Video: Advancing stellar research—and faculty mentors who are out of this world.

Mount Holyoke College Professor of Astronomy Darby Dyar's mission? Include her students in exploring Mars and planetary science. Offer experiences—as undergrads—that prepare them to further their scientific studies. And give them the confidence to launch exciting careers.

Dyar is part of a team examining and analyzing data gathered from Mars probe Curiosity’s ChemCam. In her Mount Holyoke lab, she and her students create fake rocks to learn how the minerals respond to different conditions. This initiative will “benefit the field of planetary science … for years to come,” says Dyar.

Watch this clip to see one of Mount Holyoke's many rock stars—in action.