Stamford Public Schools Announces SHS Senior Megan Armstrong Named Honorary Canadian Space Programme Scientist

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Stamford, CT – Stamford Public Schools is proud to announce that Stamford High School (SHS) Senior and International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Candidate Megan Armstrong was recently named an Honorary Canadian Space Programme Scientist by the Canadian Space Agency (CSA). Armstrong received the honor for her contributions to experiments in the field of space farming, a critical element in the design of a life-support system needed to send humans to other planets.

While most students relaxed over the summer, Armstrong spent her days tending to more than 30 large tomato plants, while meticulously collecting data for research as part of First The Seed Foundation’s Tomatosphere Program, a curriculum program that uses space exploration to teach the skills and processes of scientific experimentation and inquiry. She conducted research in seed science and the understanding of long-term space travel. The seeds Armstrong planted last summer were a mixture of space-flown and Earth-based seeds. The space-flown seeds, part of SpaceX’s ninth commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station (ISS), remained at the ISS for 37 days, before traveling back to Earth and being distributed to experiments across the United States and Canada. Armstrong was part of a blind study with other scientists monitoring plant growth and the effects of microgravity on seed germination. The CSA recognized Armstrong for the quality of her data.

Armstrong is using her seed research as part of her IB Diploma Programme’s Extended Essay, which will be submitted to the IB in March for scoring. Every IB Diploma Candidate must complete the Extended Essay Process in which students, under the supervision of an expert faculty member, design a research question in a field of interest. Armstrong’s idea for her research germinated in a meeting with her Extended Essay Supervisor, SHS Teacher Susan Dougherty. With the guidance of Dougherty, Armstrong participated in the real-life science project in support of NASA, CSA, and the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS).

“It was an honor for me to work with Megan,” said Doughtery. “Megan did such a great job and her research is now being used by PhDs working in the field of seed science.”

The Extended Essay, a core component of the IB Full Diploma Programme, is a 4,000-word research paper undertaken in the subject of the student’s choice. The spirit of the Extended Essay is that the student follows an interest/passion and works with the guidance of a teacher supervisor but still maintains independence and responsibility in navigating research and writing processes that require focus, motivation and perseverance through challenges. A main component of the experience is that the student engages in reflective thinking about personal growth. The process takes about 14 months from start to finish.

For more information about Stamford High School’s IB Diploma Programme, please visit Stamford High School’s website at

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