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The CAP Boot Camp is the reinvention of the CAP REU Program in a new format designed to serve students missed by REUs, such as undergraduates with summer conflicts, pre- or post-baccalaureate scholars (after high school and before college, or after college and before graduate school), and graduate students who never got the chance to develop computational research skills as undergraduates.

Note: The CAP REU alumni news and career discussion pages are still available. News updates should be sent to Project archives are here: 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015.

Who: Participating students will usually be past, current, or future UNC undergraduate or graduate students nominated by faculty. At least a little previous programming, scientific computing, and/or relevant coursework is recommended, but the Boot Camp is self-paced so all levels are welcome. We especially welcome students from underrepresented groups and/or student who have had limited opportunities despite scientific promise in the judgement of the faculty who nominate them.

What: Two weeks of self-paced computational tutorials covering basics of Git/GitHub and Python as well as computational/statistical tools of data science (hypothesis testing, fitting, bootstrapping, model selection, frequentist/Bayesian techniques). The Boot Camp will sometimes draw on astrostatistics examples and astronomical data sets. However, no astronomy background is necessary and the skills learned are fully general.

When: Monday, May 15 – Friday, May 26, 2023, 9am-5pm (weekdays) with a one hour lunch break.

Extension Option: Students may arrange to work with a faculty member on summer research before/after the CAP Program (without financial support from CAP). For in-person undergraduate CAP participants, such a research extension will enable participation in UNC’s Summer Undergraduate Program (SUP), which offers social and professional development events. (The end-of-summer symposium has been temporarily suspended.)

Where: Hybrid in-person and virtual. About half of participants will be able to participate in person. Current UNC undergraduates and summer researchers will have priority for in-person participation, which will take place on campus in the astronomy computer lab in Chapman Hall as well as in the tent outside Chapman. Virtual participation will take place on Slack and Zoom and will make use of free online computing resources.

Why: The Boot Camp tutorials are all freely available on GitHub here. The advantages of real-time participation in the Boot Camp are (1) a dedicated intensive block of learning time, (2) other students to learn together with, and (3) the opportunity to get help from Boot Camp staff.

Funding: The Boot Camp itself is free. Ten participants who are nominated by faculty members will be selected to receive a $1000 stipend ($500/week), thanks to a grant from the NSF. Of these ten, the subset who are participating in person will be eligible for limited subsistence (housing/meals) support, based on need. Current graduate students who are nominated by their advisors may be considered as additional remote participants but will not be eligible for financial support from the CAP program. The total program capacity for all participants, funded or unfunded, in-person or remote, is 12.

Nominations: Students must be nominated by at least one faculty member, with nominations sent to No other application materials are required. Rolling admissions will begin March 27, 2023.

Questions: Contact Director Sheila Kannappan at for more information.