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NASA Scientist to Speak at ECC

The public is invited to hear NASA space weather scientist Dr. Yari Collado-Vega present “Space Weather: The Sun-Earth Connection” on Friday, March 9, at 7:30 p.m. in Keihin Auditorium on the Tarboro campus.

Physics teachers from across the state will converge on Edgecombe Community College March 9-10 for the spring meeting of the North Carolina Section of the American Association of Physics Teachers.

About fifty physics educators from high schools, two-year colleges, and universities across the state are expected to attend.

As part of the event, a NASA space weather scientist will give a public lecture on Friday, March 9.

Dr. Yari Collado-Vega will present “Space Weather: The Sun-Earth Connection.” Her lecture begins at 7:30 p.m. in Keihin Auditorium in the Fleming Building on the Tarboro campus.

A native of Puerto Rico, Collado-Vega has been part of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center since 2004. She is part of the Space Weather Laboratory in the Heliophysics Science Division, working with the Community Coordinated Modeling Center. She is a senior space weather forecaster, the acting lead of the Space Weather team, and a public education specialist.

As a researcher, she is involved in the metrics and validation efforts of the available space weather models. Collado-Vega has conducted and published research on the solar wind-magnetosphere interaction.

She is the space weather scientist specialist for the education outreach program of the Heliophysics Education Consortium, has performed presentations for social media events including liveshots in English and Spanish, and was a co-host of the NASA TV Live broadcast of the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse at The College of Charleston.

Collado-Vega earned her Ph.D. in space physics with honors from The Catholic University of America. She received both her B.S. and M.S. degrees in theoretical physics from the University of Puerto Rico. She received a second M.S. degree from The Catholic University of America.

The NC Section of the American Association of Physics Teachers is meeting at Edgecombe Community College because Rebecca Stamilio Ehret, physics/astronomy instructor at ECC, is past president of the organization.

In addition to the Friday night lecture, the public also is invited to attend a tethered launch of a high altitude balloon at 3 p.m. on Saturday, March 10, on the Tarboro campus. The launch is part of the project of ECC’s high altitude balloon team, known as critECCly stable.

This ECC team received statewide attention last April when it won three of the top six awards in a statewide unmanned high altitude balloon challenge.