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NASA launches exploration day to get more students into STEM

Posted at 5:50 PM, Mar 16, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-27 13:46:45-04

CLEVELAND, Ohio — NASA Glenn Research Center opened its campus to 200 CMSD high school students for a Career Exploration day to get more students interested in STEM careers.

At NASA, they're used to launches, but this time, their mission is the next generation.

“It's absolutely the lifeblood of what we’re doing. If we want this work to continue, we have to bring in young, enthusiastic, energetic people to learn,” said Lancert Foster, a NASA aerospace engineer.

About 200 CMSD students explored the NASA Glenn Research Center.

“So, we are always happy to have our students have real-world tangible experiences,” said Anthony Battaglia with Cleveland Metropolitan School District.

Students got hands-on experience and heard from space researchers, scientists and engineers.

“It feels like it's an opportunity I wouldn’t normally get so I am very lucky I am able to have it,” one student said.

A part of their tour was the SLOPE Lab, where they can see what the ground looks like on the Moon compared to Mars.

“We have a simulated Mars and Moon surface environment so they can see where we tested, developed different hover tires,” Foster said.

The goal is more than showing students the incredible things NASA does.

“In Cuyahoga County alone, we have 52,000 jobs open, 52,000 jobs as of this morning. A third of those jobs are in the STEM," said Hrishue Mahalaha, Executive Director of the Aerozone Alliance.

It’s to give students an idea of the opportunities and careers that STEM has to offer.

“What's preventing it is most kids don't see themselves in STEM occupations — math, science, technology. We have populations that have no understanding of what that looks like,” said Mahalaha.

Also, the sky isn’t the limit, and NASA is, in fact, a feasible goal.

“These people are not smarter than you. They're not better. They are looking at people who are using years of learned education or experience. So all the things they've seen and all the things people are doing, they can do these things,” Foster said.

For the students, their journey doesn't end today. NASA is offering a list of other programs and internships to get students stepping in the right direction.

“We want them to know that you belong here. You have a pathway to get there,” Mahalaha said.

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