RED BLUFF – Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, students in programs that require fieldwork have been hit hard.
That hasn’t stopped interns at Red Bluff High School of NASA’s annual astrobiology internship program from conducting experiments and presenting their results.
NASA students, teachers and scientists gathered for an event broadcast live Monday evening to showcase their year-long work, as has been done in the past at the high school theater.
The presentation went the same way as the 2020 event in that everyone involved participated in a Zoom style call and used screen shares to deliver slides, images, and graphics.
Historically, students in the program travel to Lassen Volcanic National Park alongside scientists from NASA’s Ames Research Center to collect samples of volcanic earth and see how they might compare to the geology of other planets.
This year, due to the pandemic, students have instead worked from school.
Science teacher David Michael has helped run the program over the years.
“I cannot stress enough how proud we all are, myself and the team of scientists at NASA, in these students and in their ability to adapt and adapt to what has become a whole. new way of doing things, ”said Michael. “Without the interns and the commitment of the scientists at NASA in what we do, none of this would have been possible.”
Another major change this year is that the program has been conducted remotely between students and scientists in order to follow state guidelines for the pandemic.
Michael said there was no face-to-face contact between the students and the scientists.
Scientists Niki Parenteau, Mike Kubo and David Des Marais from the Ames Research Center assisted the students through video calls and virtual assistance.
Kubo said some of the students were able to visit the research sites in Lassen Park, but rather than collecting their own materials, a ranger took care of this part.
“The students then took these samples and used them in their experiments,” Kubo said.
Returning to the program are sophomores Fletcher Bottke, Grace Gallaher, Bradyn Klein, Allana Geraty, and Dean Breckenridge.
Students who were new to the program this year were Asahel Diaz, Hyrum Bliss, Todd Bell, Olivia Pelanconi, Cameron Beeman, Caitlyn Singler, Dylan Udson, Ashley Lyons, Nathaniel McAdams and Ashley Thomas.
During the live presentation, each student had a portion of their study to present to the audience, showing what they had learned through the program.