Thursday, July 14, 2011

Idaho Students to Study with NASA Experts this Summer

Nearly 90 Idaho students will spend part of their summer break studying space exploration with NASA officials and Idaho experts in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). These students are part of the second annual Idaho Science and Aerospace Scholars Program Summer Academy.

In 2009, Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna worked with astronaut and Boise State Distinguished Educator-in-Residence Barbara Morgan to create this competitive program that allows Idaho high school juniors to take an engaging online course developed by NASA during the school year and then compete for the opportunity to work on developing a mission to Mars with NASA and Idaho scientists.

“The Idaho Science and Aerospace Scholars Program is an unprecedented opportunity for our high school students to work side-by-side with experts in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics from across the state of Idaho and at NASA. We are grateful to partner with NASA, Boise State and other Idaho organizations this year to continue this exciting program,” Superintendent Luna said. 

“Engaging the next generation in research and opening their eyes to the possibilities of STEM are priorities at Boise State, and this program is an outstanding extension of our mission,” Morgan said. “We are delighted to be collaborating with all of the great organizations and dedicated people who make this wonderful program possible.”

In its first year, 73 students enrolled in the online course, and 44 students went on to the Summer Academy.  The program was expanded this year, with the help of a $939,457 in grant funding from NASA. This year, 134 students enrolled in the online course, and 88 students will be participating in the Summer Academy, which will be held twice.

Forty-four students will attend the first Summer Academy July 17-23, and 44 students will attend the second Summer Academy July 31-August 6.

The weeklong summer Academy takes place partly at Boise State, Micron Technology and the Discovery Center of Idaho, and partly at the NASA Ames Research Center in California. At the Summer Academy, students are immersed in a NASA mission, a problem-based engineering design challenge. STEM experts, teachers and mentors will guide these Idaho students as they design a human mission to Mars.

The Education Idaho blog will provide live updates of the week’s events during both Summer Academies.

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