The U.S. Embassy in Rome established a virtual exchange program between the Italian high school Istituto Tecnico Fedi Fermi of Pistoia and two U.S. high schools: Brunswick High School in Georgia and Northwest High School in Pennsylvania. All three schools built PANOPTES with the assistance of the collaborative U.S. citizen-science project.
The project included a series of virtual connections between the U.S. and Italian students to compare their builds, observations, and scientific discoveries. Between the synchronous connections, the students connect via social media platforms to tackle challenges they face throughout the build and observation processes.
As a result of their participation in the virtual program, students at the Fedi Fermi high school won the Tuscan Regional P.E.Z. (Progetti Educativi Zonali) First Award for best practices in creativity and promotion of self-entrepreneurship. The award included 6,000 Euros and an exhibition booth at Fiera Didacta in Florence, where the students showcased samples of the robotics telescope they are building along with their virtual exchange partners the United States to explore exoplanets.