(Courtesy of Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland)

BRUNSWICK — Karen Paquin, a middle school science teacher at St. John’s Catholic School in Brunswick who was selected as one of five teachers across the nation to participate in the Teachers in Space Human Flight Program, spent her April vacation week at National Space Symposium 2023 in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

During the symposium, Paquin presented to the Space Foundation’s Teacher Liaisons on the work her St. John’s students are doing in the classroom with CubeSats (mini satellites), focusing on teaching perseverance through engineering, computer science, data literacy, and experimentation.

Through this project, she flew with a student designed CubeSat on a Zero-G microgravity flight in November 2022. The St. John’s students were able to analyze data from this flight to develop conclusions to their hypothesis questions and redesign their CubeSat experiments. Their submitted CubeSat experiment is slated to fly on a Blue Origin rocket and a high-altitude balloon later this year. Students will explore the data from these flights and draw new conclusions.  

“We are headed into a time like no other in space exploration opportunities. The students we teach today will have the opportunity to explore and work in space in ways we can only imagine,” said Paquin.

Paquin also met with space industry leaders, attended workshops, and gained valuable professional development knowledge to bring back into the classroom to continue to inspire students to explore space science.  

“Meeting astronauts, individuals currently in careers in space science that aren’t on the engineer track, and fellow educators who are breaking down the barriers to the space workforce, will allow me to explore creative and innovative educational opportunities for my students,” said Paquin.

One of the astronauts will meet with St. John’s middle school students and others at the 25th annual Maine Space Day in May.