Students of Louisiana School and Vallauri School in Italy to create planetarium show in overseas collaboration
Sci-Port: Louisiana's Science Center leads project
Published Thursday, October 8, 2009
by Eric Gipson

Eight students from the Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts in Natchitoches, LA were recently selected to collaborate with teens from the Vallauri School near Torino, Italy on the development of an innovative planetarium show of their own design and theme. Sci-Port: Louisiana's Science Center in Shreveport, LA, which houses the Space Dome Planetarium, will be the lead museum in the project and work with the LSMSA students, while the Astronomic Infinito planetarium in Torino will be the operational and resource base for the Italian team.

LSMSA students selected for the project after an extensive application and essay process are: Courtney Brandabur of East Baton Rouge Parish; Ethan Engemann of Livonia; Karla Frias of Oakdale; Caroline George of St. Francisville; Merritt Harrelson of Lake Charles; Felipe Hernandez of Hammond; Chelsea Leleux of New Iberia; and Chase Whitney of New Roads.

The project, Not Just Another Brick in the Wall, is made possible by a grant from Museums & Communities Collaboration Abroad (MCCA), a program of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State in partnership with the American Association of Museums.

"This endeavor is unique in that an entire planetarium show will be created without the students of either nation actually meeting each other in person during its development," said Dr. Pat Widhalm, LSMSA Director. "Rather, they will use modern technology for their communications and collaborations."

The students will develop the planetarium show over the course of a year with training from their planetariums. Chris King, team leader for the LSMSA group and a visual arts teacher, will share his Hollywood experience working on films as he teaches the students storyboarding, script writing, music recording and editing. As the planetarium show is developed and shared using social networking tools, the students will also be involved in its publicity and marketing to their peers, and updates will be provided for the public on blogs and through other media. When the completed planetarium show is ready to debut, the project will culminate with both teams traveling to the show's premiere in each nation.

"By turning over the planetarium's resources to the students, this project explores how planetariums can make themselves relevant to teen audiences and how teens themselves can benefit from the planetarium," said Rebecca Prosino, Sci-Port's Project Coordinator. "In addition to giving these students a phenomenal opportunity, this project also takes Sci-Port to a new international level of partnerships."

Those interested may follow the project's blog or Facebook page at

Sci-Port: Louisiana's Science Center is a 92,000 square-foot science and entertainment center featuring 290 hands-on exhibits, a Space Center and Space Dome Planetarium, IMAX Dome Theater, demonstration theater and daily changing programs. Sci-Port is located at 820 Clyde Fant Parkway on the downtown Shreveport Riverfront. For general information call (318) 424-3466, toll-free (877) 724-7678 or see

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Contact Info

Sci-Port Discovery Center
820 Clyde Fant Parkway
Shreveport, Louisiana 71101


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