Who is AstroSam?
Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, popularly known as AstroSam, will soon become the ﬁrst European woman to command the International Space Station (ISS), according to the European Space Agency (ESA).
Cristoforetti will take over from fellow Expedition 67 crew member Oleg Artemyev on Sept. 28 in a handover ceremony to be broadcast live on ESA Web TV.
In her new role, Cristoforetti will become the ﬁfth European commander of the ISS – following in the footsteps of fellow Italian Luca Parmitano – as well as becoming the ﬁrst European woman to hold the position.
“I am humbled by my appointment to the position of commander,” Cristoforetti said, “and look forward to drawing on the experience I’ve gained in space and on Earth to lead a very capable team in orbit.”
Cristoforetti, a former Italian Air Force pilot, holds the record for the longest uninterrupted space ﬂight by a European astronaut (199 days, 16 hours), and until June 2017 held the record for the longest single space ﬂight by a woman.
Italy and Italians First’
Giorgia Meloni became the ﬁrst female Italian Prime Minister. Her slogan was “Italy and Italians First.” She was born in Rome in 1977. Her parents were separated and she was raised by her mother. As a teenager she joined the Italian Social Movement and publicly praised Mussolini. In 1998 Meloni headed the student branch of the movement’s successor, National Alliance. Her political prowess increased when she was elected as youngest vice president in the National Alliance.
In 2002 when Silvio Berlusconi was re-elected as prime minister, Meloni’s vision was aligned with the right-wing coalition. She eventually was elected to the Chamber of Deputies. This appointment thrust her into the national spotlight, which led to the founding of the political party Fratelli d’Italia and her election as prime minister. Even though she has many detractors in Italian Politics she still remains an inﬂuential leader on the world stage.
Maria Montessori was born on Aug. 31, 1870, in the provincial town of Chiaravalle, Italy. She was well schooled and raised by parents that prized education. Her father was a ﬁnancial manager for a state-run industry. Beginning in early childhood, Maria lived in Rome, “growing up in a paradise of libraries, museums, and ﬁne schools.” She became the ﬁrst Italian female physician and developed an early interest in psychology, which led to child development for intellectual and developmental disabilities. She would create a new pedagogy called the “Montessori Method.”
For more than a century now, the child-focused approach has been transforming schools around the globe. In Montessori classrooms, children working independently and in groups, often with specially designed learning materials; deeply engaged in their work; and respectful of themselves and their surroundings.
The Montessori Method fosters rigorous, self-motivated growth for children and adolescents in all areas of their development—cognitive, emotional, social, and physical.
Adesso lo sa.
Lou Thomas was born and raised in Philadelphia, in a family with origins in Abruzzo. He is a Temple graduate who has been teaching Italian for 20 years at all levels. He attained a master’s degree in teaching Italian from Rutgers University. The sounds of Vivaldi and Jovanotti fill his classroom. His favorite quote is “Il vino e’ la poesia della terra.”