Yerkes Education Outreach for middle and high school students has two primary branches:  YYSTARs and McQuown Scholars.  YYSTARS stands for Yerkes Young Scholars in Technology, Astronomy, and Research.  This is open to motivated middle and high school students wishing to learn more from McQuown Scholars and professionals about STEM-related topics at Yerkes Observatory.  Students with any level of prior knowledge and any career goals are welcomed.  

McQuown Scholars is open to high school students who wish to explore STEM opportunities on a more rigorous level. Students entering the McQuown program explore various aspects of Observatory operation to determine their interests, then are encouraged to pursue independent projects with the guidance of Observatory staff and/or University of Chicago faculty.  McQuown Scholars share their expertise with YYSTARS and other community members through various Observatory Outreach events.  

        At Yerkes Observatory, our goal is to reach out to students who are interested in science, engineering, and technology. Yerkes Young STARs is a great place to stars, in hopes that some of the YYSTARS may choose to become McQuown Scholars as well!  

Questions? Contact Brenna O'Brien at sofiaoutreach@starsatyerkes.net!

  • April 2015:
    • James and Christy are accepted to the University of Wisconsin--Madison.

  • December 2014:
    •  McQuown Scholars Program is launched.

  • September 2014:
    • James and Christy Cudworth are both named National Merit Semi-Finalists! (February 2015--advanced to Finalists).

  • July 2014:
    • YAAYS 2014 is a great success!  Good job, everyone.

  • May 2014:
    • Kyrstyn is the valedictorian for Williams Bay class of 2014, and Neil is salutatorian!

  • April 2014: 
    • Asteroid Group: Out of December's 37 preliminary discoveries, two are now confirmed as provisional discoveries (meaning that they are indeed asteroids)!  These asteroids are now 'named' 2013 TG100 and 2013 TG36.   
    • Purdue University's team, incl. Becca Russell, wins the Rube Goldberg Machine Competition College Nationals!

  • March 2014:
    • Williams Bay Math Team (incl. Kyrstyn, Neil) wins first place at the 2014 Trailways Conference South Division Math Team Championships!
    • Williams Bay (incl. K.C., Kyrstyn, Neil, Raki) also wins at the 2014 Trailways Conference South Division Academic Bowl Championships, with Kyrstyn taking an individual First Prize in U.S. History.
    • Raki Dawis is accepted to the University of California - San Diego, to study Nano Engineering!

  • December 2013: 
    • Neil is accepted to Cornell University, to study Physics!
    • Kyrstyn is accepted to Swarthmore College, to study Chemical Engineering!
    • Asteroid Group finds 37 'preliminary discoveries'--possible asteroids!

  • Autumn 2013: YYSTARs Kyrstyn Ong and Neil Stilin are both named National Merit Semi-finalists!

  • Spring 2012: Becca Russell named Elkhorn Independent's Outstanding Senior! Read the full article here