20 years ago, Outdoor Lab gave Tyler an unforgettable experience
Nearly 20 years ago a young boy named Tyler Groff attended Jeffco Schools Outdoor Education Laboratory School just like all of his sixth grade classmates. While most students experience an inspirational week at Outdoor Lab, Tyler took away something more. When he looked at the night sky through the telescopes in the Kiwanis Observatory at Mt. Evans, he was more than inspired - he was changed. Suddenly he knew what he wanted to study in life - astronomy. He was invited back to Outdoor Lab to participate in High Potential Week - an opportunity for promising young students, who are nominated by their teachers, to study one subject in-depth for an entire week. Tyler signed up for the astronomy course. Under the tutelage of a team of instructors that included a licensed teacher, an electronics technician and some high school leaders who had attended High Potential Week themselves, Tyler's newly-discovered love for astronomy grew into a full-fledged passion.
Tyler returned to Outdoor Lab again and again - as a high school leader for several times and then as a leader for High Potential Week several more times. Tyler returns to Outdoor Lab every year during High Potential week, but it is no longer as a student or a leader. He now returns as a visiting teacher. A teacher whose 'regular-job' is a research scientist in mechanical and aerospace engineering at Princeton University. Tyler Groff, PhD, is now working on innovative new devices that can visually detect planets around distant stars, planets that we would have never known existed otherwise. We now know that the planets of our solar system are just one set in a universe that contains thousands of other planets, and Tyler is trying to find more! Our world is illuminated by Dr. Groff's work - and Dr. Groff's passion for astronomy was illuminated by Outdoor Lab!