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Developing a knack for virtual programming with the NAC

Presentation #226.06 in the session “Education, Outreach, and Public Engagement”.

Published onJun 18, 2021
Developing a knack for virtual programming with the NAC

The COVID-19 global pandemic will forever punctuate a period in our lives for all the sudden and dramatic changes it caused. Many facets of life shifted to fully virtual, yet, the negative consequences of this pandemic have been unevenly distributed. Minorities, women, and people with low-income have dealt with the most severe effects of the pandemic; but that is not unique to this situation. Prior to the pandemic, students in these groups have experienced a similar trend of increased obstacles while pursuing STEM career paths. The National Astronomy Consortium (NAC) was founded to support underrepresented physics and astronomy students by providing research opportunities and long-term mentoring. Like other REU programs, the NAC faced challenges when shifting summer research opportunities to fully remote. However, as a long-term support program, the NAC has held additional activities throughout the pandemic year, including an annual conference, allowing us to refine our virtual programming style. In this talk, we will provide an overview of how the NAC’s model for student support shifted to fully virtual, adjusted to our students’ amplified pandemic burdens and give recommendations for the new normal and post-pandemic world.

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