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ISU Encourages Cooperation with International Flair
NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver speaks at the 2012 ISU opening ceremony Image above: NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver addresses students of the International Space University's 25th annual Space Studies Program session at the Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne, Fla. on June 4. Image credit: NASA/Dimitri Gerondidakis
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Panel members welcome 2012 ISU students at opening ceremony Image above: Professor Angie Bukley, dean and vice president for Academic Affairs, International Space University, addresses students on June 4. Seated from left are Anthony J. Catanese, president of Florida Tech, NASA Kennedy Space Center Director Bob Cabana, Bukley and Dr. Guy A. Boy, chair of the Space Studies Program’s local organizing committee. Image credit: NASA/Dimitri Gerondidakis
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Entertainment at the 2012 ISU opening ceremony Image above: Entertainment was provided by Jim Sawgrass and the Deep Forest Native American Indian Program dancers. Image credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett
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What makes a strong program? Is it diversity of thought, talent and backgrounds -- or a strong network that can solve problems with ease? A successful program is all of this and more, and that is why Kennedy Space Center is excited to co-host the International Space University's 25th Annual Space Studies Program (SSP).

"NASA supports the university's mission and goals of SSP to globally collaborate on space initiatives," said Dicksy Hansen, chief of the NASA Pubic Services Office and Kennedy core team lead for ISU. "SSP enhances Kennedy's standing as a leader in the international space community and promotes our future direction, existing capabilities and talented workforce."

This year, Kennedy and the Florida Institute of Technology are co-hosting 125 post-graduate university students, experts and professionals in the space industry from 31 countries to encourage international cooperation on space-related projects. The countries include Canada, Israel, South Africa, Greece and the United Kingdom.

NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver was the keynote speaker of the opening ceremony June 4. Garver was followed by Center Director Bob Cabana who officially welcomed the participants on behalf of Kennedy.

The participants have a variety of expertise ranging from art, education, social networking and engineering, but their love of space and science continues to bring them together.

Sanja Scepanovic, a student from Montenegro, said her passion for space programs stems from watching videos of NASA missions as a child. Even though her country does not have a space program, she always dreamed of working with a space agency like NASA.

The program encourages participants to share their knowledge and experiences to solve complex problems in the space industry. Throughout the nine-week program, lectures from veteran Kennedy employees will encourage international space efforts and promote future partnerships and cooperative agreements. Events taking place at Kennedy this summer include an international astronaut panel at the visitor complex, tours of the center with subject matter experts, and access to Launch Complex 39A for the Student Rocket Launch.

Marc Labriet, a U.S. participant, has always been interested in space and is very excited to learn at Kennedy, which he calls "the birthplace of the U.S. space program." Labriet is a technical project manager working with software and is hoping to transition into an aerospace career through the program.

"The Space Studies Program will give me the opportunity to work with engineers from all over the world who are as passionate about space as I am," Labriet said.

Ames is the only other NASA center to host the event, which created challenges unique to a government facility.

By partnering with Florida Tech, students receive long-stay housing accommodations on a university campus, while visiting world-class space facilities, and learning from subject matter experts drawing from 50 years of experience.

Stephanie Covey,
NASA's John F. Kennedy Space Center