Astronaut Dr. Peggy Whitson visited King Street on Monday, October 29, to serve as the School’s scientist-in-residence for a full day of remarks, conversations, visits, and tours with our Barat Center through twelfth-grade students and faculty. A true pioneer, Dr. Whitson holds the record for most days spent in space by a NASA astronaut. Plus, she has participated in ten career spacewalks and was the first female commander of the International Space Station. 

Piper Van Wagenen ’20, granddaughter of Neil Armstrong, introduced Dr. Whitson before she addressed the entire student body during the school day, giving students time to ask questions about her career as well as the intricacies of living in space. Dr. Whitson then visited the Mother Aloysia Hardey, RSCJ Observatory to help reopen the space and debut the new telescopes and stopped by the Makerspace to meet with the Middle School Robotics team. 

Students from the broadcast journalism show “Today from the Heart”, the King Street Chronicle, and the Tiger Times all interviewed Dr. Whitson for their respective publications. 

Also on campus for the event was anchor and reporter Kate Snow and the crew from NBC Nightly News. In addition to getting to watch their reporting in action, broadcast journalism students had the opportunity to interview Ms. Snow about her illustrious career. 

The partnership with IBM and NASA extends beyond the Sacred Heart Greenwich campus too. The Mother Aloysia Hardey, RSCJ Observatory facility and astronomy curriculum will be available to the entire Network of Sacred Heart schools through Network Exchange and the School’s proprietary online learning program SophieConnect. SophieConnect extends the academic reach of the School to give students access to digital courses in a wide variety of subjects taught by teachers at other Sacred Heart Network Schools. 

Additionally, the Summer Outreach program, a five-week academic enrichment, and leadership program attended by 260 boys and girls from 28 public schools in Fairfield and Westchester counties, will also use the Observatory facility. The students, in grades 2-8, are academically qualified and most qualify for Federal Free/Reduced Price Lunch.


NASA female astronaut Peggy Whitson visits Sacred Heart Greenwich