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Paper: Promoting Inclusiveness Through Astronomy During Crisis
Volume: 531, ASP2020: Embracing the Future: Astronomy Teaching and Public Engagement
Page: 22
Authors: Paredes, M.
Abstract: A developing social crisis in Chile has demonstrated that there is an important group of students and underrepresented segments in society with issues ranging from low quality public education, lack of opportunities to pursue formal undergraduate studies, social inequity, and lack of quality healthcare. In this social context, astronomy has a great opportunity to inspire the public and promote an inclusive, tolerant and diverse society, and strengthen the image of science as a field where the best of humanity can be developed. The COVID-19 pandemic amplified these social problems in Chile, and due to COVID-19, NSF's NOIRLab has adapted communications channels which includes presentations through virtual programming and social media. To this end, we adapted the traditional Viaje al Universo program - an annual program which brings scientists and observatory's staff into Chilean classrooms - into a virtual format. This has expanded our audiences to include adults, senior citizens, astronomy tour operators, among others, while maintaining a close relationship with our student audience. Participants in the 2020 virtual Viaje al Universo program were able to understand the operation of an astronomical observatory and experience the science of astronomy as an inclusive and tolerant activity, one that allows participation by everyone and has resulted in a positive impact on our local Chilean society.
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