MELBOURNE, FLA. — This summer, Florida Institute of Technology physics
and space sciences faculty members Sam Durrance and Niescja Turner will lead a two-
week residential summer academy for gifted Florida high school seniors. The school,
started by the Florida legislature last year, is called the Governor’s School for Space
Science and Technology and will be held primarily at Kennedy Space Center.
Durrance and Turner will teach an inquiry-based space science curriculum and
will direct the students in a research project involving flying a specialized camera
onboard an F-104 Starfighter jet. Durrance, a former astronaut who flew on shuttle
missions STS-35 and STS-67, will help lead the experiment. Students will prepare the
camera, watch the flight and analyze the data. They will also learn from scientists and
engineers at KSC laboratories who are focused on current lunar exploration research.
“This is an exciting opportunity for academically talented students to get hands-
on experience in space science,” said Durrance. “It will be something that these students
Activities begin on Sunday afternoon, July 5, with an orientation and astronaut
training experience and will conclude Friday, July 17, with an awards ceremony including
all participants and their families.
“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance for high school students to come to the Space Center
and Florida Tech and interact with professional scientists and engineers on actual space
science projects,” said Turner, a space physicist. “Students will go home with a deeper
understanding of the space program and what it means to be a scientist.”
Admission to the school is expected to be highly competitive, as applications may
be accepted from students anywhere in Florida, but registration is limited to 18 slots. All
activities at the school, including room and board, are covered by the school itself at no
cost to the students.
Former Rep. Thad Altman, now a state senator, and Senator Steve Wise led the
effort to obtain the funding. “We are all delighted to have achieved this initial start to
what we believe will become a model of education leadership for Florida,” said Altman
when the school was originally announced.
Florida Tech will award 10 scholarships to graduating delegates of the Governor’s
School for Space Science and Technology. Governor’s School scholarships will combine
resources from Florida Tech and the state of Florida for a minimum guarantee of $15,000
per academic year up to full tuition for attendance at the university.
Applications from rising high school seniors (class of 2010) are currently being
reviewed on a rolling basis. For more information, visit http://govschool.fit.edu, e-mail
email@example.com or call 1-800-688-2174.