that culminating in winning the state championships in February – beating out Marlboro High and Weymouth Public for first place. Winners of the State Championships are then invited to the National Competition.

Roshan Benefo ’16, Kunal Vaishnavi ’18, Vishvesh Dhar ’19, and Alex El Adl ’19 traveled to the 4-H center in Chevy Chase MD with Clyfe Beckwith, Physics Instructor, this Friday-Sunday.  Jocelyn Shen ’18 and Darcy Meyer’18 could not attend because of conflicts with Robotics Competition travel; Jocelyn and Darcy were acknowledged in the presentations this weekend for having done a major portion of the work leading up to the team’s success.

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The challenge for the national competition was to design (not build) an UAV (Unmanned Aircraft System) using industry leading-edge computer software (CREO), to plan a task of scanning a field for the moisture content (advising a farmer on too little or too much water for crops) by selecting appropriate cameras or detection devices mounted on the UAV, and to come up with a competitive 5-year business plan.

On Saturday April 23rd, after the first round morning presentations, team MA (Big Blue) was selected as one of the three finalists along with teams CT (Xavier Engineers) and AZ (Red Mountain Engineering) edging out the state champs from: Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands, Illinois, North Carolina, Texas, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Arkansas, Nevada, Pennsylvania, California, and Virginia.

In the evening presentations, the three finalists were judged by approximately a dozen industry leading engineers/academicians (ex. Bell Helicopter Labs, Aeronautics colleges).  Team Big Blue earned a second place in this national competition, team CT taking first place.  Winners were awarded a trophy as well as a $50,000 scholarship to Embry-Riddle (each). [Four teams from China competed in their own national competition and presented separately on Saturday alongside the US competition in MD.]

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Congratulations to team Big Blue on such an AMAZING accomplishment!

To learn more about the challenge check out http://realworlddesignchallenge.org/.