I can say unequivocally that I have known my lifetime goal from a very early age. I am one of those fortunate people that realized what they wanted to do in life at a very early age and set about making my goal a reality. I want to be a part of America’s Space Program. My interest in space and the space program began when I was a small child. Initially I was focused primarily on aircraft and space vehicles, especially the Saturn V rocket. My grandfather worked at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration from the day it was founded on October 1, 1958, until the space shuttle program.
He retired as Chief of the Shuttle Simulation Division at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas in 1983. So I can say my discussions with my grandfather and the fascinating stories he would tell sparked my interest in the space program and my desire to pursue a career in this field. My hope is that obtaining an Aeronautical Engineering Degree at Texas A&M University will catapult me into a career in the space program. As part of my preparation for a career in the space program, I participated in an Aerospace Engineering camp at Texas A&M University in 2013.
As a sophomore, I was one of the youngest participants in the program as most of the other participants were juniors. The selection process was rigorous. I had to write two admission essays, submit my high school transcripts and obtain a letter of recommendation from one of my Science teachers. Fortunately, I was one of thirty participants accepted to the program out of over 165 applicants. This is a nationwide program and there were students from all over the United States attending camp with me.
Thad an awesome experience actually living on campus and touring the many science facilities on the Texas A&M University campus. Not to mention the hands-on engineering experience I received from the various projects we worked on during the camp. This was truly an experience I will never forget. I also had the privilege of being selected to participate in the 2015 High School Aerospace Scholars program at the Johnson Space Center. Students selected for this program participate in a weeklong hands-on program at Johnson Space Center.
This program was recommended to me by my Astronomy teacher at Round Rock High School. I was extremely honored my teacher would recommend that I participate in this program and set about applying for consideration. Again, I had to write 2 essays and obtain a recommendation from my Astronomy teacher and a recommendation from my local State Senator. I wrote the essays and obtained the necessary letters of recommendation. I then applied and was accepted to the program. However, that was just the first step and some might say the easiest part of the program.
I then had to complete a rigorous academic program culminating with my acceptance to participate on-site at Johnson Space Center in June 2015. The on-site program was absolutely fabulous in-so-far as we participated in hands-on activities, had luncheons with current employees at the facility and met retirees that worked at the facility during the Mercury and Apollo programs. The program administrators broke us up into several teams. Our objective for the week was to plan a mission to Mars and each team had a certain part of the mission to plan.
During the week | participated in the program, the Director of Education for NASA happened to attend one of our sessions. He asked the group what we were doing and what we had accomplished during our time there. Initially, the room was very silent. Naturally, with my lifelong dream of working in the space program I was very proud of what we were accomplishing so I decided to speak up and provide a response. I started describing our various projects, the mission parameters we were working under and what we had accomplished up to that point.
Taking a leadership role in this type of situation comes naturally to me, however, I could see a palpable look of relief on the faces of staff members responsible for the program. This man was the Director of Education for the entire agency and they wanted him to have a good impression of the program. Not to mention the fact that he was their supervisors, boss! The program included closing ceremonies at the conclusion of the weeklong activities.
In recognition for my willingness and ability to speak to Mr. Smith, I was selected to escort the Director of Education at the Johnson Space Center at the closing ceremonies. I provided him insights as to what we accomplished during the week and took him on a tour of the finished projects for each team. I then ate lunch with Mr. Jones during the closing ceremonies. This was quite an honor considering there were more than 50 students in our group. Thave already taken all science courses offered by Round Rock High School, however, I will receive another science credit for attending the High School Aerospace Scholars program.
Thave been on the “A” honor roll since entering RRHS and have maintained an “A” average or above since the 6th grade. I am also vice president of the Astronomy Club at RRHS. As a hobby, about a year ago I started using twitter and following NASA. I soon learned astronauts tweeted from the ISS and I started following the crew on the ISS that had twitter accounts. As soon as I started following Astronaut Chris Hadfield and saw the breathtaking beauty of the Earth and the universe from the ISS, I knew THIS is what I wanted to do in life.