S.T.E.M. Academy 2018

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(Peoria) Students at the Pearl Technology/Richwoods Township STEM Academy will participate in a high-altitude balloon launch on Thursday, June 21, at 9:45 a.m. at Peoria Heights High School. This launch is one of the learning opportunities presented as part of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) initiative.

During the event, students will assemble the balloon’s payload, including various experiments, cameras, tracking devices, and more.

“Students will track the balloon from launch, through its ascension to near space, and its landing about 100 miles away,” Dave Johnson, President of Pearl Technology, said. “They will also try to predict where the payload will land before the launch by studying wind patterns and jet streams.”

Kids and astronauts to connect as ISS orbits the week of July 2

The STEM Academy is also hosting a special event the week of July 2, where students will connect with astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS) through Amateur Radio, part of the ARISS (Amateur Radio on the International Space Station) Program. Open to students of all ages and their families, the contact will be held at the Peoria Heights High School, where the seating capacity is 1,200. The exact date and time will be announced by NASA on June 25.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for students,” Johnson said. “Contact is anticipated during the week of July 2. We are waiting on a confirmed date and time from NASA. Details will be provided as soon as they are available.”

Background information

Each year, students from area schools are selected and registered for the STEM Academy, where they learn about science, technology, engineering, and math. This year, 25 middle school students will participate in the STEM Academy at Goodwill Commons from June 18 – 22. The STEM Academy is sponsored and organized by Pearl Technology, with the assistance of the University of Illinois Extension, Richwoods Township, Goodwill Industries of Central Illinois, Peoria Area Amateur Radio Club, Peoria Heights High School, volunteer Caterpillar engineers, and ISS Above Software.

For media inquiries, please contact:

Dave Johnson, President of Pearl Technology Email: dave.johnson@pearltechnology.com Phone: 309.679.0281


What is ARISS?

ARISS is a joint venture by NASA, the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), the American Radio Relay League (ARRL), and the Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation (AMSAT) to facilitate communication via Amateur Radio between astronauts aboard the International Space Station and schools and communities around the world. ARISS programs excite and motivate students in a one-of-a-kind presentation and exchange.

ARISS program goals are:

  • Inspiring an interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) subjects and in STEM careers among young people.

  • Providing an educational opportunity for students, teachers, and the general public for learning about wireless technology and radio science through Amateur Radio.

  • Providing an educational opportunity for students, teachers, and the general public for learning about space exploration, space technologies and satellite communications.

    What is Amateur Radio?

    Amateur, or “Ham,” Radio, is a popular service and hobby in which federally licensed participants operate communications equipment. There are over 700,000 licensed amateurs and nearly 2,300 ARRL-affiliated Amateur Radio clubs in the United States. Hams talk to each other across town, around the world, and even into space without the need for normal communications infrastructure, such as cell phone networks or the Internet. Amateur Radio is regularly used during natural disasters to help local emergency and served agencies (such as the Red Cross, Salvation Army, and state and local governments) respond when normal communications methods are disrupted. The Amateur Radio community is a great source of electronics experimentation, public service, and fun.

    More information on the ARISS program can be found at www.ariss.org.
    More information on Amateur Radio can be found at www.arrl.org/what-is-ham-radio.

    More information about the STEM Academy can be found on the Facebook page Pearl Technology/Richwoods Township STEM Academy (https://www.facebook.com/STEMAcademyPeoria/?ref=bookmarks)