Space and Science Expo Welcomes Public for Community Night


Scott Scarborough/San Jacinto Times

The ‘basketball robot’ designed by the Clear Creek Independent School District Robotics Club was a slam dunk with children attending NASA Space Science Day on the South campus April 14.

Visitors attending NASA Space Science Day Community Night on the San Jacinto College South Campus April 14 were treated to an evening of family-friendly fun that ranged from high school students designing robots to NASA scientists planning future missions to Mars.

Attendees participated in many educational STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) activities like building a hovercraft and a robotic arm, examining moon rock and meteorite samples brought by NASA-Johnson Space Center, and playing basketball with an athletic robot built by Clear Creek Independent School District’s Robotics Club. In addition, visitors were able to use the 16-inch reflector telescope positioned on the deck of the Science and Allied Health building to gaze up at the night sky.

Katlynn Colquitt, Senior Administrative Assistant and volunteer coordinator for NASA Space Science Day said, “Events such as this are a way for the community to come and actually experience some NASA tactile activities and displays they wouldn’t normally get to see.”

Furthermore, Colquitt said NASA’s location right in the College’s backyard is a huge advantage to students looking to get into STEM fields.

NASA employees were on hand to answer questions pertaining to the work they do while at the same time, trying to connect with students from around the area.

Andrea Mosie, scientist and curator at NASA Johnson Space Center said, “We ask students what they want to become in life…you make a connection with them and show them how preparing themselves right now, for the future, is what is going to let them have a successful future.”

Moreover, Mosie said the goal of NASA Space Science Day is to encourage younger students to gain an interest in STEM fields, but also an interest in continuing on to college and furthering their education.

Likewise, NASA Education Specialist Suzanne Foxworth said promoting higher education was the impetus for creating the event.

“To get these kids on a college campus,” she said, “that’s kind of how it started.”

Foxworth said the expo does not just benefit younger students, it is also a great opportunity for the college students, volunteering or attending, to explore different fields of study such as planetary science or biology.

The evening’s activities culminated with a talk from John Gruener, a planetary scientist at NASA Johnson Space Center. Gruener worked on many different programs and missions at NASA since beginning his career in 1986 including designing missions to the moon and Mars.