April 22: The American International University (AIU) in Salmiya, Kuwait hosted an ARISS radio contact with Mike Barratt for undergrads, some area elementary and high school students, and a large viewing audience.  14 news reporters wrote items about the contact and created numerous social media posts, some with video, offering many highlights such as student interviews. Their posts and reels reached tens of thousands of viewers, for example an Instagram reel reached 96.8k and an X post reached 177.1k.  AIU Director of University Events & Engagement said: “Hearing students’ feedback about their ISS connection experience has been truly inspiring. We are excited about the possibilities ahead and grateful for the ARISS team’s support in coordinating events that inspire and empower Kuwait’s youth.” Students had studied communication theory.   

April 22: ARISS Director of Operations Will Marchant visited Shenandoah University in Winchester, VA and introduced undergrads to ham radio antennas, hand-held ham radios, and how these can be used for radio space communications.  Will topped off his visit by showing students how to manipulate the antennas to tap into a live ARISS contact happening at Pleasant Knoll Middle School in Ft. Mill, SC.  The college students listened to Matthew Dominick answering the younger kids’ questions.

May 1: Students at the Centennial Campus Magnet Middle School Center for Innovation in Raleigh, NC engaged in an ARISS contact. Matthew Dominick answered 20 student questions with time to spare for the students’ farewell and a big “Thank You!” Nearly 50 people watched the contact from a media room while the entire student body in their classrooms and several area schools’ students in their classrooms viewed live video of the action. Before talking to Dominick, students watched area ham operator John Brier give a presentation on fun amateur radio activities students can do. During the semester, seventh and eighth graders took several field trips and enjoyed hands-on technology activities, such as at the Plant Sciences Initiative (PSI–part of North Carolina State University). The school had set up a year-long partnership with PSI for an elective course, “Destination Innovation.”

April 23: After ARISS recently announced the schools accepted for upcoming radio contacts, one school, Bayou Academy in Cleveland, MS, decided on an innovative way to tell students their school was chosen. Administrators held a “STEM Pep Rally,” cheerleaders and all. 465 students and the staff assembled in the gym. After several interactions that built up kids’ excitement, the principal announced the news about the school’s selection for an ARISS contact and students went crazy! The school captured the pep rally on video—including very loud screaming, clapping, some hands raised to mouths in shock—and posted it on social media. Their reaction was moving to hear. What a unique way to tell the kids they had been chosen!

ARISS Social Media for April 2024

ARISS social media leader Jim Reed reported April 2024 Social Media highlights:

  • April impressions were up year over year and month over month.
  • A short video of Mountain View Elementary students cheering at their ARISS contact pulled the top spot in April on Facebook

April Total Followers – X (in blue) and Facebook (in red)–32,650

April 2024 X and Facebook Total Followers

  • ARISS X – 20,157
  • ARISS Facebook – 12,493

April 2024 X and Facebook Total NEW Followers

  • ARISS X – 115
  • ARISS Facebook – 214

April Total Impressions – X (in blue) and Facebook (in red)–319,357

April 2024 X and Facebook Total Impressions and Total Interactions/Engagements

  • ARISS X – Total Impressions / Views 179,155, Interactions/Engagements 4,877
  • ARISS Facebook – Total Impressions/Views 140,202, Interactions / Engagements 3,617

April Top Posts on X and Facebook  (see images below)

  • Top X post (9,835 Impressions, 132 Engagements): Jeanette Epps’ ARISS contact
  • Top Facebook post (17,379 Impressions, 219 Engagements): a video—Georgia students cheer loud after their ARISS contact

Also for April:

  • ARISS Total New Followers on ALL ARISS Social Platforms (not just X and FB) – 435
  • ARISS You Tube – Total subscribers 2,150
  • ARISS Web pages – Unique Visits 16,863 & Page Views 54,278

ARISS Upcoming Events
May 11: Eric Knows CIC, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK—ARISS contact – ARISS-Europe Team