Kansas Teen Named 2008 Young Ham of the Year
Emily Stewart, KC0PTL, a 17 year old from Leavenworth, Kansas, has been named the 2008 Young Ham of the Year (YHOTY), announced YHOTY Award Administrator Bill Pasternak, WA6ITF. Emily was selected based on her commitment to Amateur Radio, along with leadership, outreach, and her technical and public service achievements of the Amateur Radio Service to others. She will receive her award as part of the Huntsville Hamfest. More than two dozen young people were nominated for this award, now in its 22nd year.
The daughter of Mike, K0MDS, and Sharon Stewart, Emily was first licensed in August of 2003 when she was 12; she holds a General class license. She said she was "so excited" when she got her ticket that she wanted to share Amateur Radio and made presentations while in middle school about ham radio. That led to getting active in her local radio club and contributing articles to the club newsletter. Through her local activities, Emily was appointed in 2006 as the first Assistant Section Manager for Youth in the ARRL Kansas Section.
Emily has lived in Kansas for eight years. Prior to that, home was in Germany, where her father was serving in the US military. She credits her dad for sparking interest in amateur radio when they moved back to the United States: "I thought it was really cool when he started talking to people overseas in Europe. And Germany was still kind of home to me, so when he started talking to people in Germany, I said I wanted to do that, too."
Last August, while attending the ARRL Kansas State Convention, Emily conducted a survey of attendees, asking how many had persuaded their children or grandchildren to get involved in Amateur Radio. The slim response led her and Brian Short, KC0BS, to develop the Kansas Legacy Project. This project has three prongs: Pass the spirit and knowledge of the Amateur Radio Service to a new generation; build ties between family members using ham radio activities, and increase youth participation in ham radio. Through her efforts, Emily hopes to encourage hams to get the younger members of their families to get their ham licenses and get involved. The project has netted good results so far, including one of the youngest hams in the region to be licensed -- 7 year old Lucie Goodhart, KD0DMO, who took a license class with her dad and passed her Technician test last March.
Emily is also interested in the public service and storm spotting portion of Amateur Radio: "My dad would sometimes take me out with him to go storm spotting. I decided that I wanted to have some training, so I took a couple of online courses in emergency communications. I will either go out with my dad when we get called out to do some storm chasing or I will stay at home and do spotting from home -- just in case something really nasty does happen. Then that way I'm home with my mom."
Emily also has a deep interest in spaceflight and astronomy. One of her cousins, US Astronaut Robert L. Stewart, was a crewmember onboard the space shuttles Challenger and Atlantis. She has been attending Spacecamp since she was in the 6th grade. "I'm also into astronomy and that's another thing my dad and I do," said Emily. "We volunteer at an observatory about an hour away from Leavenworth. We work on public access nights."
This fall, Emily heads into her senior year at Leavenworth High School where she is a member of the National Honor Society, Vice President of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and is a copy editor for the school yearbook. Already a Registered Pharmacy Technician with the state of Kansas, she is considering making pharmacy her career.
Emily is a member of the American Radio Relay League and the Kickapoo QRP Amateur Radio Club. She's also a regular participant in Field Day, Kids Days and QRP events.
The 2008 Amateur Radio Newsline! Young Ham of the Year Award will be presented on Saturday, August 16, 2008 at the Huntsville Hamfest in Huntsville, Alabama. As the 2007 Young Ham of the Year, Emily will receive a trip to the Huntsville Hamfest, ham radio equipment, various books and magazines and an all-expense-paid week at Spacecamp in Huntsville. Amateur Radio Newsline will award her with a commemorative plaque at the ceremony.
The presentation of the YHOTY award is a regular feature of the Huntsville Hamfest and has been made possible through the generosity and kindness of the event's Planning Committee. This year's YHOTY award ceremony will be hosted by Don Wilbanks, AE5DW, of Amateur Radio Newsline, along with representatives of corporate underwriters Vertex-Standard and CQ Communications, Inc.
The Amateur Radio Newsline "Young Ham of the Year" award program (formerly the Westlink Report Young Ham of the Year Award), has been presented annually since 1986 to a licensed radio Amateur Radio operator who is 18 years of age or younger and who has provided outstanding service to the nation, his/her community or the betterment of the state of the art in communications through the Amateur Radio hobby/service.