ASSET FAQ's

What is ASSET?
What is the connection between astrobiology and evolution?
Who may apply and what is the priority for selection?
What if I am an EPO professional, and not currently teaching in a high school?
What are school demographics?
What is a significant outreach activity?
I'd like to submit the application electronically. Will you accept Microsoft Word or PDF applications as email attachments?
How do I submit a Microsoft Word version of the application?
How will I know if my application has been received?
What if I don't receive an email receipt?
Can my family join me during the institute?
What is the ASSET schedule?
What are the housing accommodations?
What about transportation?
Will I need a car during the institute?
What about meals?
What should I wear?
How will expenses be paid?

What is ASSET?

ASSET stands for the Astrobiology Summer Science Experience for Teachers - a science and curriculum institute for high school science teachers, with presentations by leading astrobiology researchers from the SETI Institute, NASA, and California Academy of Sciences. Scientists share the latest in astrobiology research on: the origin of life on Earth, the extreme conditions in which life exists, Mars exploration, the formation of planetary systems around Sun-like stars, and the search for life in the universe. The 6 -day workshop features a combination of cutting edge science, inquiry-based teaching and learning, and leadership skills development to support teachers and teacher trainers.

What is the connection between astrobiology and evolution?

Astrobiology is an interdisciplinary science investigating life in the universe. Where did life come from? What is its future? Are we alone in the universe? These are the major questions driving astrobiology research. The origin and evolution of life on a planet follows stellar and planetary evolution. Scientists study cosmic evolution, planetary evolution, the origin of life and evolution of life on Earth, in order to understand life here and to consider how to find life beyond Earth. The basic scientific premise is that life evolved on Earth, and may have evolved on other planets in a similar way.

Who may apply and what is the priority for selection?

If you are engaged in formal science education of U.S. high school teachers and students, you are welcome to apply.

Applicants will be selected in the following priority:
1. science teachers: full-time high school educators in U.S. schools
2. teacher educators: NASA EPO leaders, informal science educators
3. science education faculty: college and university professionals
4. science teachers: full-time high school educators outside of U.S. in schools for U.S. students

What if I am an EPO professional, and not currently teaching in a high school?

NAI and other EPO professionals are welcome to attend ASSET. The Declaration of Support form is not required for you. EPO professionals will not be implementing modules in the classroom; instead, they will be facilitating the implementation of VTT modules by classroom teachers.

What are school demographics?

School demographics are school size, ethnic composition by percent, student socio-economic status, and characterization of the school (e.g. 950 students in grades 9-12; 20% Asian Pacific Islander, 20% African-American, 20% Hispanic, 20% Native American, 20% Caucasian; 45% of students qualify for reduced of free lunch, urban school). Ethnic categories vary from site to site, as does the availability of student Socio-Economic Status (SES) information. Numbers can be approximate. Many schools have this information available in the annual accountability report. Schools may be characterized as urban, suburban, urban-suburban, or rural.

What is a significant outreach activity?

A half-day workshop for teachers based on NSES professional development standards, with science talks, and best classroom practice models is a significant outreach activity. There are other options. Leadership skills development and planning for outreach will take place during the ASSET experience.

How do I submit the application and the Declarations?

Complete the online application with required supporting documents uploaded via application website.

Will any other version of the application be accepted?

No, only the web version of the application will be accepted. The Declaration of Commitment and the Declaration of Support are to be signed and scanned, then forwarded via email to vtt@seti.org with ASSET attachments in the Subject line.

How will I know if my application has been received?

We will send an email receipt to you when your application arrives.

What if I don't receive an email receipt?

Contact the ASSET Program manager by telephone or email to verify that your application has been received. If you have not been notified, your application may have been mishandled.

Can my family join me during the institute?

The simple answer is no. ASSET is a 6-day experience, full-time, day-and-evening program packed with activities. We are eager to have your concentrated participation. It is appropriate to visit the sights around the Bay Area with your family before or after the ASSET institute, but not during the 6 days. Your housing is for you, not for other members of your family.

What is the ASSET schedule?

A welcome social and orientation will be held the Sunday evening before the start of the institute. Generally, the institute will meet 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. with a lunch break and two session breaks. Each day will feature a combination of science talks and hands-on activities. There will be some evening events and homework. The institute will conclude on a Saturday evening with a banquet dinner. Field trips to Crissy Field, the SETI Institute and California Academy of Sciences are planned. More schedule details are included in the Welcome to ASSET information packet sent to all selected applicants.

What are the housing accommodations?

Double occupancy housing at The Hampton Inn SFO - Daly City will be provided. Each room has 2 queen beds, a bathroom, refrigerator and other hotel amenities. Hot breakfast is included. Housing is a short drive from the ASSET program meeting rooms on the SFSU campus. Transportation to and from SFSU will be arranged. Coin operated laundry is located in the building. There is an exercise room and indoor swimming pool at the Hampton Inn. If you drive, parking is free at the hotel. The hotel is within walking distance of restaurants and public transportation.

What about transportation?

Our travel agent will make your air travel arrangements. You will travel to the SFSU campus via a shuttle or taxi, depending upon your arrival time. For individuals within reasonable driving distance, mileage reimbursement will be made.

Will I need a car during the institute?

No. You will not need a car during the ASSET. All local transportation will be provided as needed. San Francisco public transit is convenient to SFSU. ASSET will not reimburse participants for rented cars.

What about meals?

ASSET participants will have breakfast at the hotel, and lunch will be delivered to the meeting room. The group will dine together many evenings. Vegetarian meals are available. Special needs should be communicated in advance. Whenever possible, meals will be paid for by ASSET. Out-of-pocket meal expenses will be included in the travel expense reimbursement as discussed below.

What should I wear?

Casual, comfortable clothing and layers, and walking shoes are appropriate. A windbreaker or light jacket is useful for evenings or overcast days. SFSU is next to the Pacific Ocean with average July daytime temperatures in the 50s. Bring at least one pair of closed toe walking shoes, required for visiting SFSU labs. Plan for a hike at a nearby beach.

How will expenses be paid?

Mileage, any out-of-pocket meals, and ground transportation will be reimbursed via a travel expense report submitted to the SETI Institute.