The West Virginia Science Public Outreach Team (SPOT) hosted the fourth annual Ambassador Fall Training Weekend in Green Bank on September 16-18th. Twenty-nine college ambassadors from WVU, Wesleyan, Fairmont State, Marshall, and WV State learned the SPOT presentation, “The Invisible Universe 2.0,” which features the Pulsar Search Collaboratory and Fast Radio Bursts, engaging hands-on activities for sharing with students, and public speaking and science communication skills. Ambassadors are currently working to pass practice presentations to become certified to visit K-12 schools around the state and fill over 40 teacher requests that continue to come in!
The SPOT program was also featured at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Space Grant Consortium conference in Baltimore September 28-29th and at the Tech Connect Women & Technology conference in the Canaan Valley on October 6th, generating interest from Pennsylvania and Virginia for creating their own SPOT programs in their states, as well as sponsorship interest from local West Virginia business.
In other news, the WVU Planetarium located at the Department of Physics and Astronomy has had over 800 visitors, including members of the general public, WVU Family Weekend attendees, and school groups from elementary to college level. In coordination with the Maryland Science Center, we also hosted a NASA Solar Education Workshop for 47 West Virginia teachers on October 15th.The public, supervised by Dr. Kathryn Williamson is using the Department of Physics and Astronomy telescope to look at the Sky.