ACEAP 2018 applications now being accepted

Posted by Alison Klesman
on Thursday, December 21, 2017


This June, I had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to travel to Chile as media liaison for the Astronomy in Chile Educator Ambassadors Program, or ACEAP. Funded by the National Science Foundation, this program represents the collaborative effort of several major organizations and observatories that you likely know about if you check our news feed regularly: Associated Universities, Inc., the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, the National Optical Astronomy Observatory, and the Gemini Observatory.

Each year, ACEAP takes a group of nine astronomy educators and enthusiasts to Chile to experience its astronomy and culture. Applications are now being accepted for the 2018 ACEAP cohort, the fourth such group to participate in the program. Eligible applicants must be US citizens or permanent residents involved in astronomy education or outreach in some way: amateur astronomers, teachers (K through college) who include astronomy as part of their regular curricula, planetarium directors, and other similar educators.

If accepted, you’ll get the opportunity to visit world-class observatories — including the Gemini South Telescope, the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory, and the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array — for a special behind-the-scenes look at how astronomers take the data and images featured in today’s most exciting press releases. This includes many of the labs and computing facilities off-limits to the public, as well as the ALMA high site that houses the array’s antennas at 16,400 feet.

But even more than that, you’ll get access to the fabulous staff at these facilities, ready and willing to share the many ways in which you can bring astronomy down to Earth for students, astronomy club members, lecture attendees, and more. You’ll also see some of Chile’s unique beauty and experience its rich culture, because ACEAP is as much about sharing people and connections across borders as it is about sharing science.

A very short associate editor next to the very tall Gemini South telescope. // Alison Klesman

What do you give ACEAP in return? Following selection as an ACEAP ambassador, you are obligated to complete seven outreach activities or events associated with the program. These activities can be published blogs or articles, school curricula, public lectures, and much more. Once you’ve completed your outreach activities, you’ll receive a stipend of $500. While NSF funding will cover the majority of the trip, ACEAP ambassadors are responsible for the cost of their flights to and from South America, as well as the flights they take within Chile, and any supplemental healthcare coverage they may need to travel.

I had a fabulous time on the trip this year, and I met so many people I will never forget — in fact, I’m still in contact with them through follow-up meetings and other aspects of my regular astronomy news coverage. If you want to learn more about my experience, you can check out my blogs from the trip, linked below, or read my upcoming article in Astronomy’s April issue.

If you think you might be eligible for this opportunity, I strongly encourage you to find more information and apply HERE. You won’t regret it!

2017 ACEAP Trip Blogs: 

Astronomy in Chile Educator Ambassadors Program: We're Here!

Astronomy in Chile Educator Ambassadors Program: Santiago & La Serena

Astronomy in Chile Educator Ambassadors Program: ALMA Day 1

Astronomy in Chile Educator Ambassadors Program: ALMA Day 2

Astronomy in Chile Educator Ambassadors Program: Toward the Future

Tags: aceap
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