March 23: Lana’i High and Elementary School in Lana’i City, on one of the smaller Hawaiian Islands, hosted an ARISS contact with Warren Hoburg who answered 20 student questions and one from their lead teacher. 1,285 people came to the school or saw the livestream, and as of now, 479 watched recordings. The Hawai’i News Network posted a news story with a video and the Hawai’i Public Radio’s online publication, “The Conversation Post,” covered the event. The school’s 572 students engaged in curriculum enhanced with studies in earth and space science and research on astronomy, and lessons on radio communications from the area ham radio club. The teacher wrote: “The students are still lit up and walking proud, which is the best feeling to see them enjoying themselves and their accomplishments. We have opened doors for the children of Lana’i that they never knew were possible.” A volunteer ham operator (students had enjoyed her astronomy and radio lessons) said: “You could tell how excited the kids were when the astronaut started talking–you could see the moment they realized he was in space and they were going to talk to him!”
March 27: Excitement showed clearly on youthful faces at Valle de Camargo High School in Revilla de Camargo, Spain when students heard Steve Bowen’s voice from the ISS ham radio station. He answered 18 student questions during their ARISS radio contact. 150 people attended the event while an additional 855 viewed the livestream, which is at https://www.youtube.com/live/zEf62O4o8pw?feature=share&t=4680. As of today, 3,000 people watched it. The school offered another livestream on its web site for more viewers. Media coverage included RTVE TV (national level and regional level), local Cantabria TV, newspapers—El Diario Montañés and Alerta, and two news agencies: Europapress and the statal agency “EFE.” The faculty wanted the ARISS contact to inspire students in their math, physics, sciences, and technology studies while also enjoying instruction in amateur radio technology. The Santander Amateur Radio Association led the radio technology lessons and had worked with students during the school’s Cultural Week the past 5 years.
March 23-25: With funding help from the American Radio Relay League, ARISS supported a booth at the National Science Teachers Association National Conference in Atlanta, GA. ARISS Educator Martha Muir and ARISS volunteer Jim Reed set up the booth and staffed it, reporting that about 300 teachers from elementary schools through colleges “flooded the booth.” They heard about ARISS and ARISS SPARKI—Space Pioneers Amateur Radio Kit Initiative. The kit’s components—Snap Circuits, Morse code key, etc., caught teachers’ eyes. So many people took ARISS flyers that Jim had to get more printed. On day 2 a teacher who stopped at the booth the day before, came back. She had already downloaded and begun filling out an ARISS Education Proposal to submit in hopes of being selected for a future ARISS contact! ARISS educator Christiana Deeter from Canterbury School in Fort Myers, FL, gave a morning session talk titled “How Would You Like an Opportunity for Your Students to Talk with an Astronaut?” about her December 2022 ARISS contact. Martha presented an afternoon session on aspects of ARISS. NASA SCaN gave out 250 ARISS flyers at their booth and ran out! Jim gave them more. A lighter crowd on Saturday made for more in-depth conversations at the booth. One educator learned ideas for hosting an ARISS contact at a large gathering of youth next summer. Another educator took 15 flyers to bring home for her colleagues. A pair of teachers who had gotten excited at Martha’s Friday session came by to ask more questions.
March 24: ARISS Educator Melissa Pore and two other Air & Space Forces Association (AFA) ambassadors who have won AFA Teacher of the Year awards heavily supported the 2023 AFA STEM Showcase in Arlington, VA. AFA President B. Orville Wright welcomed 48 first through twelfth grade educators who took part in the all-day STEM educator workshop. They came from schools in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington DC. Exhibitors from educational groups such as Civil Air Patrol and ARISS had set up display tables. Melissa presented a workshop on the ARISS program, showed a short video on her school’s 2018 ARISS radio contact, and spoke about the ISS National Lab Space Station Explorers and other great STEM programs.
March 26: ARISS Director of Engineering Randy Berger presented a forum titled “What’s New with Amateur Radio on the International Space Station” at the 2023 QSO Today Virtual Ham Expo. This annual exposition for ham radio enthusiasts from all over the world provided multiple simultaneous forums for viewers, resulting in a lot of competition for Randy. But enthusiasm for ARISS showed through; in addition to a lively Q&A portion at the end of the talk, viewer statistics listed 294 viewers. Frank Bauer and Jim Reed joined in the Q&A portion to assist Randy.
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