Papers & Publications

CU Boulder Grad Students David Rahmani and Diego Sanchez collaborated with NTD program during our first year. The following is a paper on their findings and recommendations to Nuestra Tierra Dinamica Green Labs Program:

Planting the Seeds for a Better Future: CLACE and STEM Education

Report By David Rahmani
CLACE Sun-Earth Program

The YESS Institute highlights CLACE:

YESS Institute collaboration


Video Lab students’ reflections/journals excerpts while presenting their work at the American Geophysical Union (AGU), in San Francisco, on December 2012.


  • My [first] impression of the city was that it was very big and crowded. The hotel is very fancy and the bed is comfortable. AGU seems like something very big, [though] not as big as I thought. It was exciting when we first got off the plane and the whole day has been fun. The biggest takeaway from today was just being exposed to a big city and getting to be with my friends on the trip.
  • On our way to the student breakfast we met the president elect of AGU who happens to be from Boulder as well. After breakfast we also met some other scientists from Mexico and Peru.
  • The scientists’ presentations were very hard to understand. Too much information that we have not been exposed to.
  • [During lunch I talked to Bright Star students] about degrees and what was a grad and undergrad. And about transferring to a university from a community college. During the poster session I got challenged to calculate the carbon footprint of all the scientists that went to AGU but I wouldn’t know how to. We were also asked where our research came from and how our video came to be. People from NASA, UCAR, NCAR and NOAA came to our presentation. There were also other people but I don’t remember who they were. The things that were fun and exciting about today were that we got to meet other companies and we got free stuff. The highlight of today was getting to show our work to other people and having personal conversations with them.
  • This trip was fun and amazing. Even though I already had a vision of the future this trip expanded it more. The highlight was being able to get this wonderful experience with my fiend and the Cine Latino classmates. Everything I wanted to do was accomplished. I am ready to come back to see my family but I really enjoyed it here.


  • Going to San Francisco was one of the most terrifying and exciting experiences of my life. I was a bit apprehensive at first, because I would be missing an entire week of school, but being there; seeing all the sights, hearing all the history and just being there, really made it worth it. San Francisco was one of the most beautiful cities I have ever seen. The architecture was weird. The sharp corners thoroughly confused me. I’ve never really seen anything like it. The environment was completely different from Boulder and I’m glad I got to see it.


  • Berkeley is huge! The college is full of history. So many protests and rallies have been held there.
  • The Bright Star presentation was top-notch. The students there were very advanced, they knew exactly how their study worked. Someday, with enough work, I could be presenting my own poster. It was an in-and-of-its-own experience to show off our work to people. Most were impressed, others were curious as to what we were doing in the first place. AGU was one of the greatest experiences I have ever had.
  • The experience I had in the city was one of a kind. Any chance I get, I would come back. Applying the lessons and advice that I received from the scientists has really inspired me to become a scientist in an RnD field. It seems fun.


  • Traveling to San Francisco at 8:30am was pretty nerve racking knowing that it was my first time flying in a plane and at the same time was sad knowing that I wouldn’t see my family for a whole week.
  • My first impressions of the city was that it kind of looked like Pearl Street in Boulder and a little bit like Denver but it was still pretty amazing itself. My biggest take away was Chinatown and the amazing way that San Francisco looks at night with all the pretty lights.


  • Well we arrived to San Francisco and everything was so different from Boulder. The people, the buildings, the streets. Everything. First day and I was already feeling homesick. It’s a nice city but I would not like to live here.
  • Today was we walked down the stairs to breakfast we ran into this lady who ended up being the president of AGU! Hablamos con much gente que nos dieron muchos consejos.
  • I had an amazing time at the conference, we met new people and learned new things. The biggest takeaway was from the lunch, the young speaker inspired me to never give up. Dreams do come true, no matter how much you struggle.
  • My favorite part of the city was going on the ferry. We watched sea lions, pelicans and even porpoises. We saw Alcatraz and even went under the bridge. What I disliked most was the hills, stairs, and walking it was so stressful going up and down but we got in every type of public transportation in San Francisco.
  • I’ve never visited California so everything was new for me. San Francisco is a huge city with a lot of people. I guess I’m so used to being around people who are super nice. Boulder is so different from San Francisco. San Francisco is really crowded and I’m not a big city girl. One week was enough for me. Maybe I will come back later.
  • I really learned a lot and I am planning to make a difference in this world. This visit sure made me think differently about my future.


  • I was a little scared and decided not to separate from the group. My impression was that they [the Bright Star students] were really good and at what they study and also I didn’t think they would talk to us. Some of the questions that we were asked is how long did it take and how we found the information. The fun thing was looking at other posters and asking them questions.
  • I enjoyed the city tour because we were able to buy things for our family and have fun. We got to see the bridge, it was cool looking and it was a big city.
  • This was a cool experience to have and at first I was scared. I think I did accomplish what I wanted. I would love to come back for sure because it’s a fun city to be in. Not having enough time for homework. From the trip I learned that you can accomplish anything if you work hard enough.


  • My first impression of the city was that it looked a lot like Denver, but it went on forever. I was excited when I got on the plane and saw everything from above. I loved how the city looked at night.
  • Berkeley was very fun and everyone was very welcoming. The Berkeley campus tour was also fun and interesting. I love the secrets of the Berkeley campus.
  • During the poster presentation a lot of people came over. Many of them liked our videos so much they kept asking if they could put our videos on their website. It was fun to be the people presenting the poster and showing people our work.
  • My favorite part of the day was the boat ride, I loved seeing the Golden Gate Bridge up close and I really like Alcatraz.


  • First Day in San Francisco. When I first got to San Francisco I didn’t feel any difference. When it got late it looked really pretty. Prettier than Boulder. What surprised me was that there were a lot of people. The flight was really fun. We were laughing the whole time. This made the flight less boring. We also played cards. The hotel looked so fancy. It was cool that we got to stay in a hotel like this one. My impression of AGU was that it looked really important kinda place. It was fun to walk around. My highlight from the day was Chinatown. I enjoyed walking around and stopping at different stores. I liked how it looked with the lights and other little decorations. Overall everything was fun and exciting.
  • My impression of Berkeley was that it was pretty. Just walking to Berkeley University was fun, although it seemed a long way. What was fun to me was to walk around Berkely University and that we got to go to the stores. The our on Berkeley campus was really good. I enjoyed it. My biggest takeaway from the day was to learn that the subway to go to Berkeley goes under the ocean through a tunnel.
  • My impression on the Bright Star Poster Session was that I was impressed on how they did really good research. They explained their topic well and felt confident. The poster that interested me the most was the one about Second Life. It was interested in how she researched if in the second life the people’s avatar broke the rules that can’t be broken in the real life.
  • I was asked why we picked that topic. My overall impressions were that people understood that we are just students and didn’t ask hard questions. Also that people were really interested in our group. What was fun for me was the whole presentation part and being able to look at other posters. My biggest takeaway from the day was the Mexican food. I was happy/exciting being able to eat Mexican food. It was fun watching the movie too. I liked it!
  • My favorite part of the tour was when we went on the boat to see the Golden Gate Bridge. We saw the Bridge, Alcatraz and the ocean. I really enjoyed it. It was very pretty and relaxing to ride the boat and just go around in the ocean. Everything was fun today. It was very exciting. I think it was the greatest way to end the trip. My highlight was to see the ocean. It was the BEST thing! A trip that was totally worth it.


  • My first impression of the city was I noticed a bunch of people smoking and a young single mother begging on the street side.
  • Berkeley was super cool
  • I interviewed a CU student who decided to become a scientist because he was interested in the world around him.
  • The lady who sponsored us from NASA came to see us. I think we were able to communicate well due to technology and knowledge. We weren’t using super fancy words, thus everyone could understand us.
  • Presenting was really fun but tiring.
  • I learned that if you remain optimistic something you want may happen.
  • San Francisco was really fun and I enjoyed going to the AGU conference. I can truthfully say that I accomplished everything I wanted to because I got presents for my brother and mom AND went iceskating!! I think coming back would be fun. I would like to hike up Telegraph hill again.
  • My biggest takeaway was probably that as young adults we can communicate a message without using super fancy words.
  • This visit change my vision of the future by showing me that being a scientist can be fun and communication is key in life.


  • I didn’t expect San Francisco to be like this. The AGU place is big and cool. The hotel is nice and the plane ride was cool. I’ve never ridden in a plane before, the best thing was getting here and being able to hold that sword [in the store in Chinatown].
  • I interviewed someone from an oil and field service company they study chemistry, physics, math, engineering and computer science.
  • It was cool meeting some of the Bright Stars kids and their posters were good. Most of [the questions I asked while presenting] were how long it took and how I got the research. Getting to help show the movies and presenting [were the highlights of my day].
  • Well I had a lot of fun on this trip and I learned new things and I accomplished all of my goals. I do want to come back because it was cool.


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