Friday, March 18, 2011

Talking to Girl Scouts about Outer Space

At Christmas, my cousin Stacie asked me if I wanted to come and speak to her daughters' girl scout troupes as part of a career-day type meeting. I was really excited about it, and got together a bunch of fun space stuff from NASA (they were really nice about giving me things for the girls!).

The two other presenters were a nurse practitioner and a police officer - they both gave good presentations. The girls seemed pretty interested in the police officer - she was in uniform and told them about all the things on her belt, including her baton, taser, and everything else.

I went last, and told the girls about some of the work I had done as an aerospace engineer - working on space suit design and learning about human factors issues on the International Space Station. I also told them about my work as a space policy analyst - I told them about the disease early warning paper, about the current debate over the future of human spaceflight, and about The Space Report. I also brought astronaut icecream. The girls all listened really attentively to the presentation, asked questions, and provided input when I asked them things. One of my cousin's daughters - Caitlyn - apparently really loved the presentation. Her mom said she was practicing her own space presentation later that night, and I gave her extra pins to bring to school the next day. There is actually a space exploration badge for the girl scouts, so maybe I'll be able to go again some time and work with them to get that badge.

It was a really fun night - I was so glad my cousin asked me to come! And, for reasons unrelated to the content of the meeting, the local news came and filmed some of my talk (it's background in a story about the current girl scout cookie controversy) - so I was on the news! (And another really funny thing - after the meeting was over, one of the cameramen came over and asked if he could have a NASA sticker, too. Awesome.)

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