Posted by: COSI | April 7, 2009

You’re Calling From Where!?

It was 7:30 pm and I was still in my office getting ready for Tuesday’s board meeting. My cell phone rang unexpectedly with a number I didn’t recognize.

I still answered it for some reason.

At the other end came the voice, “Hi. This is Mike Fincke and I’m calling you from the International Space Station.” mike-fincke

No, it wasn’t a prank call. I had just started a cell phone conversation with the Commander of the International Space Station orbiting above the earth.

There had been a call to my office while I was out of town asking for my number. Mike Fincke had been a favorite former student and we’d tried to connect before but he was in training for this mission. So I expected he might call once he returned from space and got back to the US, but I knew he still had a few days before the planned landing in his Russian spacecraft.

But getting a call FROM the space station!

Mike was very kind as we chatted briefly to talk about how he remembers us hooking up as he started 7th grade at Sewickley Academy. I had the pleasure of not only classes with him as a student, but also time spent together through his independent study and computer lab help over the years until he graduated a confident and exceptional young man with dreams and drive.

But just to take the effort to get my cell phone number to surprise me with a call from space –wow!

Whether it’s what a teacher does in a classroom or a connection we make with our teens or regular guests at COSI, you never know when that personal touch is going to help someone. I got into this line of work to make a difference, to inspire and support learners.

Colonel Mike Fincke was giving me one of those occasional and usually unpredictable but special times when you get the feedback that you helped contribute to someone being successful.

I said, “Mike, I’m very proud of you.” and then the line went dead. As he warned the International Space Station had moved over the Indian Ocean and the connection was lost.

I just sat there for a while beaming. I’m still juiced writing this. Thanks Mike!



  1. The Space Station? That’s amazing.

  2. Great testament to the impact that teachers have – thank you for sharing, David.

  3. Now that’s networking! What a thrill!

  4. […] drove through the community where Lt. Colonel Mike Fincke grew up.  You might have seen one of my earlier blogs where Mike, a former student of mine, had called me from the International Space Station he was […]

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