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Exploring the Electromagnetic Spectrum (EMS)

Ham Radio Girl 2
"When everything else fails. amateur radio often times is our last line of defense...When you need amateur radio, you really need them." 
W. Craig Fugate Administrator, FEMA

NRAO and the Office of Diversity & Inclusion (ODI) is excited to announce that we have received grant funding from Amateur Radio Digital Communications for a new 2-year project, “Exploring the Electromagnetic Spectrum (EMS)”. This project will educate high school and college students about the electromagnetic spectrum while sharing the excitement of amateur (ham) radio among BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ students.

The project goals are to:

  • Introduce students to the EMS and radio technologies
  • Develop a scalable, shareable curriculum via SuperKnova
  • Provide hands on activities to deepen subject knowledge, and
  • Support student attainment of Technical and General Class Amateur Radio Licenses. 

NRAO was selected for this project because of our proven track record of bringing together excellent content experts and best equity practices to bring underrepresented minority students to the sciences.

While perhaps unfamiliar to many, amateur radio (also known as 'ham radio') provides a hands-on entry point to understanding the radio spectrum and its practical uses. Thus, it can be an entry to a career in sciences, a life-long citizen scientist hobby, or an important part of community emergency infrastructure and response.

With an expected student-facing training launch in January 2023, we have the following tasks ahead of us this summer and fall:

  • work with curriculum specialist(s) and documentarian
  • Recruit mentors from NRAO staff and NRAO-affiliated programs
  • Recruit 10 students for the Year 1 Pilot session 
  • Recruit mentors
  • Create a 9-month curriculum

We know it’s not enough to just “invite” URM students to the table. In addition to technical knowledge and experience, we will also provide the following support structures to all student participants:

  • Financial support/stipend
  • Weekly coaching meetings with mentors
  • Support students in exploring academic and professional careers in STEM
  • Networking opportunities
  • Conferences to present their work
  • Collaborations with partners
  • Connections with amateur radio clubs
Register your interest!