Summer Students Collaborate with ‘Florida Today’

This summer, students in Heidi Hatfield Edwards’ “Writing About Science” and “Covering Science and Technology” courses are getting way from their desks and into the field. They’re collaborating with Florida Today on a multimedia project, which examines health in zero gravity and what life in space teaches to help people live better on Earth. They participated in a ground to space interview with space-walking astronaut Chris Cassidy on the International Space Station.

The students are reviewing decades of NASA research on the health effects of microgravity on astronauts, which is, in part, being applied to health problems on Earth. For example, bone loss is a problem for astronauts, as it is with the elderly. “One of our questions is, ‘How does the research being done on astronauts help to better understand and treat osteoporosis,’” said Edwards.

Students will produce multimedia stories for the print and online versions of Florida Today and, Edwards hopes, USA Today. As they work, they are posting interesting findings to Twitter and Facebook. Their Facebook page is FT3 at FIT ( The students are using the hashtag #SpaceHealth to tweet about whatever they find interesting in their activities. Florida Today is incorporating the feeds.

PHOTO: Waiting for a Delta IV rocket launch, from left: Rory Allen, William Grimaldi, Kimberly Schaefer, Eman Mareh, Jennifer Nessmith, John Almasi, Brooke Fisher, Laura Fitzsimmons, Monica DeFelice, and Heidi Hatfield Edwards.

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