October 3, 2012
IGERT Astrobiology program at UW
Graduate students Megan Smith and Elena Amador sample waters from the highly acidic Rio Tinto in Spain looking for an analog to early Martian environment (Source: UWAB)
Astrobiology studies the origin of life on Earth and the distribution of life in the Universe. The cross-disciplinary nature of this field mandates collaboration among biologists, astronomers, oceanographers, atmospheric scientists, chemists, planetary scientists, and geologists.
Based on the Seattle campus of the University of Washington, the UW Astrobiology (UWAB) Program supports an interdisciplinary community of twenty-five core faculty members, eight postdocs and research scientists, and nearly thirty graduate students –who span eight astrobiology-affiliated graduate programs in four different colleges.
As part of our multi-year evaluation of the Astrobiology IGERT, CIRGE administered two web-based surveys to students in the program. The results are intended to provide anonymous student feedback to the program faculty and to increase understandings of interdisciplinary graduate programs and student experiences. Additionally, two focus groups were held with Astrobiology graduate students in order to gain more specific feedback on the program. The findings from these activities were summarized and presented to the Astrobiology department in summer of 2007. Another survey of students and interviews of faculty and chairs was reported on in 2009.