STEM Education Archive

Libby Jackson – UK Space Agency Human Exploration Programme Manager & “Space Explorers: 25 Extraordinary Stories of Space Exploration and Adventure” Author

October 27, 2021 @ 2:56 pm

In this episode:

We meet Libby Jackson, the Human Exploration Programme Manager at the UK Space Agency, and author of two books for young people on space exploration: Galaxy Girls: 50 Amazing Stories of Women in Space published in 2018, and the recently published Space Explorers: 25 Extraordinary Stories of Space Exploration and Adventure. Libby is one of Britain’s leading experts in human spaceflight and she’s passionate about sharing stories on that topic with young people to encourage them to follow their passions in life.

Space was Libby’s childhood inspiration, and she has worked in the space industry since she earned her degrees in Physics from Imperial College and Astronautics and Space Engineering from Cranfield University. She began working at Europe's control center for the International Space Station as a flight instructor and controller in 2007, and a few years later, became director for the European Space Agency’s ISS Columbus module. She joined the UK Space Agency in 2014 as spokesperson for the first British ESA astronaut Tim Peake’s mission to the International Space Station and has remained there since.

 

In our conversation, Jackson explains how she wrote a “Travel Guide to Mars” when she was just nine years old, how, at age 17, she shadowed a mission control worker at NASA Johnson Space Center, what it was like working at Europe’s control center for the International Space Station, what inspired her to write her new book, and how the stories in it go beyond just facts — to include the emotions that the explorers experienced on their missions.

 

Describing her objective in writing her newest book, Libby says, “Here’s a book I wish I had when I was 10, or 11 or 12. Something that tells these fantastic stories, gets behind just the pictures and the highlights of what you see. And I hope I get across just how exciting and brilliant a place [space] is.”

 

To learn more about Libby and her books, visit libbyjackson.com

 

Introductory and closing music: Paint the Sky by Hans Atom © Copyright 2015, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/hansatom/50718 Ft: Miss Judged

Filed under Space, Space Foundation, Space4U, STEM Education · Comments

Andrew Matthes & Leyton Torres – SystemsGo Curriculum Program

June 23, 2021 @ 7:31 am

In this episode:

We meet Andrew Matthes and Leyton Torres to hear about their experiences with the SystemsGo High School STEM Curriculum Program from both teacher and student perspectives.

 

Matthes has been teaching at Fredericksburg High School in Fredericksburg, Texas, since 2003.  He has taught chemistry, all levels of physics, and currently teaches all four years of the engineering program. Having graduated from the United States Merchant Marine Academy with a bachelor’s degree in Marine Engineering, he sailed as a third assistant engineer on commercial merchant ships to fulfill his obligation. Deciding not to follow the design engineering path thereafter, he moved up his plans to teach and followed his true passion — changing lives through hands-on education.

 

Leyton Torres is finishing his junior year at Fredericksburg High School and has been in the SystemsGo engineering classes since his freshman year. He has always been a problem solver, driven by challenges and new opportunities. He volunteered at the 2021 SystemsGo launches for two days, totaling about 24 hours, and assisted in launching a record-breaking 40 rockets in one day. He is now interested in pursuing a career in aerospace engineering.

 

In our conversation, Andrew shares how he first learned about SystemsGo’s innovative high school rocketry and aerospace curriculum, and what made him decide to bring the program to his school. Leyton discusses helping with the launches and building rockets in past years, the obstacles he encountered, and how SystemsGo changed his future goals.

 

In explaining how SystemsGo encourages students to develop an emotional connection to their projects, Matthes says, “The fact that they take ownership over everything ... when it flies, they’ve got a lot of heart and emotion and commitment put into their rocket, and I think it sticks with them much longer knowing that it’s 100% theirs.”

 

To learn more about SystemsGo, visit www.systemsgo.org.

 

Introductory and closing music: Paint the Sky by Hans Atom © Copyright 2015, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/hansatom/50718 Ft: Miss Judged

Filed under Space Foundation, Space4U, STEM Education · Comments

Tracy Fanara – NOAA Scientist/Program Manager & ‘Inspector Planet’

April 14, 2021 @ 10:49 am

In this episode:

We meet environmental engineer Dr. Tracy Fanara, a research scientist and program manager at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) where she works with other scientists and engineers from around the world to understand and forecast Earth systems. Before joining NOAA, Tracy managed the Environmental Health research program at Mote Marine Laboratory where she was called on as an expert in the Florida Water Crises, during which The Weather Channel’s Jim Cantore called her, "The face of red tide.” Fanara earned her BS, ME, and PhD from the University of Florida.

 

In addition to appearing in hundreds of written and broadcast news outlets, as well as Saturday morning educational television programs on Fox, CBS and ABC, you may have also seen Tracy on The Weather Channel, Animal Outtakes, Weird Earth, or on the Science Channel’s MythBusters and What on Earth?Additionally, Fanara produces her own series of Inspector Planet videos.

 

In our conversation, Tracy discusses her passionate quest to help people understand our connectedness to Earth’s systems, resources, and other species. She also explains her Coastal Modeling Portfolio Manager job at NOAA, how satellites help monitor algae blooms like red tide, the work she’s done for NASA researching the use of aquaponics for space missions, and why she decided to use media appearances as a way to be a role model for girls interested in future STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) careers.

 

In explaining the important role that space plays in studying and protecting our own planet, Fanara says, “It’s absolutely necessary that we look at Earth from space. That we understand how all of our Earth systems work together in order to answer the big questions, especially in a changing world.”

 

To learn more about Tracy’s various projects, visit inspectorplanet.com.

 

Introductory and closing music: Paint the Sky by Hans Atom © copyright 2015, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/hansatom/50718 Ft: Miss Judged

Filed under Space Foundation, Space4U, STEM Education, meteorology · Comments

Jason Reimuller – Executive Director, International Institute for Astronautical Sciences & Project PoSSUM

January 27, 2021 @ 9:16 am

In this episode:

We meet Dr. Jason Reimuller, Executive Director of both the International Institute for Astronautical Sciences (IIAS) and Project PoSSUM, a nonprofit astronautics research and education program within the IIAS studying our upper atmosphere and its role in our changing global climate. Jason is also Co-Investigator of NASA’s PMC-Turbo experiment and works as a commercial research pilot and flight test engineer with atmospheric remote-sensing company GATS, Inc. He is a National Association of Underwater Instructors scuba divemaster, has authored the book Spacecraft Egress and Rescue Operations, and formerly served as a system engineer and project manager for NASA’s Constellation Program.

 

In our conversation, Jason explains how little we understand about our planet's upper atmosphere, noctilucent cloud dynamics and how they're indicators for changes in global climate, the many aspects of Project PoSSUM, how it advocates for underrepresented groups in the space community, and whether he personally has an interest in being involved in the space missions of the future.

 

Explaining his part in Project PoSSUM, Jason says, “You know, my first role in this organization is to serve our community ... serve the community, and to make sure that what we’re all doing is preserving that historic role and the imperative of what astronauts have been.”

 

To learn more about the IIAS, go to https://astronauticsinstitute.org, and for more on Project PoSSUM visit https://projectpossum.org. Candidate applications for the Out Astronaut program that Jason mentions in this conversation are being accepted through Jan. 31, 2021, at https://outastronaut.org/contest/.

 

Introductory and closing music: Paint the Sky by Hans Atom © copyright 2015, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/hansatom/50718 Ft: Miss Judged

Filed under Space, aerospace, Space Foundation, Space4U, STEM Education · Comments

Robert Gregg & Toby Elery — Robotic Prosthesis Built with ISS Motors

September 23, 2020 @ 8:17 am

In this episode:

 

We meet Drs. Robert Gregg and Toby Elery, who are part of a team that has designed an improved robotic prosthesis, produced using a motor originally designed for use on the International Space Station (ISS).

 

Dr. Gregg is an Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Robotics at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. He earned a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering and computer sciences from the University of California, Berkeley, and then subsequent masters and doctoral degrees in electrical and computer engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He joined the University of Michigan as an Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and the Robotics Institute, in fall 2019.

 

Dr. Elery is a mechanical engineer and researcher based in Dallas, Texas, who earned his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Texas at Dallas in the spring of 2020. Up until April of this year, and for nearly six years prior, he was a PhD Graduate Research Assistant at the university. He's worked on a host of robotics projects, has served as a mentor for undergraduate projects, and has also disseminated his research in the field via several publications and presentations.

 

In this conversation, our guests discuss how the idea came about to produce a better robotic prosthesis, why a motor produced for the ISS was chosen for their design, how their prosthesis lessens the burden on wearers, which wearers will benefit from it the most, the testing that has been performed so far, and also explain how the force from the residual limb actually charges the battery while the prosthesis is in use.

 

Describing how an ISS motor was chosen for their design, Elery explains that it was among those with “the highest torque density, which means it can produce a lot of force in a very small package, which was really useful for our application. So, we were able to get a whole lot of torque — a whole lot of force out of it, in a really small volume.”

 

To learn more about the prosthesis designed by Drs. Gregg and Elery, visit https://gregg.engin.umich.edu.

 

Introductory and closing music: Paint the Sky by Hans Atom © copyright 2015 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/hansatom/50718 Ft: Miss Judged

Filed under Space Foundation, Space4U, STEM Education, Space Technology, robotics · Comments

Rebekah Hyatt and Adlena Jacobs — SystemsGo

September 9, 2020 @ 8:38 am

In this episode:

 

We meet Rebekah Hyatt, a master educator who is Program Director for SystemsGo, an education nonprofit solely focused on providing STEM curriculum programs. Prior to joining SystemsGo, she taught high school for 15 years in the Dallas area, and during her last seven years in the classroom she taught the SystemsGo curriculum.

 

We also meet Adlena Jacobs, another master educator who holds a Bachelor of Science degree in physics and math, and a master’s degree in Higher Education Administration. She has been teaching for 12 years and is currently the STEM Coordinator at Sunnyvale High School in Sunnyvale, Texas. 

 

In this conversation, both guests express their passion for preparing the next generation to join the workforce. Rebekah talks about what inspired her to join SystemsGo, the overall mission of the program, and some of the benefits she has seen over the years. As a teacher who is new to the program, Adlena brings a fresh perspective to the training process, has a newcomer’s enthusiasm for bringing it to her students, and shares how she anticipates they will grow from the program. 

 

Both explain that failure is an important aspect of the program, as it leads to growth for the students. Says Rebekah, “We want to produce people that are equipped with skills to walk through the fear of the unknown. Because the fear of the unknown can be totally crippling to many people.”

 

Adlena herself admits that she had to struggle through her own failure during the teacher training but knows this only enhances her ability to relate to her students and guide them. She says, “Even though you’re failing, keep going — you will get there.”

 

To learn more about SystemsGo visit systemsgo.org.

 

Introductory and closing music: Paint the Sky by Hans Atom (c) copyright 2015 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/hansatom/50718 Ft: Miss Judged

Filed under Space Foundation, Space4U, STEM Education · Comments

Aaron Shepard – NASA Robotics Intern & Founder of Cogito

September 2, 2020 @ 8:34 am

In this episode:

 

We meet Aaron Shepard, an In Space Assembly Robotics Intern at NASA Langley, and a Robotics Research Assistant at Clemson University College of Engineering and Science. Aaron also works at R&D Engineering Co-Op, Itron, Inc., and is the Founder/CEO of Cogito, a company dedicated to inspiring young people through STEM outreach.

 

He is affiliated with the Mars Generation, an international nonprofit organization that works to excite people of all ages about science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and human space exploration, and is currently a member of the organization's Student Space Ambassador Leadership Board, where he serves as chair of the outreach committee. He works as a tutor and mentor for the PEER & WISE program at Clemson, which helps to give underrepresented students studying STEM subjects the resources and tools they need to follow their dreams of STEM and space, and he has also given a TEDx talk entitled Make America Space Again.

 

In this conversation Aaron talks about what inspired him to switch from his initial career path of medicine to robotics, gives details on how he got into his internship at NASA, shares his thoughts on the future of robots in space exploration, touches on his company Cogito, describes his favorite robot project that he’s currently working on, and explains how he thinks international cooperation will help achieve our goals in space.

 

In describing how robots will eventually build human habitats on other planets, Aaron says, “I’d say we’re within a 20-year range of having fully autonomous robot construction crew in space ... I think that’s possible.”

 

To learn more about Aaron’s new company Cogito, visit cogitobrains.com.

 

Note: This episode refers to the successful July 30, 2020 launch of the Perseverance Mars Rover and Ingenuity helicopter in future tense because the podcast was recorded on July 23, 2020.

 

Introductory and closing music: Paint the Sky by Hans Atom (c) copyright 2015 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/hansatom/50718 Ft: Miss Judged

Filed under Space, Space Foundation, Space4U, STEM Education, NASA, Space Technology, robotics · Comments

Kevin DeBruin – The Fit Rocket Scientist

June 11, 2020 @ 12:13 pm

In this episode:

 

We meet Kevin DeBruin, a space educator who brings space down to Earth for all of us in a creative and entertaining way. A former NASA JPL rocket scientist, Kevin is also the author of To NASA and Beyond: Perseverance to Achieve the Impossible, a TEDx speaker, American Ninja Warrior, and CuriosityStream’s brand ambassador for all things space and science. 

 

Kevin shares with us the obstacles he faced as a student, including struggles with mathematics. He tells us about securing his dream job working with NASA, and why he left after discovering a passion for teaching and inspiring others about space. Kevin tells about his techniques for bringing space down to Earth and making the learning process fun and engaging. He also shares a little about his time competing as an American Ninja Warrior. 

 

Learn more about Kevin at https://www.kevinjdebruin.com/

 

Introductory and closing music: Paint the Sky by Hans Atom (c) copyright 2015 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/hansatom/50718 Ft: Miss Judged

Filed under Space, aerospace, Space Foundation, Space4U, STEM Education, NASA, Mars · Comments

José Morey - Intergalactic Doctor

May 28, 2020 @ 3:36 pm

In this episode: 

 

We meet Dr. José Morey. José Morey, M.D., is a Fellow of the Eisenhower Foundation and the Chief Medical Innovation Officer for Liberty BioSecurity. Previously, Dr. Morey served as Associate Chief Health Officer for IBM Watson Health.  He led enterprise wide research collaborations with partners across the globe to develop AI medical breakthroughs.

 

Dr. Morey is also faculty at Singularity University where he leads exponential technology, innovation and human augmentation curricula. He also serves as a mentor for MIT Solve and IDEAS technology accelerators and is considered the first Intergalactic Doctor. 

 

José tells us about the “Intergalactic Doctor” title he has been given, and his dream to work in the STEM fields as a child. He explains his desire to give back and how technology and space make that possible. José also shares information about the work being done at Liberty BioSecurity, including a unique biological isolate LJ-321, which first developed resistance to chronic UV radiation as a result of long duration exposure to space on the exterior of an Earth orbiting satellite. Testing of LJ-321 has shown similar efficacy at shielding against UVA and UVB radiation to that of leading commercial brands of SPF 50 sunscreen.

 

LJ-321 is a Space Certified product. Learn more about it and the Space Foundation’s Space Certification process at https://www.spacefoundation.org/space_certification_/lj-321-active-ingredient-in-commercial-uv-protection/

 

To learn more about Liberty BioSecurity and its cutting edge capabilities across the life sciences, visit https://www.libertybiosecurity.com/.

 

Introductory and closing music: Paint the Sky by Hans Atom (c) copyright 2015 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/hansatom/50718 Ft: Miss Judged 

Filed under Space, aerospace, Space Foundation, Space4U, STEM Education · Comments

Athena Brensberger - Founder and CEO of Astroathens, LLC

May 14, 2020 @ 12:47 pm

In this episode:

 

We meet Founder and CEO of Astroathens, LLC, Athena Brensberger. 

 

Athena advocates for space exploration through her platform Astroathens, which is a website, YouTube channel and various social media platforms combined where people can find DIY videos for astrophysics demos, rocket launch coverage and look behind-the-scenes at space ports and events around the world!

 

She has worked with Seeker, Futurism and most recently Arianespace, as a correspondent on all things astronomy and rocket science. Athena conducted research on protoplanetary disks --early formation of planetary systems like our solar system!

 

Athena tell us how her passions, astrophysics, theater and fashion intersect and how space really reaches all walks of life. She is a self-proclaimed Astrophysicist Barbie.

 

Learn more about Astroathens at https://astroathens.com/.

 

Introductory and closing music: Paint the Sky by Hans Atom (c) copyright 2015 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/hansatom/50718 Ft: Miss Judged 

Filed under Space, aerospace, Space Foundation, Space4U, STEM Education, NASA, Mars · Comments

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