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DPS Astronomy Ambassadors Workshop Still Taking Applications

Saturday, August 30, 2014 - 10:26

Update as of 30 August: We have extended the application deadline to Thursday, 11 September, to accommodate people who couldn't apply earlier because of delays in receiving approval for travel.


Update as of 25 August: We anticipate that some travel support will be available for some participants, for example, toward the additional hotel night. Accepted participants will be polled for financial need and those selected notified by 16 September.


We invite graduate students, postdocs, and early-career faculty and research scientists to a workshop providing training and resources for effective outreach to K-12 teachers and students, families, and the public. The workshop will take place on Sunday, 9 November 2014, preceding the 46th annual Division for Planetary Sciences (DPS) meeting in Tucson, Arizona. It's based on the popular and successful AAS Astronomy Ambassadors program run at the last two winter AAS meetings.

Participants will be introduced to discussion and questioning strategies, ways to avoid technical jargon, specific hands-on activities usable in a variety of settings, and ways of finding outreach partners in their own communities. They will also learn about and receive a set of written and electronic resources, including The Universe at Your Fingertips 2.0 DVD, which features 133 classroom-tested astronomy activities and much background material, and the MOOSE, or Menu of Outreach Opportunities for Science Education, which covers existing astronomy outreach programs, directories of useful organizations, training and evaluation resources, websites for images and further activities, and guides for scientific presenters.

Participants will gain some basic communication skills for bringing planetary science to the public, will discover a wealth of existing resources (and thus lose the desire to reinvent the wheel), and will network with other early-career professionals who would like to make outreach an integral part of their professional identities. Some of the discussion will focus on how to establish ongoing partnerships with local schools, museums, parks, fairs, and community centers. The workshop will include presenters from the Astronomical Society of the Pacific and the DPS.

The number of participants is limited. To apply, please register for the DPS meeting and complete the workshop application by Thursday, 11 September 2014 (we've extended the deadline beyond the original date of 27 August). You will be notified of your acceptance by 16 September (originally 9 September). We especially encourage applications from members of groups that are underrepresented in science as well as from those who are new to outreach. For more information, see the workshop description.

Nick Schneider, DPS Education & Public Outreach Officer
Suzy Gurton & Andy Fraknoi, Astronomical Society of the Pacific

Nicholas M. Schneider
University of Colorado - Boulder