3…2…1… #SpaceHealth! For some FIT students, summer is a chance to explore, meet challenges

Photo: The FT3 at FIT Team at Kennedy Space Center, with Florida Today/USA Today Senior Space Reporter, Todd Halvorson. (From left, Monica DeFelice, Michael Champion, Eman Mareh, Brooke Fisher, Jennifer Nessmith, John Almasi, William Grimaldi, Laura Fitzsimmons, Kimberly Schaefer, Heidi Hatfield Edwards, and Todd Halvorson. Not pictured: Rory Allen.)


By Heidi Hatfield Edwards, Associate Professor of Communication


Pop Quiz: What did you do this summer? Mark all that apply.

  1.  Talk to an astronaut on the International Space Station
  2. Tour Kennedy Space Center and talk to its director, Bob Cabana
  3. Interview former astronaut Winston Scott about the effects of space travel on his health
  4. Visit the European Space Agency in the Netherlands
  5. Write articles, create web content and produce videos and radio stories about the effects of space travel/microgravity on the human body

For students in my undergraduate and graduate communication classes, the answer by summer’s end was “All of the above.” While learning about communicating science and technology to the public, students worked in collaboration with Florida Today and USA Today to create a multimedia project for publication in September.

In the coming week we will post blogs about their experiences leading up to the publication. Working with Florida Today/USA Today Senior Aerospace Reporter Todd Halvorson and Florida Today’s Space Editor Mara Bellaby, students developed stories centered around the question, “What does the research say about the effects of space travel on the human body and how can that research help us here on earth?”

The blogs are students’ personal insights into what they learned as part of the course and while working on the project. While the project was focused on a particular topic, students were learning the broader lesson that writing about science/technology for the public is a complicated process with a multitude of potential pitfalls. What have they learned about that process? How will the experience inform their professional work? How will it impact their personal consumption of science and technology news?

Watch for the blogs and if you want to see more about the process, check out our Facebook page: FT3 at FIT and follow us on Twitter, #SpaceHealth. We’re counting down to launch!

Heidi Hatfield Edwards is Associate Head of the School of Arts and Communication and Chair of the Communication Program.

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