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Impacts of High-Altitude Ballooning on Wyoming Students

Gordon, Sarah Pauline
For my honors capstone project, I dive deeper into the impact that science outreach programs at the University of Wyoming have had on those who participate in them. The LIFT Project, funded by the National Science Foundation, was a science outreach program that allowed undergraduate students the opportunity to develop a scientific experiment using a high-altitude balloon. The students were also able to develop lesson plans, travel to the partnering K-12 school to teach the lessons, participate in a balloon launch and data collection, and finally analyze the data collected by the payloads. A few years after participating in the LIFT Project, I wanted to reflect on how this experience had affected me and my teammates. Personally, it allowed me to be accepted into new internships and gain more experience in high-altitude ballooning. Recently, I was invited to speak about one of these experiences at the National Space Grant Meeting in Washington D.C. This was true for my teammates as well, who were also offered various scholarships due to their LIFT Project experience, providing an entry point for other jobs and experiences on campus. Using teammate interviews, my own perspective and experiences, and research essays, I was able to see that these types of outreach programs have a generally positive effect on those who participate. Overall, I determined that high-altitude ballooning is a unique yet impactful science outreach approach that is only becoming more relevant. Science outreach programs for kids in rural Wyoming are valuable experiences and should continue to be funded.
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University of Wyoming. Libraries
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High-Altitude Ballooning,Ozone,Education,Science Outreach,Wyoming Space Grant,Atmosphere,Science
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