South Campus set to Host NASA Space Science Day


Andrea Vasquez/San Jacinto College Marketing, Public Relations and Government Affairs Department

Students from Odyssey Academy enjoy a demonstration during NSSD in 2015.

This year marks the third year San Jacinto College South Campus will host NASA Space Science Day (NSSD).

The founder and coordinator of San Jacinto College’s NASA Space Science Day program, Angela Green-Garcia, said NSSD is an initiative designed to enhance STEM education at San Jac through interactive activities developed and funded by the NASA Discovery and Planetary Science Exploration missions.

“Our goal is to build a pipeline of success designed to encourage students at several key stages, college, high school, and middle school, to consider pursuing a career in the STEM fields,” she said.

Also, Green-Garcia noted, the event resulted from a broad cooperation between multiple groups.

“NSSD is a collaborative effort among NASA, college personnel, current, past and future students, professional partners, and members of the community.”

Senior Administrative Assistant Katlynn Colquitt is also the mentor and volunteer coordinator for NSSD. Twenty-six mentors and approximately 100 volunteers will participate including dual credit high school students, the Coyote Science Club, and the Engineering Club.

Furthermore, she detailed the training mentors undergo at NASA, learning “how to work the exhibits and how to do the demonstrations and the safety and knowledge.”

Moreover, Colquitt stated that the annual event attracts a diverse audience including individuals who “aren’t involved with any STEM or don’t get the chance to go to the NASA center itself.”

Additionally, Green-Garcia said they encourage members of the community to attend with their children.

“Parents learn new, exciting, affordable activities they can do at home with their kids for low to no cost,” Green-Garcia said.

In addition to the Community Night, San Jacinto South will host an interactive day camp for over 250 middle school students from different schools. Green-Garcia said one of the goals of NSSD is to promote the STEM fields to junior high school students and prepare them for the STAAR test.

“Our activities focus on the areas of TEKS (Texas Education Knowledge Skills) that students are struggling with,” she said

Colquitt noted that this experience allows participants to see more up-close and hands-on displays that NASA has to offer, and unlike in a museum, “you’re actually getting to touch things.”

According to Green-Garcia, some of the activities include learning how to hover on a cushion of air, Oreo cookie moon phases, taking a picture with a rover, building a robot arm, as well as a possible visit from an astronaut.

Moreover, Green-Garcia said attendees, as well as mentors and volunteers, find the event educational and enjoyable.

“Everyone is learning and excited to be doing it,” she said. “I even have past students who are now at other colleges contact me about returning to volunteer for the event because they have so much fun.”

NASA Space Science Day Community Night takes place April 14 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Atrium of the Science and Allied Health Building (S1) on the South campus.