Students from Boyle, Casey and Lincoln counties will be among 160 seventh- and eighth-graders from across Kentucky, all identified as gifted and talented in science and/or mathematics, who will have the opportunity to participated in a NASA space program event hosted by Eastern Kentucky University. Of the group, 23 select students will speak with astronaut Tom Marshburn while he is aboard the International Space Station. The theme for the event, which runs from 9:15 a.m. to 2:45 p.m., is “From the Bluegrass to the Blue Marble: Systems in Space.”
Local students participating in the event include:
Casey County: Connor Wesley and Catherine McAninch, Jones Park Elementary School; McKenzie Smithers, Liberty Elementary School.
Lincoln County: Jasper Kyle Hampton, Lloyd McGuffey Sixth Grade Center.
The day will feature a variety of educational activities, which will include presenting special projects which EKU mentors (faculty, students and staff) have been assisting the students with at their local schools.
The projects will be judged by faculty from EKU's STEM-H Institute, which encourages all students to learn about science, technology, engineering, mathematics and health.
EKU and NASA have partnered with KET to ensure that other students in classrooms across the state also will be able to tune into a live stream of the conversation with Marshburn. KET will broadcast the event live from 9:40 a.m. to 10:05 a.m. EST that morning and also stream it live at www.ket.org/live. The event will be tied into KET's program for grades 4-8, News Quiz. Five minutes prior to the viewing of News Quiz Special: A Space Station Conversation, the audience will be given a brief introduction of what they are about to see and information about Marshburn.
The goal of the event coordinators is to foster in young students a love for math and science subjects, which often wanes in middle school. Instead, they hope the space-centric event will encourage students to continue their studies and potentially go into science and math careers.
“We look forward to partnering with EKU and NASA to bring this exciting event to students across the state,” said KET Executive Director Shae Hopkins. “Space exploration continues to inspire young minds and kindle an interest in science and technology. This will be an incredible opportunity for Kentucky students to learn directly from those astronauts conducting the latest pioneering studies.”