Applying for the program

The dates for the 2019 ACEAP Expedition are July 27 through August 5. This does not include travel to and from Chile.

All applications must be submitted online no later than 11:59 PM (your local time) on Sunday, March 24, 2019. You are encouraged to print out and review the application, prepare your responses in advance, and then copy/paste them into the online application.

Link to ACEAP 2019 Application

If you wish to preview the application as a PDF document in order to prepare your responses, please click one of the links below:

Link to application preview for those planning to fully self-fund or fund via their institution2019 ACEAP Application for Self/Institution Funded

Link to application preview for those planning to apply through the traditional competitive process for grant-supported positions2019 ACEAP Application for Competitive Grant Funded Positions 

REMINDER – All applications must be submitted via the online application. Self/Institution funded positions are awarded on a first-come first-serve basis.

Please contact Tim Spuck at or Joe Flannery at if you have any questions.

Program Description

Each year Ambassadors (participants) are selected from across the U.S and its territories to be part of the ACEAP Ambassadors Program. These selected ambassadors will attend a series of virtual meetings and online training to prepare them for the nine-day Chile expedition. The nine-day expedition trip includes a behind-the-scenes visit to the ALMA, CTIO, Gemini facilities, as well as visits to smaller tourist-community observatories. These visits will include discussions with observatory staff regarding the science and engineering work, and guidance on accessing observatory data archives for research and other purposes. Additionally, ambassadors will have an opportunity to get an understanding of the Chilean culture and the emerging astro-tourism industry. Weather permitting, nighttime observing opportunities are made available. Ambassadors also engage in post-travel related activities and outreach events.

Program Participant Eligibility

Anyone may apply for the four (4) positions fully supported by your institution and/or personal funding. Five of the remaining slots are restricted to U.S. citizens and permanent residents who are amateur astronomers, K through college formal and informal educators who teach astronomy as part of their curriculum or program, planetarium educators, or those working in the area of astronomy communications. The final slot will be awarded to a Chilean educator who teachers astronomy.

Program Goals

  1. Inform amateur astronomers, planetarium personnel, and K-college astronomy educators about astronomy facilities in Chile, the nature of work being done by scientists and engineers at the facilities, and how they can access and use data being collected and other resources from these observatories,
  2. Create a core network of individuals (Ambassadors) who will broadly disseminate knowledge and resources related to NRAO, NOAO and Gemini, and their astronomy-related activities in Chile.

Program Participant Commitment

Ambassadors agree to take part in all essential program-related activities, which include:

  1. Pre-travel phone and video conferences. From the time of selection to departure for Chile, we anticipate a total of six phone/video conferences and training sessions. The phone/video conferences are normally held using a video conference software such as Skype, Google Chat, Zoom Meeting, etc., and can take place after business hours at a pre-agreed time, with a general duration of an hour.
  2. Training sessions. The training sessions topics will include guidance on traveling internationally, getting the most out of your camera, using social media to get the word out, how to tailor presentations to the target audience, developing press releases and articles to the target audience, and guidance on engaging the news media.
  3. Pre- and post-evaluations activities. Engage in pre- and post-program evaluation activities.
  4. Travel to Chile and be able to meet all health criteria for a high-altitude visit. The expedition includes visiting high altitude based facilities, like the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO), located at an altitude of 2,200 meters (7,200 feet). The Gemini South telescope, located on Cerro Pachón at an altitude of 2,700 meters (8,900 feet), and ALMA, a new radio telescope array in the Chilean Atacama desert, located at an altitude of 5,000 meters (16,400 feet). For this reason, Ambassadors are asked to visit their primary care physician to discuss the trip and any medical concerns or precations that might be necessary or recommended. Prior to traveling to the high site (16,400 feet) at ALMA, all Ambassadors must sign a waiver and pass an onsite medical assessment. The high-altitude medical assessment normally includes pulse, blood oxygen levels, and blood pressure. For health and safety reasons, you must be medically cleared prior to traveling to the high site.
  5. Complete a minimum of seven outreach events. Outreach events include, but are not limited to, presentations to K through post-secondary students or public, virtual presentations, online blog, article for newsletter, newspaper, or magazine, presentation at professional meetings, etc.

Program Benefits

All Ambassadors will receive significant training in STEM communication, as well as the recognition that comes from being one of the few individuals chosen for ACEAP. Ambassadors will also receive a $500 stipend for completion of the seven-outreach events.

Program Costs and Expenses

While similar programs can cost in excess of $6,000, ACEAP works to keep costs low for program participants. While some participant’s Chile in-country expenses are paid for by the NSF grant, in other cases ACEAP Ambassadors self-fund, or their institutions pay for their expenses. ACEAP is currently exploring sustainable models and as a result, different rules apply depending on selection status. In all cases ACEAP Ambassadors are responsible for their own round trip airline ticket to Santiago, Chile from the U.S., related baggage fees, supplemental health insurance, any related medical expenses while in Chile, lodging upgrades while in Chile, entertainment, and meals and transportation outside of program agenda.

The ACEAP Ambassador’s institution, or a sponsor organization, may be a source of funding to support individual costs and expenses. All Ambassadors will receive significant training in STEM communication, as well as the recognition that comes from being one of the few individuals chosen for ACEAP. The long-term benefits to institutions or sponsors may significantly outweigh the investment of funds on behalf of the ACEAP Ambassador or their institution. Check with your institution to see if professional development funds might be available to cover individual costs.

Applications may be submitted through