Applying for the program

The deadline has passed for submitting applications for the 2019 program.

The application period for 2020 program is expected to be opened in November 2019.

Program Participant Eligibility

Anyone may apply for the four (4) positions fully supported by your institution and/or personal funding. Five of the remaining slots are restricted to U.S. citizens and permanent residents who are amateur astronomers, K through college formal and informal educators who teach astronomy as part of their curriculum or program, planetarium educators, or those working in the area of astronomy communications. The final slot will be awarded to a Chilean educator who teachers astronomy.

Program Description

Each year Ambassadors (participants) are selected from across the U.S and its territories to be part of the ACEAP Ambassadors Program. These selected ambassadors will attend a series of virtual meetings and online training to prepare them for the nine-day Chile expedition. The nine-day expedition trip includes a behind-the-scenes visit to the ALMA, CTIO, Gemini facilities, as well as visits to smaller tourist-community observatories. These visits will include discussions with observatory staff regarding the science and engineering work, and guidance on accessing observatory data archives for research and other purposes. Additionally, ambassadors will have an opportunity to get an understanding of the Chilean culture and the emerging astro-tourism industry. Weather permitting, nighttime observing opportunities are made available. Ambassadors also engage in post-travel related activities and outreach event.

ACEAP Goals

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Inform amateur astronomers, planetarium personnel, and K-college astronomy educators about astronomy facilities in Chile, the nature of work being done by scientists and engineers at the facilities, and how they can access and use data being collected and other resources from these observatories,

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Create a core group of individuals (Ambassadors) who will broadly disseminate NRAO, NOAO, and Gemini information and resources to the general public and K–college learners.

What are my obligations as an ACEAP Ambassador?

Participate, via conference call or videoconference (e.g., Skype, Googlechat, etc.), in pre-travel meetings and training. Training sessions will focus on traveling internationally, getting the most out of your camera, using social media to get the word out, how to tailor presentations to specific audiences, developing effective press releases and articles, and engaging the news media. We anticipate a total of six meetings/training sessions between the time of selection and departure to Chile.

Participate in pre- and post-evaluation activities for the program. We anticipate these activities will take less than one hour.

Travel to Chile for the nine-day expedition and participate in all activities. Please see the ACEAP Application for the dates for this year’s expedition.

Ambassadors are required to complete a minimum of seven outreach events. Outreach events include, but are not limited to, presentations to K through college students or the general public, virtual presentations, online blog, article for newsletter, newspaper, or magazine, presentation at professional meetings, etc. Ambassadors will receive a $500 stipend for completion of the seven outreach events.

Ambassadors will be visiting facilities that are located at high elevation: CTIO is at 7,200 feet, Gemini is at 8,900 feet, and ALMA is at 16,400 feet. For their own safety, Ambassadors will be required to provide confirmation from a licensed physician that they meet certain health criteria related to blood pressure, blood oxygen levels, heart and lung function, etc.

A long-exposure nighttime panorama of Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile CTIO

What are the related costs?

ACEAP takes a shared cost approach. Typically, one could expect this type of an experience to cost more than $6,000 per person, not including the value of the training and support provided. Historically, the National Science Foundation, has provided the vast majority funding to support individual Ambassadors. As we move toward a sustainable model for ACEAP, we must work to reduce the amount of funds from NSF required to maintain the program. Each Ambassador, and/or their institution or sponsor, will be responsible for the following:

The Ambassador’s airfare from the U.S. and Santiago. Round trip tickets from US major cities to Santiago are typically $1100 – $1500 USD, however this can vary depending on your specific flight itinerary. NOTE: Previous Ambassadors have also used their accumulated miles (or those of a family member) to secure a ticket.

The Ambassador’s airfare in Chile between Santiago, Calama, and La Serena (Estimated cost is $450)

Some healthcare policies cover individuals while they are in other countries. If yours does not, you will want to purchase a supplemental healthcare policy to cover you while you are in Chile. Prices vary, but typical supplemental policies are around $75.

Individuals requesting to join the expedition as one of the four Ambassadors fully funded by their institution and/or personal funds must complete an abbreviated application, and be prepared to provide a $1,000 non-refundable deposit. These abbreviated applications will go through an expedited review process to confirm eligibility, and the four slots will be filled on a first come-first serve basis. The total cost (less RT airfare to Santiago) for an institutional or self-funded Ambassador will be $4200. Please note that upon completion of your outreach activities, you will receive a $500 stipend, bringing the total cost down to $3700.

NOTE: Your institution, or a sponsor organization, may be a source of funding to support your costs. All Ambassadors will receive significant training in STEM communication, as well as the recognition that comes from being one of the few individuals chosen for ACEAP. The long-term benefits to your institution or sponsor will significantly outweigh the minimal investment of funds on behalf of the ACEAP Ambassador. Check with your institution to see if professional development funds might be available to cover your individual costs.

 

ALMA in The New York Times

Frequently Asked Questions

Who may apply? Anyone may apply for the four positions fully supported by your institution and/or personal funding. This includes US as well as non-US citizens. The remaining six slots are restricted to U.S. citizens and permanent residents who are amateur astronomers, K through college formal and informal educators who teach astronomy as part of their curriculum or program, planetarium educators, or those working in the area of astronomy communications.

Can AUI, AURA, NRAO, NOAO, or Gemini employees apply for the program? We recognize many AUI, AURA, NRAO, NOAO, and Gemini employees engage in a great deal of astronomy education and outreach, ACEAP is a collaborative project between these institutions. As a result, their employees may only apply for the four institution/self-funded positions on the expedition team.

Please direct and additional questions to our contact form.

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