Delgado Students Led Collaboration to Gather Data During the Eclipse for NASA and NSF

April 16, 2024

Students wearing protective glasses look up at the skyDelgado Community College students successfully completed a field trip to Morrilton, Arkansas, as part of the Nationwide Eclipse Ballooning Project. The project collected atmospheric data during the total solar eclipse for NASA and the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Delgado students led a consortium of six institutions. Participants were from Delgado, Dillard University, SUNO, UNO, the 1881 Institute (a K-12 outreach and youth support non-profit) and Anna's Place NOLA (a K-12 after school program from the Treme neighborhood).    

The students launched weather balloons every 30 minutes for 30 hours to support NASA's eclipse research initiatives. While doing this work, they performed outreach with young students from the 1881 Institute and Anna's Place NOLA, letting the students shadow their work collecting the meteorological data.

"This was an extraordinary opportunity for Delgado students, the students from the consortium schools, students from the 1881 Institute and those from Anna’s Place NOLA to work together,” said Joanna Rivers, the professor of physical science who led the group. “The eclipse was a rare and special event, but the chance for these students to collaborate with one another in this way is unique. I hope that the younger students came away inspired by dreams of careers in STEM someday.”

Students prepare to launch an atmospheric balloonLearn more about the project and see video of a pre-eclipse practice session in City Park in this story by Nicondra Norwood for Fox 8.  

If you are interested in participating in the ballooning program, please contact Joanna Rivers. There will be a no-experience-necessary engineering track offered in fall 2024 and spring 2025: SCIE-165 / 166 Near Space Environmental Research I and II.  

Delgado Participants: Darian Moses, Samuel Overton, Josef Hightower, Mark Stewart-Sims, Ashley Pailet, Sheldon Scott, Cullen McKinley, Marcelo Munguia.  

Led by: Joanna Rivers, professor of physical science.

Photos: Courtesy of the Nationwide Eclipse Ballooning Project