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Silver Valley Upward Bound Summer 2015

Silver Valley Upward Bound Program centers on space exploration 

Nearly a dozen high school students participating in University of Idaho’s Silver Valley Upward Bound reached for the stars this summer — quite literally.

SVUB is a federally funded TRIO program that serves low-income, first-generation college bound students from Kellogg and Wallace. The program hosts a six-week summer program each year with varying themes.

The summer 2015 program focused on “astrosociology” where students grappled with concepts of colonization on Mars complete with a trip to Advanced Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama, which was supported with a grant from NASA Idaho Space Grant Consortium. The students experienced simulated moon gravity, designed space modules and learned SCUBA diving to simulate a zero-gravity mission.

As part of the curriculum, they also studied “The Martian Chronicles” by Ray Bradbury, a science fiction short story collection chronicling the colonization of Mars by humans feeling a troubled Earth and used information to develop theories of sociological aspects that would exist on Mars such as race and religion as well as economic issues such as creating a fair labor distribution system. The group also worked at Gizmo, a nonprofit makerspace, in Coeur d’Alene to 3D print, build and program terraforming robots and produced a “Space Colonist Handbook.”

The U of I College of Education Department of Movement Sciences also funded a paid internship, which allowed Jessica Brown, a senior in exercise science and health, to work directly with the participants.