The Lamat Program

University of California, Santa Cruz
Enrico Ramirez-Ruiz
Astronomy and Astrophysics Department
Phone: (831) 459-3400

The Lamat initiative is fundamentally an academic enhancement and enrichment program that has three components: an intensive summer internship; a mentoring program for students and their families; and a public outreach program. The core aspects of the program are to develop academic skills in space physics and to prepare students at the undergraduate level for careers in engineering and science.

The Lamat summer internship program offers an intensive eight-week introduction to astrophysical research methods and tools with an emphasis on computational astrophysics. Students are recruited each year from Hartnell Community College, where the principal selection criteria are outstanding academic accomplishments and promise of future achievement. The selected interns will work closely with UCSC’s space-science faculty and PhD students on a research project. For undergraduate students who are interested in a career in science, active participation in research as early as possible is extremely important. This gives the student the opportunity to put into practice the critical thinking skills and knowledge that they are developing in a real-world situation, and builds their excitement and love of space science. It shows them that what they are learning goes beyond the classroom experience and is an indispensable continuation of the educational process. Upon completion, the participant will be required to give an oral presentation. The intern will be encouraged to submit an abstract to present their research in a student session at the SACNAS (Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science) National Student Conference, as well as at other professional meetings. The intern will be also integrated into one of the many existing student support programs at UCSC, such as the California Alliance for Minority Participation (CAMP) program. This will provide the interns with a student community as well as the opportunity to develop additional skills to advance their education and career. The programs provide sessions on science communication, writing personal statements, preparing for graduate school and a range of other valuable topics. In addition, many of these students do valuable work and have made substantial contributions to the research they participate in.

This program is targeted at potential transfer students who are at the same time promising researchers at the beginning of their careers and also members of groups who are traditionally under-represented in the university.