Sunday, July 17, 2011

ISAS 2011 Academy 1 Day 1

Welcome to the 2011 Idaho Science and Aerospace Scholars Summer Academy blog and media channel. These daily blogs will be posted on the Department of Education website, keeping parents, students, and others informed about the program's activities. The blogs are written by the three following individuals.

My name is Andrew Schrader and I am one of the bloggers for the ISAS summer program. I recently completed my freshman year at Valparaiso University with an intended major in Mechanical Engineering. Two years ago I interned at NASA Ames Research Center with the NASA INSPIRE program. I am happy to be a part of the newest ISAS Summer Academy and can't wait to be involved.

My name is Jaime Guevara; I am also a blogger for the ISAS program and am attending Boise State in the fall and like my co-blogger will be continuing my studies in Mechanical Engineering. I am happy to continue being one of the first bloggers for the ISAS Summer Academy and hope that parents will be pleased, not just with the daily blogs, but with the program their children are involved with during this key week in their lives.

My name is LaCinda Villanueva. I am an intern helping with the blogs and am currently attending the College of Western Idaho. I plan on transferring to the University of Idaho for a degree in Chemistry. I attended ISAS last year as a student and I enjoyed every aspect of it. I am excited to be back, and to be helping with the blogs.

The Idaho Science and Aerospace Scholars Summer Academy is a weeklong academic workshop that engages and challenges high school juniors to utilize the knowledge they have gained in their classrooms and apply this knowledge in real life scenarios. The students, while residing and working out of Boise State University, will also undertake a trip to NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California where they will be exposed to the many different STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) careers available to them. While partaking in activities that encourage thought and problem solving skills, the students will also have the opportunity to interact with scientists working in their field on real life projects.

 As noon approached on the first day of the academy, the newest 2011 ISAS Summer Academy students began to arrive at Boise State University and settle into their dorms. Students were given the time to place their belongings in their rooms and interact with the every-growing number of students. Many of the students recognized one another from similar schools or hometowns, but many students had the opportunity to meet with others from all parts of Idaho. The students spent some time mingling in the lobby of the dorm, talking excitedly with one another, and very anxious to begin.

Students mingling
 By 2:00 PM, the students had checked into the Academy and were led by their mentors and Director Peter Kavouras to The Discovery Center of Idaho. Here, the students were able to mingle further and had an opportunity to experience many of the different exhibits the center had to offer. Some students even shared what they were excited about.

"We wanted to take part in ISAS because we love engineering and space"
--Evan Lovel

After spending time throughout the center, the students congregated into the front room to disperse into their separate teams: Gray, Red, White, and Blue. The teams discussed the Academy rules and chose team leaders. In order to encourage the students to interact outside of their teams, nametags were passed out randomly, requiring the students to become better acquainted with one another. Students laughed as they introduced one another and clearly began to come together as a stronger unit. They will definitely need that cohesion in order to successfully design a manned-mission to Mars.

Students being briefed in Discovery Center of Idaho

After a quick meal, the four separate teams, each one representing a different aspect of the mission, presented a patch/logo for their team which they had designed. Students had been communicating previously through the internet program in order to present their creative ideas on this first day.

The final event of the night was a project called the "Table Tennis Triathlon". For this project, the students had to use supplies given to them to create simple machines to perform the functions of a catapult, cantilever, and rocket. Each of these different machines must carry with it a table tennis ball and at the same time fulfill certain requirements. Each event was scored and the team with the greatest overall score was declared the winner.
Blue Team Strategizing
 Overall, the first day of the new Idaho Science and Aerospace Scholars Summer Academy was very successful, engaging, and fun for students and mentors alike. These blogs will be uploaded daily, and once the students have completed their final activities every night. A more "live" version of the days' events are being uploaded onto the ISAS: Idaho Science and Aerospace Scholars' facebook page. The students have had the chance to meet, and greet with their peers, and are now ready for the oncoming events of the week.

-- Andrew Schrader, Jaime Guevara, LaCinda Villanueva--

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