Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Healthy Schools Program Funds $400,000 for School Nurses Across the Gem State

Fourteen districts will share $400,000 to fund school-based nurses thanks to the Healthy Schools Program, administered by the State Department of Education.

The goals of the Healthy School Program is to increase the availability of health screenings and coordination with health providers, minimize barriers to health services, and boost community awareness around student health issues, and promote overall student health. The funding comes from the Department of Health and Welfare.

More than 30 districts and schools applied for the funding and 14 were awarded. Awards were based on school and community needs, as well as the overall merit of the program proposed. The competitive grant awards for the 2014-2015 school year ranged from $20,000 to $40,000.
The following schools and districts will receive funding from the Healthy Schools Program:

• American Falls School District
• Boundary County School District
• Caldwell School District
• Cassia School District
• Coeur d'Alene Venture High School
• Emmett School District
• Glenns Ferry School District
• Jerome School District
• Lake Pend Oreille Alternative High School
• Melba School District
• Nampa - Sherman Elementary and Snake River Elementary
• Orofino Joint School District
• Weiser School District
• West Bonner School District

For more information about the Healthy Schools Program, please contact Lisa Kramer at or (208) 332-6947. Or read more online at

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Fast Forward Program Gives Idaho High School Students Access to up to $600 for Exams, Courses

Beginning next school year, high school students attending public schools across the Gem State will have access to new funding to help cover the costs of taking college-level courses or professional-technical certification exams while still in high school with a program called Fast Forward. 

“The Fast Forward program is a win-win for students and their parents. Students get a jump start on college and parents pay less for college-level classes. The Fast Forward program opens the doors of opportunity to all of Idaho's public school students, no matter where they live,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna.

During the 2014 Legislative Session, the Idaho Legislature passed Senate Bill 1233, which approved funds to cover up to 75 percent of the cost of taking dual credit courses, college-bearing exams, or professional-technical exams. The Fast Forward Program provides every high school junior access up to $200 and high school seniors access to up to $400 per year. To find out more information about the Fast Forward program, please attend one of the following community events in your area.

• Coeur d’Alene – July 30, North Idaho College, Student Union Building, ESU1 Lake Cd'a at 6 p.m.
• Moscow – July 31, University of Idaho, Renfrew Hall, Classroom 126 at 6 p.m. 
• Boise – August 6, Boise State University, Yanke Family Research Park at 6 p.m.
• Pocatello – August 11, Idaho State University, Student Union Building, 2nd floor ballroom at 6 p.m.
• Twin Falls – August 12, Canyon Ridge High School, auditorium at 7 p.m.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

ISAS Academy One: Day 7

After a late night practicing their presentations the students were up bright and early to go through another round of practice. The students worked till they were ready and the presentations sounded great.

The students arrived at the event center around ten in the morning and set up their poster presentations. They then received guests and family to talk about the mission to Mars they had planned. Students also reunited with family members after their week long absence from home.

Students present their design mission to their family members. 

The presentation began with a welcome from program director Peter Kavouras and was followed by a buffet. The audience received a preview of the students' time at the Academy through a video and slideshow during their meal.

Students present their mission design to the banquet hall.

Next the teams introduced themselves along with their job titles and presented their mission which was done in four parts with each team presenting their portion of the mission. Each presenter was eloquent and thorough with their short speech and communicated to the audience well.

An audience of family, friends and others from the community join to hear the ISAS presentation.

After the presentations a few special guests including  Fabiola Juarez-Coco, Art Johnson, and Corey Morasch stood and talked about the students' experiences and vision of the program. They communicated to the audience the positive impact the Idaho Science and Aerospace Scholars Program has on the students and their desire to see it continue.

Jo Dodds was then introduced and she in turn introduced each team's teacher-mentor. After making a few remarks on the performance of their team each mentor presented their team members with certificates of achievement. After their team received their certificates one team member on behalf of their team was asked to talk about their experience at the Academy. This may have been the most heartwarming and convincing part of the banquet, for you saw their sincere appreciation for the program.

Teams receive the certificate of achievement. 

The time to say farewell came too quickly. Students and mentors alike felt that the time they had spent together made it hard to part but we will see these students again in the near future.

The Blue team takes one last photo together. 

Thank you so much for following these students during their time at the first Idaho Science and Aerospace Scholars Academy. You can find photos, videos and other media of their time spent at the academy on the Facebook and Twitter pages. And it was our pleasure to bring their story to you all week. Please come back in two weeks to follow the updates for the second academy beginning the 27th.

--Camille Eddy (ISAS 2012 alumna) and 
Holly Palmer (ISAS 2013 alumna)
ISAS Social Media Mentors

ISAS Academy 1: Day 6

The students' day began with a presentation from the Boise State University SPHERE (Synchronized Position Hold, Engage Reorient, Experimental Satellites) coordinators. The presenters were a graduate student, Nilab and an undergraduate student, Marina. They and their team are the link between the MIT Zero Robotics Program and high schools and middle schools around the state of Idaho. The challenges for both teams change annually, but always involve programing a spherical robot to accomplish a selected task in space. Winning teams get to send their codes to a SPHERE on the ISS for testing. This year’s challenge is keeping a meteor from hitting earth. Students learned how they could form their own Zero Robotics Team.

College students shared a program with our ISAS scholars about the high school SPHERE opportunities.

Soon afterwards students had the opportunity to participate in a teleconference with Dan Isla who is a Boise State University graduate and Systems Engineer at NASA Jet Propulsion Lab. Dan Isla worked on the Assembly Test and Launch Operations Team (ATLO) for the Mars Rover Curiosity and talked about the seven minutes of terror landing, the rover's activities on the planet and its instrumentation. Students had their last chance to talk to an expert about their mission before tomorrow's presentations, and they also asked questions about the road to a NASA career including opportunities at BSU and other colleges and high schools in general.
Students asking questions during Dan Isla's teleconference in.

The students had the opportunity to participate in workshops that provided a hands on approach to different career fields including biology, DNA detection, antibiotic development, cryptology, robotics, and motion analysis. The students worked with college students, graduate students and professors to complete different experiments in these areas of study. Experiments varied from making gold pennies, to capturing their own strands of DNA, to programing a rover to find water on Mars.

Students attempt to read an encrypted message using a computer program.
Boiling chemicals, one student prepares to alter a penny to appear as gold.

These students worked hard to prepare for the banquet on Saturday, where they will present and display their final presentations. They had time to work with their team and to practice addressing the audience as they gave their presentation. They have accomplished much this past week at the academy and they are excited to share what they have learned with you. We hope to see you tomorrow!

Don't forget to check out the Facebook and Twitter pages for more videos and ISAS content.

--Camille Eddy (ISAS 2012 alumna) and
Holly Palmer (ISAS 2013 alumna)
ISAS Social Media Mentors

Thursday, July 17, 2014

ISAS Academy One: Day 5

The students' day began with a tour of the Micron facilities where they not only learned about the process used to create memory products using silicon wafers but they were also able to view different aspects of the research and development with these wafers. Students learned that the Boise site is primarily focused on research and development, in comparison to a focus on manufacturing. Micron is strictly a no pictures facility so no inside views will be included in this post.

Micron Technologies, Boise

Students were able to view the clean room where the wafers are created with the use of an Automated Materials Handling System (AMHS). This automated system bypasses the need for workers to be in direct contact with wafers. Pods take the wafers to and from different tools that are used in the manufacturing process. Students were also allowed to tour the Surface Analysis Lab, where tests are done on the wafers to assist research, as well as the Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM) Lab where the students got to see what an atom looked like.

After Micron the students were able to participate in a rocket launch put on by Corey Morasch and J.C. Worthen. It was a great rocket launch that landed within meters of the launch site allowing for an easy retrieval. The students returned to the Boise State University campus to work on mission planning. With a lot of new information acquired from NASA Ames, the students had a lot to think about and discuss.

Students helped Corey prepare the rocket for launch.

The final presentation of the day was from former astronaut Wendy Lawrence who spoke to the students on the physiological concerns that exist when we go out into space. Concerns such as radiation but also fluid shifts that can affect eye vision and the psychological factors of spending time in space away from home for an extended period. She also touched on psychological concerns such as isolation and food.

After finishing her presentation, Wendy Lawrence talks to a couple students.

"It's all about geometry!" Wendy Lawrence often said as she played billiards with some of the ISAS participants. Tonight was a special night in the Student Union Building where students had some recreation time including bowling, ping pong and pool. Former astronauts, Wendy Lawrence and Barbara Morgan played with the scholars. Students enjoyed the relaxation and interaction with these two esteemed women, as they played pool and talked and the students got to mingle with them as people. The break was much appreciated as tomorrow will be another busy day at the Academy.

Former ISS astronauts, Wendy Lawrence and Barbara Morgan, pose with their cue sticks.

Thank you for reading and as always be sure to check out the Facebook and Twitter pages for more photos and frequent updates during the day. And we hope to see you at the banquet on Saturday where the students are sure to be presenting an engaging and impressive final presentation. #ISASacademy

--Camille Eddy (ISAS 2012 alumna) and

Holly Palmer (ISAS 2013 alumna)

ISAS Social Media Mentors


ISAS Academy One: Day 4

This morning the students again rose early and readied themselves to start their second day at the NASA Ames Research Center. After so many exciting activities yesterday they knew to expect an engaging and informing time during the presentations and tours that would be given and the day did not disappoint.

The students had the opportunity to hear from prominent scientist Chris McKay, a member of the panel of scientists from the day before, who gave a presentation about finding life on Mars. He gave more details about the three (of eight) landing sites that the students were challenged to take core samples at, the three he recommended. He also told students how millions of years ago each could have been a textbook location for microorganisms and other life. Dr. McKay shared a lot of information with the students that helped them better understand their mission to Mars.   

Students then went to visit two human centrifuges. Among other things, these machines study how humans react in conditions of up to 12 g’s. Daniel Morgan explained that one end of the large centrifuge is used for human experiments and the other for non-human ones. Students got the opportunity to sit in the centrifuge chair, take pictures and explore the spinning contraption. The smaller centrifuge used to be human powered, but has since been modified to use an engine. The pedals are still used for experiments studying exercise.

Students had the opportunity to sit in NASA’s largest centrifuge where many experiments take place.

The students also visited the Space Shop, where ideas come to life as laser cutters and 3D printers with various other machines that cut or shape parts of machines for engineers to compile together. The Space Shop works as an open 3D printing lab where engineers, scientists and other professionals can prototype ideas for products. Matthew Reyes, from last night’s panel of experts, explained how each machine worked and what its purpose was.

Soon after, students were fortunate to see another renowned scientist from yesterday’s panel, Pascal Lee, as he delivered a presentation on the specifics of a mission to Mars. He explained what would have to happen for a mission to mars to take place. Although Dr. Lee had various reasons he saw us going to Mars, he said the most important one that would be necessary to get the funding would be national interest; explaining how England didn’t travel the world until France started, and the United States didn’t put a man on the moon until the Soviet Union started pulling ahead in the space race. The people who travel to Mars would be experienced people who are experts in many survival and research fields. In explaining how we’d get to and live on Mars, Dr. Lee related Mars to Devon Island and explained how experiments they are doing on this island up in the artic and other locations worldwide are preparing them for the Martian environment.

Enthralling the ISAS students, Pascal Lee shares his vision for a Mars Mission.

They later paid a visit to the Fluid Dynamics Lab and were able to see the "Life Saver" wind tunnel. They participated in an experiment that involved the turbulence created by the flowing air rushing against the walls of the wind tunnel. Around the walls the air slows down to a point where the velocity is zero but as you move away from the wall toward the air stream the velocity gradually increases. This allowed the students to listen to a change of pitch in the airflow as they moved a tube near and away from the wall.

Neon dye flows through a liquid around the plane, to show the path the air follows.

Listening to the wind tunnel, ISAS students hear the difference between smooth and turbulent air.

Students visited the Crew-Vehicle Systems Research Facility for a tour led again by Lisa Grant. They were able to look at a full 747 simulator and a few students had the opportunity to fly in the simulation as well. They were also able to see an early simulator of a world war two plane made from organ-like air pumps. There was also a visit to a radar room for air traffic controllers where research is being done to see how computers can help with the increasing demands that air traffic controllers face as the number of airplane flights rise.

ISAS students climb into a flight simulator of a Boeing 747.
The students left excited about what they had witnessed these past two days and thinking and talking about the opportunities they would have to join these and other scientists and engineers in just a few years. After this trip to NASA Ames, students will have their sights set high for the future. We want to thank Tony Leavitt, Adrianne Wilkinson and all of the other professionals at NASA Ames Research Center who helped make this trip one of the most exciting and engaging experiences the students have had at the Academy. Don't forget to check out the Facebook and Twitter pages for more frequent updates as well as all of the day’s pictures. We hope to see you at the Saturday banquet for the final presentation of the students’ mission plans.  #ISASacademy

--Camille Eddy (ISAS 2012 alumna) and 
Holly Palmer (ISAS 2013 alumna)
ISAS Social Media Mentors

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

ISAS Academy One: Day 3

The ISAS students got out of bed very early this morning to catch a 7:30 am flight to San Jose, California. From there they traveled to the location of the NASA Ames Research Center. This is where the students will be able to tour many of the testing facilities and scientific labs that have played a large role in bringing us the technology and scientific exploration known to us today. This is also one of the best opportunity in the academy to gain information in regards to their mission planning with many chances to speak with NASA professionals.

The ISAS Academy students at the NASA Ames Research Center.

Students were able to tour the bioengineering lab with Brad Bebout. This lab is experimenting with growing algae in space. Students learned that photosynthetic microbes contribute more to the 21% oxygen in our air than plants. And that in the sun this process produces oxygen but at night it produces hydrogen. Students were able to get a glimpse behind the reasoning and methodology of NASA experiments.

Students looking at algae being cultivated for studies under circumstances similar to those on Mars.

The Vertical Motion Simulator has the benefit of testing many different flight scenarios, such as Space Shuttles, Fighter Jets, Moon Landers and 747s. Guided by Lisa Grant the students learned that this particular simulator not only gave pilots and astronauts all of the buttons and view screens of the actual vehicle, but it can also simulate the motion of anything that moves,  depth perception,and even microgravity. This simulator is the only one in the world of its kind and another little know fact is that former astronaut Barbara Morgan, current professor at Boise State University, trained in these simulators.

Students got to visit and sit in simulators replicating cockpits similar to this one.

The students received the honor of sitting in on a special NASA Ames talk called Skimming the Lunar Surface for Science: The Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE)  Mission presented by Brian Lewis. Students sat among an audience of other NASA professionals and the talk was taped for NASA TV. LADEE’s mission was to characterize the properties of the atmosphere of the moon and Brian Lewis, who grew up in Blackfoot, Idaho and attended the University of Idaho, is a system engineer and was the spacecraft manager of the LADEE project.
A model of the early version of LADEE accompanied Brian Lewis during his symposium.

NASA Ames Research Center is home to the 80 by 120 wind tunnel, the largest wind tunnel in the world. Bill Warmbrodt presented the students with a very fascinating presentation on this scientific apparatus. Students appreciated his approach of engaging them with questions and amusing stories. This wind tunnel uses the amount of electricity that it would take to power a city of 225,000 people and can produce wind at 115 miles per hour. It uses hydro-electricity that comes from dams in Big Creek of Nevada and the Snake River of Idaho.

Inside the world's largest wind tunnel, Bill Warmbrodt points out to ISAS students some of it's features.

Here is a vertical Panoramic of the wind tunnel.

The final event of the day was a great time for the teams to take advantage of the fact they were on the site of a NASA center walking among elite scientists, engineers and other professionals. A panel of experts, including Pascal Lee, Matthew Reyes, Jake Forsberg, Greg Swanson, and Chris McKay, brought over a sixty minute question and answer session to the students. Questions were asked such as, "What is the best way to get a 12 person crew from the orbit of Mars to the surface of Mars with their equipment?" “What would be the benefit of bringing core samples of Mars back to Earth and how far would we need to drill for these samples?”  And, "What type of ground support would we need, in terms of personnel for our missions to Mars?" To find out about the answers to these questions and to find out what decisions the teams made on the specific details of their missions, be sure to join us for the banquet on Saturday where the teams will present their final reports.
This panel of NASA scientists answered any and all questions the students threw at them

Students asked questions about aspects of their Mission to Mars.

Throughout the day these students attract the attention of different NASA professionals working at the research center. Students are often stopped on the street and asked what state they are from and what program they are participating in. Please take some time to visit the ISAS Facebook and Twitter page for more pictures and updates. #ISASacademy

--Camille Eddy (ISAS 2012 alumna) and
Holly Palmer (ISAS 2013 alumna)
ISAS Social Media Mentors