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Shine On! Program Selected to host NASA Downlink with International Space Station

space station

SUNY Plattsburgh’s Shine On! program has been selected by NASA to host a downlink with the International Space Station during Mission 65 sometime between April and October 2021.

This live visit with astronauts is part of a virtual conference being planned jointly with Beekmantown Central School District to encourage science, engineering, technology, and mathematics careers and build character strengths in North Country students.

“Beekmantown Central School District is excited to partner with Shine On!, SUNY Plattsburgh and other educational agencies for a live connect with astronauts living on the International Space Station,” said Dan Mannix, Beekmantown superintendent. “Providing all students amazing 21st century learning opportunities and a STEM-rich environment are BCSD goals. This unique opportunity will ensure that traditionally underserved students in the North Country receive an amazing learning experience rarely seen in our area.”

The live downlink will be the highlight of a day-long virtual conference, “Look To The Stars: #CharacterCountdown,” planned jointly by the Shine On! committee and Beekmantown Middle School science teacher, Diana Danville, a New York state designated maser teacher.

“Shine On! provides empowerment for young girls and support for their parents and guardians.  My two daughters were both Shine On! participants and later Shine On! mentors,” Danville said. “With COVID-19 restrictions over the last year, this connection with NASA has us literally reaching for the stars with hope for tomorrow.”

This event is designed to build students’ interest in STEM fields while demonstrating the value of character to achieve success in life. The day-long conference, which will include workshops and presentations, is part of an eight-week virtual program that teachers in any school district can bring to their classroom before and after the ISS link-up.

Chrysa Rabideau, a senior finance and economics major and this year’s Shine On! chair, said the group is excitedly awaiting the downlink from NASA. Downlink dates are determined by the availability of International Space Station operations and crew member assignments.

“I’m excited to lead such an empowered group of women to bring this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to students in the North Country. As someone who grew up in the local area, I know this will inspire students and benefit them for a lifetime,” Rabideau said.

The day’s workshops include “Beam Me Up Scotty,” an introduction to the technology behind NASA spacesuits by Elizabeth Pearl of Pearl Physical Therapy, and “Communication and the Weather,” by Caitlin Napoleoni, WPTZ meteorologist.

“SUNY Plattsburgh’s Shine On! is a great example of a program that’s been empowering and educating young girls in Northern New York for over a decade,” said North Country Assemblyman Billy Jones, who supported the proposal to NASA.

“Its upcoming virtual conference will help even more students realize the importance of character in STEM-related fields and inspire them to take advantage of the many opportunities with companies here in our region. I want to thank NASA for selecting Shine On! and SUNY Plattsburgh for helping even the youngest students grow and making the North Country a premier location to live and work”

Shine On! has hosted some 2,000 young North Country girls since its inception 11 years ago. In that time, it has held educational outreach programs in nearly a dozen schools as it aims to foster positive development in students based on essential character strengths.

Shine On! is seeking proposals from STEM professionals and teachers in all subjects for 30-minute virtual workshops to be included as part of this opportunity. For more information or to submit a workshop proposal, email [email protected], visit shineongirl.org or follow on Facebook and Instagram.

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