Educational Programs


Educational Kit Projects                                                                                        

WV AllSTAR recently partnered with the Green Bank Observatory (GBO), Marshall University’s College of Education and Professional Development, and Open Source Radio Telescopes to implement an exciting new educational outreach program that brings STEM and the Arts together.  The Small Loop Antenna Project was developed by Ellie White in conjunction with the very talented staff members at the Green Bank Observatory.  Ellie originated and refined the design of the antenna and worked with Dr. Richard Prestage, JD Nelson, Steve White, Bob Simon, and Sue Ann Heatherly of the GBO to optimize the design and performance of the electronics and software.

The project was a fantastic learning experience for Ellie in terms of teaching not just science, engineering, math, technology, and computer coding concepts, but also perseverance and the love to explore.  She shared her antenna design and resources with Open Source Radio Telescopes – an organization she co-directs with WVU graduate student Evan Smith and astrophysicist Dr. Richard Prestage that is dedicated to giving students real world exposure to STEM research by making designs for simple radio telescopes openly available on-line to students, teachers, and anyone interested in learning about Radio Astronomy.

Fast forward to the Summer of 2018 when Ellie spoke with Dr. Mindy Backus, education professor and Director of Profession Development Schools at Marshall University about the small loop antenna.  Dr. Backus saw an opportunity to bring this project to students and teachers with whom she works and set the Small Loop Antenna Educational Kit Project in motion!  Ellie wrote 17 complete lesson plans that incorporate both the building and operating of the small loop antenna and intertwined concepts from STEM and the Arts.  With the help of Ellie’s antenna design and lesson plans, Marshall University’s grant money and some science supplies, art material donations from WV AllSTAR, the work by Open Source Radio Telescopes, donations from NooElec – a software defined radio tech company–, the expertise at the Green Bank Observatory, and the elbow grease of several of us, we were able to assemble 4 complete kits to pilot in 4 local schools this Fall!

What Happens Next?

WV AllSTAR hopes to be able to bring the complete Small Loop Antenna Educational Kit Project to more classrooms, organizations, and community centers.  In addition, WV AllSTAR intends to partner with Marshall University, the Green Bank Observatory, and other organizations, institutions, and private industry to develop other Educational Kit Projects to bring real-world experience to students that incorporate STEM and the Arts skills and concepts.  Stay tuned for future announcements on new Educational Kit Projects. We can change the face of our future by working together on these innovative and exciting new educational projects.  Please join us in helping expand the opportunities and exposure for students of all ages to help them find their passion and chart their path!

Please contact us if you would like more details on how to donate a Small Loop Antenna Educational Kit Project to a classroom, organization, or community center!