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Pictured: Lori Beth Bradner (center) surrounded by students from the WISH program
Science Instructor Lori Beth Bradner traveled to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas to teach female high school students from across the country. The six-day camp sponsored by the WISH program, the Women in STEM High School Aerospace Scholars project, took place June 24 through June 29. The program is designed to encourage young females to pursue career opportunities in technical fields focused on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). National Aeronautics and Science Administration (NASA) officials chose Ms. Bradner from a select group of teachers to help instruct the teenage girls who attended the camp.
This fall Ms. Bradner will join the faculty at Valleyview Elementary in Lakeland, where she will help to expand the school’s science program. She previously taught at Kathleen High School-Central Florida Aerospace Academy.
She, like so many females in her field, understands the importance of encouraging young women to develop their interest in the sciences. “I believe it’s important that young women understand there are so many opportunities out there for them if they want to study anything in the sciences. They just have to find that passion and pursue their dreams,” says Ms. Bradner.
According to the National Science Foundation, women’s participation in a science and engineering occupation is about half of what it is in the U.S. workforce as a whole and varies greatly by occupation: higher among psychologists and lower among mathematical/computer scientists and engineers.
The six-day NASA camp exposes teenagers to the real-world applications of STEM careers at NASA. The young women work in teams with female NASA mentors to develop plans for launching a successful planetary mission to Mars.
Ms. Bradner says along with meeting these extraordinary young women, she also had the pleasure of meeting some amazing scientists while she was there. Some of the wonderful people she met along the way included: NASA Astronaut Shannon Walker, Retired NASA Flight Director Eugene “Gene” Kranz, and Jerry Woodfill who received a Presidential Medal of Freedom as a member of the Apollo 13 Mission Operations Team. If you recall, the team rescued astronauts who faced a life-threatening malfunction depicted in the Tom Hanks-Ron Howard movie Apollo 13.
For more information about the WISH program visit: http://go.usa.gov/dsP
Using SKYPE to Speak with NASA Legend:
Students at Valleyview Elementary will have an opportunity to speak with Jerry Woodfill in the fall.
On Wednesday, September 12, 2012 the NASA legend, using SKYPE, will phone into an assembly scheduled for Professional Development Day. As previously mentioned, Jerry Woodfill received a Presidential Medal of Freedom as a member of the Apollo 13 Mission Operations Team that rescued the Apollo 13 astronauts trapped in space.
The date also coincides with the speech President Kennedy gave while visiting Rice University on September 12, 1962. He famously inspired the nation to actively pursue space exploration stating the U.S. should “do it right and do it first before this decade is out.” His dream of winning the space race was fulfilled years later when Neil Armstrong stepped on the moon on July 20, 1969 and proclaimed, “That’s one small step for man, and one giant leap for mankind.”News