[amsat-bb] ARISS Project Wins Public Relations Award

Clint Bradford clintbradford at mac.com
Mon Oct 29 13:33:04 PDT 2012

Special event with astronaut wins public relations award
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As Clint Bradford of Jurupa Valley said, “It was 13 months of planning for 10 minutes of conversation, but, oh!, what a conversation!”
“‘LIVE! … from outer space!’ Students speak to an astronaut in the orbiting International Space Station” was the special event on April 19, 2012 that earned an award for Karen and Clint Bradford in annual competition by the Public Relations Society of America. The event was planned for the 120 students of Flabob Airport Preparatory Academy and more than 80 parents, community leaders, media representatives and interested persons.
Clint initiated the event because of his hobby in ham radio and volunteer position with NASA through Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS): He provides school technical support for students  in North America to talk to astronauts aboard the orbiting space station. NASA’s “Teaching from Space” program is available to any school that applies, but the typical wait-time from application to event is three years.
He approached Kathy Rohm, vice president and director of community relations at Flabob Airport Preparatory Academy, which is supported by the Tom Wathen Center. She was enthusiastic to sponsor the literally out-of-this-world, once-in-a-lifetime special event to inspire students. More than 2,900 emails flew between Clint, Kathy, NASA, Flabob staffer Nina Bentham and ARISS volunteers to produce the event.  
NASA-Houston flight director Phil Engelauf, who grew up in Rubidoux and whose mother, Beverly, still lives here, was invited to the event. His duties prevented him from attending, but he sent warm regards to the students in a special message that is posted at the event's Web site - http://iss-flabob.com (on the blog).
The event went according to plan, except for a momentary glitch with audio quality, despite having tested the system for three days preceding the event. Clint quickly figured out a solution, although he later said that he was  only 90 seconds from NASA terminating the call if he had not succeeded.
“When we looked around the hangar at the conclusion of the contact, hearing  the students’ whoops of happiness, we saw more than a few adults wiping at their eyes … us included,” Karen said. “We felt intensely rewarded to think how our students may feel throughout their lives when they look up in the sky and remember the thrilling day when Flight Engineer Don Pettit answered their questions.”
Student Brittany Cain had asked, “Besides missing your family and friends, what is the biggest adjustment you have made for this mission?” The assembled group laughed when Pettit replied he missed not being able to take a bath for six months!
The mission of Flabob Airport Preparatory Academy is to use aviation as a tool to motivate students to achieve their personal, academic, and career goals.
Current statistics reveal that American students severely lag behind their foreign peers: In a study of 31 countries, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development ranked Americans 21st in science and 25th in math. Consequently, President Obama launched the Educate to Innovate Campaign in 2009 to unite teachers, parents, businesses and students toward excellence in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) studies.
Karen is a current member and past president of PRSA’s California Inland Empire Chapter. There are more than 80 local members.

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