ASP 2016 Meeting
The ASP’s 128th Annual Meeting, Engage Every Child in the 2017 Solar Eclipse, was held in St. Louis, Missouri, December 8–9, 2016. Sessions and presentations focused on bringing together participants working to engage diverse and underserved communities in the upcoming total solar eclipse.
During the meeting, scientists, science educators, and STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) leaders all shared their knowledge, resources, and activities with each other. Our goal was to encourage the formation of new and lasting partnerships, as well as to help develop existing ones. Our hope is that they will continue to engage underserved communities in astronomy and STEM-related activities long after the eclipse.
The meeting’s opening keynote address, “Selling the Eclipse,” presented by Angela Speck (University of Missouri), provided an overview of the upcoming event, as well as challenges and opportunities for related outreach. The second plenary session, “Technology and the 2017 Solar Eclipse,” featured a panel addressing ways for people across the country to take advantage of technology before, during, after the eclipse. Panelists were Laura Peticolas (UC Berkeley) and Robyn Higdon (Exploratorium).
The morning plenary on day two, “Per Aspera Ad Astra Civitatem: Stars for Every Neighborhood — An Unlikely Alliance,” featured Derrick Pitts (Franklin Institute, Philadelphia), who spoke on eclipse outreach and his experience running STEM programs for inner-city youth. The final plenary session, “Closing Discussion: Next Steps,” featured a lively interactive conversation with the audience, co-moderated by ASP’s Greg Schultz and Linda Shore.
Audience interest and demand for this Annual Meeting was very high, resulting in our ability to reach venue capacity early on, and allowing us to reach important planning and revenue goals. In a post-conference survey, 98 percent of participants rated their overall experience as either excellent or very good.