|Posted on Oct 27, 2010 10:53:00 AM | Brian Dunbar | 0 Comments ||
Greetings students, educators, families, and organizations and welcome to my first education blog.
I have had an exceptional first week as associate administrator for education at NASA. I traveled to Langley Research Center to attend a senior staff retreat and met with my team at NASA Headquarters. I also conducted a media roundtable and live shot television interviews on Wednesday, October 20. But it really was a pleasure to close out this week by attending the first USA Science and Engineering Festival on Sunday.
The USA Science & Engineering Festival launched earlier this month with activities in schools in the DC area. The festival concluded with a huge event this past weekend on the National Mall and other spots in DC. NASA had a large presence with over 28 booths and joined nearly 500 other groups. I spent time at the NASA areas on the Mall and also at Freedom Plaza interacting with people of all ages. It was great to see so many young people out there getting involved with science and engineering. NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden came by, and Nobel Prize winner John C. Mather, who is an astrophysicist at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, gave a talk. This was a treat for festival participants, and I am grateful that they were able to participate. Charlie has established an unprecedented NASA focus on math and science education, and John is an inspiration to all of us.
The many NASA booths featured a variety of hands-on activities, demonstrations, exhibits, and banners. Kids had their photos taken inside a full-size spacesuit, tested how their grip changes when wearing a spacesuit glove, teamed up to practice docking the space shuttle, and watched a wind tunnel demonstration. Those are just a few highlights of the amazing things that were happening.
All who visited the NASA booths could also see the exciting NASA Summer of Innovation calls to action everywhere - “Imagine it. Explore it. Do it!” This is what we have been urging the nation’s middle school students to do since June when we kicked off this project in response to the president’s Educate to Innovate campaign. I am proud of the national effort that took place to engage middle school students in hands-on science, technology, engineering and math activities during the summer break. We reached more than 75,000 students, and I anticipate many more in years to come.
The pursuit of the minds and career ambitions of America’s youth is as challenging and important to humanity as the quest for space. I can say from personal experience that both journeys are equally exciting and rewarding. They are also dependent upon one another, because our continued discovery and progress on Earth and in space will require the energy and innovation of the next generation. I turn to this new frontier in education with the knowledge that this is a team effort and will require dedication of countless individuals.
I want to thank everyone – the NASA staff supporting our booths, the other organizations exhibiting at the expo, and the families and organizations that brought young people to this amazing event. Everything you are doing is helping inspire tomorrow’s explorers today. I truly believe in our power to change lives, and this weekend’s activities are true examples of this. We are empowering our youth to take charge of their destiny and help create a better future for us all.
Reach for the Stars!
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