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SARA Represented at Nation’s Largest STEM Event
By Stephen Tzikas
The Society of Amateur Radio Astronomers (SARA) participated in the 4th USA Science & Engineering Festival, the largest Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education event of its kind in the United States. The event is held every 2 years in Washington, DC, and is free of charge. Sneak Peek Friday took place on April 15, 2016, and focused on students and teachers attending the event, making it ideal for SARA to promote its grants’ program. The general public attended the Expo on April 16-17, 2016.
The festival is held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. and attracts over 1,000 leading STEM organizations who present hands-on science and engineering activities for people of all ages. SARA had a number of displays and instruments to demonstrate radio astronomy to the public. Two years ago the SARA booth was next to the ARRL, while this year our neighbor included the NRAO. Representing SARA was President Ken Redcap, Lee Alvis, Stephen Tzikas, and Chip Sufitchi. Besides being a great outreach event, SARA had the opportunity to network with other scientists, engineers, universities, and research organizations, discussing cooperation and maybe finding a future speaker or two for SARA conferences.
The event is a great way for newcomers to SARA to volunteer and learn something about the organization and acquire a few radio astronomy tips from the more experienced SARA members.
The July national conference of SARA attracts many newcomers annually. If you are a new member, or even a long-time one, don’t hesitate to see one of the SARA Directors for volunteer opportunities in SARA like outreach events, helping to develop the SARA Sections website, running for office, or testing new instruments like RADSR. Radio astronomy is a diverse field offering learning challenges for both new and advanced amateurs and professionals.