RAO to Launch New Amateur Radio Learning Program for BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ Students with Support from ARDC

From ema.arrl.org:

Nico Bezzerides, KC1PNP, writes on the STARS-radio mailing list:

I just saw this (https://public.nrao.edu/news/nrao-receives-ardc-ham-radio-grant/) and I thought this was really cool. There may even be an opportunity for us to partner with this project in order to fulfill their “connection with amateur radio clubs” requirement.

“Following a generous grant from Amateur Radio Digital Communications (ARDC), the National Science Foundation‘s National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) will soon launch a two-year project to engage BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ students in learning about the electromagnetic spectrum and the excitement of amateur— also called ham— radio. The new project, Exploring the Electromagnetic Spectrum (EMS), is expected to offer its first student-facing trainings in January 2023.

ARDC selected EMS because of NRAO’s proven track record in supporting underrepresented minority students in the sciences by combining mentoring and instruction from content experts with best practices in equity.

As a part of NRAO’s broader impacts-focused SuperKnova learning platform, EMS will combine the expertise of NRAO staff, amateur radio enthusiasts, and other subject matter experts to develop a scalable and shareable curriculum, introduce students to EMS and radio technologies through hands-on activities, and support students in attaining technical and general class licenses in amateur radio.

Amateur radio provides a hands-on entry point to understanding the radio spectrum and its practical uses, including communications, astronomy, and community emergency infrastructure and response. Early support and engagement with amateur radio has the potential to create pathways for students to a future career or lifelong hobby in the sciences. The $315,123 ARDC grant will allow NRAO to develop and execute the program for two cohorts of students. It will also result in the development of a nine-month EMS curriculum that will be freely available to school groups, community clubs, and educational institutions.

NRAO Director Tony Beasley said, “Amateur radio continues to be incredibly important to the nation and global communications, and NRAO is excited to be working with ARDC to bring a new generation and diverse communities to the field.”


Nico, KC1PNP