Report from Headquarters

Teacher Liaison Profile: Jim Oliphant

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Teacher Liaison Profile: Jim Oliphant At Valley Christian High School (VCHS) in San Jose, Calif., the Applied Math Science Engineering Institute (AMSE) is leading students through a project to research, design and fabricate a plant growth science package that will soon find a place on the International Space Station (ISS). 

Mathematics Instructor and Space Foundation Teacher Liaison Jim Oliphant is working with Werner Vavken, AMSE Advisory Board Chair, Engineering Instructor, ISS Team Advisor; and Dan Saldana, AMSE Advisory Board Member and ISS/CubeLab Project Team Leader on the project that began in January 2010 and has already passed all of NASA’s required tests, including safety, data transfer protocol and power conception.

The students’ plant growth experiment is the first of its kind and will be flown to the ISS in January 2011. High-resolution images and environmental data will be relayed back to Earth to the students by one of the astronauts on board the ISS. Researching plant growth in space has future application for a possible manned mission to Mars.

The students intend for this project to serve as a model for other schools and have produced a video to help students across the country get started on their own ISS projects. To see a video of the CubeLab project, click here. For further information, including how your school may participate or partner in future space related activities, contact: Mark Lodewyk, principal VCHS, at [email protected], or Werner Vavken, AMSE Advisory Board Chair, at [email protected].

Jim Oliphant is also a Space Foundation Teacher Liaison.

“Jim epitomizes what we are looking for in the Teacher Liaison program,” said Bobby Gagnon, Space Foundation Teacher Liaison program coordinator. “He is a talented, dedicated teacher, he willingly shares ideas and he offers students extraordinary opportunities to learn through space. We are proud of his commitment and look forward to following his CubeLab program’s progress.”

Teachers may apply now to join Oliphant and more than 320 other Space Foundation Teacher Liaisons nationwide who are dramatically improving their students’ proficiency in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The Space Foundation is accepting applications for the 2011 flight of Teacher Liaisons through Dec. 11.




This article is part of Space Watch: December 2010 (Volume: 9, Issue: 12).