Jess White is the STEM Initiatives Lead at NASA’s IV&V Program. He is the current coordinator for the Day in the Park event.
Thirteen years of Day in the Park events has impacted over 10,000 West Virginia citizens with high quality NASA Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) educational content. This year’s Day in the Park event was no different. On October 23-24, 2012, approximately 1,200 fifth and seventh-grade students had the unique opportunity to learn about STEM careers, NASA’s mission and what it takes to be an astronaut. With a goal of inspiring, educating and engaging learners about NASA and STEM careers, students experienced hands-on scientific and engineering presentations by former astronaut Ken Cameron, the Carnegie Science Center and the Seattle-based Museum of Flight. Also attending and serving as Master of Ceremonies was former West Virginia Congressman Alan Mollohan.
Day in the Park is provided to students each year to fight against the trend of students losing interest in science and math during pre-adolescent formative years of development. Day in the Park vendors strive to provide content that is jam packed full of the “WOW” factor in regards to science and math. While eating lunch, a student told me that they are now torn between working for NASA’s IV&V Program in Fairmont and becoming an astronaut after hearing about Mr. Cameron’s experience as a NASA astronaut. Teachers attending the event were equally impressed, stating they think these types of STEM awareness opportunities are exactly what their students need as motivation to take the steps necessary to become our nations next generation of STEM professionals.
I could not have ‘daydreamed’ better responses from guests of our Day in the Park events!
For more photos, visit NASA’s IV&V Program page on Facebook.
STEM Initiatives Lead
NASA’s Independent Verification & Validation Program