FREDONIA, N.Y. -- As people across the country watched Monday's solar eclipse, a group of students at SUNY Fredonia watched the sky with a specific mission.

They were collecting data for NASA.

A group of students majoring in Education tracked atmospheric conditions, such as the amount of cloud cover, as part of an upper-level course for students studying to be teachers.

"What we're trying to do with this is get actual cloud observations from the surface," Michael Jabot, a science education professor who gathered these students, explained to them Monday. He was helping them collect real-time information from the eclipse. The information the students gathered was then sent directly to NASA.

"It is a really unique opportunity for this type of ground truth data to be collected when we obscure, in our case about seventy four percent of the sun will be obscured here in Fredonia," said Jabot, who is also a U.S. GLOBE Partner and NASA Earth Ambassador.

He added they are already excited to continue helping to collect data for NASA when WNY experiences a total eclipse in 2024.

Student Katie Renner said she believes the experience was an unexpected, valuable way to help strengthen their teaching skills.

'"Hands-on activities are huge in the classroom, especially for us today," she said. "I don't think any of us expected to be doing this."