E. Mike McCardel, KC8YLD Appointed AMSAT VP-Educational Relations

E. Mike McCardel, KC8YLD, new AMSAT-NA VP-Educational Relations
E. Mike McCardel, KC8YLD, new AMSAT-NA VP-Educational Relations

AMSAT President Barry Baines, WD4ASW has accepted the resignation of Mark Hammond, N8MH as VP-Educational Relations and appointed E. Michael McCardel, KC8YLD as his replacement.

Mark Hammond, N8MH of Coats, NC has served as VP-Educational Relations since December 2011.  During his tenure, Mark established a team focused on educational issues and supporting the educational objectives of AMSAT.  A highlight for the team was the ARISS contact conducted during the 2012 Pacificon Convention in October 2012  in Santa Clara, CA that provided an opportunity for a group of selected  young people from the Santa Clara area to ask questions directly to an astronaut on board the International Space Station with an audience of the participant’s family members and amateur radio operators in attendance.  Managing a school contact during an ARRL Convention provided a unique opportunity to highlight ARISS before a much wider audience that appreciated both the technical details of communications technology and the wonder of students speaking to an astronaut.  Members of Mark’s Education Team, including Joe Spier, K6WAO, Dale Hunzeker, KJ6VUC and E.Mike were all involved in the management of the ARISS contact at Pacificon.

In his 22 months of service, Mark developed a strong working relationship with the ARRL Education Department,  NASA Education at Johnson Space Center, various universities which AMSAT had established working relationships, plus AMSAT members interested in finding ways of placing amateur radio satellites in the classroom.  Mark has served as a member of the review team (which included ARRL and JSC Education) which evaluated applications for ARISS school contacts.  His close working relationship with Mark Spencer, WA8SME encouraged “Spence” to develop some creative educational concepts, such as the Fox-1 Attitude Determination Experiment Simulator that was featured in the July/August 2013 of the AMSAT JOURNAL.  Mark also represented AMSAT-NA at the 2012 AMSAT-UK Space Colloquium at Guilford, which provided an opportunity for him to interact with the AMSAT-UK FUNCube-1 team responsible for developing educational materials in support of that satellite’s educational objectives.

Mark’s resignation is due to his appointment effective September 1, 2013 as vice president of academic affairs and provost of Campbell University, Buies Creek, NC.  The increased workload and travel associated with his new position has forced Mark to re-evaluate his diminishing available time.  His conclusion was that he could not devote the time necessary to fulfill his AMSAT educational responsibilities.

AMSAT President Barry Baines, WD4ASW notes, “Mark re-invigorated a critical area for AMSAT, establishing new relationships with key organizations outside of AMSAT and helping us to better understand and respond to  the challenges of fulfilling our vision of using amateur radio satellites in support of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) in the classroom.  AMSAT’s loss is Campbell University’s gain, and we wish Mark well in his new position.”   Barry also observed, “Fortunately for AMSAT, Mark will serve as a member of the AMSAT Board of Directors, having just been elected by the AMSAT membership, which allows AMSAT to benefit from Mark’s insight and perspective in dealing with AMSAT’s strategic issues.”

Mark’s leadership on education has enhanced AMSAT’s focus on an important aspect of AMSAT’s mission.   “Over the past two years I’ve had the distinct pleasure of interacting with some very capable individuals who are passionate about integrating amateur radio satellites into the classroom as well as working with individuals who make the ARISS program such a worldwide success,” reflected Mark.  “I have every confidence in E.Mike as he continues to further enrich AMSAT’s education outreach program by not only continuing initiatives already set into motion, but by establishing new and exciting ones as well.”

With Mark’s resignation, the appointment of “EMike” McCardel, KC8YLD of Danville, OH as the new VP-Educational Relations is also announced.  First licensed in 2003, EMike’s initial interest in amateur radio was due to the ISS and the desire to interact with the astronauts on board.  That initial interest broadened in its scope to include amateur radio satellites and AMSAT, joining in 2011 and was subsequently drawn to the educational outreach efforts of Mark Hammond’s new Educational Relations team.

E.Mike’s professional background incorporated teaching and working with young people inside and outside the classroom, including having worked with the developmentally disabled.  For the past 18 years, he has served as an IT manager at Kenyon College, Gambier, OH as a member of the college’s Library and Information Services Department.  EMike retired from Kenyon this past June.

McCardel’s interest in education outreach has also been reflected in his volunteer work under the ARRL with the “Ohio Section Educational Outreach Initiative” which E.Mike notes, “focuses on building relationships with teachers and students beginning with our own children and grandchildren and their teachers. As teachers become aware and have a better understanding of our resources, they adjust to find ways to fit it into the curriculum.”

From this experience, E.Mike is hopeful that the focus on reaching out to teachers can be encouraged under AMSAT.  “I hope to expand on this theme with AMSAT while continuing to build the strong relationships Mark has been developing with our Colleges and Universities. I am challenged to follow in Mark’s shoes. He has been a good mentor and friend and I believe that he constructed a firm foundation upon which we can build and move AMSAT’s educational outreach forward.”