(Colorado– October 9, 2018) – The High Plains Library District, in collaboration with the Space Science Institute and its National Center for Interactive Learning (NCIL), was recently selected by NASA (through an extremely competitive process) to host a live in-flight education downlink from the International Space Station on October 18th with Colorado’s own NASA astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor. 3rd and 4th grade students from Frontier Academy and Dos Rios Elementary (in Greeley, CO) will talk with Auñón-Chancellor and participate in hands-on science and engineering activities. The event will be streamed live so that other public libraries and schools across the country can organize their own viewing events. The 20-minute downlink is tentatively scheduled to begin at 11:40 am Mountain Time. The planned program, from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm, is designed to inspire children to increase their interest and engagement in science and engineering.
Children ages 8-12 from local schools and libraries and elsewhere across the U.S. submitted questions for the live chat. Local kids will be selected to ask questions during the downlink. NASA Astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor will answer as many as time allows.
“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for these kids and something for our entire community to rally around. We hope this inspires our youth to dream big about their future, and the possibilities that exist for each of them in the science and engineering fields. We hope that other libraries and schools will organize their own viewing events and watch the broadcast” said Kelli Johnson, Community Relations and Marketing Manager at High Plains.
Paul Dusenbery, Director of the National Center for Interactive Learning, said “Public libraries are natural community gathering places and one of the few free resources available to the public. They serve people of all races, ages, and socio-economic backgrounds. This NASA astronaut program will help to increase and sustain youth and public engagement in science and engineering.”
Media interested in covering should contact Kelli Johnson or 970-506-8560.
The High Plains Library District connects communities to information, inspiration and entertainment for life. HPLD includes libraries in Greeley, Evans, Firestone, Erie, Kersey, Ault, Eaton, Johnstown, Platteville, Hudson, Fort Lupton and Gilcrest.
About the National Center for Interactive Learning (NCIL)
The Space Science Institute’s NCIL (www.nc4il.spacescience.org) is dedicated to developing and implementing projects and initiatives that improve formal and informal STEM education and the evaluation/research foundation on which they are based. NCIL works with national partners to develop STEM exhibitions for public libraries, science centers, and museums; conducts professional development for informal educators; and creates educational games and apps that can be deployed on websites, mobile devices (e.g. smartphones and tablets) and multi-touch tables and kiosks. NASA@ My Library is an initiative of the STAR Library Network (STAR Net), a hands-on learning network for libraries and their communities across the country (www.starnetlibraries.org). STAR Net focuses on helping library professionals build their STEM skills by providing “science-technology activities and resources” (STAR) and training to use those resources. STAR Net resources include the STEM Activity Clearinghouse, blogs, webinars, workshops and meet-ups at library conferences, partnership opportunities, information about upcoming national STEM events, and the STAR Net online newsletter.