|Abstract:||"I get to help find aliens" - what better motivation for high school students getting into research for the first time! The identification of molecular biosignatures on exoplanets is a powerful example of the diverse role of spectroscopy in science that strongly motivates student interest and understanding of the fundamental principles of spectroscopy and its applications.
Though of course, the scientific journey to actually finding exoplanet molecules, particularly biosignatures, is long and far beyond the scope of current high school or undergraduate student projects, we can involve students in this journey. In my research, I focus on molecular spectroscopic data production computationally. In this presentation, I briefly describe how I involve students in this research project and identify good practice recommendations and common challenges. I focus on two programs involving high-school students in scientific research, the first as collaborators and publication co-authors (ORBYTS, UK, twinkle-spacemission.co.uk/orbyts/) and the second as independent researchers (SciX@UNSW, Australia, http://unsw.to/scix). I will also discuss how this research area can be used to motivate deep outreach engagement (Depth Studies, UNSW, Australia) and as the venue for small publishable undergraduate projects.