As another semester comes to a close, some students are gearing up for a trip abroad.
Recently, IUP announced that it was extending its study abroad program to a new location, that being the International Space Station (ISS).
“We are delighted to announce that, beginning in the summer of 2023, we will be opening a study abroad campaign with the [ISS],” IUP said in a press release. “This will give students valuable experience in space exploration and technological usage, as well as giving them the rare opportunity to go to space.”
IUP revealed that this program will only be offered once every four years, and will only take place over the summer, with the first one being this coming summer break.
There are already several students slated to take part in this experimental program, with many of them being incredibly excited for the chance to go on this trip.
“Honestly, this experience is going to be so cool for me,” Liam Alvin Nicolas Eastwood IV (senior, anthropology/journalism) said. “I am also going with some of my closest friends, so it’ll will be so fun to be able to be in space with them.”
Eastwood went on to say that the friends he was referring to were other members of the famed IUP Investigators group, with those being Mary Gomme-Eeze (junior, psychology), Cidney Gratzzi (junior, exploratory) and Oliver Gomez (senior, history/pre-med). In addition to those students, Amelia Pond (junior, criminology) and Matt Smith (senior, Earth and space education).
“This experience will be perfect for my major,” Smith said. “It will also be perfect, since I need to stay at least one more semester at IUP since my grades were not the best this year, but I am sure this program will give me the chance to become an academic weapon once again.”
Smith went on to say that it will be fun to be able to hangout with his ex-girlfriend, the aforementioned Amelia Pond. When Pond was told this, she simply sighed and walked away.
It is clear that the select group of students that have been selected for the process are very excited. To be selected for this exclusive offer, all interested students had to submit a ten-page essay describing why they would benefit from this study abroad trip, what their favorite part of space was and what song reminds them most of space. To further the challenge, and essay that mentioned “Starman” by David Bowie was immediately disqualified on the grounds that the answer was “too basic.”
When asked what songs they picked, each student had different answers to the question. Answers ranged from Eastwood picking “Satellite” by Harry Styles to Gomez picking “Blank Space” by Taylor Swift. All in all, each of the winners did a good job answering the prompt and defending their song choice, as is evidenced by their selection for the program.
“We are all very excited for this project to be fully realized and utilized by our students,” Lucas Skyhopper, the faculty director for the project and a professor of space science at IUP, said. “It will be a great experience. I will be traveling with them to ensure that they are all safe, so any fears of student safety aren’t necessary. This will be a good experience for students, and I am happy with the applicants that were chosen, as they are a passionate group.”
We at The Penn wish those students luck as they venture into a place where no IUP student has gone before, and we hope they get everything out of this study abroad program that they can.
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