Yerkes Young STARs stands for Yerkes Young Scholars in Technology, Astronomy, and Research: motivated students engaged in projects and activities at Yerkes Observatory. Starting in middle- or high-school, these students come to Yerkes after school at least once a week to work on projects, and meet together once a month for a talk and activity.  Students with any level of prior knowledge and any career goals are welcomed: students need not be  fully-fledged science or tech geeks to find their niches at Yerkes!

        At Yerkes Observatory, our goal is to reach out to students who are interested in science, engineering, and technology. Yerkes Young STARs are given the opportunity to work with all the resources Yerkes has to offer. Our students explore the scientific world through projects in astronomy, engineering, computer programming, physics, environmental education, and much more. With mentors and guidance, students develop their own projects, continue projects from other students, or pursue projects that Yerkes educators and scientists have initiated.

Learn more about Yerkes Young Stars!

Upcoming Meetings:

April 21st--Observing Then and Now
    This month, the Plate-Vault group will introduce us to the work they do: research using Yerkes' old, glass, photographic plates.  Information learned in this meeting will also help any student aiming to earn the McQuown scholars award.
(to learn more about the McQuown scholars program, click here)

May 19th--Plans for Summer and Next Year
    It will be time once again to acknowledge our graduates, select new group leaders, and make our plans for the summer and the next school year.  New and old students are welcomed as the YYSTAR group prepares for another year of research, learning, discovery, outreach, and progress.

2014–2015 dates (all meetings are from 7:30–9:30pm):
  • September 16th
  • October 21st
  • November 18th
  • December 9th
  • January 13th
  • February 10th
  • March 10th
  • April 21st
  • May 19th

Are you interested in joining the YYSTAR group?  Sign up for our mailing list! (signing up is completely non-committal).  

Questions? Contact YYSTAR Group president Christy Cudworth!


  • 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