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Space Public Outreach Team: Successful STEM Engagement on Complex Technical Topics

, Montana State University, United States ; , University of Washington Bothell, United States ; , West Virginia University, United States ; , Montana State University, United States ; , Green Bank Observatory, United States ; , University of Alabama Huntsville, United States ; , Hillsdale College, United States ; , NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, United States

JCMST Volume 39, Number 4, ISSN 0731-9258 Publisher: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), Waynesville, NC USA

Abstract

It is the responsibility of today’s scientists, engineers, and educators to inspire and encourage our youth into technical careers that benefit our society. Too often, however, this responsibility is buried beneath daily job demands and the routines of teaching. Space Public Outreach Team (SPOT) programs leverage a train-the-trainer model to empower college students to make meaningful impacts in their local communities by engaging and inspiring younger students through science presentations. SPOT takes advantage of the excitement of space and the natural way college students serve as role models for children. The result is a win-win program for all involved. This paper describes the original Montana SPOT program, presents analyses demonstrating the success of SPOT, gives overviews of program adaptations in West Virginia and with the NANOGrav collaboration, describes how college student presenters are able to share complex topics, and discusses the importance of college student role models. We hope that our experiences with SPOT will help others implement similar strategies in their own communities.

Citation

Des Jardins, A., Key, J., Williamson, K., Kimbrell, S., De Saint-Georges, S., Page, J., Dolch, T. & Littenberg, T. (2020). Space Public Outreach Team: Successful STEM Engagement on Complex Technical Topics. Journal of Computers in Mathematics and Science Teaching, 39(4), 339-359. Waynesville, NC USA: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE). Retrieved April 13, 2021 from .