Become a Member or Sponsor

Want some help disseminating your science? Become a WV SPOT Member!

Who can become a WV SPOT Member?

STEM faculty or teams of researchers located at any West Virginia college or university are eligible to become WV SPOT members as an easy, low-cost, high-impact way to do outreach. SPOT is a great way to fulfill Broader Impacts sections of large-scale STEM grants. Our team will work with you to develop an outreach module about your science to make sure it aligns with science content standards. We then help you train undergraduate ambassadors to deliver the modules to K-12 schools. Teachers request SPOT modules through our online request form, then the SPOT schedulers coordinate the visit logistics. At the end of the year, we compile evaluation and reporting data for you!

Membership Benefits

  • Assistance with outreach and dissemination statements during proposal writing, including a Letter of Support or Collaboration.

  • Expert review of presentation to ensure quality and coherence with Science Standards. The SPOT team will also help codify exactly how the presentation meets Science Standards.

  • Assistance with recruitment and training of ambassadors who are able to deliver the feature presentation.

  • Advertisement of presentation on WV SPOT website and in promotional materials to WV Educators.

  • Links to your research group's website through the SPOT website.

  • Management in coordinating logistics of ambassador visits to schools.

  • Fiscal administration of programmatic costs associated with recruitment, training, advertising, and management.

  • Evaluation reporting data (including numbers of schools reached, presentations given, students and teachers reached by grade level and location; ambassador impressions of their visits and the types of questions asked; teacher evaluation of how engaged students seemed and how worthwhile the presentation was for their students)

  • Images and graphics related to presentations, hands-on activities, and state-wide reach.

Sample Statements for Broader Impacts:

To increase awareness of [our science], we will invest in education and outreach through the existing program the West Virginia Science Public Outreach Team (WV SPOT). Adapted from an outreach model with over two decades of success in reaching a wide array of audiences in Montana, WV SPOT recruits and trains undergraduate ambassadors to deliver STEM-themed presentations to K-12 schools throughout the state (Williamson et al, 2014). Presentations feature current, local, cutting-edge science and advertise other STEM engagement programs that students can join, giving the message that “you can be part of science right here and right now.” The program reaches an average of 4,000 students and teachers per year, increasing the scientific literacy and 21st-century skills of ambassadors, and increasing exposure of K-12 students to STEM and college role models.

This grant will provide funds to purchase WV SPOT membership, allowing our broader impact efforts to “plug in” and leverage the program’s existing advertising, recruiting, training, and management mechanisms. We will fund a [graduate student liaison, postdoc, or other] to develop a feature presentation to showcase [our science] (NOT included in WV SPOT membership). In return for membership, the WV SPOT program provides peer review and advice on the presentation to ensure that it meets Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS Lead State, 2013) and is relevant to West Virginia K-12 audiences, as indicated in the attached letter of commitment (a representative from SPOT will provide a letter). Once certified, our feature presentation will become an option for educators to request for their students through the WV SPOT web interface. Membership funds also include ambassador recruitment (ex: posters and talks in outreach seminars and clubs at West Virginia colleges and universities), ambassador training (ex: meeting travel and logistical planning), and management coordination (ex: scheduling ambassador visits to schools). With this support level, a typical WV SPOT presentation reaches 1,000 K-12 students and teachers per year, a large portion of whom are part of rural, low-income communities and represent potential first-generation college-goers. Finally, SPOT membership includes important evaluation data and graphics to track and represent program impacts (including number of schools reached, number of presentations given, number of students and teachers reached by grade level and location, ambassador impressions of visits, and teacher evaluations of visits).

Example References

NGSS Lead States (2013). Next Generation Science Standards: For states, by states. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.

Williamson, K., Grimberg, I., Key,J., Heatherly, S. A., Des Jardins, A., Larson, S. L., Larson, M. B., McKenzi,D., and Littenberg, T. B. (2014) “The Space Public Outreach Team (SPOT):Adapting a successful outreach programme to a new region,” Communicating Astronomy with the Public, 16, 8-18.

Membership Annual Cost:

Depending on the needs of your grant, we can work with you to determine an appropriate budget. While there is variation in the activity levels of different ambassadors, a rule of thumb for a single ambassador is $1,000 per year to deliver an average of 4 presentations to 250 students. This covers the range of programmatic costs including training, travel, honorarium, management, and evaluation. We require a minimum Membership fee of $5,000 per year.

WV SPOT Sponsorship

Who can become a WV SPOT Sponsor?

West Virginia businesses, companies, or individuals who would like to have greater community impact and visibility, especially in STEM fields, can become a WV SPOT sponsor. Being a WV SPOT Sponsor means investing in West Virginia students and teachers at all levels. By sponsoring our ambassadors’ training, you are helping West Virginia college students develop science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) competency and communication skills. Our ambassadors have a wide range of skills and are enthusiastic and driven. If your organization is looking for new talent, WV SPOT sponsorship could be an excellent way to find good future employees. By sponsoring trips to schools, you are helping to increase the exposure of K-12 students to college role models and STEM opportunities that they can join. If your area is particularly under-resourced, your sponsorship could be that much more important!

Sponsorship Annual Levels

  • Level 1: $1000

    • Logo or name displayed on the last slide of all SPOT presentations

    • Verbal acknowledgement of gratitude for sponsorship by ambassadors to audience

    • Reporting data (i.e. numbers of students, teachers, and schools reached)

  • Level 2: $2000

    • All Level 1 benefits

    • Logo and acknowledgement of sponsorship on all advertising materials (ex: on the WV SPOT website and on posters, postcards, and stickers)

    • Sponsor up to 5 school visits, making the visit FREE for schools and covering ambassador honoraria

  • Level 3: $5000

    • All Level 1 and Level 2 benefits

    • Naming of a feature hands-on activity (ex: Sizing Up the Moon sponsored by Company A)

    • Sponsor training costs for up to 5 ambassadors

    • Invitation for a representative from your organization to speak at relevant SPOT events (ex: ambassador training weekend).