Through the United Nations Basic Space Science Initiative (UNBSSI), the IHY Education and Public Outreach Program, and the United Nation's Office of Outer Space Affair's International Space Weather Initiative, our monitors are being deployed around the world, with an emphasis on Developing Nations. We have already placed over 300 SID and 25 AWESOME monitors.
We would like to arrange for Mentors to serve as contacts and support for teachers and students in various developing regions of the world who are using our monitors. An ideal Mentor should have some, if not all, of the following capabilities:
- Serve as a technical advisor to teachers and their students on setting up monitor, building their antenna, getting the system running, and retrieving and calibrating initial data to assure their instrument is functioning adequately. Most common problems are identifying and eliminating electrical interference and helping them identify local sunrise/sunset effects.
- Serve as scientific advisor to teacher and students. This might include helping them to understand the solar phenomena & ionospheric phenomena they are observing, helping to define research projects, helping them understand the steps involved in undertaking their project(s), and assisting with analyzing and interpreting their data.
- Serve as a role model and inspiration for students. Science is fun and exciting and this project can be the gateway for many students to go on to great careers and opportunities in the science community. It would be ideal if they could have contact with an adult who is still fascinated by science.
- Provide support and encouragement to teachers. We have great teachers in our monitor group and we know they will have wonderful questions as the project progresses. We would love for them to get answers and feedback as fast as possible.
- Serve as a go-between for the teacher/students, Solar Center staff, and the rest of monitor community. This might include facilitating communications; helping with network access, if relevant and possible; providing or tracking down answers to questions; and helping with monitor maintenance.
We don't expect all our Mentors to play all these roles, but rather to provide what their skills suggest. Some guidance and assistance may be provided for those who are unfamiliar with certain requirements. First and foremost a Mentor should have a passion for science and a desire to assist and inspire. A Mentor need not be local -- in fact, most communication with the teacher and students will be via email or telephone. We are attempting to find ways to deal with the issue of languages.
If you are interested in becoming a Mentor to a teacher and classroom in a developing nation, or to a classroom in the US, please contact Society of Amateur Radio Astronomers.